Metal The Best Classic Metal Bands  

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10.8k votes 1.2k voters 24.3k views 58 items

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
499 99
Black Sabbath is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Doom metal, Blues-rock, Power metal

2
507 113
Iron Maiden is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Heavy metal, Hard rock

3
409 85
Judas Priest is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Thrash metal, Power metal

4
336 89
Dio is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Rock music, Power metal, Heavy metal

5
249 106
Motörhead is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Thrash metal, Rock music

6
293 150
Ozzy Osbourne is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Doom metal, Glam metal, Blues-rock

7
244 130
Scorpions is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Glam metal, Heavy metal, Hard rock

8
123 44
Alice Cooper is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
manofoccasionalthought added Glam metal, Experimental rock, Shock rock

9
318 250
Metallica is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Thrash metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

10
230 169
Megadeth is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
tpengitore added Glam metal, Thrash metal, Rock music

11
201 155
Manowar is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Power metal, Heavy metal, True metal

12
157 163
Queensrÿche is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Progressive metal, Rock music, Power metal

13
88 72
Accept is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
udoudo added Glam metal, Thrash metal, Power metal

14
121 121
Pantera is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
harry-pittman added Glam metal, Thrash metal, Groove metal

15
56 34
Slayer is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Burak Alanyalı added Thrash metal, Groove metal, Rock music

16
63 45
AC/DC is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Scott Kerr added Blues-rock, Boogie rock, Rock music

17
78 74
Savatage is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
mohamed-said added Melodic Rock, Progressive metal, Power metal

18
58 56
Doro is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Alex Gaginsky added

19
86 106
Warlock is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Glam metal, Heavy metal, Traditional heavy metal

20
111 167
Skid Row is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Glam metal, Thrash metal, Rock music

21
77 108
Quiet Riot is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
MarkLuscombe added Glam metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

22
22 11
Mötley Crüe is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
thatperson added

Motley Crue: absolute metal LEGENDS 
Mötley Crüe was an American heavy metal band formed in Los Angeles, California
-was ranked tenth on MTV's list "Top 10 Heavy Metal Bands of All-Time" and ninth on "VH1's All Time Top Ten Metal Bands">>INVENTED hair metal >>HOW COULD ANYONE FORGET?!

23
71 100
Ratt is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
MarkLuscombe added Glam metal, Blues-rock, Rock music

24
46 55
Aria is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Alex Gaginsky added Heavy metal

25
69 100
Dokken is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
MarkLuscombe added Melodic Rock, Glam metal, Rock music

26
67 99
Overkill is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
RobertPhelps added Thrash metal, Groove metal, Heavy metal

27
40 51
Krokus is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Trey Guyton added Heavy metal, Hard rock

28
69 107
Diamond Head is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Thrash metal, Heavy metal

29
14 3
W.A.S.P. is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
LivinYourFantasy added Shock Rock, Glam Metal, Heavy Metal -

W.A.S.P. is an American heavy metal band formed in 1982. They emerged from the early 1980s Los Angeles heavy metal scene. The band's popularity peaked that decade, yet they continue to record and tour, making them one of the most enduring of the West Coast heavy metal bands. W.A.S.P. gained notoriety for their shock rock-themed image, lyrics and live performances. They have sold over 12 million albums.

30
90 155
Rob Zombie is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Horror punk, Noise rock, Nu metal

31
42 62
U.D.O. is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
udoudo added Power metal, Heavy metal, Speed metal

32
78 136
White Zombie is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Horror punk, Noise rock, Industrial metal

33
32 48
Blind Guardian is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Alex Gaginsky added Thrash metal, Progressive metal, Power metal

34
12 15
Venom is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Κατερίνα added New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Thrash metal, Black metal

35
31 58
Stryper is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
MattSchwarck added Glam metal, Nu metal, Rock music

36
57 119
Disturbed is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
NicholasChabiram added Nu metal, Rock music, Metalcore

37
42 93
LOUDNESS is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Glam metal, Progressive metal, Rock music

38
3 7
Nitro is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
LivinYourFantasy added Glam metal, Power metal, Heavy metal -

Nitro is an American heavy metal band from Hollywood, California. Formed in 1988. Nitro released its debut album O.F.R. in 1989, which reached number 140 on the US Billboard 200.

39
0 1
The Alkaline Trio is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Thomas Salvner added

40
54 135
Godsmack is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Nu metal, Groove metal, Rock music

41
19 52
Trouble is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
strangeways added Psalm 9, The Skull, Trouble, Manic Frustration, Plastic Green Head, Distortion Field

42
1 8
Hawk is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
LivinYourFantasy added Glam Metal, Heavy Metal

43
26 97
X Japan is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Glam metal, Thrash metal, Progressive metal

44
34 128
Stone Sour is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Nu metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

45
12 58
Ezo is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
MarkLuscombe added Glam metal, Heavy metal

46
16 80
Doomsword is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Doom metal, Viking metal, Power metal

47
16 84
Angra is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Progressive metal, Power metal, Heavy metal

48
0 8
Impellitteri is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
LivinYourFantasy added Heavy metal, Neo-classical metal, Speed metal

49
10 89
Gorky Park is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Glam metal, Heavy metal, Progressive rock

50
9 84
Sacred Warrior is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Heavy metal, Traditional heavy metal, Christian metal