Best Symphonic Metal Bands


The Top TenXW


It's not just the lead singers, it's the whole package. Every member of the band is exceptional at what s/he does.
1. Jukka's drumming is really powerful and drives the energy of the music.
2. Emppu attacks those guitars in a really crisp rather than distorted way.
3. Marco plays some sick bass and his powerhouse voice is not only unique in a genre populated by growlers, it's an elemental force that is somehow capable of warm beauty in softer songs.
4. Anette's voice was melodic, lovely and dynamic, sometimes beautifully aggressive, other times soothing and motherly. Tarja's operatic soprano was unique with its dark, heavy timbre and capable of remarkable icy melancholy. On the early albums, she also sang with a full classical voice rather than the watered-down pseudo-classical vocals so many lead singers adopt in this genre. She was the real deal. Her powerful voice harmonized against itself also created a full choir effect where other bands needed to hire an actual ...more

They were great with Tarja and also are great with Anette. It's not really about the singer - this band has such great arrangements and big symphonic sound that it blows you away.

Nightwish is my favorite band and I will always love them first but when I die I will be buried with their music records I have purchased will be with me forever, to be with me in spirit and be a good friend to the plants and animals. They make me feel so spiritual and that's what really is awesome!

Anyone that has heard of Nightwish doesn't need an explanation for why they should be on this list.

V103 Comments

Kamelot have been releasing exceptional albums for well over a decade, they don't rely on a backup tape the way other bands so often do, but rather play as much of the orchestrations as possible themselves live. When Kamelot perform live, they perform - they don't play bland repetitive crappy riffs while tip-toeing around a backup tape. Their lyrics, studio AND live, are crisp and clear, you don't have to pull out the lyrics sheet to know what is being said like you do with so many others. WT and Epica are both unreliable live, Anette was also very erratic live. Tarja was solid live, but you couldn't understand a word she said, so who cares if she's on key? Both Roy and Tommy enunciate properly and sound as good (sometimes better! ) live as they do in studio. No one else on this list can say that.

Kamelot's music = ART!
My favourite band. So many wonderful elements - classic, oriental, heavy - so many emotions. Almost everything is a masterpiece to hear.
Every time I listen to them, I really feel like I'm into a fantastic new world.
Khan's voice is without a question a wonderful one, and he hits the notes so awesomely. But non the less there is Tommy, which isn't there to prove, he can sing. No, he really sings the songs with the emotions the song bring, and fits his voice to the song. That's what I call real artists and musicians.

Kamelot has been the soul inspiration for many of the bands in the symphonic metal genre as a whole. They have beautiful, heavy, fast and powerful music and can cover a wide range of the desire people look for in the metal genre. Not to mention its made up of some of the best musicians you will ever find and probably the best singers in music HISTORY... Roy Khan and Tommy Karevik. They have wonderful lyrics in concept album themes that will tell beautiful stories of tragedy, love, and anger. They have Fast paced and intense Drum sections, incredible guitar tone coupled with great riffs and melodies, Powerful and epic orchestral backbones for their music. You just can't get any better then Kamelot.

Kamelot is the best band ever I had!

V90 Comments

While I love Kamelot, Nightwish and Within Temptation, I have to say that Epica is perfects the genre when it comes to calling it "metal. " The musicianship is absolutely excellent starting from "Design Your Universe" and is even more flawless with "Requiem for the Indifferent. "

Mark's compositions just become stronger and stronger with each record, and his voice improves. Simone has also improved her voice and expanded it to a rock/pop edge in addition to her operatic one. This way she can seamlessly go from each and decide to pick which is best for a song or certain part. The dialogue with the other members is amazing, and their live shows are amazing as well.

It's the balance between the symphonic and the heavy that is perfect, when it comes to both the vocals and the music. That is why Epica isn't too heavy or too soft, and the melodies and harmonies are perfect by the new album.

