Top 10 Most Underrated Bands

Who are the most underrated artists in the world? See the results from Wednesday's poll here, and find out who will be getting a lot more coverage on UG in the coming year.

Ultimate Guitar

Who are the most underrated artists in the world, and which deserve more coverage on Ultimate Guitar?

That's what we asked you on Wednesday, and we were really impressed with your nominations.

We're keen to introduce more artists to the newsfeed in 2013, and the bands on this list have been put firmly on our radar for potential news stories.

Before we start, a few bands deserve a nod for almost making it to the top 10 - that's Porcupine Tree, Alter Bridge and Between The Buried And Me. They all earned a tonne of votes, but since they already receive coverage on UG whenever possible (we announced a new Porcupine Tree album on the very day of this poll), we decided to make room for other acts that really are underrated.

Let's plug in those headphones or pump up the speakers, and listen to this awesome range of bands that deserve more attention.

10. Portugal. The Man

Kicking off with something you might not expect, Portugal. The Man (full stop intended) started out in Alaska in 2004. It might sound a little too hipster for some UG readers, but for something so melodic it's a refreshing sound with plenty of smart production.

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9. Sacred Mother Tongue

Super-tight metal from Northampton, England. Guitarist Andy James is recognised as one of the best breakthrough artists in the UK according to their Wikipedia page, but with four solo albums under his belt, there's no reason to disbelieve it. He sounds pretty rad to us.

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8. Clutch

Clutch have been one of the most respected touring bands in the world for well over a decade, but get less attention than they deserve because they're too busy rocking to play the press game. This track from their forthcoming album perfectly demonstrates how they sound like no-one else while sticking tightly to the to the classic ethics of real rock. Make sure you see them live.

7. Annihilator

Authentic thrash metal from the best selling metal band in Canadian history. If they're that big, why did they make it to this list? Because they haven't appeared on the UG news agenda for years, and because this shred-tastic video is worth sharing.

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6. Tremonti Project

Guitarist Mark Tremonti is well known for his role in Creed and Alter Bridge, but his solo project got a lot of love in the vote this week. Wolfgang Van Halen even joined as a touring bassist last year, and apparently wants to stay in the lineup permanently.

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5. Maximum The Hormone

We had no idea where to start with this lot. YouTube is awash with barmy Japanese pop videos, but there's also this quirky rock video. Basically, we have no idea what is going on. Maybe that's the intention.

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4. Red Fang

That's more like it; ballsy head-banging rock from Portland, Oregon. Some people say they're stoner rock, but judging from this song it's more like being pelted with actual rocks than a sly cannabis reference.

3. John Butler Trio

John Butler leads this folk-driven trio. Critics love them, but all we need to say it: hit play on this. We were caught in a trance right until he started tapping. Beautiful stuff.

2. TesseracT

Progressive metal with pin-sharp production from Reading, England. This is their 10th year together, and the trailer for their new "Perspective" EP sounds very promising - and not just because it includes a cover of one of the best songs ever, "Dream Brother" by Jeff Buckley.

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1. Protest The Hero

Your winner is another progressive metal band. Actually, as a genre title, that sounds too tame - some of their songs take a massive black metal influence, and the vocal acrobatics are more energetic than a Russian gymnast. Awesome stuff.

That's your top 10 most underrated acts. It's a shame there's only room for 10 acts, because there were some really good tips in there. Ones that we completely agree with: Converge, Baroness, Explosions In The Sky, Neurosis, Mono, Cult Of Luna, Tortoise... the list goes on. Check them all out.

Keep those tips coming in the comments, and try to add a YouTube video or Soundcloud link so we can check them out. We'll be listening to everything you share.

