Best Songwriters In Metal


The Top Ten

1 Steve Harris - Iron Maiden Steve Harris - Iron Maiden Stephen Percy "Steve" Harris is an English musician and songwriter, known as the bassist, occasional keyboardist, backing vocalist, primary songwriter and founder of the British heavy metal band Iron Maiden.

The new more recent songs have even better lyrics with deeper meanings like war and religion. A Matter Of Life And Death has great lyrics from For The Greater Good Of God which is about how religion causes war to Lord Of Light which is about Lucifer, the fallen angel. I just went on Genius lyrics and read the explanations for a The Great Unknown lyrics and it was really deep. Best songwriter from the best band.

Honestly there should be a a lot of room between Steve and anyone else. The man is responsible for some of the best and most complicated metal known to music lovers.

Now look even for now in the 2016 he can write for all the bands for his error not mistake but time there can not be better songs I've heard honestly Metallica and mega death are just as good but for real the difference is that you can hear the soul in his songs they reach you that's what they didn't behave though there are very few bore successful bands none but the top three so far can even wear Steve's shoes.

he has written so much metal classics and deserves to be recongised more. Some of the best songs he wrote are Hallowed be thy name, Run to the hills, The number of the beast, The trooper and aces high

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2 Dave Mustaine - Megadeth Dave Mustaine - Megadeth David Scott "Dave" Mustaine (born September 13, 1961) is an American musician, singer, songwriter, actor and author. Mustaine is best known as a pioneer in Thrash Metal, being the former lead guitarist of Metallica before his dismissal in 1983, leading to finding and becoming the front man of his own more.

Dave Mustaine has such a unique style. Aggressive riffs (Holy Wars, Skin o My Teeth), grooving drum lines (Take No Prisoners, Wake up Dead), passionate lyrics (In my Darkest Hour, Sweating Bullets), awesome bass lines (Peace Sells, Poison was the Cure) and ripping solos (Hangar 18, Kick the Chair). Everything goes in tandem so well, and this is why Megadeth has created many masterpieces over the years.

Songs are metal and not about silly demons, religious stuff, mythology, death and crime but its about social, economical, political, ecological causes then its megadeth we are talking about.

Love his lyrics, they have a lot of passion in them, I suppose I should thank Metallica for making him angry. - PeterSteveBobGraemeBloke

I love his fusions of jazz and metal in both killing is my business and even more in peace sells.

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3 James Hetfield - Metallica James Hetfield - Metallica James Alan Hetfield was born on August 3, 1963. He is an American musician, singer and songwriter known for being the co-founder, lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist and main songwriter for the American heavy metal band Metallica.

Fixxxer lyrics are god tier - lilrocketman

just the favorite one. I love the ONE's lyrics that also terrifies and puts you in that situation... the loneliness. Nothing Else Matters is also nice. Enter the sandman is also one of my favorites. Fade to Black, The Unforgiven etc. are also nice...! DIVYANSHU requests you to vote it..!

The only song his written by him self is motorbreath yet has written most of the lyrics for metallica

Great but still can't beat Dave Mustaine and Steve Harris.

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4 Jeff Hanneman - Slayer Jeff Hanneman - Slayer Jeffrey John "Jeff" Hanneman was an American musician, best known as a founding member of the American thrash metal band Slayer.


Angel of death, Reign in blood, South of heaven, Disciple, Mandatory suicide. Quality not quantity.

R.i.p. Jeff. You should be number one

We will miss forever your evil tunes RIP my great guitar player...

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5 Mikael Akerfeldt - Opeth Mikael Akerfeldt - Opeth Lars Mikael Åkerfeldt is a Swedish musician, prominently known as the lead vocalist, guitarist, and primary songwriter of progressive death metal band Opeth, as well as being the former vocalist of death metal supergroup Bloodbath for three albums up until 2012. more.

Riffs are mind blowing, great acoustic guitar parts, lyrics speak for themselves, always has interesting transitions, always keeps it interesting with unexpected changes. He is not only an incredible songwriter, but a very diverse songwriter. The greatest songwriter in metal.

Not many people can write songs that have such a wide range of emotions while pulling off both ends of the spectrum so well. It does not get any better than Mikael.

