Music

The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
843.4k votes 47.6k voters 648.1k views 440 items

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

Creating some of the best metal songs of 2018, 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
Iron Maiden is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
The Number of the Beast, Iron Maiden, Powerslave
Iron Maiden are an English heavy metal band formed in Leyton, East London, in 1975 by bassist and primary songwriter Steve Harris. The band's discography has grown to thirty-nine albums, ...more
2
Metallica is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Master of Puppets, Ride the Lightning, Metallica
Metallica is an American heavy metal band. The band was formed in 1981 in Los Angeles by vocalist/guitarist James Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich, and has been based in San Francisco for most ...more
3
Black Sabbath is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Paranoid, Black Sabbath, Heaven and Hell
Black Sabbath were an English rock band, formed in Birmingham in 1968, by guitarist and main songwriter Tony Iommi, drummer Bill Ward, bassist and main lyricist Geezer Butler and singer Ozzy ...more
4
Judas Priest is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
British Steel, Screaming for Vengeance, Hell Bent for Leather
Judas Priest are an English heavy metal band formed in West Bromwich in 1969. They have sold over 50 million copies of their albums. They are frequently ranked as one of the greatest metal bands ...more
5
Megadeth is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Rust in Peace, Peace Sells... but Who's Buying?, Youthanasia
Megadeth is an American thrash metal band from Los Angeles, California. The group was formed in 1983 by guitarist Dave Mustaine and bassist David Ellefson, shortly after Mustaine's dismissal ...more
6
Pantera is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Vulgar Display of Power, Cowboys From Hell, Far Beyond Driven
Pantera () was an American heavy metal band from Arlington, Texas. The group was formed in 1981 by the Abbott brothers—drummer Vinnie Paul and guitarist Dimebag Darrell—along with lead vocalist ...more
7
Motörhead is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
shisu added Ace of Spades, 1916, No Remorse
Motörhead () were an English rock band formed in June 1975 by bassist, singer, and songwriter Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister, who was the sole constant member, guitarist Larry Wallis and ...more
8
Ozzy Osbourne is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Blizzard of Ozz, Diary of a Madman, The Ultimate Sin
John Michael "Ozzy" Osbourne (born 3 December 1948) is an English singer, songwriter, actor and reality television star who rose to prominence during the 1970s as the lead vocalist of ...more
9
Led Zeppelin is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
gamedemon24 added Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin IV, Led Zeppelin II
Led Zeppelin were an English rock band formed in London in 1968. The group consisted of vocalist Robert Plant, guitarist Jimmy Page, bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones and drummer John Bonham. ...more
10
Dio is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Holy Diver, The Last in Line, Sacred Heart
Dio was an American heavy metal band formed in 1982 and led by vocalist Ronnie James Dio, after he left Black Sabbath with intentions to form a new band with fellow former Black Sabbath member ...more
11
Slipknot is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Slipknot, Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses), Iowa
Slipknot is an American heavy metal band from Des Moines, Iowa. Formed in September 1995, the group was founded by percussionist Shawn Crahan and bassist Paul Gray. After several line-up changes ...more
12
Tool is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Ænima, Lateralus, 10
Tool is an American rock band from Los Angeles. Formed in 1990, the group's line-up includes drummer Danny Carey, guitarist Adam Jones, and vocalist Maynard James Keenan. Justin Chancellor has ...more
13
Anthrax is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Among the Living, Fistful of Metal, Spreading the Disease
Anthrax is an American thrash metal band from New York City, formed in 1981 by guitarist Scott Ian and bassist Dan Lilker. The group was considered one of the leaders of the thrash metal scene ...more
14
Guns N' Roses is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Appetite for Destruction, G N' R Lies, Use Your Illusion I
Guns N' Roses is an American hard rock band formed in Los Angeles, in 1985. The classic lineup as signed to Geffen Records in 1986 consisted of vocalist Axl Rose, lead guitarist Slash, rhythm ...more
15
Alice in Chains is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Dirt, Alice in Chains, Facelift
Alice in Chains (often abbreviated as AIC) is an American rock band from Seattle, Washington, formed in 1987 by guitarist and vocalist Jerry Cantrell and drummer Sean Kinney, who later recruited ...more
16
Alice Cooper is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Welcome to My Nightmare, Hey Stoopid, Brutal Planet
Alice Cooper (born Vincent Damon Furnier; February 4, 1948) is an American singer, songwriter, and actor whose career spans over 50 years. With his distinctive raspy voice and a stage show that ...more
17
System of a Down is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Toxicity, Hypnotize, Mezmerize
System of a Down is an Armenian-American heavy metal band from Glendale, California, formed in 1994. The band currently consists of Serj Tankian (lead vocals, keyboards), Daron Malakian (vocals, ...more
18
Van Halen is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Van Halen, 1984, Diver Down
Van Halen is an American hard rock band formed in Pasadena, California in 1972. Credited with "restoring hard rock to the forefront of the music scene", Van Halen is known for its ...more
19
Deep Purple is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Machine Head, Live in Japan, Deep Purple in Rock
Deep Purple are an English rock band formed in Hertford in 1968. The band is considered to be among the pioneers of heavy metal and modern hard rock, although their musical approach changed over ...more
20
Scorpions is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Blackout, Love at First Sting, Animal Magnetism
Scorpions are a German rock band formed in 1965 in Hanover by Rudolf Schenker. Since the band's inception, its musical style has ranged from hard rock to heavy metal. The lineup from 1978–1992 ...more
21
Disturbed is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Ten Thousand Fists, Believe, The Sickness
Disturbed is an American heavy metal band from Chicago, formed in 1994. The band includes vocalist David Draiman, guitarist/keyboardist Dan Donegan, bassist John Moyer and drummer Mike Wengren. ...more
22
Mötley Crüe is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
shisu added Girls Girls Girls, Shout at the Devil, Dr. Feelgood
Mötley Crüe is an American rock band formed in Los Angeles, California, in 1981. The group was founded by bassist Nikki Sixx, drummer Tommy Lee, lead guitarist Mick Mars and lead ...more
23
Rob Zombie is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
The Sinister Urge, Past, Present & Future
Rob Zombie (born Robert Bartleh Cummings; January 12, 1965) is an American musician and filmmaker. He is a founding member of the heavy metal band White Zombie, releasing four studio albums with ...more
24
Dream Theater is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, Images and Words, Metropolis
Dream Theater is an American progressive metal/rock band formed in 1985 under the name Majesty by John Petrucci, John Myung, and Mike Portnoy while they attended Berklee College of Music in ...more
25
Queensrÿche is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Operation: Mindcrime, Empire, Promised Land
Queensrÿche is an American heavy metal band. It formed in 1980 in Bellevue, Washington, out of the local band The Mob. The band has released 15 studio albums, one EP, and several DVDs, and ...more