A timeline detailing the rise and fall of the different rock genres and sub-genres from 1986 to today.



June - Kurt Cobain, a student from Aberdeen, Washington, gives his friend Krist Novoselic a demo tape from a previous band experiment "Fecal Matter", however, he puts it away for later listening. After months, both men fall apart, going their separate ways. without Novoselic ever listening to the tape.


Alice in Chains would be one of the highest selling Thrash metal bands of the late 90's


May 15 - Californian heavy metal band Mötley Crüe releases their fourth studio album, Girls, Girls, Girls. Opening to modest reviews, the album peaks at #2 on the Billboard charts.

July 21 - Appetite for Destruction, the début album for the Californian heavy metal band Guns N' Roses. Well received by critics, it remains the highest selling Guns N' Roses album to this day. 

August 3 - English hair metal band Def Leppard releases their best selling and most popular album, Hysteria, which goes onto sell 12 million copies worldwide.

October - One of the best selling Thrash bands of the 1990's, Alice in Chains forms in the alternative rock dominated Seattle.


March 23 - Krist Novoselic, future lead guitarist for the alternative rock band Reach, joins an early alternative rock act, Mudhoney, playing as a bassist.

August 17 - From their Appetite for Destruction album, Guns N' Roses releases Sweet Child o' Mine as a single.   It would go onto top the Billboard charts for 2 weeks, and is widely considered to be the bands most well received, and beloved song. 

October - American hair metal band, Poison releases their chart topping single, Every Rose Has Its Thorn. The song (coming from their chart topping album Open Up and Say... Ahh!) whilst a move away from the traditional, more heavy elements of the sub-genre, is considered today one of the last hurrahs for hair metal.

Soundgarden vogue

Whilst maintaining Thrash persona's, Alice in Chains still complied with the hair metal fashion of the day

October 31 - American alternative (later Thrash) band Soundgarden releases their first studio album entitled Ultramega OK. Containing elements of many rock genres, including, psychedelic, punk and heavy metal, the song would become a precursor for future work, most notably industrial metal. 


After signing with A&M Records, Soundgarden alienates many of their original fans by moving in a more "mainstream" direction. This become evident after they opened for the heavy metal band Guns N' Roses, something that would influence their later work.

January 24  - Skid Row releases their eponymous début album Skid Row to critical applause. Becoming their most successful album, it sold 6 million copies in the US, and catapulted them into the national view. 

January 31 - The hair metal band, Warrant releases their first album, Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich. The album, which peaks at #10 on the Billboard charts, puts Warrant in the spotlight, and produces a string of hit single such as Heaven, Down Boys and Sometimes She Cries.

September 1 - Mötley Crüe releases their most successful album to date, Dr Feelgood. After topping the Billboard charts, it sold 6 million copies, making it one of the most popular Mötley Crüe albums in history, and produced some of their most well known songs, these being Dr. Feelgood and Kickstart my Heart.


September 11 - Warrant releases their second, and most well known single, Cherry Pie. Becoming a #7 hit on the Billboard Charts, it spawns their best known song, Cherry Pie. The song becomes a top 10 hit, and expands the power base of hair metal. However, music historians have attributed the success of Cherry Pie to the death of hair metal as a sub-genre. The rock industry was beginning to be oversaturate with hair metal bands and their imitators, and by the beginning of 1991, many people turned to the more serious, "heavy" sound of either thrash metal, or alternative rock. 

October 19 - After the punk rock band Scream disbands, two of their members, Dave Grohl and Skeeter Thompson, enter into discussions with Kurt Cobain into forming a new band. Scream and Cobain got into contact through "the Melvins" singer Buzz Osbourne, and after the disbanding of the band, Osbourne gave the contact details of Cobain to the two men. On October 19, the three men formed the heavy (later thrash) metal band, "The Called".


April 5 - Soundgarden releases their third album, Motormouth, which enters into the Billboard charts at #17. The album, which produced their #3 song Outward Where, which was well received, and a stylistic move towards the growing thrash metal movement which was about to sweep across the nation.

August 12 - Thrash band Metallica releases their popular fifth album, eponymous titled Metallica. The album, eventually reaching #1 on the Billboard charts, was considered a positive move for the band, and kick-started the Thrash movement throughout America.

August 27 - Pearl Jam, an alternative rock band from Seattle, releases their début album Ten. Released to modest reviews, finalised with a #187 spot on the Billboard 200, it became extremely popular in the bands home state, 

The Called Frontman

Despite the Thrash sound, the alternative clothing of Kurt Cobain and other new metal singers inspired a decade of fashion

and helped spur the alternative rock scene into action, which would result in the genres popular appeal in the 2000's.