They are awesome... Every album and every song is a masterpiece. Their compositions and their lyrics are great and they are becoming better and better. Simone Simons has the greatest voice that I have ever heard (she has improved so much since the phantom agony) and Mark's grunts are great too. Also they have evolved through the years and every new record is better and heavier than the previous ones. I think that they can maintain the balance between symphonic music/operatic vocals and metal music/harsh vocals better than any other symphonic metal band. That can make them the definition of symphonic metal. One important thing is that they are really good live, they are great performers... And every time you say this is their best album/show ever they can't do anything better than this, they will surprise you with their next project... And you will never be dissapointed...

I think epica is the amazing symphonic metal band. We can see in all of the epica songs.. They are really symphonic metal, in all off their albums.. I like their song in the phantom agony album.. They are a amazing band, unique, and really really good..

They have the best music ever

V85 Comments
4Within Temptation

A lot of bands usually have the same vibe with every album and just a little addition to their sound, but Within Temptation are always unique with every album!

Sharon den Adel's voice is just absolutely angelic! Somewhere just makes me cry every time! A lot of vocalists also do not sound in their prime when live, but Sharon just kills it every time when they are live!

The Silent Force, in my opinion, is their best album. A lot of their songs are very nostalgic, plus paired up with Sharon's angelic voice just makes that album heavenly.

You just have to give Within Temptation credits for such beautiful and complex songwriting. Some remark that The Heart of Everything was commercially driven, but you can't deny that the lyrics are very meaningful! )

Within Temptation is the first Symphonic Metal/Rock band that I've discovered and definitely my absolute favorite! Within Temptation's sound varies from every album (but not straying away from the Symphonic ...more

Hydra was the first album I heard from Within Temptation. I can't believe I had never heard of them before this. They are such a great band musically and vocally. Perhaps it's because they are Dutch and the US & UK media are only interested in throwaway plastic pop.
I now have all their albums and can quite honestly say there is not one track of theirs I dislike. Yes some songs are better than others but all are good. There has been a lot of debate that Within Temptation are not as good now as when they started and that they have become more commercial. So let me give my perspective as a new fan. I agree that their sound is more commercial now but this is just a sign that the band is developing and maturing otherwise they would just get stale. Lets hail Within Temptation for what they are, a fantastic band who can write & perform many different styles of music. Sharon den Adel sounds great singing in any style and has got to be considered one of the best female vocalists of all ...more

This band is willing to keep the reign of Sharon den adel with as long as Nightwish. Nightwish has damaged their reputation with all the drama in the past year while Within Temptation, they seem to improve their image. This is the best Symphonic Metal band ever since they are one of the starters of Symphonic Metal abs also the most Respected.

Whilst I think Nightwish are good. Within Temptation are miles better. Sharon is absolutely awesome, what a voice! What a Woman!

V63 Comments

At first I thought Sirenia has too soft singer (Ailyn), however I found it amazing and now it is my second favourite Symphonic Metal band! Monika was wonderful but maybe not so good for this type of music and generally metal. An Elixir for Existence and At Sixes and Sevens is much heavier than The Enigma of Life or Nine Destinies and A Downfall. If you wanna hear the best of them, check out their latest album Perils of the Deep Blue (best of all). The Enigma of Life is their worst album but it is good if you want to hear something depressive and even dark.

It is my most favorite metal band (better than Nightwish, Epica etc.). Especially Perils of the Deep Blue is a masterpiece! I love you Sirenia!

Sirenia is amazing! All of their past singers have great voices as well as their new singer! I love this band. Even though they are more gothic metal

This is my vote for the third best band of this type.

V7 Comments

I love every band here! Actually the ones I want tat the top are already there! So, I will give my vote to Delain, because I think they are amazing, and also quite a mature band, in the sense of what they write about! Charlotte is beautiful, and the melodies are both powerful and super melodic!

Great band, they don't have any bad songs, their worst song is at least average, and their best songs are amazing.. So catchy.

Generally I love the instrumental, but I don't care for high female soprano voices. Charlotte's voice is really beautiful though. Very solid band!

Melodic. Reinvents itself each album.

