Top Ten Best Metal Lyricists

nooreldeen

The Top Ten

1 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.

From 'Ride the Lightning' up to and including the 'Black' album, James, as a very young man, penned some of the most poignant and poetic lyrics any metal musician has ever concocted. From capital punishment, child abuse, corruption, perception, addiction, religion...the master did it all. Even the great Maynard James Keenan has acknowledged how great Metallica's first 5 albums are. People consider Hetfield as a drunkard, but despite his issues with the drink, he spoke for a generation of kids, as a kid, for a decade. I was barely learning how to talk to a girl while this genius was busy critiquing the world.

He knows what he's doing when he puts pen to paper and writes a song...

This guy is God! I was almost sure to see James on the top of the list before even clicking on the list.

The words he use is what made me addicted. He's not number one for me but one of the top ones.

V 2 Comments
2 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 ...read more.

Mind blowing lyrics, full of meaning,Chuck is #1 and will always own the crown. - GREYBOYY

Lyrics were deep and meaningful. Every word meant something and contributed to the story perfectly. - Thomasb68

The album "Symbolic" has the best lyrics in all of extreme metal. - Caleb9000

Very amazing lyrics about society... And about humans... He is my favourite lyricist... Try "The Flesh And The Power It Holds", "Crystal Mountains", "Empty Words", "Symbolic", "0 Tolerence", Lack Of Comphersion". "Suicide Machine" - nooreldeen

3 DIO - Rainbow

Dio didn't write lyrics, he wrote poetry and poetic philosophy.

"For every moment of truth, there's confusion in life" (Heaven And Hell, Black Sabbath)

"Don't write in starlight
'Cause the words may come out real
Don't hide in doorways
You may find the key that opens up your soul
Don't go to Heaven cause it's really only Hell
Don't smell the flowers
They're an evil drug to make you lose your mind" (Don't Talk To Strangers, Dio) - Metal_Treasure

There is knowone better Ronnie was a pure musical talent I mean come on he could do it all! RIP MY FRIEND

Truly a poet

4 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 ...read more.
5 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 ...read more.

Just look at "My Last Words". He should be at the top of the list.

James Hetfield is in the top of list are you kidding😂 this man is the king of lyrics the king of metal

6 Tobias Sammet - Edguy Tobias Sammet - Edguy 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.

Very rich vocabulary despite English is not his mother tongue.
My favorite lyrics (not typical for him - it's a bonus track):
"Vienna has got Mozart
Chopin they had in Paris (kind of)
The Catholics got the Pope
England's got the Beatles
And even more so:
England's got Steve Harris

England's got Steve Harris
And if that wasn't enough for you
England's got Bruce Dickinson
And on top of it - the other ones
In Iron Maiden too, yes it's true" (Edguy - England, 2014, bonus track). - Metal_Treasure

7 Henrik Fevre - Anubis Gate

Great singer and lyricist who writes pure emotions! Once you hear it you will be addicted

Henrik is just the best!

Fantastic lyricist! One of the best out there.

The best lyricist ever!

8 Randy Blythe - Lamb of God Randy Blythe - Lamb of God David Randall "Randy" Blythe is the vocalist and lyricist of American heavy metal band Lamb of God and side-project band Halo of Locusts.

Very amazing lyricist... I think he is the only lyricist who can come with a double-meaning songs... And sometimes hidden meanings... Try "11th Hour", "Omerta", "Laid To Rest" "Walk With Me In Hell", " Descending", "Ghost Walking", "Hourglass" " Vigil" (vigil some people look to it as an anti-christian song... But look deep and you will find it a song about iraq war and politics and about Gorege B. W) - nooreldeen

Number One In My Book For Sure. When It Comes To Bad Ass Lyrics, RaNdy's The Best Hands down

V 1 Comment
9 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.

Listen to anything from the 80s best lyricist in the band but sometimes he wrote questionable songs like From Here To Eternity, The Angel and the Gambler but Iron Maiden's lyrics and musical style will be nothing without Steve. Deserves more recognition than Hetfield who's lyrics nowadays is dry, plain, and uninspired

Very amazing lyricist... Try "Hallowed Be Thy Name", "Dance Of The Death", "The Final Frontier", "When The Wild Wind Blows" and other great lyrics written by steve harris - nooreldeen

He deserves number 1... n Dani at no.2

Man, HARRIS IS THE REAL number 1.THIS IS A RETARDED LIST.

V 2 Comments
10 Jeff Waters - Annihilator Jeff Waters - Annihilator Jeff Waters (born February 13, 1966) is a Canadian metal musician and founder of the metal band Annihilator . He's best known as the guitarist for Annihilator, appreciated for his fast riffs and solos . Waters is also the primary songwriter in the band . Very often he has taken on the role of lead singer, ...read more.

