metal The Best Classic Metal Bands  

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List Rules Only bands that play classic metal style; no nu metal or extreme metal of any sort

When heavy metal first emerged at the beginning of the 1970s, naysayers would have never suspected that the bands from those early years would be considered some of the classic metal bands. These outfits are widely considered among the top heavy metal bands of all time, and with good reason. They are recognizable and their songs are some of the greatest songs in metal history. 

So, who are the best classic heavy metal bands? Every lists must have Black Sabbath at or near the top. The Birmingham, UK natives pretty much invented the genre, and all of heavy metal. Between Ozzy Osbourne's vocals and Tony Iommi's guitar, the entire foundation for all heavy metal bands was laid. If not for Sabbath, bands like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden or even Metallica may not have existed. Even the best classic metal bands owe a debt of gratitude to Black Sabbath. No matter which edition of Black Sabbath you like - Ozzy or Dio edition - they are easily the most influential classic metal band. 

What band should be at the top of the list of classic metal bands? If you're a heavy metal fan and know everything there is to know about the top classic metal bands, then you should have your voice heard. This list answers the questions "who are the best classic metal bands of all time?" and "who is the greatest classic metal musician ever?" if you notice that a popular classic metal band isn't on this list, feel free to add them. 

list ordered by

1
401 78
Black Sabbath is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Black Sabbath Doom metal, Blues-rock, Power metal

2
416 92
Iron Maiden is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Iron Maiden New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Heavy metal, Hard rock

3
337 65
Judas Priest is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Judas Priest New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Thrash metal, Power metal

4
271 73
Dio is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Dio Rock music, Power metal, Heavy metal

5
242 102
Ozzy Osbourne is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Ozzy Osbourne Doom metal, Glam metal, Blues-rock

6
203 87
Motörhead is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Motörhead New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Thrash metal, Rock music

7
210 105
Scorpions is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Scorpions Glam metal, Heavy metal, Hard rock

8
255 209
Metallica is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Metallica Thrash metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

9
166 126
Manowar is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Manowar Power metal, Heavy metal, True metal

10
175 143
Megadeth is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
tpengitore added Megadeth Glam metal, Thrash metal, Rock music

11
140 141
Queensrÿche is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Queensrÿche Progressive metal, Rock music, Power metal

12
67 51
Accept is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
udoudo added Accept Glam metal, Thrash metal, Power metal

13
37 18
Alice Cooper is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
manofoccasionalthought added Alice Cooper Glam metal, Experimental rock, Shock rock

14
61 55
Savatage is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
mohamed-said added Savatage Melodic Rock, Progressive metal, Power metal

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15
80 90
Pantera is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
harry-pittman added Pantera Glam metal, Thrash metal, Groove metal

16
60 74
Quiet Riot is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
MarkLuscombe added Quiet Riot Glam metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

17
95 134
Skid Row is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Skid Row Glam metal, Thrash metal, Rock music

18
65 85
Warlock is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Warlock Glam metal, Heavy metal, Traditional heavy metal

19
34 33
Doro is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Alex Gaginsky added Doro

20
32 33
Aria is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Alex Gaginsky added Aria Heavy metal

21
19 12
AC/DC is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Scott Kerr added AC/DC Blues-rock, Boogie rock, Rock music

The Greatest Guitarists Of All Time

22
82 126
Rob Zombie is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Rob Zombie Horror punk, Noise rock, Nu metal

23
14 6
Slayer is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Burak Alanyalı added Slayer Thrash metal, Groove metal, Rock music

24
55 84
Overkill is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
RobertPhelps added Overkill Thrash metal, Groove metal, Heavy metal

25
49 73
Ratt is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
MarkLuscombe added Ratt Glam metal, Blues-rock, Rock music

26
50 75
Dokken is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
MarkLuscombe added Dokken Melodic Rock, Glam metal, Rock music

27
34 46
U.D.O. is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
udoudo added U.D.O. Power metal, Heavy metal, Speed metal

28
69 116
White Zombie is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
White Zombie Horror punk, Noise rock, Industrial metal

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29
56 95
Diamond Head is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Diamond Head New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Thrash metal, Heavy metal

30
27 40
Krokus is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Trey Guyton added Krokus Heavy metal, Hard rock

31
24 36
Blind Guardian is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Alex Gaginsky added Blind Guardian Thrash metal, Progressive metal, Power metal

32
47 94
Disturbed is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
NicholasChabiram added Disturbed Nu metal, Rock music, Metalcore

33
22 44
Stryper is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
MattSchwarck added Stryper Glam metal, Nu metal, Rock music

34
36 81
LOUDNESS is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
LOUDNESS Glam metal, Progressive metal, Rock music

35
48 115
Godsmack is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Godsmack Nu metal, Groove metal, Rock music

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36
14 42
Trouble is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
strangeways added Trouble Psalm 9, The Skull, Trouble, Manic Frustration, Plastic Green Head, Distortion Field

37
32 107
Stone Sour is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Stone Sour Nu metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

38
24 86
X Japan is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
X Japan Glam metal, Thrash metal, Progressive metal

39
14 68
Doomsword is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Doomsword Doom metal, Viking metal, Power metal

40
8 46
Ezo is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
MarkLuscombe added Ezo Glam metal, Heavy metal

41
14 75
Angra is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Angra Progressive metal, Power metal, Heavy metal

42
10 77
Gorky Park is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Gorky Park Glam metal, Heavy metal, Progressive rock

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43
7 70
Darkseed is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Darkseed Death-doom, Gothic metal, Heavy metal

44
8 80
the GazettE is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
the GazettE Nu metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

45
8 81
Stage Dolls is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Stage Dolls Glam metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

46
7 76
Sacred Warrior is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Sacred Warrior Heavy metal, Traditional heavy metal, Christian metal

47
6 68
Cauldron is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Cauldron Thrash metal, Heavy metal, Traditional heavy metal

48
6 69
Railway is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Railway Heavy metal, Traditional heavy metal

49
6 70
White Wizzard is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
White Wizzard Heavy metal, Traditional heavy metal

50
6 71
Cauldron Born is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Cauldron Born Power metal, Heavy metal, Traditional heavy metal