His Lyrics are Incredible! Check out the lyrics for many of Opeth's songs. His lyrics are like poetry

The best player of words after steve harris one of the best gift music has ever recieved

6 Tuomas Holopainen - Nightwish Tuomas Holopainen - Nightwish Tuomas Lauri Johannes Holopainen (born 25 December 1976) is a Finnish songwriter, multi-instrumentalist musician (but mainly keyboardist) and record producer, best known as the founder, leader, keyboardist and songwriter of symphonic metal band Nightwish. He also studied jazz and classical styles.

Tuomas is a genius. He´s just amazing what comes to a creating emotions to songs. For example poet and the pendulum is just a master piece in that!

Nobody would beat the greatest songwriter in metal Tuomas Holopanien. He wrote great songs for Nightwish, and were great masterpieces regardless of who the singer is!

He have written some of the most beautiful metal lyrics and songs ever, like Ocean soul, Sleeping sun, etc. How he is not on the top 3?

Just listen to Ghost Love Score, The Poet And The Pendulum and The Greatest Show on Earth.

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7 Chuck Schuldiner - Death Chuck Schuldiner - Death Charles Michael "Chuck" Schuldiner (1967-2001) was an American singer, songwriter, and guitarist, best known as the founder and vocalist, guitarist and bassist of the American heavy metal band Death. He is considered the most influential figure in Death Metal, with some publications referring to Chuck more.

Why is he so underrated I don't know not only on this website but on the entire
like rly ozzy osbourne has the ozzfest and chuck dosen't have a festival not even a remembering monument it's a shame he was write when he said
beware of the sharp edged weapon called human being

Chuck wrote the greatest, most inspiring and symbolic lyrics in metal history!

Chuck made the most defining lyrics I've read.

Amazing look up sound of perseverance this proves it

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8 John Petrucci - Dream Theater John Petrucci - Dream Theater John Peter Petrucci is an American guitarist, composer and producer. He is best known as a founding member of the progressive metal band Dream Theater. Compared to his level of skill, John Petrucci is relatively unknown in the modern music industry.
9 Jon Schaffer - Iced Earth Jon Schaffer - Iced Earth Jon Ryan Schaffer is an American heavy metal musician. He is best known as the guitarist and last remaining original member of the Florida-based heavy metal band Iced Earth, which he formed in 1985 under the name "Purgatory".

By far the best metal lyricist in the 90'. Just listen to Dante's Inferno, that will do it.

10 Ronnie James Dio Ronnie James Dio Ronnie James Dio (born Ronald James Padavona; July 10, 1942 – May 16, 2010) was an American heavy metal singer, songwriter and musician. He fronted and/or founded numerous groups including Elf, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Dio and Heaven & Hell. He is credited with popularizing the "metal horns" hand gesture more.

Why isn't Dio at least top 10?

The Contenders

11 Tony Iommi - Black Sabbath Tony Iommi - Black Sabbath Anthony Frank "Tony" Iommi is an English guitarist, songwriter and producer. Best known as lead guitarist and founding member of the pioneering heavy metal band Black Sabbath, he has been the band's sole continual member and primary composer. At age 17, he accidentally lost the fingertips of his middle more.

What? He is a genius he should be in top 5

12 Maynard James Keenan - Tool Maynard James Keenan - Tool Maynard James Keenan, often referred to by his initials MJK, is an American musician, record producer, winemaker, and actor, best known as the vocalist for Grammy Award-winning progressive metal band Tool.

The best hands down. Before voting bands Metallica, iron maiden, and megadeth blindly. Take a minute to listen to tool and learn to appreciate the lyrics. They are about real meaningful stuff. I'd say the best songwriter of the last 20 years - ryanrimmel

He's by far the best there is, whether you're talking about technical genius with his syllable coordination or overall story telling in every way this man is the greatest writer there is

His lyrics reach way beyond conventional and even rational thought. He plays on the psyche of every listener and pushes them to either learn more or question what is.

Straight up artistically rich bald head

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13 Ritchie Blackmore - Deep Purple; Rainbow Ritchie Blackmore - Deep Purple; Rainbow Richard Hugh "Ritchie" Blackmore is an English guitarist and songwriter, best known for his work in the hard rock/metal bands Deep Purple and Rainbow. He was ranked number 16 on Guitar World's "100 Greatest Metal Guitarists of All Time" in 2004, and number 50 in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the more.

