Top Ten Metal Bands Of All Time

Would love to hear a few opinions on these. List from 1-10 with the band name first and then a brief explanation of why they made your list, if you want to. I will certainly be commenting on other poster’s lists and I encourage others to do the same. I’m working on mine.

  1. Pantera - Work ethic is very important in metal and they were the epitome. Vince and Darrell Abbott had a house here in Dallas where they spent every minute of the day either partying or practicing.

2.Metallica - The first REAL metal band. Everything before Kill 'Em All was a precursor.

3.Lamb Of God/Burn The Priest - Another band with incredible work ethic. Also lead by brothers with a special connection.

4.Fear Factory - The best production of any metal band in my opinion. Never a sound out of place, and there are many sounds.

5.System Of A Down - Unique in every way. You always know you’re listening to SOAD.

6.Slayer - So raw. Makes me want to destroy things.

7.Slipknot - An acquired taste. 11 people all going insane. Joey Jordison is in my top 10 drummers of all time (we will do that one later).

8.Meshuggah - Math and precision. You think to yourself “How do they do that?”

9.Megadeth - Although they only had 2 top notch albums, they were very good, especially Rust In Peace. But the draw for me is Dave Mustane’s guitar playing. He is better than Kirk Hammet (arguments I know) and Metallica would have been something I can’t even imagine if he had been able to stay.

10.Whitechappel - The absolute heaviest thing I’ve heard so far. It’s so heavy I don’t headbang I just stand still so it doesn’t see me.

1 Like

I don’t think I listen to enough metal to have a top ten, but I’ll do a chronological top 5:

Metallica - First metal band I ever actually liked. Prior to being introduced to thrash, I loathed metal.

Carcass - Soon thrash became too tame, so grindcore was the next step. These guys were the kings.

Tool - Not sure whether they’re metal, but they’re heavy and undeniably great.

System Of A Down - I never liked nu metal, with one exception.

Mastodon - I’d given up on metal, Mastodon pulled me back in.

  1. Black Sabbath. No Sabbath, no metal

  2. Metallica, specifically Ride The Lightning and Master Of Puppets. Everything after that is unsatisfactory in one way or another, but those two albums are gold, and made me realise that metal didn’t have to be a load of shit about pixies and goblins

  3. Kyuss. Fantastic grooves, maximum heaviosity, and still by far the best thing Josh Home has ever done

  4. Sepultura, circa Chaos AD and Roots. Superb brutal thrash with bonus tribal drumming and New Model Army covers

  5. Jane’s Addiction. Epic psychedelic metal - side two of Ritual is some of the best music ever made by anyone.

  6. Agalloch. Blackened nature loving hippy prog metal. The Mantle is an all time classic

  7. Deafheaven. Because I am a massive hipster obviously, but also because ‘Come Back’ in particular is a sublime collision of noise and beauty. The opening fury of blastbeats, jagged guitars and inhuman shrieks resolves into a lengthy coda of such elliptical grace and blissed out wonder that whenever it comes on I have to stop whatever else I’m doing and listen to it all the way through. It is transcendent. For those of you have read The Passage by Justin Cronin, remember the sequence where the viewpoint character is dying, knocked flat on his back and through dimming vision he sees the luminous virals dropping from the trees and thinks that they are falling stars? That’s what the last five minutes of this sound like.

  8. Alcest. Ecailles de Lune is the definitive blackgaze record, switching between brutal black metal shrieks and dreamy shoey reveries.

  9. do Fu Manchu count as metal? Love a bit of fuzzgroove

  10. oh dear, only one spot left and I can’t decide between Slayer and Motörhead…


Ooh I wouldn’t have even classed them as metal but good shout non-the-less. Going to a have a think about this. Although never been a fan of metal metal (if that makes sense) much more into what came after / sub genres sort of thing

I’m also in the camp where I feel like I’m more into non-metal bands who are heavily influenced by metal (ex: Burning Brides - see the outro of “Plastic Empire” and bridge of “King of the Demimonde” in particular). To avoid any arguments / cluttering the thread, I won’t put any of those on my list unless they’ve already been mentioned (except for one):

