Best Symphonic Metal Bands


The Top Ten

1 Nightwish Nightwish Nightwish is a symphonic metal band from Kitee, Finland. The band was formed in 1996 by lead songwriter and keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen, guitarist Emppu Vuorinen, and lead singer Tarja Turunen. It's currently formed by Tuomas, Emppu, lead vocalist Floor Jansen, bassist and vocalist Marco Hietala, more.

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!

Seen them everywhere on the east coast

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2 Epica Epica Epica is a Dutch symphonic metal band, founded by guitarist and vocalist Mark Jansen after his departure from After Forever.

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 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.

Epica is one of few symphonic metal bands that manage to arrange the orchestra and choir in complicated but organised compositions. The band knows what they are doing. Each song shows professionalism and defines what musicianship is. I like nightwish and Delain but Epica is a master of composition.

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3 Within Temptation Within Temptation Within Temptation is a Dutch symphonic metal band founded in April 1996 by vocalist Sharon den Adel and guitarist Robert Westerholt.

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

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

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.

Just mind bending ly fantastic music. The sound reaches every level. You don't "listen" you "Experience "

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4 Kamelot Kamelot Kamelot is an American power metal band from Tampa, Florida, formed by Thomas Youngblood and Richard Warner in 1991. The Norwegian vocalist Roy Khan joined for the album Siége Perilous, and shared songwriting credit with Youngblood until his departure in April 2011. On June 22, 2012, Youngblood announced more.

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.

Although I love Nightwish and Epica, they have songs that I just can't listen to and tend to skip HOWEVER with Kamelot, every single track must be in replay in order for me to be satisfied. This is a great band!

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5 Delain

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.

Pretty much my favourite band at the moment. A brilliant run of albums with the last three being genuine five star belters. Charlotte's vocals are strengthening and the whole band are at the top of their game. At the heart are set of consistently great songs. 2016's Moonbathers is top notch from start to finish but perhaps The Human Contradiction and We Are the Others are their best release, each asked with superb melody driven rock and metal mixing symphonic elements with thundering energy, but never overspilling into melodrama. Can't recommend them enough.

My favorite band of all time. They were my intro to the genre, and while Within Temptation and Nightwish are my 2 and 3, Delain takes it for me. Each of their albums have a different flavor, and Charlotte's voice is incredible. Adding Merel at guitar only makes them more versatile and better. A great band that I wish got more recognition.

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6 Sirenia

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

I like Nightwish better but Sirenia is amazing. Definitely my second favorite band.

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7 Therion Therion Therion is a Swedish symphonic metal band founded by Christofer Johnsson in 1987. Its name was inspired by the Celtic Frost album To Mega Therion.

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.

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)

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.

The band that started it all, and still one of the best. Dark, chtonic, ancient. Like no another.

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8 Sonata Arctica Sonata Arctica Sonata Arctica is a Finnish power metal band from the town of Kemi, Finland. Created as a hard rock band named Tricky Beans, they later changed to Tricky Means and finally to Sonata Arctica, when they shifted to power metal.

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

Tony Kakko rules.
Hail from Indonesia.

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9 Rhapsody of Fire Rhapsody 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!

Fabio Lione= The Pavarotti of Metal
Luca Turilli= The Maestro
Patrice Guers= The Tapper
Alex Holzwarth= The Bald Pearl
Alex Starapoli= Best Keyboard player

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10 After 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!

I really love this band.
This is the first symphonic band that I've heard.

After Forever is awesome with Mark Jansen. it "WAS" the best chemistry.

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The Contenders

11 Xandria Xandria Xandria is a German symphonic metal band, founded by Marco Heubaum in 1997. The band's music combines elements of symphonic metal with light electronic elements.

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!

Xandria is amazing on albums, but just as amazing in concert. This band has incredible talent, each of them. Their videos are unique as well, often with lyrics on screen. How cool is that?

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12 Blind Guardian Blind Guardian Blind Guardian is a German power metal band formed in the mid-1980s in West Germany. They are often credited as one of the seminal and most influential bands in the power metal and speed metal subgenres. Heavily influenced by Queen, they use the technique of overdubbing. They also incorporate large more.