His songs are so perfectly written that should be compiled in a "Songwriting Handbook" and studied carefully. Ritchie Blackmore knows how to write melodic metal stuff but it's classy melodic. Not cheesy melodic.

Try "Gates of Babylon" and "Stargazer" (Rainbow).

14 King Diamond - Mercyful Fate King Diamond - Mercyful Fate Kim Bendix Petersen, better known by his stage name King Diamond, is a Danish heavy metal musician. He is known for his extensive vocal range, usually sung in falsetto. King Diamond was originally known as the vocalist for Mercyful Fate, but has become notorious for his horror themed Concept albums more.
15 Mat Sinner - Primal Fear Mat Sinner - Primal Fear Mat Sinner is a bassist, vocalist, songwriter and record producer from Stuttgart, Germany. He is best known as the bassist and primary songwriter for the metal band Primal Fear.
16 Jeff Waters Speaks - Annihilator

Incredible gift for riffs, solos and melodies. - Metal_Treasure

UListen to Sample
17 Glenn Tipton - Judas Priest Glenn Tipton - Judas Priest Glenn Raymond Tipton is an English Grammy Award-winning guitar player and songwriter. He is most commonly known as the lead guitarist for English heavy metal band Judas Priest.

Why the hell is Glenn so low?! - HEAVYMETALTHUNDER12345

18 Michael Weikath - Helloween Michael Weikath - Helloween Michael Ingo Joachim "Weiki" Weikath is a German musician and songwriter, best known as a founding member and one of the guitarists and backing vocalists of pioneering power metal band Helloween.

Consider keeper of the seven keys song alone, he should be in top 10!

19 Cliff Burton Cliff Burton Clifford Lee "Cliff" Burton (February 10th 1962 - September 27th 1986) was an American musician, best known as the second bass guitarist for the American thrash metal band Metallica, recording three studio albums. He died in 1986 after getting crushed by a tour bus in Copenhagen whilst promoting Metallica's more.
20 Tobias Sammet - Edguy, Avantasia Tobias Sammet - Edguy, Avantasia Tobias Sammet is a German metal musician, best known as the vocalist and primary songwriter of the power metal band Edguy, as well as the founder, main singer and bassist of the metal opera Avantasia.

He writes music and lyrics for 2 active bands in parallel! - Metal_Treasure

Composes great tracks and writes great lyrics

21 Corey Taylor - Slipknot Corey Taylor - Slipknot Corey Todd Taylor was born in December 8, 1973. He is an American musician, author, and actor best known as the lead singer and lyricist of the Nu-metal band Slipknot and hard rock/alternative metal band Stone Sour.

Great live performanced, touching songs.
Songs that are hard to preform.

22 Quorthon - Bathory Quorthon - Bathory Tomas Börje Forsberg, known by the stage name Quorthon (1966-2004), was a Swedish musician. He was the founder, songwriter, vocalist and guitarist of the band Bathory, which pioneered the black metal genre and is credited with creating the Viking metal style. A multi-instrumentalist, Quorthon wrote more.

Actually, Bathory's songs have a lot of great, epic(in all meanings), and sometimes somewhat sad("One Rode To Asa Bay") lyrics. It was a great loss for metal when he died.

Quorthon was a real songwriting- mastermind.
Should be under the Top 5

23 Floor Jansen - After Forever Floor Jansen - After Forever Floor Jansen is a Dutch singer-songwriter and vocal coach. She is currently vocalist of Nightwish and leader of Revamp.

She is a remarkable songwriter. Listen to the concept albums Invisible circles (about children) Very beautiful song, very deep lyrics.

After Forever has disbanded, though.

24 Kai Hansen - Helloween Kai Hansen - Helloween Kai Michael Hansen is a heavy metal guitarist and vocalist. Hansen is the founder, lead guitarist, and vocalist of power metal band Gamma Ray. He is also the co-founder and former member of German metal band Helloween.

A really good composer, much underrated here, should be under the top five in my humble opinion.

Kai should be in Top Ten... He is better than Weiki... Wrote more Important songs in Helloween and Wrote great songs with Gamma Ray...

25 Blackie Lawless - W.A.S.P.

Blackie is a genius and hands down the best song writer in heavy metal. Just listen to The Crimson Idol. Every song is a masterpiece!

