Best Classic Heavy Metal Bands

Powerfultekin

The Top Ten

1 Iron Maiden Iron Maiden Iron Maiden are an English heavy metal band formed in Leyton, East London, in 1975 by bassist and primary songwriter Steve Harris. The most critically acclaimed period for the band was from 1983-1989. With vocalist Bruce Dickinson, bassist Steve Harris, lead guitarist Dave Murray, rhythm guitarist Adrian ...read more.
2 Judas Priest Judas Priest Judas Priest are a British heavy metal band that formed in Birmingham, England, in 1969. They are often referred to as one of the greatest metal bands of all time, and are even commonly called “The Metal Gods”, after one of the songs on their 1980 album “British Steel”. ...read more.
3 Black Sabbath Black Sabbath Black Sabbath were a Heavy Metal band formed in Birmingham, England in 1968 by guitarist and songwriter Tony Iommi, Singer Ozzy Osbourne, Bassist and Main Lyricist Geezer Butler and Drummer Bill Ward. The band got into mainstream after improving after their debut album got negative feedback. In 1978, ...read more.
4 Metallica Metallica Metallica is an American Thrash Metal band formed in 1981 . The original lineup was James Hetfield (Vocalist and Rhythm guitarist), Dave Mustaine (Lead Guitar), Lars Ulrich (Drums), Ron McGovney (Bassist). The group came into mainstream from their Self-Titled album and the hit single "Enter Sandman". ...read more.

This is thrash and not classic heavy metal. - Metal_Treasure

5 Megadeth Megadeth Megadeth is an American thrash metal band from Los Angeles, California. Megadeth was formed in 1983 by guitarist Dave Mustaine and bassist David Ellefson, shortly after Mustaine was fired from Metallica. They have released 15 studio albums to date, and have gone through many lineup changes, with Dave ...read more.

thrash - SoldierOfFortune

6 Pantera Pantera Pantera was an American Heavy Metal band formed in 1981 by guitarist Dimebag Darrell and drummer Vinnie Paul. The band started out as a Glam Metal act in the 1980s with little success. After discarding their original lead vocalist and enlisting Phil Anselmo, the band signed a major record deal with ...read more.

thrash - SoldierOfFortune

I mean NWAHM - SoldierOfFortune

7 Dio Dio Dio was an American heavy metal band formed in 1982 and led by vocalist Ronnie James Dio, after he left Black Sabbath with intentions to form a new band with fellow former Black Sabbath member, drummer Vinny Appice.
8 Motorhead Motorhead Motörhead were an English heavy metal/Hard Rock band formed in June 1975 by bassist, singer, and songwriter Ian Fraser "Lemmy" Kilmister, who was the sole constant member; guitarist and songwriter Larry Wallis; and drummer Lucas Fox. The band's harsh vocals and fast paced tempos helped inspire speed ...read more.
9 Deep Purple Deep Purple Deep Purple are an English rock band formed in Hertford in 1968. They are considered to be among the pioneers of heavy metal and modern hard rock, although their musical approach changed over the years. Originally formed as a progressive rock band, the band shifted to a heavier sound in 1970. Deep Purple, ...read more.
10 Rainbow Rainbow Rainbow are a British rock band led by guitarist Ritchie Blackmore from 1975 to 1984 and 1993 to 1997. They were originally established with Ronnie James Dio as the lead singer and lyricist. Rainbow were ranked No. 90 on VH1's 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock. The band has sold over 28 million albums ...read more.

The Contenders

11 Slayer Slayer Slayer is an American thrash metal band from Huntington Park, California, formed in 1981 by guitarists Jeff Hanneman and Kerry King. They rose to fame with their 1986 album Reign in Blood, and is credited as one of the big four of thrash metal bands, the others being Metallica, Megadeth, and Anthrax. ...read more.
12 Manowar Manowar Manowar is an American heavy metal band from New York City, New York. Formed in 1980, the group is known for lyrics based on fantasy and mythology.
13 Mercyful Fate Mercyful Fate Mercyful Fate was a Danish heavy metal band from Copenhagen, formed in 1981 by vocalist King Diamond and guitarist Hank Shermann.
14 Accept Accept Accept is a German heavy metal band from the town of Solingen, originally assembled by former vocalist Udo Dirkschneider, guitarist Wolf Hoffmann and bassist Peter Baltes.
15 Diamond Head Diamond Head Diamond Head are an English heavy metal band formed in 1976 in Stourbridge, England. The band is recognised as one of the leading members of the new wave of British heavy metal and is acknowledged by thrash metal bands such as Metallica and Megadeth as an important early influence.
16 Queensryche Queensryche Queensrÿche is an American progressive heavy metal band formed in 1982 in Bellevue, Washington, out of the local band the Mob. They released their self titled EP in 1984, but didn’t gain notoriety until the release of their critically acclaimed album Operation: Mindcrime in 1988. As of now, they ...read more.
17 Uriah Heep Uriah Heep Uriah Heep are an English rock band formed in London in 1969 that was one of the top rock bands in the early 1970s. Twelve of the band's albums have made it to the UK Albums Chart (Return to Fantasy reached No. 7 in 1975). Uriah Heep's distinctive features include a massive keyboard sound, strong vocal ...read more.

Not a metal band.

