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9 Bands Like System of a Down to Check Out if you Love Alternative Metal

Bands like System of a Down

Loud, energetic and unapologetic, System of a Down changed the way people perceived alternative metal and nu-wave metal in the 90s and early 2000s. Here’s a list of bands like System of a Down you should definitely check out.

Formed in 1994 by high school friends Serj Tankian and Daron Malakian, the band started out as “Soil”. Bassist Shavo Odadjian was initially hired as their manager, but he quit those duties to pick up the bass guitar. Drummer Ontronik “Andy” Khachaturian was replaced by current drummer John Dolmayan in 1997. The name Soil was changed to “System of a Down” in reference to a poem written by Malakian titled “Victims of a Down”, victims were replaced with a system to appeal to a wider audience and Shavo wanted the band’s records to be alphabetically shelved along with their inspiration, Slayer.

Although their self titled debut album found moderate success with the singles “Spiders” and “Sugar”, they remained relatively unknown to the general mass. Their 2001 album Toxicity propelled them to critical acclaim, gaining massive publicity and a cult-like following. The band’s lyrical themes explore drug abuse, politics, and are often found to criticize America’s obsession with war. Their music has been primarily associated with alternative metal and nu-metal but Malakian has stated that “We don’t belong to any single genre” and he also said, “People always seem to feel the need to put us into a category, but we just don’t fit into any category.” The group went on a hiatus in 2006, only to regroup for tours in 2010. They haven’t released any new album since Hypnotize (2005). Both Tankian and Malakian have successful solo careers.

Bands Similar to System of a Down

  • Slipknot
  • Korn
  • Rage Against the Machine
  • Audioslave
  • Limp Bizkit
  • Linkin Park
  • Disturbed
  • Alice in Chains
  • Tool

Also Check Out: Bands Like Nirvana

1. Slipknot

Formed in 1994, Slipknot is a 9-member alternative and heavy metal band from Iowa. They are is well known for their aggressive style of music, energetic and chaotic live shows. But the most striking characteristic of the band is that every member of the band has their own signature mask, which they put on in all their music videos and live shows. Slipknot’s lyrics are generally very aggressive; while exploring ideas like darkness, nihilism, anger, disaffection, and love. They draw upon topics including the music industry, politics, and self-reflection, among others.

Like System of a Down, the band draws influences from heavy metal icons like Kiss, Slayer, Mr Bungle and Faith No More. Mr Bungle’s stage presence in the late 80s influenced the band’s iconic decision to put on masks and perform. Mr Bungle’s frontman Mike Patton called the members of Slipknot as “very nice guys”. The band suffered the loss of bassist Paul Grey in 2010, and drummer Joey Jordison in 2021, has since then performed soulful renditions of their acoustic song “Snuff” live as a tribute to their fallen brothers. If you are looking for bands like System of a Down interesting, Slipknot is our top recommendation.

2. Korn

Another American band that has driven forward the alternative and heavy metal genre is Korn. Originally formed in 1993, Korn’s current lineup features guitarist James “Munky” Shaffer, bassist Reginald “Fieldy” Arvizu, guitarist Brian “Head” Welch, vocalist Jonathan Davis, and drummer Ray Luzier. Their singles “Freak on a Leash” and “Here to Stay” earned them Grammy awards for Best Short Form Music Video and Best Metal Performance respectively.

Korn’s music can be summed up as generation-defining, establishing a loyal and dedicated fan base of both alternative metal and nu-metal. Lyrically, the band mostly explores pain, suffering and alienation, which is why an entire generation of teens could identify themselves strongly with their music. To date, Korn remains an influential figure in the alternative metal scene. If you are looking for bands similar to System of a Down, Korn should be at the top of your list.

3. Rage Against the Machine

Rage Against the Machine is an American rock and alternative metal band from Los Angeles. Formed in 1991, the group consists of vocalist Zack de la Rocha, bassist and Tim Commerford, guitarist Tom Morello, and drummer Brad Wilk. The group found commercial and critical success with their self-titled debut album, which ranked 368 in the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time by Rolling Stones.

Lyrically hyper-political, they wrote and performed energetic and exciting music driven by Morello’s signature experimental guitar riffs and Commerford’s tight basslines. The band has written revolutionary anthems against capitalism and corporations, cultural imperialism, and government oppression. The band stopped releasing new material after their 2000 album Renegades, focusing on touring. They reunited for a tour in 2019 after an 8 year-long hiatus, but it was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Rage of the Machine is a great recommendation if you are looking for artists like System of a Down.

