Top 10 Best Metal Songwriters

The Top Ten
1 Steve Harris 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.

The best one - three decades and still on top
Deep respect!

I would vote him twice if I could.. I would vote for him to president of the world

2 Dave Mustaine 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 band Megadeth shortly after.

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.

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

3 James Hetfield 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.

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..!

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

This guy. Come on the best rock god ever!

Hey field is doing Davy a favor!

4 Jeff Hanneman 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.

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

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

5 Tuomas Holopainen 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 often known as "Metal Mozart" clearly that means the music he writes is out of this world, honestly he should be in Hollywood that's how good he is.

A songwriting genius. Strongly influenced by film music composers such as Hans Zimmer and Ramin Djawadi. Holopainen is a master of melody and with his band Nightwish he has surrounded himself with outstanding musicians.

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!

For me he's the best! The songs he wrote are just so amazing! I don't know what else to say. Songs like Romanticide, Higher Than Hope and Sleeping Sun are just so amazing!

6 Mikael Akerfeldt 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.

This Swede is one of my favorite songwriters that I study. He's the primary songwriter of Opeth. Every riffs you hear in Opeth's discography (meaning hundreds) was made by him, every folk-style acoustic guitar melodies in Opeth's discography was made him. He's not the lead guitarist so he doesn't do the technical solos (That would be Peter/Fredrik's job) but writes and play the melodic solos (so about 60% of their solos?). He's the one who arranges these 10 minute songs full of different parts with diverse musical territory. Great lyricist. He IS Opeth. If you like metal/rock and want to improve your songwriting, I STRONGLY, STRONGLY recommend studying this genius.

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.

Should be the top of the list easy. No other music brings the same emotion and energy to the table consistently than Opeth. He's written fantastic music from death metal, to jazz and everything Mikael touches is basically certified gold

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.

7 Chuck Schuldiner 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.

My number one vote for greatest metal songwriter! He was spiritual and philosophical. He covered many subjects in psychology and science-based themes. Most other metal songwriters bands focused on death, war, the ends of the world, and even partying. Chuck Schuldiner changed the game for the better. His song structures were experimental and his choice of melodies was unique and anointed by some higher power to say the least. My favorite album "The Sound of Perseverance" focused on human struggle with life and death. He focused on mental, emotional, and psychological abuse in the song "Bite the Pain". He used his Jewish influences in songs like "To Forvive is to Suffer" and "Flesh and the Power It Holds". He knew how to construct the perfect solos and rhythms whether they were was chaotic like in "Scavenger of Human Sorrow" or melodic and beautifully ancient like in "Voice of the Soul". He never wrote a bad album and focused on mastering his craft and changing the game with each album ...more

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

Chuck made the most defining lyrics I've read.

Best songwriter ever

8 Tony Iommi 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 and ring fingers on his right hand, and considered giving up music. His boss encouraged him to continue playing by playing a record of the jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt who became famous even though his fretting hand was limited due to an injury. He carried on and down tuned his guitar for easier playing, which helped give birth to heavy metal music.

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

9 John Petrucci 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.
10 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 in metal culture and is known for his medieval themed lyrics. Dio possessed a powerful versatile vocal range capable of singing both hard rock and lighter ballads; according to Rainbow/Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore upon hearing him sing, "I felt shivers down my spine." Dio sold over 47 million albums throughout his career. He died from stomach cancer in 2010 at the age of 67.

Why isn't Dio at least top 10?

The Contenders
11 Jon Schaffer 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.

12 Maynard James Keenan 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. He also is the singer of A Perfect Circle and Puscifer bands that vary in style.

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

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.

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

13 Ritchie Blackmore 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 "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time" in 2011. In 2016 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as one of original members of Deep Purple.

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 Glenn Tipton 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.
15 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 more.
16 Mat Sinner 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.
17 Jeff Waters 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, bass player, engineer and producer. He has owned Watersound Studios Inc. since 1994. At a young age he took some classical and jazz guitar lessons. Notable songs include Alison Hell, Human Insecticide, The Trend, Ultra-Motion, Detonation.

Incredible gift for riffs, solos and melodies.

18 Adrian Smith 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.

19 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. more.
20 Jerry Cantrell 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.
21 Michael Weikath 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!

22 Charlie Benante
23 Tobias Sammet 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.

With each subsequent album, Sammet keeps writings great lyrics for both of his bands. Avantasia in particular requires very demanding lyrics since some albums follow a story, and he always delivers!

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

24 Corey Taylor 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.

25 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.

8Load More
PSearch List