Basically not a metal band but in the early 70s they released several metal songs - it was important because in the early 70s every metal song was something significant. - Metal_Treasure

18 Savatage Savatage Savatage is an American heavy metal band founded by the brothers Jon and Criss Oliva in 1978 at Astro Skate in Tarpon Springs, Florida.
19 Anthrax Anthrax Anthrax is an American thrash metal band from New York City, formed in 1981 by guitarist Scott Ian and bassist Dan Lilker.
20 Helloween Helloween Helloween is a German power metal band founded in 1984 in Hamburg, Northern Germany. The band is a pioneering force in the power metal genre, and their second and third studio albums, Keeper of the Seven Keys: Part I and Part II, are considered masterpieces of the genre.
21 Primal Fear Primal Fear Primal Fear are a German metal band formed in 1997 by Ralf Scheepers and Mat Sinner. They play heavy metal, power metal and speed metal. Primal Fear remind of Judas Priest but Primal Fear are faster and heavier. They use twin (dual) lead guitars. Ralf Scheepers voice reminds of Rob Halford.

"Classic Heavy Metal" can be a very confusing term, moreover the author didn't say what he meant. But I guess it's traditional / classic heavy metal (which excludes other subgenres such as thrash, prog, death, etc.)
Now, Primal Fear are a modern band but they play heavy metal of Judas Priest type. Pure metal. And they are very good. They also have speed and power metal songs. - Metal_Treasure

22 Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin were an English rock band formed in London in 1968. The group consisted of Robert Plant (Vocal), Jimmy Page (Guitar), John Paul Jones (Bass, Keyboard) and John Bonham (Drums). The band's heavy, guitar-driven sound, rooted in blues and psychedelia on their early albums, has earned them recognition ...read more.

They have never been a metal band. - Metal_Treasure

23 Blue Cheer Blue Cheer Blue Cheer was an American rock band that initially performed and recorded in the late 1960s and early 1970s and was sporadically active until 2009. Based in San Francisco, Blue Cheer played in a psychedelic blues rock style, and are also credited as being some of the earliest pioneers of heavy metal, ...read more.

This isn't metal. - Metal_Treasure

24 Thin Lizzy Thin Lizzy Thin Lizzy are an Irish rock band formed in Dublin in 1969. Their leader Phil Lynott was composer or co-composer of almost all of the band's songs, and the first black Irishman to achieve commercial success in the field of rock music. Thin Lizzy's most successful songs, "Whiskey in the Jar", "Jailbreak" ...read more.
25 Blue Oyster Cult Blue Oyster Cult Blue Öyster Cult is an American rock band from Long Island, New York, whose most successful work includes the hard rock and heavy metal songs "(Don't Fear) The Reaper", "Godzilla" and "Burnin' for You".

Not a metal band. - Metal_Treasure

26 Nuclear Assault Nuclear Assault Nuclear Assault is an American thrash metal band from New York City, formed after bassist Dan Lilker left Anthrax in 1984. After releasing five full-length albums and touring relentlessly throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, Nuclear Assault split up in 1995. They briefly reunited in 1997 and again ...read more.
27 Annihilator Annihilator Annihilator is a Canadian thrash metal band founded in 1984 by vocalist, guitarist, bassist, songwriter, engineer, producer, mixer and mastering engineer Jeff Waters and former vocalist John Bates.
28 Anal C*** Anal C*** Anal C*** was an American grindcore band founded by vocalist Seth Putnam in 1988. The band is known for their highly offensive lyrics which included themes of misogyny, homophobia, racism, Nazism, antisemitism, and schadenfreude (ridicule of the unfortunate). Their music has been received negatively ...read more.

It's under question whether they are metal at all. Metal Archives don't consider them metal because they are mostly extreme punk.
Whatever it is, I am sure their genre is NOT classic/traditional heavy metal and they shouldn't be on this list. - Metal_Treasure

29 Bolt Thrower Bolt Thrower Bolt Thrower are a British death metal band from Coventry, England. They formed in 1986 and released their first album with Vinyl Solution in 1988. The band then shifted to a new record label, Earache Records, soon becoming one of the best selling bands on that label.

This is a good band but they don't play classic heavy metal - Metal_Treasure

30 Ratt Ratt Ratt is an American heavy metal band that had significant commercial success in the 1980s, with their albums having been certified as gold, platinum, and multi-platinum by the RIAA.
31 Dream Theater Dream Theater Dream Theater is an American progressive metal band from Boston, Massachusetts. The band was formed in 1985 under the name of "Majesty", only to change its name to Dream Theater later. ...read more.
32 Iced Earth Iced Earth Iced Earth is an American heavy metal band from Tampa, Florida. It was formed in 1985 under the name Purgatory by guitarist and main songwriter Jon Schaffer and original drummer Greg Seymour.
33 Saxon Saxon Saxon are an English heavy metal band formed in 1976, in South Yorkshire. As one of the leaders of the new wave of British heavy metal, they had eight UK Top 40 albums in the 1980s including four UK Top 10 albums and two Top 5 albums.
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Best Classic Heavy Metal Bands (Without Thrash Metal) Best Heavy Metal Bands Top 10 New Wave of American Heavy Metal Bands Top Ten Bands to Be In the Heavy Metal Hall of Fame Best Debut Albums From Heavy Metal Bands

List Stats

33 listings
2 years, 77 days old

Top Remixes (6)

1. Iron Maiden
2. Deep Purple
3. Judas Priest
zxm
1. Black Sabbath
2. Judas Priest
3. Motorhead
jared5
1. Black Sabbath
2. Iron Maiden
3. Judas Priest
SoldierOfFortune

WRemix
View All 6

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