4. Audioslave

Former Soundgarden vocalist Chris Cornell formed Audioslave with Rage Against the Machine members Tom Morello, Tim Commerford, and Brad Wilk in 2001. Initially labelled as a mashup of Soundgarden and Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave quickly slashed through that criticism and found their own signature sound. All their music was produced solely through the instruments and Cornell’s vocals with no sampling/synth added during production.

In their six years, Audioslave released three albums and received three Grammy nominations. The band split up in 2007, a year after their releasing their 3rd and final album Revelations. Although a reunion was planned, it was cut short after Chris Cornell’s death by suicide in 2017. Cornell’s magical vocals with the music driven by Rage Against the Machine members makes Audioslave a band worth mentioning in the list of other bands like System of a Down.

5. Limp Bizkit

Limp Bizkit is an American rap rock and nu-metal band. Its lineup consists of Fred Durst (lead vocals), Sam Rivers (bass), John Otto (drums), DJ Lethal (turntables), and Wes Borland (guitars). The band’s unique sound was driven by Durst’s angry vocals and Borland’s musical experiments. The band’s live shows also featured Borland in elaborate costumes, body paint and masks. Limp Bizkit grew from Jacksonville’s underground music scene and quickly gained commercial success.

Surrounded by controversies, Limp Bizkit were a regular name in the media. Durst maintains his image of being an asshole, picking up fights with mainstream artists, notably Eminem, and Spice Girls, among other artists. The notoriety of Durst was also a prominent part of the band’s image. Their single “Take A Look Around” was based on the franchise theme of Mission Impossible. Despite spending a largely negative time in the media, Limp Bizkit’s music was inspirational to many artists of their time as well as today. Their songs like “My Way”, “Break Stuff”, “Nookie”, and “Rollin'” have been covered by multiple artists, mostly rearranging and reimagining those songs in different genres. Limp Bizkit is a good recommendation in the list of rock bands like System of a Down.

6. Linkin Park

This particular band needs no introduction. Probably one of the most famous bands to ever make music, Linkin Park has been a prominent act in the alternative metal scene and have sold over 100 million records worldwide. Starting off as a alternative metal band, Linkin Park has explored a vast array of music genres in their later works but their early albums “Meteora” and “Hybrid Theory” are undoubtedly the most impactful and popular.

Linkin Park became the first rock band to achieve more than one billion YouTube hits. Linkin Park’s “Numb” is the third and “In the End” is the sixth “timeless song” on Spotify, making Linkin Park the only artist to have two timeless songs in the top ten. MTV2 named Linkin Park the 6th greatest band of the music video era and the third-best of the new millennium, and in 2014, the band was declared the Biggest Rock Band in the World Right Now by Kerrang! Linkin Park is a strong recommendation in the list of similar bands like System of a Down.

7. Disturbed

Disturbed is an American heavy and alternative metal band formed in 1994. The line-up consists of vocalist David Draiman, guitarist Dan Donegan, bassist John Moyer and drummer Mike Wengren. Five of their seven albums debuted #1 on Billboard 200. David Draiman states the lyrics that he writes are inspired by his own experiences, and these lyrical themes range from concepts of heaven and hell, domestic abuse, suicide, insanity, relationships, and war.

Disturbed’s cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s Sound of Silence has amassed 730 million views on Youtube, receiving praise for Draiman’s heavy baritone. Disturbed’s mascot, “The Guy”, was originally just a drawing of a face with a large grin. It was later made the official mascot after artist David Finch conceptualised the whole character. Disturbed has sold over 17 million records, making them one of the most successful alternative metal bands in the 2000s. Disturbed is is undoubtedly a part of the list of bands like System of a Down.

8. Alice in Chains

Alice in Chains rose to prominence in the 90s grunge movement, along with other Seattle bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden. They garnered commercial and critical success during their 35 years of being together as a band. Alice in Chains has received 11 Grammy nominations and has 18 singles in Billboard’s top 10 mainstream rock track charts.

The band is also noted for the unique vocal harmonies of vocalist Staley and guitarist Cantrell, which included overlapping passages, dual lead vocals, and trademark harmonies. Staley’s songs were often considered “dark”, with themes such as drug abuse, depression, and suicide, while Cantrell’s lyrics often dealt with personal relationships. If you are looking for bands like System of a Down, then you should give Alice in Chains a listen.