V9 Comments

Though they are hard to get into, Therion is one of those bands you can listen to for years and still hum in your head as you go to sleep. Some of the operatic elements in the album Secret of the Runes are simply stunning. The force of Theli is stunning. Every album has a unique style, and almost all of the songs are crazy awesome. Therion is to symphonic metal as Tolkien is to fantasy, simply the best. (If you have any doubts listen to: To Mega Therion, Vanaheim, Asgard, Enter Vril-Ya, Cults of the Shadow, and Uthark Runa)

I absolutely love Therion, I never get bored with their amazing songs! I have seen them twice and they have blown me away. Plenty of singers and musicians have taken part of this awesome band and all of the albums have a unique style. The songs are not the same at all and they are extremely complex. They have so many flawless songs that I can't choose which ones to listen in a concert. I'd rather go and see a 10 hour live performance and listen to all of their songs.

Therion aren't only the founders of Symphonic Metal, their Innovative complex-structured albums are clearly a step above their brethren.

Lately the Symphonic´╗┐ genre has been plagued with mediocrity, generic keyboards, boring songs performed by hot singers.. Gives a really bad image to Symphonic and metal in general.

Sound like an angel sings metal

V24 Comments
8Sonata Arctica

Sonata has meant more to me than any other band for the past 7 years. Their personalities, their awesome music, inspiring lyrics and one of a kind attitude are the cause of that. I never saw any other band like them, and their uniqueness is what really makes them the top of the crop. Their shows are filled with humor, the frontman is an insane but oh so lovable maniac and all of them are masters in what they do, both on stage as on album. Every song they ever wrote has a story of its own, and the sweeping melody's and chilling guitarsolos in combination with Tony Kakko's versatile voice, makes me have no mercy for my 'repeat' button whenever sonata is playing!

This band is truly one of a kind. Whereas many other bands in this genre have some nice songs, Sonata Arctica always has something special. They have an incredible sense of melodies and harmonies that always stand out. Also, if you're searching for the very best ballads in metal: Sonata Arctica is where you will find them.

Very good band... They have a great symphonic keyboard music... Especially in the songs paid in full and blacksheep

My engineering teacher likes them, so I do too

V24 Comments
9After Forever

Thanks to their music I am able to type this message. Their music saved me in my darkest days. I am still sad that the no longer exist as a band, but thankfully the ex-members are still involved in the music business

It's difficult to chose one band and not select Delain, Within Temptation or a host of many others. But when it comes to putting out nothing but great quality albums, it's hard not to pick Sharon and the boys.

Only Floor Jansen is the best!

Awesome sound and lyric and Vocals

V6 Comments
10Rhapsody of Fire

Rhapsody of Fire is, in my opinion, the best power metal band. I love everything about them, the band members, the music and the lyrics are great and really tell a story. You can really dream away with Rhapsody of Fire's music and the live performances are amazing! Rhapsody of Fire is the best band I have ever heard!

THE best band of all time. Even before when they were just Rhapsody, they had the best concept albums ever, with an amazing mythical folklore epic story. Besides The Gorillaz I've never known a band to make an amazing long lasting story through their albums and make it sound amazing, check these guys out!

They are a superb band! The best in my opinion! They can easily make songs which sound Epic, some others sound Merry, others are darker and more aggressive, and the ballads are wonderful. Not to mention the fact that their Sagas are both FANTASTIC! Superhuman singer, godly guitarrist, extremely brilliant Keyboard plyer! PERFECT!

Very original band with interesting musical arrangements instead of random guttural noise.

V17 Comments

The Contenders


Tobias Sammet's ability to bring the perfect voices to the right songs and never put out a stale album is amazing. From The Metal Opera I to The Mystery of Time Avantasia's ability to haunt you with one sang and then bang your head with the next is brilliant and displays the creative force of Sammet who never lets things get out of control or get stagnant.

Listen to "The Seven Angels"!

I love The Mystery of Time, especially tracks within it such as 'Sleepwalking', 'Black Orchid' and 'Invoke the Machine'. Every song has it's own epic riff and hook. Love it!

An all time favorite

V13 Comments

AMAZING new album Sacrifisium! Listen to it people, it is just perfect. Reminds me of the times when Nightwish and Within temptation were at their best. New singer has really beautiful and still powerful voice. It gives me goosebumps. I think that at the moment Xandria is totally in top 5 bands in the genre.

