If you want the list of the greatest heavy metal bands, this is your place to find out what we think are the top 22 heavy metal bands of all time. We look at the best heavy metal bands of all time in no particular order. This list covers some of hard rock and metal’s most important and influential names. The individual musicians who have played for each band are listed as well; it’s as complete a list as we could put together.
- Heavy metal music has been around since the late 1960s, but it wasn’t until the 1980s that it really took off, owing to bands like Metallica, Iron Maiden, and Judas Priest.
- With their fast-paced guitar riffs, thunderous drums, and forceful vocals, these bands helped establish the sound of heavy metal.
- Other notable bands from this time period include Black Sabbath, AC/DC, and Van Halen, who paved the way for the following generation of heavy metal bands.
- Pantera, Slayer, and Sepultura emerged as some of the most prominent and influential heavy metal artists of the 1990s.
- These bands pushed heavy metal in new areas by mixing thrash, death metal, and hardcore punk elements into their sound.
- Some famous bands from this era include Tool, Nine Inch Nails, and Marilyn Manson, who helped popularize heavy metal and blurred the barriers between it and other genres.
Slipknot, System of a Down, and Mastodon emerged as some of the most popular and inventive heavy metal bands of the 2000s.
- These bands continued to push the frontiers of heavy metal music, including elements of progressive rock, jazz, and even hip-hop.
- Other significant bands from this era include Lamb of God, Killswitch Engage, and Avenged Sevenfold, all of whom contributed to keeping heavy metal relevant and interesting for a new generation of listeners.
- Heavy metal is still alive and well today, with bands such as Ghost, Power Trip, and Code Orange carrying the torch for the next generation of heavy metal fans.
Behemoth is a Polish extreme metal band from Gdańsk, formed in 1991. They are currently based in Warsaw. Behemoth was founded by guitarist/vocalist Nergal (King of the Dead in Slavic) and drummer/vocalist Inferno. The trio has seven studio albums to their credit and has contributed to numerous guest albums by other bands.
“Darkthrone” is a Norwegian black metal band formed in 1986 and based in Oslo. They are regarded as pioneers of the Norwegian black metal scene and are credited with creating the genre, along with Celtic Frost. The band has released thirteen albums and is currently on hiatus.
3. Between the Buried and Me
The Between the Buried and Me progressive metal band is American and was founded in Raleigh, North Carolina, in 2000. Before signing with Metal Blade in 2011, Between the Buried and I released their first extended play, The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues, and its full-length follow-up, The Parallax II: Future Sequence, through Lifeforce Records, which had previously distributed their 2002 self-titled debut album.
4. Avenged Sevenfold
Avenged Sevenfold (abbreviated as A7X) is an American heavy metal band from Huntington Beach, California, formed in 1999. The group is composed of M. Shadows (Vocals), Synyster Gates (Lead Guitar), Zacky Vengeance (Rhythm Guitar), Johnny Christ (Bass Guitar), and The Rev (Drums). Avenged Sevenfold is notable for its diverse rock sound and dramatic imagery in album covers and merchandise.
Singer Dave Brockie formed GWAR in 1984. The group, who rose to prominence in the 1980s, played a style of extreme heavy metal that fused elements of punk rock and heavy metal. GWAR is known for its outlandish costumes and lyrics and its use of props on stages, such as guillotines, electric chairs, and human skulls.
Canadian band Gorguts hails from Sherbrooke, Quebec, and plays technical death metal. It was formed in 1989 and has been influential within the death metal scene since its debut album “Considered Dead” in 1991. Their latest full-length album, Colored Sands, was released in 2013 and was nominated for a Juno Award.
Immortal is an extreme metal band from Bergen, Norway, founded in 1991 by frontman Abbath Doom Occulta (Olve Eikemo). Their earliest demo tapes and the first two albums were death metal records. In 1997, following their third album Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism, Immortal transitioned to playing black metal.
8. Twisted Sister
“Twisted Sister“, a hard rock/heavy metal band, was formed in 1969 in Brooklyn, New York. As of 2016, the group consists of singer Dee Snider, lead guitarist Jay Jay French, drummer Earl Elfman and bassist Mark “The Animal” Mendoza.
9. Children Of Bodom
Espoo, Finland-based Children of Bodom, plays melodic death metal music. The current lineup of the 1993-founded band is Alexi Laiho on guitar and lead vocals, Janne Wirman on keyboards, Henkka Seppälä on bass, and Mikko “Linde” Lindström on drums (drums). Rooted in metalcore, the group later evolved a more melodic style.