26 Bruce Dickinson - Iron Maiden Bruce Dickinson - Iron Maiden Paul Bruce Dickinson, known professionally as Bruce Dickinson, is an English musician, airline pilot, and broadcaster. He is most well known for being the lead singer in heavy metal band Iron Maiden and his solo career.
27 Adrian Smith - Iron Maiden Adrian Smith - Iron Maiden Adrian Frederick "H" Smith is an English guitarist, best known as a member of Iron Maiden, for whom he writes songs and performs live backing vocals on some tracks.

Best by far and original.

28 Randy Rhoads - Ozzy Osbourne Randy Rhoads - Ozzy Osbourne Randall William "Randy" Rhoads was an American heavy metal guitarist who played with Ozzy Osbourne and Quiet Riot. He was killed in a plane crash.
29 Devin Townsend Devin Townsend Devin Garret Townsend is a Canadian musician, songwriter and record producer. He was the founder, songwriter, vocalist, and guitarist in extreme metal band Strapping Young Lad from 1994 to 2007 and has an extensive career as a solo artist.

This guy is brilliant, he's made many great albums, and has a very diverse discography too (unlike Slayer, Cannibal etc.), he just plays whatever he feels like, for instance with SYL he did some brutal & fast stuff, later on in his solo career he did some somewhat more psychedelic things like Accelerated Evolution and some spacy relaxed stuff like Ghost. Helluva musician

Easily the best. With an ability to write such diversified yet ever-mind blowing music he should undoubtedly be in the top 10 at least. Listen to the album 'Terria' and come back and tell me I'm wrong, no other songwriter here could write something so inventive and inspired.

30 Till Lindemann - Rammstein Till Lindemann - Rammstein Till Lindemann is a German singer, songwriter, musician, actor, poet, and pyrotechnician. He is best known as the lead vocalist and frontman of the German Neue Deutsche Härte band Rammstein.
31 Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan - Avenged Sevenfold Jimmy James Owen Sullivan (February 9th, 1981 - December 28th 2009), better known by his stage name "The Rev" (Short for "The Reverend Tholomew Plague") was an American musician, singer and songwriter, best known as the former drummer, backing vocalist and co-founder of the American alternative metal/ metalcore more.

He wrote mostly of Avenged Sevenfold's top hits and all the Pinkly Smooth songs. The songs he wrote were very creative (listen to Pinkly Smooth - Mezmer / Avenged Sevenfold - A Little Piece Of Heaven).
He also was the drummer and background singer for Avenged Sevenfold and the lead vocalist and keyboarder for Pinkly Smooth.

A Little Piece of Heaven
Welcome to the Family
Chapter Four
Almost Easy
Bat Country
Seize the Day
Save Me

32 Phil Anselmo - Pantera Phil Anselmo - Pantera Philip Hansen "Phil" Anselmo is an American musician who is best known as the former lead vocalist of the heavy metal band Pantera. He currently is the vocalist of heavy metal bands Down and Superjoint Ritual.

This nazi can't write. Hasn't got any talent, just got famous because his redneck band made music that wannabe-tough-guy teens liked

33 Mark Jansen - Epica
34 Michael Amott - Arch Enemy; Spiritual Beggars Michael Amott - Arch Enemy; Spiritual Beggars Michael Amott is a British-born Swedish guitarist, songwriter, founding member of the bands Arch Enemy, Spiritual Beggars, and Carnage, as well as a former member of the grindcore band Carcass.
35 Marilyn Manson Marilyn Manson Brian Hugh Warner, better known by his stage name Marilyn Manson, is an American musician, songwriter, actor, painter, multimedia artist, author, and former music journalist.
36 Al Jourgensen - Ministry Al Jourgensen - Ministry Alain David Jourgensen (born Alejandro Ramírez Casas) is a Cuban-American musician, best known as the founder and frontman of industrial metal band Ministry (a pioneering band in the industrial metal genre).
37 Tom G. Warrior - Celtic Frost

You kidding me? This guy was one of the pioneers in Extreme Metal. He made great albums such as Monotheist and To Mega Therion

If I were to choose my favorites they would be, in no particular order: Ihsahn, Devin Townsend, Schuldiner, Åkerfeldt, Iommi, Harris, Cantrell, Mustaine, Tom, and a few others