Just stumbled into this band and very very very few bands can hook me in as hard as this one did. I have a short list of symphonic metal groups I can listen to regardless of mood. the other ones being within temptation, lacuna coil, and nightwish. that being said I am surprised they are not higher up this list.

Killer band, all they need is some keyboards in the band and they would be EPIC!

Amazing bands, all their albums are great, specially the last one, If you want to check out listen to xandria stardust

V16 Comments

Absolutely incredible band, progressive/poetic/demonic and HEAVY, songs are almost never shorter than five to six minutes, one song is over 20 minutes long and they have plenty of albums to submerge your time/life in. Great live, as well!

14Leaves' Eyes

The first and best singer of female fronted metal with an amazing band mixing gothic, symphonic, folk and some of the most incredible melodies and vocals you will ever hear. All hail Leaves Eyes and the goddess of metal Liv Kristine

Whenever I'm listening to a symphonic metal playlist and there is a song I really like, I check the band's name. It usually is Leaves' Eyes.

Would be a great band if one of their sings stopped grunting and growling all the time.

One of my favorites.

V7 Comments
15Blind Guardian

This band DESERVES to be in the Top 10!

What? How can these music geniuses be in such a low position? They are just GREAT!

I Think, Blind Guardian has to place in Top 10!

Their 2015 album is a proof that they are the best in this subgenre, too. - Metal_Treasure

V6 Comments

My favorite band of all time! They are the musical love of my life. With Stratovarius I really learnt to love metal, they defined my musical tastes in the long run. They are the fathers of the most of the bands listed here, they defined the symphonic-power metal genre as we know it nowadays, they deserve the #1

... Just like to hear Stratovarius a lot - what more do I need to say?!? This is reason enough to vote for the band. It has been shining, then surviving and later developing during time.

This guys makes you feel into another dimension, reaching the skies or being inside a volcano.

This is for me the end-all symphonic metal I've heard and no other band comes close. Check out the album Elysium.

V11 Comments
17Symphony X

I know that despite being a symphonic metal one it also falls on the progressive category. But they must be within the top 5 in this list for their musical arrangements, flying guitar licks, awesome progressive drumming and above all their awesome soothing sound quality of recording. I will be pleased to get caught myself and imprisoned at the DUNGEON until death.

Makes no sense to have Symphony x below bands like Cradle of Filth when it comes to symphonic metal. I agree that they should be in a top 5 at least

Its a good metal band, I think it's more simple and more classic than dream theater

The very best in my opinion :)!

V8 Comments

Honestly, Haggard may be one of the most under-rated bands I've seen. Yes, there are bands like Epica, Nightwish, WT, Avantasia and Therion which have awesome Symphonic Metal songs, but this band seems really different to me! They have a blend of classical, real classical musics mixed with growling and amazing vocals. I've searched for bands similar to them, and failed to find any.
Every single song is a masterpiece and it really saddens me seeing that this band got only 1%!
To get a quick idea, check Awaking the Centuries, you won't regret it!

Haggard.. First time I heard them I was thinking, what am I listening to, now its easily my favorite band. Its somewhere between Epica and Opeth, only with a stronger classical/medieval influence, its very well done and quite original.

HAGGARD! Haggard is a German symphonic metal musical group founded in 1989. The group combines classical music and early music with doom metal.

You can't find similar bands if you search all your life the web, a special and unique band, my favorite

V16 Comments

This is a whole new level of orchestral metal. I think Tristania should be on top of the list. Harsh vocals and Vibke's voice is just the perfect blend and do concentrate on the keyboards and drums, amazing coordination. If you haven't heard the band, you're missing something.

The only drawback is that they changed they're line up. Angina from the album Beyond the veil is the song you really should listen to.

20Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Yes yes definitely yes!

The Second best Symphonic metal band ever! Secomd only to Haggard

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List StatsUpdated 30 Nov 2015

3,000 votes
112 listings
4 years, 267 days old

Top Remixes (24)

1. Evanescence
2. Epica
3. Delain
1. Nightwish
2. Kamelot
3. Stratovarius
1. Nightwish
2. Within Temptation
3. Sirenia

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