  1. Metallica - Not sure what else to say about them that hasn’t been said. It seems like there’s some sort of elitism-driven backlash directed at them, but at their peak they were undeniable. I’ll never forget the first time I heard that unbelievably heavy “Ride the Lightning” riff march out of the outro, or the “One” solo, or the “Fade to Black” outro, or the time someone at camp got sent to the nurse because he and his roommate got a little too bit wound up listening to “Fight Fire with Fire” (rib injury), or the time someone in college responded to someone playing early Beatles too loud in the courtyard by blasting Kill Em All on a loop for hours at a volume that shook furniture across the entire building (people were screaming for it to stop and complaining on the campus forum, it was wonderful). Metallica is great.

  2. Kyuss - So many amazing heavy riffs, but assembled into really tight songs and albums that never lose my attention for a second. Just listen to that “Whitewater” riff. (And for a much more overlooked moment, that long intro to “Hwy 74”).

  3. Tool - Aenima is still one of the best albums ever written. Those moments where they lock in and explode are nearly unparalleled (the “Jimmy” bridge is one of the best bridges ever written), and the way they could build a song on a groove but take you on a journey is so unique (see “Eulogy”).

  4. Deftones - I’ve always liked them, but for some reason never got around to listening to Around the Fur until this past year. There’s this amazing explosive energy (three links there) in it that very few bands are able to achieve. It sounds like they could move stadiums full of people.

  5. System of a Down - I’m so glad people are mentioning them. So many people view them as a joke, but they were incredible and so unique. Similar to what I mentioned with Deftones but in their own way, there was an explosive, manic energy in their songs (especially on the the self-titled album) that no one else was really able to pull off. Listen to those chorus transitions in “Know” or “Sugar” or “Suggestions”, I can’t think of anyone else who was doing that at that level. Plus they also had this very unconventional melodic side that would take things to another level (the “P.L.U.C.K” chorus, or the incredible back to back sequence of “Forest” and “ATWA” on Toxicity). They were brilliant at their best.

  6. Alcest / Amesoeurs - I just discovered these last year, but have a feeling they’re going to be soaring up the list. This is the only situation where I’ve been able to handle those traditionally “metal” vocals, possibly because rather than as the default they’re used much more sparingly and as a counter to the melodic segments. The second half of “Faiseurs De Mondes” is so beautiful.


intro, sorry!

Faith No More (can’t believe they’ve not been mentioned so far)
Metallica (as above prime period only)
A Perfect Circle (much prefer to Tool, alas - although FIRST TWO ALBUMS ONLY ALERT)
Jane’s Addiction
Suicidal Tendencies

I haven’t listed all the other amazing bands I still listen to who certainly had big metal followings at the time - Ministry, Godflesh, Fudge Tunnel, to name a few - for fear of argument.

ctrl F “Iron Maiden”



don’t be silly lads, all reasonable people know that Black Sabbath invented heavy metal

  1. Black Sabbath - the first album is so bluesy and has so much groove, Paranoid is also absolutely fantastic

  2. System of a Down - Toxicity is a work of genius and i like a lot of mezmerise/hypnotise

  3. Mastodon - not the most extreme but certainly one of the heaviest bands I’ve heard


Melvins. End of thread.


how can you possibly claim that black sabbath aren’t a heavy metal band?

their guitar sound is heavy and the lyrics are dark and nasty, for me that’s the two main things that makes metal different from rock

their sound is heavy because they downtuned, which they did cos Iommi injured his fingers in an industrial accident… and that is metal as fuck :metal:

not having kyuss as metal (otherwise they’d be no.1)

white zombie
faith no more

tried doing reasons but got bored of trying to come up with different ways of saying “they’re really good”

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fair enough if you don’t wanna discuss, let’s do a poll cos i’m interested to see if the majority agrees with me or with you

Black Sabbath are

  • metal
  • not metal

0 voters

Can we have an option for ‘Metal and so much more than metal’?

Red hot chili peppers


No Gojira love. Surprised.

Surprised to see some dispute about sabbath being a metal band but everyone going with faith no more… never considered them a metal band


But i suppose my list would have godflesh…


Far too into whales, aren’t they?