The Contenders

11 Adam ''Nergal'' Darski - Behemoth

Best lyricist ever even though Metallica is my favorite band these guys are true poets he is by far the best with hetfield as a 2nd I'm a professional musician and I see this guy as a lyrical genius and I take notes from him

He does it very well mixing philosophy with history,his lyrics is really intersting subject and hard to understand..and also in the early album he wrote very well lyrics about nature and paganism with a touch of sorrow.. - nooreldeen

These days they write about Satanism and Thelema (Now) but unlike many Satanic bands they're not into cliche lyrics, Satan blah blah blah, Antichrist and and blah, their lyrics are strong but with bad meanings. - GREYBOYY

12 Mikael Akerfeldt - Opeth, Bloodbath Mikael Akerfeldt - Opeth, Bloodbath 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. ...read more.

He writes bueatiful lyrics about nature, Relationships, Life, Inner Struggles with opeth... - nooreldeen

13 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".
14 Dani Filth - Cradle Of Filth Dani Filth - Cradle Of Filth

Honestly, I feel that Dani Filth should be on the very top of the list. He has a very high intellectual ability when it comes to writing poetry. I feel that he has the most complex writing ability than any one else in the metal music industry.

Dani Filth is the best lyricist I've ever heard, better than all metal, hip hop or poetry writers I've ever heard. The way he delivers the gothic stories, the imagery and the complexity in his poetry is just perfect!

He does very amazing poetry lyrics with gothic themes... Even I don't like gothic themes but I have to admit that Dani Filth is Genius - nooreldeen

15 Kai Hansen - Gamma Ray Kai Hansen - Gamma Ray
16 Ville Friman - Insomnium

He writes amazing lyrics about pain and sorrow... - nooreldeen

Undoubtedly One of the best lyricists in metal along with Nillo Sevanen (his bandmate. The lyrics can even move a rock to tears

17 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.

"But enough about the collective Judas, who could deny you were the one who illuminated your little piece of the divine." Maynard should be celebrated along with Whitman.

As below, so above I imagine.

Drawn outside the lines of reason.

Push the envelope, watch it bend.

An amazing lyricist with a powerful voice backing it.

Anyone who knows anything about writing will tell you how good Maynard is as a lyricist.

18 Corey Taylor - Slipknot, Stone Sour Corey Taylor - Slipknot, Stone Sour 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.

Stone sour and slipknot lyrics u can feel when there said. Whether it's the emotional rage of Iowa, or any individual song. Corey has a writing style like no other. Something sad like bother to something enraged like heretic anthem. Not to mention his huge vocal range the second biggest in popular music.

His words are deep and you can't help but feel torents of emotion rain down upon you as he blasts it out of the mike

19 Warrel Dane - Nevermore
20 Matt Drake - Evile
21 Fernando Ribeiro - Moonspell Fernando Ribeiro - Moonspell Fernando Ribeiro has been the lead vocalist for the Portuguese metal band Moonspell since 1992. He sings gothic metal, black metal, doom metal, melodic death metal.

This guy is not just a good lyricist - he's a poet (published three poetry books).
"It's when life's so precious that every moment hurts" (a line from the song WhiteOmega, 2012). - Metal_Treasure

22 Phil Anselmo Phil Anselmo 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.

Stone the crow cemetary gates drag the waters

23 Tom Araya - Slayer Tom Araya - Slayer Tomás Enrique "Tom" Araya Díaz is a Chilean American musician, best known as the bassist and vocalist of the American thrash metal band Slayer.
24 Gene Hoglan - Dark Angel Gene Hoglan - Dark Angel Eugene "Gene" Victor Hoglan II is an American drummer. He is acclaimed for his creativity in drum arrangements, including use of odd devices for percussion effects and his trademark lengthy double-kick drum rhythms.

Try lyrics of "Black Prophecies" to see what I'm talking about. Epic! And don't forget to give a listen to this song - thrash at its best. - Metal_Treasure

25 Robb Flynn - Machine Head Robb Flynn - Machine Head
26 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.

I hate this guy

Go eat a dick if u hate M. Shadows and A7X!
A7X foREVer

27 Serj Tankian - System of a Down Serj Tankian - System of a Down Serj Tankian is a Lebanese-born Armenian-American singer-songwriter, composer, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, poet, and political activist.
28 Mike Portony - Dream Theater
29 Jari Mäenpää - Wintersun Jari Mäenpää - Wintersun Jari Mäenpää (born 23 December 1977) is a Finnish heavy metal multi-instrumentalist and songwriter. He is the founder of metal band Wintersun for which he records all instruments. Before forming Wintersun, Mäenpää was best known for his role in the folk metal band Ensiferum.

One of the best in his sub-genre listen to "Starchild" and also check his previous work in Ensiferum its what made him. When I first heard Victory song I came in my pants.

