The Best Swedish Metal Bands

Sweden has always been a breeding ground for metal bands. From straightforward doom metal to melodic death metal, the country has churned out a ridiculous number of the top acts in the genre and we've compiled them into this list of the very best Swedish metal bands. Starting in the 1990s, bands like Entombed, Dismember, and At the Gates propelled the Scandinavian country to the forefront of the genre.

On this list you'll find a mix of metal bands including extreme metal band Meshuggah, who were dubbed one of the ten most important hard rock and heavy metal bands by Rolling Stone, as well as prog metal band Opeth, who are still going strong after 30 years.

Vote up your favorite Swedish metal bands and be sure to check out our complete list of famous Swedish musicians.


  • 1
    27 votes
    Opeth is a Swedish progressive metal band from Stockholm, formed in 1989. The group has been through several personnel changes, including the replacement of every single original member. Lead vocalist, guitarist and songwriter Mikael Åkerfeldt has remained Opeth's primary driving force since the departure of original vocalist David Isberg in 1992. Opeth has consistently incorporated progressive, folk, blues, classical, and jazz influences into its usually lengthy compositions, as well as strong influences from death metal, especially in their early works. Many songs include acoustic guitar passages and strong dynamic shifts, as well as both death growls and clean vocals. Opeth is also well ...more
  • 2
    26 votes
    Candlemass is a Swedish epic doom metal band formed in 1984 in Stockholm, Sweden. After the breakup of his first band Nemesis, bassist Leif Edling started his own band under the name Candlemass with (session) vocalist Johan Längqvist, drummer Matz Ekström, guitarist Mats "Mappe" Bjorkman, and Klas Bergwall. The band had a defining influence on doom metal. Along with Pentagram, Saint Vitus, and Trouble, Candlemass has been referred to as one of the "big four of doom metal".After releasing five full-length albums and touring extensively throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, Candlemass disbanded in 1994 but reunited three years later. After breaking up again in 2002, Candlemass reformed in ...more
  • Bathory
    Photo: user uploaded image
    3
    23 votes
    Bathory was a Swedish extreme metal band formed in Vällingby in 1983 and named after the infamous Hungarian countess, Elizabeth Báthory. The band's frontman and main songwriter was Quorthon. Bathory's first four albums were "the blueprint for Scandinavian black metal". The band departed from this style on their fifth album, Hammerheart, which is often cited as the first Viking metal album. Bathory continued in the Viking metal style throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, although the band returned to thrash metal with the albums Requiem and Octagon. Bathory ended when Quorthon died from heart failure in 2004.
  • Arch Enemy
    Photo: Century Media Records
    4
    17 votes
    Arch Enemy are a Swedish melodic death metal band, originally a supergroup from Halmstad, formed in 1995. Its members were in bands such as Carcass, Armageddon, Carnage, Mercyful Fate, Spiritual Beggars, The Agonist, Nevermore, and Eucharist. Arch Enemy was founded by Carcass guitarist Michael Amott along with Johan Liiva, who were both originally from the death metal band Carnage. The band has released ten studio albums, three live albums, three video albums and four EPs. The band was originally fronted by Johan Liiva, who was replaced by German vocalist Angela Gossow in 2000. Gossow left the band in March 2014 to become the group's manager and was replaced by Canadian vocalist Alissa ...more
  • Dark Tranquillity is a Swedish melodic death metal band from Gothenburg. They are considered one of the pioneering acts of the Gothenburg metal scene, which also includes bands such as In Flames and At the Gates. Dark Tranquillity is regarded as the Gothenburg fathers in the film entitled Out of Nothing: A DT Documentary released by Century Media, which was filmed in Gothenburg, Sweden in April 2009.
  • 6
    23 votes
    Meshuggah is a Swedish extreme metal band formed in 1985 in Umeå, Sweden. In 1985, guitarist Fredrik Thordendal formed a band named Metallien, and recorded a number of demo tapes, after which it disbanded. Thordendal continued playing under a different name with new band members. It was renamed in 1987 by lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Jens Kidman and took the name Meshuggah from the Yiddish word for "crazy," which Kidman found the word in an American street slang dictionary. Meshuggah has become known for its innovative musical style and complex, polymetered song structures and polyrhythms. The band was labeled as one of the ten most important hard rock and heavy metal bands by ...more