9. Tool

Tool is another American alternative and progressive metal band. It consists of vocalist Maynard James Keenan, drummer Danny Carey, guitarist Adam Jones and Justin Chancellor on bass duties. The band is known for complex rhythms and exploration of psychedelia and ambient sonic themes. Starting with a heavy metal sound, they moved on to alternative metal and eventually progressive metal. This change resulted in their most successful albums, Lateralus and 10,000 Days. 13 years after their last album 10,000 Days (2006), Tool released Fear Inoculum in 2019 which also was critically acclaimed.

Being heavily inspired by King Crimson, Tool’s music can be best described as a “thinking man’s metal”. Their live shows are set up in unorthodox ways and are focused on creating an experience than the members themselves. The time signature of the song “Lateralus” follows the Fibonacci sequence, so does the syllables of the song’s verse. Tool’s emphasis on creating an out-of-body psychedelic experience is what drives their unique sound. It is also enhanced Keenan’s ability to express complex emotions through his voice alone. Tool has been a prominent band in the alternative metal and progressive metal scene for a long time. So, its a strong recommendation if you are trying to find bands like System of a Down.

Also Check Out: Bands like MGMT

When Lost aired over a decade ago, its successful narrative created a pop culture impact and changed the landscape of television. If you are a fan and want to watch shows like Lost then you can have a look at this list we made just for you.

Lost

The hugely successful television series Lost aired in 2004. The premise, as we know, deals with a group of people surviving a commercial passenger plane crash on a remote island. The show masterfully explores supernatural and sci-fi elements on this mysterious south Pacific island. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTu8iDynwNc

The use of cliffhangers at the end of each episode of Lost kept the viewers on the edge of their seats, desperately craving for the next episode to come. Even though it's a large ensemble cast, most of the characters receive a justifiable personal arch. Lost was inspired by the movie Castaway and became one of the most expensive pilots to be shot at the time! Lost continues to be appreciated for its originality in storytelling and dynamic character arcs. 

List of TV Shows Like Lost

  1. The Leftovers
  2. Manifest
  3. Lost Room
  4. Twin Peaks
  5. The Prisoners
  6. Battlestar Galactica
  7. The New People
  8. Flight 29 Down
  9. Fringe
  10. Alcatraz
  11. Under the Dome
  12. Dark

1. The Leftovers (2014)

IMDB ratings: 8.3/10

Cast: Carrie Coon, Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman and Margaret Qualley

Creator: Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta

The director of Lost, Damon Lindel also created a supernatural drama series called The Leftovers. The show begins 3 years after an unexplainable global event called ‘Sudden Departure’  where almost 2 per cent of the population, nearly 140 million people, disappear. The Leftovers isn't about WHY people are gone, it's about how the ones who remain dealt with their loss, people often try to comfort themselves with dreams, angels, gods, or even death.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLT3YUALJno&t=8s

The Leftovers will leave you with so many questions but beyond words, you have to feel it and savour its unanswered questions to find peace. The Leftovers is an incredible television series that starts incredibly well but loses its way by the series's end. I have to say though, Carrie Coon has brilliant moments in the end. The Leftovers is so weird, fragmented and nonsensical at times that it reminds me of Lost. If you are looking for shows like Lost, I recommend that you give The Leftovers a try.

2. Manifest  (2018) 

IMDB ratings: 7.1/10

Cast: Melissa Roxburgh, Josh Dallas and J.R. Ramirez 

Creator: Jeff Rake


The Manifest is a supernatural drama show about a bunch of people who discover that they lost 5 years of their lives when they landed in New York after their aeroplane faced severe turbulence. All the people on the plane were presumed to be dead. Now, these people have to find a way to adjust themselves to a new life around their loved ones. Mild spoiler! They learn their loved ones and the rest of society is not as they left it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1hNAIzkQWY

I found that the show’s premise was very intriguing and the actors give a very convincing performance. The narrative details of the show, however, in my opinion, are a bit sloppy and inconsistent. The writers surely have room for improvement but their concept is incredibly thrilling. Every episode of Manifest keeps you on your toes. Manifest has completed 3 seasons up until now and continues to be on air. Manifest is a pretty good choice if you want to watch TV shows like Lost.

