Bands/Musicians The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands  

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761.1k votes 41.8k voters 584.9k views 480 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.

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list ordered by
1
12,386 7,505
Metallica is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Master of Puppets, Ride the Lightning, Metallica
Metallica is an American heavy metal band formed in Los Angeles, California. Metallica was formed in 1981 when vocalist/guitarist James Hetfield responded to an advertisement posted by drummer ...more
2
11,359 4,541
Black Sabbath is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Paranoid, Black Sabbath, Heaven and Hell
Black Sabbath are an English rock band, formed in Birmingham in 1968, by guitarist and main songwriter Tony Iommi, bassist and main lyricist Geezer Butler, singer Ozzy Osbourne, and drummer Bill ...more
3
13,037 4,886
Iron Maiden is listed (or ranked) 3 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-seven albums, ...more
4
8,222 4,644
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 Birmingham, England in 1969. The band has sold over 45 million albums to date. MTV ranked them the second "Greatest Metal Band" ...more
5
7,595 4,886
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
8,395 4,231
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 vocalist ...more
7
6,589 4,143
Motörhead is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
shisu added Ace of Spades, 1916, No Remorse
Motörhead are an English rock band formed in June 1975 by bassist, singer, and songwriter Ian Fraser Kilmister, professionally known by his stage name Lemmy, who has remained the sole ...more
8
7,954 4,716
AC/DC is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Back in Black, Highway to Hell, Let There Be Rock
AC/DC are an Australian hard rock band, formed in November 1973 by brothers Malcolm and Angus Young, who continued as members until Malcolm's illness and departure in 2014. Commonly referred to ...more
9
7,173 3,895
Ozzy Osbourne is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Blizzard of Ozz, Diary of a Madman, The Ultimate Sin
John Michael "Ozzy" Osbourne is an English vocalist, songwriter, and television personality. He rose to prominence in the early 1970s as the lead vocalist of the rock band Black ...more
10
7,429 3,961
Slayer is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Reign in Blood, South of Heaven, Seasons in the Abyss
Slayer is an American thrash metal band from Huntington Park, California, formed in 1981 by guitarists Jeff Hanneman and Kerry King. Slayer rose to fame with its 1986 release Reign in Blood, and ...more
11
6,575 3,559
Dio is listed (or ranked) 11 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
12
7,109 3,669
Led Zeppelin is listed (or ranked) 12 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 guitarist Jimmy Page, singer Robert Plant, bassist and keyboardist John Paul Jones, and drummer John ...more
13
7,168 5,498
Slipknot is listed (or ranked) 13 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
14
6,050 4,514
System of a Down is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Toxicity, Hypnotize, Mezmerize
System of a Down, also known by the acronym SOAD and often shortened to System, is an American four-piece rock band from Southern California, formed in 1994. The band currently consists of four ...more
15
5,573 4,111
Tool is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Ænima, Lateralus, 10
Tool is an American rock band from Los Angeles, California. Formed in 1990, the group's line-up includes drummer Danny Carey, guitarist Adam Jones, and vocalist Maynard James Keenan. Since 1995, ...more
16
5,429 4,858
Guns N' Roses is listed (or ranked) 16 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
17
4,354 4,123
Deep Purple is listed (or ranked) 17 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. They are considered to be among the pioneers of heavy metal and modern hard rock, although their musical approach changed over ...more
18
4,008 3,825
Anthrax is listed (or ranked) 18 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
19
4,638 3,822
Alice in Chains is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Dirt, Alice in Chains, Facelift
Alice in Chains is an American rock band formed in Seattle, Washington, in 1987 by guitarist and songwriter Jerry Cantrell and original lead vocalist Layne Staley. The initial lineup was rounded ...more
20
4,020 4,417
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 Hannover. Since the band's inception, its musical style has ranged from hard rock to heavy metal. The band's only constant member is guitarist ...more
21
4,437 4,241
Disturbed is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Ten Thousand Fists, Believe, The Sickness
Disturbed is a band from Chicago, Illinois. The band's members are vocalist David Draiman, guitarist Dan Donegan, bassist John Moyer, and drummer Mike Wengren. Former band members are bassist ...more
22
4,131 3,080
Alice Cooper is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Welcome to My Nightmare, Hey Stoopid, Brutal Planet
Alice Cooper is an American singer, songwriter, musician, and occasional actor whose career spans five decades. With a stage show that features guillotines, electric chairs, fake blood, boa ...more
23
3,946 3,369
Van Halen is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Van Halen, 1984, Diver Down
Van Halen is an American rock band formed in Pasadena, California, in 1974. From 1975 until 1985, the band comprised guitarist Eddie Van Halen, vocalist David Lee Roth, drummer Alex Van Halen, ...more
24
4,799 3,992
Rammstein is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Sehnsucht, Rosenrot, Mutter
Rammstein is a German Neue Deutsche Härte/industrial metal band. Formed in 1994 in Berlin, its members are Till Lindemann, Richard Z. Kruspe, Paul H. Landers, Oliver "Ollie" ...more
25
4,247 3,831
Mötley Crüe is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
shisu added Girls Girls Girls, Shout at the Devil, Dr. Feelgood
Mötley Crüe is an American heavy metal band formed in Los Angeles, California, in 1981. The group was founded by bassist Nikki Sixx and drummer Tommy Lee, who were later joined by ...more