One of the best lyricist I have ever heard look up "starchild" by Wintersun and "Victory song" by Ensiferum. and yes its in English

30 Geezer Butler Geezer Butler Terence Michael Joseph "Geezer" Butler is an English musician and songwriter. Butler is best known as the bassist and primary lyricist of heavy metal band Black Sabbath.

Wrote pretty much every song before dio entered the band.

Main lyricist in Black Sabbath, do I need to say anymore?

His lyrics will live on forever

Black Sabbath I mean yeah

V 1 Comment
31 Mark Hunter - Chimaira
32 Howard Jones - Killswitch Engage Howard Jones - Killswitch Engage Howard Jones (Born July 20th, 1970) is an American Heavy Metal vocalist. He currently fronts the band Light the Torch (Formerly Devil You Know), but is best known for his tenure in the band Killswitch Engage from 2002 to 2012 and was a vocalist for the now defunct Blood Had Been Shed.
33 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.
34 Mikael Stanne Mikael Stanne

From dark romanticism to psychological introspection, Stanne understands how best to use words to convey whatever message he desires. An impressive feat considering the swede writes his lyrics in and speaks perfect English.

35 Winston McCall - Parkway Drive Winston McCall - Parkway Drive Winston Thomas McCall is an Australian singer-songwriter and the lead vocalist of the metalcore band Parkway Drive and the hardcore punk band Rain Dogs.

Poetic, deep, and full of meaning

36 Mille Petrozza - Kreator Mille Petrozza - Kreator Miland "Mille" Petrozza is a German metal guitarist and singer of Italian descent, who has been the lead vocalist and guitarist for the German thrash metal band Kreator since 1984.

Lol best lyricist ever just listen to violent revolution enemy of god or the full phantom antichrist album.

37 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.

"Mist is in the trees, stone sweats with a dew
The morning sunrise, red before the blue"

His story telling is spectacular. His lyrics have an amazing fluidity than can really paint beautiful vivid images in your mind. Empire of the Clouds, Coming Home, Man of Sorrows, Tears of the Dragon, Navigate the Seas of the Son, and Out of the Shadows are among his best writing. His singing also compliments his lyrics so much.

38 King Diamond King Diamond 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 ...read more.
39 Jeff Hanneman Jeff Hanneman Jeffrey John "Jeff" Hanneman was an American musician, best known as a founding member of the American thrash metal band Slayer.
40 Ihsahn - Emperor Ihsahn - Emperor
41 John Gallagher - Dying Fetus John Gallagher - Dying Fetus
42 Matt Heafy - Trivium Matt Heafy - Trivium Matthew "Matt" Kiichi Heafy is a Japanese-American musician, best known as the lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist of the Orlando based Heavy Metal/Metalcore band Trivium.
43 The Rev - Avenged Sevenfold The Rev - Avenged Sevenfold 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 heavy metal band Avenged ...read more.
44 Jesse Leach - Killswitch Engage Jesse Leach - Killswitch Engage Jesse David Leach (Born July 3rd, 1978) is an American musician, best known as the vocalist and frontman of the band Killswitch Engage. Leach also fronts lesser-known metal bands, such as Seamless, The Empire Shall Fall and Times of Grace.
45 Phil Labonte - All That Remains
46 Steve Asheim - Deicide
47 Michael Keene - The Faceless
48 Ian Fraser "Lemmy" Kilmister - Motörhead
49 Neil Peart - Rush Neil Peart - Rush Neil Ellwood Peart, OC (born September 12, 1952 in Hamilton, Canada) is a Canadian-American musician and author, best known as the drummer and primary lyricist for the rock band Rush. Peart has received numerous awards for his musical performances.

His thoughts on lyrics: "I don't like lyrics that are just thrown together, that were obviously written as you went along, or the song was already written and the guy made up the lyrics in five minutes." - Metal_Treasure

50 Tim McIlrath - Rise Against Tim McIlrath - Rise Against Timothy James "Tim" McIlrath is an American punk rock musician. He is the lead singer, rhythm guitarist, songwriter and co-founder of the American punk rock band Rise Against.
PSearch List

Related Lists

Best Death Metal Lyricists Best Black Metal Lyricists Best Melodic Death Metal Lyricists Top Ten Best Nu-Metal Lyricist Top 10 Best Lyricists of All Time

List Stats

300 votes
62 listings
5 years, 10 days old

Top Remixes

1. Chuck Schuldiner - Death
2. Randy Blythe - Lamb of God
3. James Hetfield - Metallica
nooreldeen
1. DIO - Rainbow
2. Hansi Kürsch - Blind Guardian
3. Tobias Sammet - Edguy
Metal_Treasure
1. Adam ''Nergal'' Darski - Behemoth
2. James Hetfield - Metallica
3. Matt Drake - Evile
Wer13245

WRemix

Error Reporting

See a factual error in these listings? Report it here.
P