3. Lost Room (2006)

IMDB ratings: 8.1/10

Cast: Peter Krause, Julianna Margulies and Peter Jacobson

Creator: Christopher Leone, Laura Harkcom

This lesser-known show The Lost Room is an American Sci-fi television miniseries which only had 3 episodes of 90 mins each and no follow-up seasons. The show was based on a very unique idea where the room in question (known as the ‘Lost Room’) and the objects in the said room had supernatural powers. This strange room is set in a 1960s motel along the iconic U.S. Route 66. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfWrECLnFYU

One day the protagonist (Peter Krause) Joe Miller’s daughter disappears inside the room. Joe, with the help of objects present in the room, tries to find his daughter Anna (Elle Fanning). The story of Lost Room was intensely engaging. I found the direction and the actor’s performances to be absolutely brilliant. It baffles me that the creators did not return to make another short season within the same concept. If you have been searching for TV series like Lost then I can assure you that Lost Room will be worth a watch.

4. Twins Peaks (1990) 

IMDB ratings: 8.8/10

Cast: Kyle MacLachlan, Mädchen Amick, Sherilyn Fenn and David Lynch

Creator: David Lynch

David Lynch, the well-known director of weird and captivating films such as Eraserhead and Blue Velvet created an iconic show called Twin Peaks. It is a hauntingly eccentric show about the investigation of the mysterious murder of a small-town homecoming queen named Laura Palmer. Believe me, as odd as the show may seem at first, you will grow to love it, after all, it is considered to be one of the best mystery shows ever created. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zwn9ou_nf-I

With the mysteries, the supernatural elements and the list of bizarre characters, Twin Peaks has it all. In my opinion, the cinematography of the show was truly ahead of its time. Kyle’s Dale Cooper was especially entertaining. Twin Peaks’ experimental formula of the satirical soap opera is extremely unsettling yet rewarding to watch, I must warn you, it’s not for the faint-hearted!  If you are in search of TV shows like Lost then Twin Peaks won’t disappoint you.

The Prisoners (1967)

IMDB ratings: 8.5/10

Cast: Patrick McGoohan, Angelo Muscat and Geroge Markstien

Creator: Patrick McGoohan


The Prisoner centres around an unnamed British agent (Patrick McGoohan) who tries to flee his country after abruptly quitting his high-ranking government job. He is abducted and held captive in a strange ‘sea-side’ village that is isolated from the rest of the world. This village is a highly secure and monitored place filled with weird technology. There are only 17 episodes to this late 60s show but it manages to bring up such surreal surprises, it's sure to leave a great impact on the viewer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JrNr85fPms

The Prisoner’s unique concept influenced many popular shows including Lost. The creators of Lost even cited the show. I was very impressed by how ahead of its time The Prisoners proves to be. If you want to watch more shows similar to Lost the Prisoners should definitely be on your list.

6. Battlestar Galactica (2004)

IMDB ratings: 8.7/10

Cast: Katee Sackhoff, Edward James Olmos and Tricia Helfer 

Creator: Glen A. Larson

The 2004 Battlestar Galactica is a reboot of the original 1978 miniseries of the same name. Do not be mistaken by the title, the show is not related to Star Trek.  Battlestar Galactica is set in the 7th millennium AD and follows Cylons, the robot enemy of humanity that resurfaces to destroy the 12 colonies of Mankind. Only a few survive and are able to escape on ships led by a powerful warship called Battlestar Galactica. Mankind struggles to fight the Cylons and work their own political agendas and disputes while finding their long-lost 13th colony Earth.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnYsf2Yv8i8

The show is a dark, intense and gritty socio-political commentary with EPIC cinematic value. The script is especially clever and as a huge fan of sci-fi shows, this show ticks the boxes in all the right categories. When the show was released, it blew the viewers and critics away. As far as an obsessive and gripping story goes, Battlestar Galactica is one of the most similar to shows like Lost. 

7. The New People (1969)

IMDB ratings: 7.3/10

Cast: David Moses, Zooey hall and Tiffany Boiling

Creator: Larry Gordon Aaron Spelling

The New People is an American Tv series that aired only for 1 season and is focused on a couple of college students who survive a plane crash. The incident takes place while they were returning from a trip to Southeast Asia, their plane crashes on an island in the south of the Pacific ocean. 

