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
318 66
Black Sabbath is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Black Sabbath Doom metal, Blues-rock, Power metal

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2
343 77
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
272 59
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
223 54
Dio is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Dio Rock music, Power metal, Heavy metal

5
205 85
Ozzy Osbourne is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Ozzy Osbourne Doom metal, Glam metal, Blues-rock

6
182 80
Scorpions is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Scorpions Glam metal, Heavy metal, Hard rock

7
172 75
Motörhead is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Motörhead New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Thrash metal, Rock music

8
210 126
Metallica is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Metallica Thrash metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

9
135 66
Megadeth is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
tpengitore added Megadeth Glam metal, Thrash metal, Rock music

10
125 89
Queensrÿche is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Queensrÿche Progressive metal, Rock music, Power metal

11
51 27
Accept is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
udoudo added Accept Glam metal, Thrash metal, Power metal

12
60 52
Pantera is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
harry-pittman added Pantera Glam metal, Thrash metal, Groove metal

13
87 104
Manowar is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Manowar Power metal, Heavy metal, True metal

14
46 43
Savatage is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
mohamed-said added Savatage Melodic Rock, Progressive metal, Power metal

15
49 50
Quiet Riot is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
MarkLuscombe added Quiet Riot Glam metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

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16
84 107
Skid Row is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Skid Row Glam metal, Thrash metal, Rock music

17
15 2
Alice Cooper is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
manofoccasionalthought added Alice Cooper Glam metal, Experimental rock, Shock rock

18
41 44
Dokken is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
MarkLuscombe added Dokken Melodic Rock, Glam metal, Rock music

19
41 45
Ratt is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
MarkLuscombe added Ratt Glam metal, Blues-rock, Rock music

20
71 102
Rob Zombie is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Rob Zombie Horror punk, Noise rock, Nu metal

21
61 93
White Zombie is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
White Zombie Horror punk, Noise rock, Industrial metal

22
43 62
Overkill is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
RobertPhelps added Overkill Thrash metal, Groove metal, Heavy metal

23
16 17
Krokus is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Trey Guyton added Krokus Heavy metal, Hard rock

24
48 77
Diamond Head is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Diamond Head New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Thrash metal, Heavy metal

25
44 73
Warlock is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Warlock Glam metal, Heavy metal, Traditional heavy metal

26
23 33
U.D.O. is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
udoudo added U.D.O. Power metal, Heavy metal, Speed metal

27
38 65
Disturbed is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
NicholasChabiram added Disturbed Nu metal, Rock music, Metalcore

28
16 27
Stryper is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
MattSchwarck added Stryper Glam metal, Nu metal, Rock music

29
14 23
Blind Guardian is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Alex Gaginsky added Blind Guardian Thrash metal, Progressive metal, Power metal

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30
13 23
Doro is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Alex Gaginsky added Doro

31
31 65
LOUDNESS is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
LOUDNESS Glam metal, Progressive metal, Rock music

32
12 25
Trouble is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
strangeways added Trouble Psalm 9, The Skull, Trouble, Manic Frustration, Plastic Green Head, Distortion Field

33
42 93
Godsmack is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Godsmack Nu metal, Groove metal, Rock music

34
5 21
Aria is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Alex Gaginsky added Aria Heavy metal

35
27 92
Stone Sour is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Stone Sour Nu metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

36
7 35
Ezo is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
MarkLuscombe added Ezo Glam metal, Heavy metal

37
18 76
X Japan is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
X Japan Glam metal, Thrash metal, Progressive metal

38
12 67
Angra is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Angra Progressive metal, Power metal, Heavy metal

39
9 66
Gorky Park is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Gorky Park Glam metal, Heavy metal, Progressive rock

40
8 70
the GazettE is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
the GazettE Nu metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

41
7 67
Sacred Warrior is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Sacred Warrior Heavy metal, Traditional heavy metal, Christian metal

42
6 60
Railway is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Railway Heavy metal, Traditional heavy metal

43
6 61
White Wizzard is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
White Wizzard Heavy metal, Traditional heavy metal

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44
6 61
Darkseed is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Darkseed Death-doom, Gothic metal, Heavy metal

45
6 62
Cauldron Born is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Cauldron Born Power metal, Heavy metal, Traditional heavy metal

46
7 73
Stage Dolls is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Stage Dolls Glam metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

47
5 59
Doomsword is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Doomsword Doom metal, Viking metal, Power metal

48
5 60
Cauldron is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Cauldron Thrash metal, Heavy metal, Traditional heavy metal

49
4 51
Brother Firetribe is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands

50
5 74
Banda Calypso is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Banda Calypso Glam metal, Power metal, Heavy metal