38 Burton C. Bell - Fear Factory Burton C. Bell - Fear Factory Burton Christopher Bell is an American musician and vocalist, best known as the frontman and co-founder of the industrial metal band Fear Factory, of which he's the only consistent member.
39 Rolf Kasparek - Running Wild
40 Tony Kakko - Sonata Arctica Tony Kakko - Sonata Arctica Toni Kristian "Tony" Kakko is a Finnish musician, composer and vocalist. He is mainly known as the vocalist, primary songwriter, and creative force in the band Sonata Arctica since 1996.
41 Alexi Laiho - Children of Bodom Alexi Laiho - Children of Bodom Alexi "Wildchild" Laiho is a Finnish guitarist, composer, and vocalist. He is best known as the lead guitarist, lead vocalist and founding member of the melodic death metal band Children of Bodom, and is also the guitarist for Sinergy, The Local Band and Kylähullut.
42 Mike Patton - Faith No More Mike Patton - Faith No More Michael Allan "Mike" Patton is an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, film composer, producer, and actor, best known as the lead singer of the alternative metal band Faith No More.

Hello Mike Patton one of the best, come on he's made a ton of awesome songs for band like Tomahawk, Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, Fantomas, and Peeping Tom

43 Hansi Kürsch - Blind Guardian Hansi Kürsch - Blind Guardian Hansi Kürsch, born Hans Jürgen Kürsch, is the lead singer, lyricist, co-composer and bassist for German power metal band Blind Guardian . Heavily influenced by Freddie Mercury, he creates a huge choir effect by overdubbing his own voice multiple times in complex, overlapping vocal harmonies. He records more.

He and Andre write the compositions for all of their songs except their covers, and Hansi writes all of their lyrics. He should be higher. I'm surprised Metal_Treasure hasn't commented on this list yet. - PhoenixAura81

44 Klaus Meine and Rudolf Schenker - Scorpions Klaus Meine and Rudolf Schenker - Scorpions Klaus Meine is a German vocalist, best known as the lead singer of the hard rock band Scorpions. He and guitarist Rudolf Schenker are the only two members of the group to appear on every Scorpions album.
45 Jerry Cantrell - Alice In Chains Jerry Cantrell - Alice In Chains Jerry Fulton Cantrell Jr. is an American musician, singer-songwriter and guitarist best known as the founder, lead guitarist, co-lead vocalist and main songwriter of the rock band Alice in Chains.

Not a technical shred freak or anything like that but he writes brilliant songs and that's more important in my book

46 M. Shadows - Avenged Sevenfold M. Shadows - Avenged Sevenfold Matthew Charles Sanders, better known by his stage name M. Shadows, is an American musician, best known as the lead vocalist, songwriter and founding member of the American metalcore/alternative metal band Avenged Sevenfold.

Beast and the Harlot
Unholy Confessions
Critical Acclaim
Buried Alive
Burn it Down
Bat Country
Seize the Day
Dear God
Warmness on the Soul

47 Jon Oliva - Savatage Jon Oliva - Savatage John Nicholas Oliva, known as Jon Oliva, is an American composer, multi-instrumentalist and singer. Co-founder of the metal band Savatage and the rock opera Trans-Siberian Orchestra. He's got a real 4 octave range, able to morph the sound of his voice to any style, from John Lennon and Freddie Mercury, more.
48 Lemmy - Motorhead Lemmy - Motorhead Ian Fraser Kilmister, known as Lemmy, was an English musician, singer and songwriter who founded and fronted the rock band Motörhead. He was a bassist and a singer known for his raspy voice. He died in 2015 from cancer and other health problems.

Lemmy is a genius songwriter. Lyrics and music combined. Nobody says it like Lemmy does.

Lemmy is a poet of Rock'n roll!

49 Kerry King - Slayer Kerry King - Slayer Kerry Ray King is an American musician, best known as a guitarist for the American thrash metal band Slayer.
50 Ihsahn - Emperor Ihsahn - Emperor Ihsahn is a Norwegian composer, multi-instrumentalist, and vocalist. He is best known for his work with Norwegian black metal band Emperor.
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List Stats

800 votes
59 listings
8 years, 229 days old

Top Remixes (9)

1. Steve Harris - Iron Maiden
2. Jeff Hanneman - Slayer
3. Dave Mustaine - Megadeth
1. Corey Taylor - Slipknot
2. Serj Tankian
3. James Hetfield - Metallica
1. Mikael Akerfeldt - Opeth
2. John Petrucci - Dream Theater
3. Steve Harris - Iron Maiden

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