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
407 80
Black Sabbath is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Black Sabbath Doom metal, Blues-rock, Power metal

2
421 94
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
343 66
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
276 74
Dio is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Dio Rock music, Power metal, Heavy metal

5
246 104
Ozzy Osbourne is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Ozzy Osbourne Doom metal, Glam metal, Blues-rock

6
209 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
213 107
Scorpions is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Scorpions Glam metal, Heavy metal, Hard rock

8
261 212
Metallica is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Metallica Thrash metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

9
168 129
Manowar is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Manowar Power metal, Heavy metal, True metal

10
179 144
Megadeth is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
tpengitore added Megadeth Glam metal, Thrash metal, Rock music

11
142 143
Queensrÿche is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Queensrÿche Progressive metal, Rock music, Power metal

12
71 52
Accept is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
udoudo added Accept Glam metal, Thrash metal, Power metal

13
44 21
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
65 56
Savatage is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
mohamed-said added Savatage Melodic Rock, Progressive metal, Power metal

The Best Metal Drummers of All Time

15
85 94
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
21 7
Slayer is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Burak Alanyalı added Slayer Thrash metal, Groove metal, Rock music

17
68 86
Warlock is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Warlock Glam metal, Heavy metal, Traditional heavy metal

18
97 136
Skid Row is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Skid Row Glam metal, Thrash metal, Rock music

19
36 35
Doro is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Alex Gaginsky added Doro

20
61 78
Quiet Riot is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
MarkLuscombe added Quiet Riot Glam metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

21
85 128
Rob Zombie is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Rob Zombie Horror punk, Noise rock, Nu metal

The Best Concert Movies Streaming on Hulu

22
22 16
AC/DC is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Scott Kerr added AC/DC Blues-rock, Boogie rock, Rock music

23
32 36
Aria is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Alex Gaginsky added Aria Heavy metal

24
36 46
U.D.O. is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
udoudo added U.D.O. Power metal, Heavy metal, Speed metal

25
56 86
Overkill is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
RobertPhelps added Overkill Thrash metal, Groove metal, Heavy metal

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

27
50 78
Dokken is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
MarkLuscombe added Dokken Melodic Rock, Glam metal, Rock music

28
70 118
White Zombie is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
White Zombie Horror punk, Noise rock, Industrial metal

The Greatest Songs by One-Hit Wonders

29
58 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
25 37
Blind Guardian is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Alex Gaginsky added Blind Guardian Thrash metal, Progressive metal, Power metal

31
27 41
Krokus is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Trey Guyton added Krokus Heavy metal, Hard rock

32
24 44
Stryper is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
MattSchwarck added Stryper Glam metal, Nu metal, Rock music

33
49 98
Disturbed is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
NicholasChabiram added Disturbed Nu metal, Rock music, Metalcore

34
3 2
Venom is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Κατερίνα added Venom New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Thrash metal, Black metal

35
38 81
LOUDNESS is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
LOUDNESS Glam metal, Progressive metal, Rock music

The Worst Albums by Great Bands

36
49 119
Godsmack is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Godsmack Nu metal, Groove metal, Rock music

37
15 43
Trouble is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
strangeways added Trouble Psalm 9, The Skull, Trouble, Manic Frustration, Plastic Green Head, Distortion Field

38
25 87
X Japan is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
X Japan Glam metal, Thrash metal, Progressive metal

39
32 112
Stone Sour is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Stone Sour Nu metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

40
14 69
Doomsword is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Doomsword Doom metal, Viking metal, Power metal

41
8 47
Ezo is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
MarkLuscombe added Ezo Glam metal, Heavy metal

42
14 76
Angra is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Angra Progressive metal, Power metal, Heavy metal

21 Musicians Who Are (Supposedly) in the Illuminati

43
10 79
Gorky Park is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Gorky Park Glam metal, Heavy metal, Progressive rock

44
7 71
Darkseed is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Darkseed Death-doom, Gothic metal, Heavy metal

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

46
8 82
Stage Dolls is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Stage Dolls Glam metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

47
7 76
Sacred Warrior is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Sacred Warrior Heavy metal, Traditional heavy metal, Christian metal

48
6 68
Cauldron is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Cauldron Thrash metal, Heavy metal, Traditional heavy metal

49
6 69
Railway is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Railway Heavy metal, Traditional heavy metal

50
6 70
White Wizzard is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
White Wizzard Heavy metal, Traditional heavy metal