By now this show must already be sounding a lot like Lost to you, and it surely is. The remaining group of people discover an unusual truth about the island: there’s an above-ground unused nuclear test site filled with supplies for the survivors. If you want to see more plane survival stories like Lost then The New People should definitely be on your list.

8. Flight 29 Down (2005)

IMDB ratings: 7.2/10

Cast: Allen Alvarado, Halle Hirsh and Corbin Bleu

Creator:  Stan Rowgow D. J. MacHale

The show Flight 29 Down is a drama series about a group of pre-teens/teens who are stranded on a South Pacific island after their plane crashes in a tropical storm while they were flying from an eco-adventure camping trip in Palau. The show is in many ways a younger version of the Adult-centred show Lost but sans the supernatural elements. I’d say that the show draws inspiration from the show The New People.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLeG0w3kL8k

Flight 29 Down uses the technique of a video diary as a plot device for the viewers to keep up with the story of these children. It was very engaging to watch young intelligent characters finding their way on the island. The first two seasons of the show are quite engaging but I seemed to lose interest in its 3rd and final season. Regardless, Flight 29 Down is a really good series to watch if you want to see TV shows like Lost.

9. Fringe (2008)

IMDB ratings: 8.4/10

Cast: Anna Torv, John Noble and Joshua Jackson

Creator: J. J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci

Fringe is a popular Sci-fi crime drama television series. It may seem like a standard procedural drama at first, but the show actually explores the parallel universe, alternate versions of people filled with crazy scientific experiments. I personally had a great time watching this show.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29bSzbqZ3xE

Fringe is actually inspired by shows like Lost, The X-files and The Twilight Zone. The 3 main characters of the show work with a special division called Fringe. There are so many brilliant twists and turns in Fringe that in my opinion, the show is at the top of its category. If you are searching for TV series like Lost, I strongly recommend you watch Fringe

10. Alcatraz (2012)

IMDB ratings: 6.9/10

Cast: Sarah Jones, George Garcia and Jonny Coyne 

Creator: Elizabeth Sarnoff, Steven Lilien, Bryan Wynbrandt

This American fiction show is based on the infamous Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary built on Alcatraz island in San Francisco Bay. The prison is now closed but once kept some of the most dangerous criminals of America. The show takes the liberty to make a show around the conspiracies of the place.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V514ACIGp_k

In the interesting premise we see that under unknown circumstances, 256 inmates and 46 guards of the prison disappear without a trace. Later the disappeared ones start to appear one by one without ageing a day and resume their criminal activities with no realisation of disappearance. A special government unit is dedicated to finding and putting those criminals back in prison. If you are looking for mystery shows similar to Lost, try watching Alcatraz. 

11. Under the Dome (2013)

IMDB ratings: 6.5/10

Cast: Alexander Koch and Rachelle Lefevre

Creator: Stephen King

Based on a novel written by the sci-fi legend Stephen King, Under the Dome tells the story of the residents of the fictional small town called Chester's Mill, when a huge, transparent and indestructible dome suddenly cuts them off from the rest of the world. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_Y5YeYrqUk

Now the trapped residents try to find a way to discover the truth, origin and purpose of these domes. This journey forces them into situations where they learn more about each other than they ever knew. Under the Dome may not be on the top of this list but it’s quite a decent watch if you’re looking for mystery shows similar to Lost

12. Dark (2017)

IMDB ratings: 8.7/10

Cast: Louis Hofmann, Lisa Vicari and Gina Stiebitz

Creator: Baran bo Odar, Jantje Friese

The German-language Netflix series Dark is an interesting blend of Science fiction and Mystery. Truly a compelling and mind-bending story to watch. At the beginning of Dark, many children suspiciously start disappearing in the German town of Winden. The dark past of generational mysteries of 4 families living in the town namely, Kahnwald, Nielsen, Doppler, and Tiedemann is brought to light.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrwycJ08PSA

After the discovery of a wormhole, the lives of the families intertwine more than one can imagine. I believe every element of the show is top-notch, especially Dark’s cinematography, which is a TRUE masterpiece. If you are looking for TV series similar to Lost then the intense and gripping story of Dark is sure to keep you engrossed.

Honourable Mentions

Here are a few TV shows like Lost that didn’t make the list, but you can check them out nonetheless: 

  1. Carnivale
  2. Yellowjackets
  3. Game of Thrones
  4. Black Mirror
  5. Flashforward