November 18 - Considered the album that made Thrash truly popular, especially among American teens, The Called releases Witness. As their début album, they did not consider the album would become as popular as it did. Songs like Time (the winner of the Best Metal Performance in the 1992 Grammy Awards) and From the Middle would later be released as singles, and playback on MTV would cause mania across the country. 


11 May - The British heavy metal band Iron Maiden releases their ninth studio album, Fear of the Dark. The songs on the track are more heavier than their previous albums, mostly to cash in on the booming Thrash movement in America, and the ploy worked, as Fear of the Dark sells more albums than any other Iron Maiden song previously.

July 14 - Thrash would continue to solidify itself as the dominant genre of rock, with the release of Megadeth's fifth studio album, Countdown to Extinction. Considered to be one of the big four originators in the genre (alongside Metallica, Slayer and Anthrax), the album was widely received as one of their best, and produced a series of hit singles, such as Symphony for Destruction and Sweating Bullets. The album would go onto win the 1993 Best Metal Performance in the Grammy's.

September 29 - Thought of as a successful blend of both alternative rock, and Thrash, Alice in Chains releases their second album, Dirt. Praised for its serious subject matters in songs such as Would?, Them Bones and Rooster, the album would peak at #2 on the Billboard top 200.


March 22 - British alternative rock breaks into America with Depeche Mode's eight studio album, Songs of Faith and Devotion. The album, which had a more heavy tone to it than other Depeche Mode releases, was met with critical acclaim, especially along the alternative rock dominated east coast. It did so well in fact that for one week in 1994, the album topped the Billboard charts. 

June 7 - A historic moment in the history of rock, as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is completed, and a grandiose ceremony takes place as stars like Chuck Berry and Billy Joel show up to it. The museum would not be opened to the public, however, until 1995. 

The Crowd (1993)

The CD cover art for The Crowd

October 10 - The Called releases their second album The Crowd to both critical and popular acclaim. For their second album, the band meshed many aspects of alternative rock with the fast paced nature of Thrash, which was well liked by much of the general populace. To promote the new release, the band goes on their first world tour, and not only becomes more popular, but makes Thrash more popular by proxy. By the end of the year, The Crowd would become a #1 hit, and one of the albums singles, We Are Everyone Now, goes onto be nominated for the Song of the Year in the 1994 Grammy Awards, and win the Best Metal Performance that same year.

October 19 - Vs., the second studio album by Pearl Jam is released. Considered to be released at the height of alternative rocks deviation from the mainstream Thrash metal, a number of songs in Vs. are considered to be wildly different in tone, speed and substance. Between the fact that Thrash was sky-rocketing to success and alternative rock was slowly redefining itself, the album still did good in terms of sales, going platinum by 1997.


February 21  - Alice in Chains releases their third album Rotten Words to a good critical reception. The album, which would in time become Alice in Chains most well sold album, topped the Billboard charts for seven weeks, and became one of their most respected and beloved albums due to its controversial and provocative nature. 

March 8 - The industrial metal band Nine Inch Nails puts out their second studio album The Downward Spiral to mass appeal among people who were neither fans of Thrash nor alternative music. However, the album itself was inspired not by early industrial metal, but by early progressive rock bands such as Pink Floyd.

May 19  - The former bassist for the alternative rock band Mudhoney, Krist Novoselic leaves the band in December 1993 due to "creative difference". Using his former association with Kurt Cobain and the Melvins to get in touch. 

Marilyn Manson at 1994 Slammie Awards

The popular appeal of Marilyn Manson came as much from the stage performance as it did the music

with the former guitarist for the band Scream, Franz Stahl. Together with another former associate, Aaron Burckhard, the three form the alternative rock band Reach.

July 19 - Industrial metal band Marilyn Manson releases their début album Portrait of an American Family. Whilst the album itself didn't sell up to expectations, but with the combination of the frontman's singing style, the songs strange and surreal topics, and the hate that they would slowly garner over their provocative style, the band slowly became a household name.

November 22 - Vitalogy, the third studio album released by Peal Jam is released. Despite strange deviations away from their usually style, many songs, such as Immortality and Not for You, became some of their best hits, and the album itself becoming the second best selling album from the band (behind Pesticide). However, some of the songs on the track became famous for the "uniqueness" of them, with the accordion piece Bugs and the surrealist Hey Foxymophandlemama, That's Me, becoming some of alternative rocks strangest hits.


April 11 - New York industrial metal band White Zombie releases their fourth, and most successful album until Hellbilly DeluxeAstro-Creep 2000. The album is a success, and it helps expand the small time industrial metal scene, as well as helps the bands own fortunes. By July, the album would become a #1 hit on the Billboard charts.