355 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Not bad.
    i wish more folks knew about black spiders. I think they're one of the most underrated bands out there as of now.
    I'm fairly confident in saying more people have heard of Protest The Hero than Porcupine Tree, even though they are fairly well known now.
    Not bad? wtf. What else is it not?
    Sylosis,the Agonist,Revocation and August Burns Red.
    ABR isn't underrated at all. I'm pretty sure everyone who knows of them is aware of how talented they are.
    i believe sylosis will get plenty of notice in due time they are a great band!
    Sylosis and Revocation for sure. Both great bands that deserve recognition.
    Abrie Compion
    Sylosis is the best band for me at the moment.. all their albums so far has scored more than 8/10 which I think says alot about how good they are.
    Never thought I'd see Maximum the Hormone on an UG list. Definitely give their other stuff a listen!
    FUCK YES!! ty for playing my favourite maximum the hormone song. I love Nao. aka the drummer chick.
    UG just opened Pandoras Box... Every single local scene has underrated bands, and everybody have personal favorites they think needs more acknowledgement.
    SMT could be higher....Andy James for life....please check that guy out...he deserves it
    Makes me feel good to see Red Fang, John Butler Trio and Protest the Hero in this list.
    John Butler is pretty over rated in Australia, at least in my opinion. And PTH gets a decent amount of attention.
    i cant dig guys like john butler.i really cant get into guy on acoustic who plays rhythm while tapping with a capo. it all sounds the same to me and they could just as easily get a drummer to do that stuff while they play chords it just comes off as pretentious to me. plus i get tired of hearing hammer ons
    He has more than one song, 80%+ of which are played with a drummer and bass player (thus the TRIO in the name)... Ocean is the only song which he "plays rhythm while tapping with a capo". He also plays more than acoustic guitars: electric, banjo, ukulele to name a few...
    Anyone else know who Maximum The Hormone is from watching Death Note?
    Protest the Hero, MASSIVE black metal influence? Haha that's a little exaggerated don't you think?
    You don't always hear a band's influences in their music. But, I will say that UG typically gets these things wrong. I'd say they've more of an progressive old school Death Metal influence. /shrug
    seeing as how the comment section on this website is used primarily for whining, here's my crack at it. the absence of the menzingers made me sick.
    The most underrated band I've ever had the pleasure of listening to is The Dear Hunter. Dat riff [youtube]
    J wasn't aware that Protest the Hero was underrated. I thought everyone knew how ****ing awesome they were. One of my top bands for sure.
    Fuck yea Maximum the hormone! Japan is a huge melting pot of rock styles. Toe? Lite? te? Envy? all awesome bands sifting under the radar.
    Not a bad list. Circa Survive is another overlooked band with crazy talent.
    I'd say Dir En Grey but I don't think UG is that kind of community. See Rinkaku or Different Sense.
    Dir en Grey are incredible but definitely not underrated, even in the west they tour with huge bands. I would say one of the more successful acts to cross over from Japan.
    You forgot about those guys
    They're soooo nice Just check them out !
    I mentioned these guys too. Them, Norma Jean, and The Ghost Inside def need more recognition imo.
    Protest the Hero deserve a lot of recognition that they don't get. They tour extensively, and are just about the perfection of what I want to hear in metal today. I wish they'd do some softer songs though (not complaining about what they do though , perhaps bring back the piano. John Butler is always awesome here in Aus. Surprised to see him on this list actually, I thought he was bigger around the world. Check out his song "Betterman" (NOT BETTER THAN) it really is one of the most heart wrenching songs ever.
    John Butler is known in certain artistic circles though, which is good. I'd agree with you on PtH, at least as far as modern progressive metal* goes. I got "Kezia" a couple of months back, and I'm still trying to figure it all out. *Why I say, "as far as modern progressive metal goes" is because I do really love the diversity of Metal. There's a lot of great and interesting bands, ranging from bands like Neurosis to bands like Periphery to bands like PtH to bands like modern Black Metal bands (can't think of any off the top of my head). The list goes on and on.
    I'm so glad to see Protest the Hero take the top spot. Not as many people like them as there should be.
    you must not be from Canada. we are sick of them here...
    I'm actually from the city beside Whitby which is where they're from. We're not sick of Protest, maybe you should just leave.
    Its honestly funny watching this guy get mad over PtH taking over the top spot. Youd think a Canadian would hate Nickelback, Sum 41, Frickin' A, or Simple Plan.
    Glad to see Protest up there as #1! pretty cool list! there is a really cool instrumental prog jazz/rock band called Father Figure that need to be heard!
    Or Different Sense, in my opinion a metal masterpiece
    I love dir en grey but not a fan of different sense. Rinkaku on the other hand is amazing!
    Not the best choice of Maximum the Hormone song, UG - why not Koi No Megalover or any of the fan vids for Shimi? Otherwise good list, but Shai Hulud should have made it as well
    "Your winner is another progressive metal band. Actually, as a genre title, that sounds too tame - some of their songs take a massive black metal influence " No. nononononono. No. Just...No. What in the fugg? That's something I expect a nooby 14 year old to say because as far as he knows black metal is just synonymous with any sort of harsh vocals. There's isn't a spec of black metal in their music. This is such a messed 1 choice, I can't imagine a porggy metalcore band that's gotten more airplay than PTH other than BTBAM, which you definetly aren't going to post, so why PTH? dumb.
    Wasn't expecting Maximum the Hormone, but I'm glad, I rarely mention them on this site and I have a crappy tab up for one of their songs. I actually like this list, though, it's really good.
    Shihad should definitely be on there, Local heroes in New Zealand but less known overseas, I think they have a whopping ten albums under their belt.
    Coheed and Cambria. 'Nuff said. I've been a diehard Coheed fan for years, and they hardly get any recognition. This 'Heed song is a face melter: Oh, and Bayside!
    Karnivool, Breaking Orbit, Shihad, Shapeshifter (NZ band), Grinspoon, Tame Impala, Tumbleweed, Cog...just to name a few Aus/NZ bands that get nowhere near the recognition they deserve overseas...GOOGLE NOW!
    Does the author know that the Perspective EP came out last year? It sounds like he's waiting for it to come out. Great list tho, Protest and TesseracT are the best
    awesome list, specially for tesseract, they deserve all the love they got and alot more
    Yeah John Butler is pretty huge here in Australia. He lives about half an hour from me, so I've seen him a few times and met him once or twice. He's an amazing musician and a great guy from what I've seen.
    Oceansize - The Charm Offensive (with lyrics)
    My favorite band in the whole world. Everyone Into Position is a perfect album. Nobody knows Oceansize, not even as an underrated band... lol
    How john butler isn't the most underrated human being is BEYOND me, i've never heard of him before today and i am MESMERIZED by that video!