Best Symphonic Metal Bands

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The Top Ten

1
Nightwish
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 choir. Before Nightwish ever hired an orchestra and choir, Tarja was a choir unto herself. Floor Jansen is a temporary member, but if she stays, she will take this band to new heights.
5. All of this would mean nothing without memorable tunes, and Tuomas knows how to write them. I don't know if it's the fantasy nerdage, Hans Zimmer love, Disney, or divine inspiration, but these songs really hit the spot. Their complexity is such that you often find yourself turned off of it the first time around. "Woah, too much! " is a common reaction. Then it sinks in, and you blast out your eardrums with it, and you literally can't listen to anything else, because every other symphonic metal band sounds empty in comparison.
6. Those 10-minute "epic" songs. God, those songs. Leitmotifs that sound like a movie score and swirl around and return when you least expect them. Holopainen needs to do an entire album of them.
7. Fantasy lyrics. Do not underestimate this.
8. Leitmotifs repeat throughout one album across several songs. The songs aren't separate entities. The albums are more than the sum of their parts. It seems to happen the most on Angels Fall First, but Century Child makes use of this technique as well.

It all boils down to superior songwriting. Every element in Nightwish is top-notch, but great songs are what propel a band to stardom, and this one is not only one of the pioneers of the genre, but truly refreshing compared to some of the by-now overused songwriting techniques other bands have to offer. Trust me, Within Temptation was my gateway band. Nightwish showed me an astral paradise I never thought I'd experience.
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!
[Newest]I will always LOVE this band. I've started to listening this genre of music with them, long life dears. I will be waiting for you in Romania.
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2Kamelot
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.
[Newest]Kamelot is the pinnacle of symphonic metal for me personally
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3Epica
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..
[Newest]I think the quality that places "Epica" way ahead of all the other bands categorized under Symphonic Metal genre, is melody. Every single song composed by Epica is such a delight. You can feel the genius behind every melodic line and they haven't run out of ideas so far. One album after the other and the melodies get more and more beautiful and sublime. They are obviously familiar with indigenous music of different countries around the world and make use of them with perfect artistic vision and in a way that while being comprised of eclectic sounds and tunes, they sound just like what we want to hear when we say "Symphonic Metal". They truly represent the genre.
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4Within Temptation
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.
Within temptation should be the second after Nightwish I didn't like the order of this list but Nightwish deserves number 1 but Therion should be number 4 because Delain deserves third after within temptation
I really enjoy many of the bands on this list, but for my money Within Temptation is the best. I love their music and Sharon's voice. However, Floor Jansen is my favourite singer. She has pipes from hell and an amazing range, like combining Annette's mid range and Tarja's high range into one divine voice. In my opinion she is the singer Nightwish should have had originally. With her in the band Nightwish may move to number one on my list.
[Newest]Sharon is the best female singer out there, and her appreciation for real music is a rarity. Anyone can scream in a song or have an electric guitar louder than their own voice, but it takes true talent to add beautiful symphonic music like within temptation does.
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5Therion
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.
[Newest]The best one ever!

6Sonata 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
[Newest]This is power metal actually

7Delain
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!
[Newest]Melodic. Reinvents itself each album.

8Sirenia
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
[Newest]This is my vote for the third best band of this type.

9Avantasia
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!
[Newest]The Seven Angels. Scarecrow.

10After 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!
[Newest]Awesome sound and lyric and Vocals

The Contenders

11Rhapsody 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!
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!
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!
[Newest]Very original band with interesting musical arrangements instead of random guttural noise.

12Xandria
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!
[Newest]Amazing bands, all their albums are great, specially the last one, If you want to check out listen to xandria stardust

13Stratovarius
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.

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.
[Newest]One of my favorites.

15Tristania
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.

16Haggard
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.
[Newest]You can't find similar bands if you search all your life the web, a special and unique band, my favorite

17Cradle of Filth
Cradle Of Filth are Gothic/Symphonic Black Metal, not a pure Symphonic Metal.

GREYBOYY

Early Cradle is devilish poetry beyond compare. A must listen-to band.

18Opeth
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!

19Symphony 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

20Mayan
Mark Jansen is legend, best songwriter and harsh singer, he also has a master of psychology

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This list was created 4 years, 83 days ago and has been voted on over 3,000 times. This top ten list contains 101 items, has been remixed 21 times.

Updated Saturday, May 30, 2015


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