music The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands  

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List Rules Heavy Metal bands only. No other subgenres of metal

The greatest heavy metal bands include some of the most iconic names in music. Bands like Judas Priest and Black Sabbath paved the way for many of today's biggest acts. They're bigger than just heavy metal -- they're among the best rock bands/artists of all time. Which one is the best? That's up to you to decide with your votes. Vote up the good heavy metal bands you love the most, and vote down any that you just don't like. Also, feel free to add any heavy metal bands that might be missing from the list, and rerank the choices in the order you believe is the best!

Not surprisingly, some incredibly well-known heavy metal bands top this list, including Metallica, Pantera, Iron Maiden and Megadeth. Some newer bands are also included. Tool and Korn, for example, formed in the 1990s. Sadly, some of these bands don't include all of the original members (Alice in Chains, for example), but that doesn't mean they're forgotten, not popular, or not worth including.

Which heavy metal band is the best? Be sure to vote and don't forget to rerank this list your way, too.
list ordered by

1
5,980 3,024
Metallica is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Metallica Thrash metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

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2
6,516 2,095
Iron Maiden is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Iron Maiden New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Heavy metal, Hard rock

3
5,118 2,099
Black Sabbath is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Black Sabbath Doom metal, Blues-rock, Power metal

4
4,204 1,802
Judas Priest is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Judas Priest New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Thrash metal, Power metal

5
3,679 2,076
Megadeth is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Megadeth Glam metal, Thrash metal, Rock music

6
3,600 1,988
Pantera is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Pantera Glam metal, Thrash metal, Groove metal

7
3,061 1,759
Motörhead is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
shisu added motörhead New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Thrash metal, Rock music

8
3,385 1,729
Ozzy Osbourne is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Ozzy Osbourne Doom metal, Glam metal, Blues-rock

9
3,446 1,801
Slayer is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Slayer Thrash metal, Groove metal, Rock music

10
3,812 2,160
AC/DC is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
AC/DC Blues-rock, Boogie rock, Rock music

11
3,272 1,424
Dio is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Dio Rock music, Power metal, Heavy metal

12
3,196 1,441
Led Zeppelin is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
gamedemon24 added Led Zeppelin Blues-rock, Classic rock, Rock music

13
2,214 1,600
Deep Purple is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Deep Purple Blues-rock, Classic rock, Heavy metal

14
2,026 1,914
Scorpions is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Scorpions Glam metal, Heavy metal, Hard rock

15
2,848 2,571
Slipknot is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Slipknot Nu metal, Groove metal, Rapcore

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16
2,353 2,181
Guns N' Roses is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Guns N' Roses Glam metal, Blues-rock, Rock music

17
1,841 1,699
Anthrax is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Anthrax Crossover thrash, Thrash metal, Groove metal

18
2,504 1,969
System of a Down is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
System of a Down Nu metal, Progressive metal, Rock music

19
1,931 1,853
Alice in Chains is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Alice in Chains Rock music, Grunge, Heavy metal

20
2,008 1,786
Mötley Crüe is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
shisu added Mötley Crüe Glam metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

21
1,722 1,307
Van Halen is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Van Halen Glam metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

22
2,179 1,790
Tool is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Tool Post-metal, Metal, Progressive metal

23
1,892 1,208
Alice Cooper is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Alice Cooper Glam metal, Experimental rock, Shock rock

24
1,385 1,228
Rainbow is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Rainbow Blues-rock, Progressive metal, Power metal

25
1,924 1,781
Kiss is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Kiss Glam metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

26
1,435 1,580
Def Leppard is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Def Leppard Glam metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

27
2,035 1,938
Rammstein is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Rammstein Industrial metal, Gothic metal, Industrial music

28
1,355 1,543
Dream Theater is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Dream Theater Progressive metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

29
1,517 1,297
Testament is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Testament Thrash metal, Groove metal, Heavy metal

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30
1,759 1,867
Disturbed is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Disturbed Nu metal, Rock music, Metalcore

31
1,909 2,015
Avenged Sevenfold is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Avenged Sevenfold Thrash metal, Deathcore, Rock music

32
1,144 1,410
Queensrÿche is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Queensrÿche Progressive metal, Rock music, Power metal

33
1,690 1,300
Queen is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Queen Pop music, Rock music, Heavy metal

34
1,332 1,206
Rob Zombie is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Rob Zombie Horror punk, Noise rock, Nu metal

35
1,429 1,281
Sepultura is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Sepultura Nu metal, Heavy metal, Extreme metal

36
1,496 1,401
Rage Against the Machine is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Rage Against the Machine Crossover thrash, Nu metal, Political hip hop

37
1,244 1,212
White Zombie is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
White Zombie Horror punk, Noise rock, Industrial metal

38
1,538 1,596
Korn is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Korn Dubstep, Nu metal, Industrial metal

39
1,181 1,218
Death is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
AmericanNightmare added Death Thrash metal, Progressive metal, Technical death metal

40
936 1,067
Accept is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
mrblond added Accept Glam metal, Thrash metal, Power metal

41
1,153 1,072
W.A.S.P. is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
W.A.S.P. Glam metal, Thrash metal, Rock music

42
998 1,110
Helloween is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
willyboymcoy added Helloween Progressive metal, Melodic music, Power metal - Heavy metal, Progressive

43
1,042 1,252
Twisted Sister is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Twisted Sister Doom metal, Glam metal, Rock music

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44
955 861
Exodus is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Exodus Thrash metal, Groove metal, Heavy metal

45
1,024 1,079
Mercyful Fate is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Mercyful Fate Doom metal, Thrash metal, Progressive metal

46
958 1,231
Whitesnake is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
mrblond added Whitesnake Glam metal, Blues-rock, Rock music

47
885 1,061
Skid Row is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Skid Row Glam metal, Thrash metal, Rock music

48
1,169 1,453
Five Finger Death Punch is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
1goodcupt added Five Finger Death Punch Nu metal, Thrash metal, Groove metal

49
1,106 1,071
Lamb of God is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Lamb of God Thrash metal, Groove metal, Melodic death metal

50
795 999
Manowar is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
mrblond added Manowar Power metal, Heavy metal, True metal