June 3 - The Misfits, a punk metal band from New Jersey reform after a 12 year hiatus. However, it soon become evident that the new line up have begun delving into Thrash and alternative music, and the release of their new
Dreams of Another Place (1995)

CD art for Dreams of Another Place

album in 1997, American Psycho, the transition to new genres had begun.

July 17 - The Called releases their third studio album Dreams of Another Place, which was a more aggressive, however emotional record for the band. Being played in a number of media formats such as games, films and covered by a number of small time thrash bands, as well as the much publicized Dreams of Another tour, the album became a big seller, and their second biggest selling album, with 9,316,000 units sold to this day. It deputed on the #1 spot on the Billboard 200, and the single, A Want for Here, would top the Billboard 100 charts, the first of their songs to do so, and win the Best Metal Performance at the 1996 Grammy Awards.

October 2 - Iron Maiden releases their tenth studio album, X-Factor. Considered to be their darkest and most "Thrash-like" album, it was written and recorded at the height of bassist Steve Harris' personal problems, including the death of his father and his recent divorce. Well received for both its sound and emotion, it would become the first of many Thrash albums that the band would release.

November 7 - Alice in Chains releases their eponymous third album Alice in Chains. Alongside X-Factor and Dreams of Another Place, Alice in Chain's third album would be more emotional, yet more aggressive than much of their previous work, and would be listed among some of the years greatest records. The songs strong subject matters, as well as the overall sound and quality of the album would result in the album winning the Best Metal Performance at the 1997 Grammy Awards. 


June 1 - The 6th studio album of the metal band Metallica is released under the title Load. Released to critical applause by the fans, but mixed to positive criticisms from the critics, Load was seen as a cash in by the band due to the Trash metal craze, mostly due to the songs lacking the deep meanings that made Metallica so popular, and the fact that their sound had not changed much in the 5 years since the release of their last studio album.

Ramones last concert

The Ramones playing at their last concert

August 6 - The Ramones, considered the originators and/or the first punk rock act, disband after 24 years. The reason for the break-up was that their final studio album, ¡Adios Amigos!, did not live up to their expectations, despite being well received by both the fans and the critics. There end comes on the final day of the alternative/metal/rock music festival, Lolla palooza, where they play out their final moments. A year later, a recording of the the band live goes on sale under the title of We're Outta Here!

October 1 - The alternative rock band, Matchbox Twenty, release their début studio album, Yourself for Someone Like You, to critical praise. Considered to be one of the most influential and popular pre-Pesticide alternative rock albums, the songs were critically acclaimed due to their themes of depression, alcoholism, loneliness and anger. Despite only peaking on top of the Australian ARIA charts, the album and song would both be influential in Pearl Jam's perennial album.

October 8 - Marilyn Manson releases their second studio album to critical and popular appeal. Stepping away from a lot of mainstream subjects, the songs in Antichrist Superstar were challenging not only for some first time listeners to this more harsh style of industrial metal, but also for the band. Marilyn Manson received criticisms for its perceived "anti-Christian" stance, especially in the single, Beautiful People. The resulting backlash made the band a permanent household name, and the controversial Dead to the World Tour helped boost its popularity among teens.

October 21 - Slash, the notable lead guitarist for the metal band Guns N' Roses, leaves the band after 11 years playing for them. At the time, it was believed that his departure from the group was a result of creative difference between the lead singer, Axl Rose, and himself. However, the true reason he left was the disrespect shown by Rose to their audiences and crew by causing the band to almost always take the stage late during the Use Your Illusion Tour; the legal manipulation that Rose forced on his band mates by demanding ownership of the band name and downgrading them contractually to hired hands; and the departures of Steven Adler and Izzy Stradlin. Following his departure, he would go onto form the blues band Slash's Blues Ball, and later the alternative metal band Slash's Snakepit, later known simply as Slash.


Reach Concert 1998

Reach on their Dreamscape World Tour 1998

March 12 - The East Coast alternative rock band Reach releases their début album, Sunset Dreamscape. Despite under-performing to the much more popular and well known Thrash metal albums and songs, Sunset Dreamscape received a large amount of time featured on national news, radio and television stations, and the band, alongside their album, received positive reviews from many critics, praising their experimental approach and sound of their music .

May 24 - The first official Ozzfest tour begins in Washington D.C, featuring bands such as Marilyn Manson, Pantera, and the newly reformed English hard rock band, Black Sabbath, who after 3 years on hiatus, comes back together with 3 of the original 4 members to play on the tour.  

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