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!

When I added them, they weren't even on this list, now they're at 16th! Hope they reach the top 10 - RalphSaad

BG should be at the top of every list.

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13 Avantasia Avantasia Avantasia is a German supergroup rock opera project created by Tobias Sammet, vocalist of the band Edguy.

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!

Awesome! Love the "special guests" they incorporate as well!

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14 Leaves' Eyes Leaves' Eyes Leaves' Eyes is a German-Norwegian symphonic metal band from Stavanger, Norway and Ludwigsburg, Germany.

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.

Before Liv Kristine was in Leaves' Eyes, she was the lead for Theater of Tragedy.

Yes, Lovelorn and Vinland Saga are must listens. Lovelorn has a more folkish feel to it and Vinland Saga has a more epic sound. - IronSabbathPriest

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15 Lacuna Coil Lacuna Coil Lacuna Coil is an Italian metal band from Milan. Since their formation in 1994, the group has had two name changes, being previously known as Sleep of Right and Ethereal.

I'm surprised this group is not on here already. I think that they continue to produce really great songs with strong guitar riffs and great vocals from Cristina. I love love love Lacuna Coil.

Good band, but why are they on a 'Symphonic Bands' list? Because they use a little bit of synth/keyboard? Just no.

I am not a hardcore fun but simply a supporter of the band. I believe that their new killer album Delirium will finally make me fan!

Though Lacuna Coil isn�'t exactly a symphonic metal band, they deserve a higher rank because of their unique style consisting of powerful riffs and beautiful melodies.
Last but not least there is that amazing singer-duo Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro, which manages to give every single song something special.

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16 Opeth Opeth Opeth is a Swedish progressive death metal band from Stockholm, formed in 1990 by David Isberg, who invited Mikael Akerfeldt into the band as a bassist. Isberg ended up leaving the band, which lead to Mikael becoming the band's vocalist, guitarist, principal songwriter, and driving force. Along with more.

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!

Opeth is not a Symphonic Metal band. PLEASE! It's a fantastic band, one of the best metal bands of all the times, but it is not a symphonic metal band, I repeat.

Opeth is awesome and precised but NOT symphonic!

Opeth is amazing! But I would classify more as progressive rather than symphonic - Jukass

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17 Haggard

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.

Impossible to tag Haggard's music, so different and awesome. No other bands do the same and I think no other bands could do the same. Their music take you to authentic Renaissance, but with the power of metal. Thanks to Asis and the rest of the band for playing.

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18 Symphony X Symphony X Symphony X is an American progressive metal band from Middletown, New Jersey. Founded in 1994, the band consists of guitarist Michael Romeo, keyboardist Michael Pinnella, drummer Jason Rullo, lead vocalist Russell Allen and bassist Michael Lepond.

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

Recently (in the past year) found this band. When I think of all the years I missed not listening to their music, it kills me. At least I found them before I died.

Symphony X is very good, but I would not call them Symphonic, more of a Neo-Classical vibe to me. I am not putting them down, they are amazing. Paradise Lost is a Masterpiece. Revelation (Divus Pennae Ex Tragoedia) is one of the best pieces of music that has come out in the last 20 years.

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19 Evanescence Evanescence Evanescence is an American rock band founded in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1995 by singer/pianist Amy Lee and guitarist Ben Moody.

Amy Lee has an amazing voice capable of very low and very high notes and she always sounds great! And she can play the piano and the harp! Her songs can appeal to every emotion a human could feel.

They must be higher! No singer of any band is able to complete with Amy Lee... Evanescence is just the best band of all time. Go listen to Lost in paradise and you'll see what I talk about

Evanescence are not a very good band, but Amy Lee is an incredible vocalist. If she were in any band with good writing and solid musicianship, they'd be amazing.

LOL, they aren't a metal band. - Metal_Treasure

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20 Tristania

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.

One of the best if not the best. Their music defines the genre.

They should be on top.

They define and improve several styles, should be in 1st place!
By the goddess... How much we miss you Vibeke!

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Top Remixes (30)

1. Evanescence
2. Epica
3. Delain
1. Nightwish
2. Kamelot
3. Stratovarius
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