Sepultura is a Brazilian heavy metal band formed by Soulfly’s Max Cavalera in 1984. Sepultura’s sound is inspired by heavy metal, groove metal, and punk rock. The band released several albums, including the influential Roots (1996). After the group’s dissolution in 2000, they reunited in 2012 and released the album El Devil, which received a 2013 Latin Grammy Award nomination.
11. Celtic Frost
“Celtic Frost” is a Swiss heavy metal band from Zürich. Formed in 1984 by frontman Tom Gabriel 347, the group is widely considered to have played a significant role in the evolution of death metal and black metal. After Gabriel departed in 1990, he was replaced by Roland Belnkner and Martin Eric Ain. The band has since released six albums, with its latest album Monotheist receiving a Grammy nomination for Best Metal Performance.
12. Lamb of God
American groove metal group, Lamb of God, hails from Richmond, Virginia. The group was established in 1994 and consisted of drummer Chris Adler, bassist John Campbell, guitarists Mark Morton and Willie Adler, and vocalist Randy Blythe. The band contributes significantly to the present heavy metal scene in America.
13. Dream Theater
American progressive metal group “Dream Theater” is based in Boston, Massachusetts. The band was formed in 1985 under “Majesty”, only to change its name to Dream Theater later. As of 2016, Dream Theatre has released 12 studio albums and has worked with several record labels such as Enemy Records (1987–1995), East West (1995–2000), Elektra Records (2001–2009), and Roadrunner Records since 2010. Currently signed by Roadrunner Records and Atlantic Records.
Korn is an American nu-metal band from Bakersfield, California, formed in 1993. The band’s current lineup comprises singer Jonathan Davis, guitarists James “Munky” Shaffer and Brian “Head” Welch, bassist Reginald “Fieldy” Arvizu, and drummer Ray Luzier.
“Bathory” is a Swedish power metal band formed in 1983 by guitarist Quorthon. With Erik “Grim” Stenman as the vocalist, they released two demo tapes and a limited edition EP through Epic Records. In 1989, Quorthon returned to his solo career, and the band folded due to internal conflicts.
16. Mercyful Fate
Mercyful Fate is an American heavy metal band from Los Angeles, California, formed in 1981 by vocalist King Diamond (b. David Michael Balcom). The group is one of the pioneers of thrash metal. Their current lineup comprises guitarist Hank Williams III, guitarist Michael Denner and vocalist Tim “Ripper” Owens.
“Helloween” is a German power metal band founded in 1984 in Hamburg, Northern Germany. The band is a notable act in the power metal and speed metal subgenres. They have made over 10,000 US dollars from selling more than 7 million recordings globally.
American thrash metal group “Overkill” was founded in New Jersey in 1980. They have gone through many lineup changes with only frontman Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth and bassist D.D. Verni stays together for the entire history of the band. Overkill’s current lineup comprises Ellsworth, lead guitarist Dave Linsk, and rhythm guitarist D.D. Verni and bassist Derek Tailer.
19. Type O Negative
“Type O Negative ” is an American gothic metal band formed in Brooklyn, New York, in 1989 by Peter Steele after the dissolution of his previous group Carnivore. Type O Negative’s lineup has included Steele, Josh Silver, and Kenny Hickey.
Kreator is a German thrash metal band formed in Essen, Germany, in 1982 by Mille Petrozza and Anton Reisenegger. The band is named after the “re-emerging” German term for the military rank of corporal (similar to sergeant). From their debut album Gasmask Erection, Kreator began introducing political themes into their lyrics. Kreator has undergone several lineup changes, with Reisenegger being the only constant member.
“Rammstein” is a German industrial metal band from Berlin. The group was created in 1994 by singer and guitarist Richard Kruspe, lead guitarist Paul Landers, bassist Oliver Riedel, and drummer Christoph Schneider.
The English extreme metal group Venom was founded in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1978. Venom’s first two albums, Welcome to Hell (1981) and Black Metal (1982), are regarded as having a considerable effect on thrash and extreme metal in general. They first gained notoriety after the new wave of British heavy metal.
Who are the Big 3 metal bands?
The Big 3 metal bands are Metallica, Slayer, and Megadeth
Who are the greatest male heavy metal band?
Because there are so many brilliant and important bands in the genre, determining the greatest male heavy metal band is challenging. Metallica, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, and Judas Priest are some of the most popular male heavy metal bands.
Who are the major female heavy metal band?
Arch Enemy, Nightwish, and Within Temptation are some of the notable female heavy metal bands.
What is the best modern metal band?
Mastodon, Gojira, and Ghost are some popular modern metal bands. The finest modern metal band is subjective and relies on personal taste.
Who are the current famous heavy metal bands?
Slipknot, Lamb of God, Avenged Sevenfold, and Trivium are some of the most well-known heavy metal bands today.