metal 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
5,836 2,295
Black Sabbath is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Black Sabbath Paranoid, Black Sabbath, Heaven and Hell

2
7,259 2,417
Iron Maiden is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Iron Maiden The Number of the Beast, Iron Maiden, Powerslave

3
6,748 3,443
Metallica is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Metallica Master of Puppets, Ride the Lightning, Metallica

4
4,683 2,047
Judas Priest is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Judas Priest British Steel, Screaming for Vengeance, Hell Bent for Leather

5
4,121 2,353
Megadeth is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Megadeth Rust in Peace, Peace Sells... but Who's Buying?, Youthanasia

6
4,140 2,225
Pantera is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Pantera Vulgar Display of Power, Cowboys From Hell, Far Beyond Driven

7
3,458 1,983
Motörhead is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
shisu added motörhead Ace of Spades, 1916, No Remorse

8
3,829 1,920
Ozzy Osbourne is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Ozzy Osbourne Blizzard of Ozz, Diary of a Madman, The Ultimate Sin

9
4,297 2,368
AC/DC is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
AC/DC Back in Black, Highway to Hell, Let There Be Rock

10
3,610 1,615
Dio is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Dio Holy Diver, The Last in Line, Sacred Heart

11
3,830 2,036
Slayer is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Slayer Reign in Blood, South of Heaven, Seasons in the Abyss

12
3,633 1,645
Led Zeppelin is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
gamedemon24 added Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin IV, Led Zeppelin II

13
2,449 1,819
Deep Purple is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Deep Purple Machine Head, Live in Japan, Deep Purple in Rock

14
2,250 2,151
Scorpions is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Scorpions Blackout, Love at First Sting, Animal Magnetism

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15
3,259 2,844
Slipknot is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Slipknot Slipknot, Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses), Iowa

16
2,712 2,393
Guns N' Roses is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Guns N' Roses Appetite for Destruction, G N' R Lies, Use Your Illusion I

17
2,844 2,203
System of a Down is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
System of a Down Toxicity, Hypnotize, Mezmerize

18
2,045 1,902
Anthrax is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Anthrax Among the Living, Fistful of Metal, Spreading the Disease

19
2,554 1,966
Tool is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Tool Ænima, Lateralus, 10

20
2,216 2,033
Alice in Chains is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Alice in Chains Dirt, Alice in Chains, Facelift

21
2,127 1,377
Alice Cooper is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Alice Cooper Welcome to My Nightmare, Hey Stoopid, Brutal Planet

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22
2,263 1,976
Mötley Crüe is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
shisu added Mötley Crüe Girls Girls Girls, Shout at the Devil, Dr. Feelgood

23
1,967 1,482
Van Halen is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Van Halen Van Halen, 1984, Diver Down

24
1,557 1,398
Rainbow is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Rainbow Rising, Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, Long Live Rock ’n’ Roll

25
2,271 2,140
Rammstein is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Rammstein Sehnsucht, Rosenrot, Mutter

26
1,659 1,751
Def Leppard is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Def Leppard Hysteria, Pyromania, On Through the Night

27
2,008 2,077
Disturbed is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Disturbed Ten Thousand Fists, Believe, The Sickness

28
1,520 1,721
Dream Theater is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Dream Theater Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, Images and Words, Metropolis

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29
2,141 1,998
Kiss is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Kiss Destroyer, Icon, Revenge

30
1,654 1,461
Testament is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Testament Practice What You Preach, The New Order, The Legacy

31
2,202 2,207
Avenged Sevenfold is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Avenged Sevenfold City of Evil, Waking the Fallen, Avenged Sevenfold

32
1,287 1,560
Queensrÿche is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Queensrÿche Operation: Mindcrime, Empire, Promised Land

33
1,986 1,457
Queen is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Queen A Night at the Opera, Queen, Innuendo

34
1,561 1,348
Rob Zombie is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Rob Zombie The Sinister Urge, Past, Present & Future

35
1,592 1,416
Sepultura is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Sepultura Chaos A.D., Arise, Beneath the Remains

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36
1,713 1,545
Rage Against the Machine is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Rage Against the Machine Rage Against the Machine, Evil Empire, The Battle of Los Angeles

37
1,767 1,757
Korn is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Korn Follow the Leader, The Vinyl Classics, Issues

38
1,414 1,349
White Zombie is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
White Zombie La Sexorcisto: Devil Music, Vol. 1, Astro-Creep: 2000: Songs of Love

39
1,102 1,240
Helloween is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
willyboymcoy added Helloween Keeper of the Seven Keys, Pt. 2, Walls of Jericho - Heavy metal, Progressive

40
1,313 1,353
Death is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
AmericanNightmare added Death Symbolic, Human, Individual Thought Patterns

41
1,261 1,203
W.A.S.P. is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
W.A.S.P. WASP, The Crimson Idol, The Last Command

42
1,032 1,191
Accept is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
mrblond added Accept Balls to the Wall, Restless and Wild, Metal Heart

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43
1,190 1,372
Twisted Sister is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Twisted Sister Stay Hungry, You Can't Stop Rock 'n' Roll, Under the Blade

44
1,020 1,184
Skid Row is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Skid Row Skid Row, Slave to the Grind, Subhuman Race

45
888 1,127
Manowar is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
mrblond added Manowar The Absolute Power, Louder Than Hell, Sign of the Hammer

46
1,110 1,200
Mercyful Fate is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Mercyful Fate The Beginning, Melissa, Don't Break the Oath

47
1,077 1,363
Whitesnake is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
mrblond added Whitesnake 1987, Lovehunter, Slide It In

48
1,203 1,448
Marilyn Manson is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Marilyn Manson Holy Wood (In the Shadow of the Valley of Death), Smells Like Children, Portrait of an American Family

49
1,365 1,604
Five Finger Death Punch is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
1goodcupt added Five Finger Death Punch American Capitalist, The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell, Volume 1

50
1,046 972
Exodus is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands
Exodus Bonded by Blood, Fabulous Disaster, Another Lesson in Violence