Top 10 Best Symphonic Metal Bands

The Top Ten
1 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,... read more

In my personal opinion, Nightwish is the best band I've ever known. All of those pieces that Tuomas composed are beyond comparison. The lyrics, the melody, the drums, the pipes, you name it, these guys know how to put all of these things together.

Tarja has made a mark in this band and has given it a name. Her operatic voice is one of a kind, and no one will ever replace her. However, Anette is not meant to replace her. Anette gave the band a new perspective on symphonic metal.

I do not believe that Nightwish is just Tarja. Its true power lies in its instrumental composition, not in the lead singer, and I think "Last of the Wilds" proved my point. You just can't live without their music.

2 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 perfects the genre when it comes to calling it "metal." The musicianship is excellent, starting from "Design Your Universe" and becoming even more flawless with "Requiem for the Indifferent."

Mark's compositions become stronger and stronger with each record, and his voice improves. Simone has also improved her voice and expanded it to include a rock/pop edge in addition to her operatic one. This way, she can seamlessly transition between styles and decide which is best for a song or a certain part. The dialogue with the other members is amazing, and their live shows are equally impressive.

It's the balance between the symphonic and the heavy that is perfect, especially 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 perfectly crafted by the new album.

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

A lot of bands usually have the same vibe with every album and just a little addition to their sound, but Within Temptation is always unique with every album!

Sharon den Adel's voice is absolutely angelic! Somewhere makes me cry every time! A lot of vocalists do not sound in their prime live, but Sharon kills it every time they perform live!

The Silent Force, in my opinion, is their best album. A lot of their songs are very nostalgic. Paired with Sharon's angelic voice, it makes that album heavenly.

You have to give Within Temptation credit 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 I discovered and definitely my absolute favorite! Their sound varies from album to album (but not straying away from the Symphonic Metal/Rock genre), and I love them for being so unique and original with every album! #WithinTemptationFTW!

4 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... read more

Kamelot has been the sole inspiration for many bands in the symphonic metal genre. They have beautiful, heavy, fast, and powerful music that covers a wide range of desires people look for in this genre. Not to mention, they are made up of some of the best musicians you will ever find, including probably the best singers in music history: Roy Khan and Tommy Karevik.

They have wonderful lyrics in concept album themes that 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, and powerful and epic orchestral backbones for their music. You just can't get any better than Kamelot.

5 Delain

Delain is pretty much my favorite band at the moment. They have had a brilliant run of albums, with the last three being genuine five-star belters. Charlotte's vocals are strengthening, and the whole band is at the top of their game.

At the heart are 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 releases. Each is packed with superb melody-driven rock and metal, mixing symphonic elements with thundering energy, but never overspilling into melodrama. I can't recommend them enough.

6 Rhapsody of Fire Rhapsody of Fire is an Italian symphonic power metal band created by Luca Turilli and Alex Staropoli, widely seen as a pioneer of the symphonic power metal subgenre.

Rhapsody of Fire is, in my view, one of the four best bands of all time, along with Queen, The Beatles, and Nightwish. Their songs are just fascinating. There isn't much music of such kind and level in this world. Fortunately, after the departure of Luca Turilli, the level of Rhapsody of Fire's music didn't worsen at all. I think that Alex Staropoli is one of the greatest composers in human history.

In my opinion, Rhapsody of Fire is 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 their live performances are amazing! Rhapsody of Fire is the best band I have ever heard!

7 Sirenia

At first, I thought Sirenia had too soft a singer (Ailyn). However, I found it amazing, and now it is my second favorite 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 are much heavier than The Enigma of Life or Nine Destinies and a Downfall. If you want to hear the best of them, check out their latest album, Perils of the Deep Blue (the 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.

8 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 seven years. Their personalities, their awesome music, inspiring lyrics, and one-of-a-kind attitude are the reasons for that. I have never seen 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 lovable maniac, and all of them are masters in what they do, both on stage and on album. Every song they ever wrote has a story of its own. The sweeping melodies and chilling guitar solos, in combination with Tony Kakko's versatile voice, make me have no mercy for my 'repeat' button whenever Sonata is playing!

9 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 in 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 to 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.)

10 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... read more

I would say they are not really symphonic metal, but they have enough albums over the last 20 years that successfully merge this style into their own.

One of my favorite bands overall.

Well, Nightfall in Middle Earth. Listen to it, and you'll understand. Though they are somewhat symphonic, this album deserves much higher recognition.

What? How can these music geniuses be in such a low position? They are just GREAT!

The Contenders
11 Fleshgod Apocalypse Fleshgod Apocalypse is an Italian death metal band. Formed in 2007, the group resides in Perugia and are currently signed to Willowtip Records and Nuclear Blast. The band is known for their fusion of symphonic metal with technical death metal.

This is one of the most original and amazing bands to come out of a flooded, generic genre where everybody sounds the same.

It's a great band with good studio albums and great live performances.

12 Septicflesh Septicflesh are a Greek symphonic death metal band from Athens, founded in 1990. They released their first full-length album Mystic Places of Dawn in April 1994.

If you understand some music theory and can appreciate a fast and brutal groove, then you'll realize this band is a rare one that truly combines these two worlds. They don't just palm mute on a simple fourth note for half of the song or make you predict the next instrument and scale. Their music is as heavy as the sun's core, deep and glorious, melting your heart and bringing tears to your eyes, which makes you experience the heaviest and saddest climaxes.

They also have a great evolution. Each album is better or at least good and different from the one before. Most fans' favorite is The Great Mass, which is so dark you can imagine a rain of dead bodies from the sky!

Fleshgod Apocalypse and Epica are also bands I think deserve to be honored as the best Symphonic Metal bands. It's too sad to see Fleshgod Apocalypse in the 40s on this list. There's a problem if artists like this are so underrated.

13 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.

Such an underrated band and deserving of more respect. Great vocals, great musicianship, great songs.

14 After Forever

They have a distinct sound in the symphonic metal scene. Floor is one of the best singers in symphonic metal and is used much better in this band than in her current band, Nightwish (also an amazing band).

Not to mention, the instrumentation is phenomenal.

It's difficult to choose 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.

Thanks to their music, I am able to type this message. Their music saved me in my darkest days.

I am still sad that they no longer exist as a band, but thankfully the ex-members are still involved in the music business.

15 Emperor Emperor was a Norwegian black metal band formed in 1991, regarded as highly influential by critics and emerging black metal bands.
16 Dimmu Borgir Dimmu Borgir is a Norwegian symphonic black metal band from Oslo, Norway, formed in 1993. The name is derived from Dimmuborgir, a volcanic formation in Iceland, the name of which means "dark cities" or "dark castles/fortresses" in Icelandic, Faroese and Old Norse.

If you could listen to only one song from this band, I'd recommend Progenies of The Great Apocalypse. Pay attention to their piano solos.

Even better, find a live version with an orchestra on YouTube.

Their compositions are complex yet beautiful, and the overall sound is just epic.

How are they so far down the list? They should be first!

17 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.

I am a Xandria fan, and I have never seen or heard anything like this! Save My Life is quite possibly one of the most emotionally intense things I have ever witnessed in my entire life. I love this band, and Diane van Giersbergen is, without a doubt, one of the most awesome female performers I have ever seen or heard. Lisa is also awesome and extremely emotionally powerful. Save My Life makes me cry!

I am currently seriously considering starting my own band, and I can honestly say that Xandria is beyond a shadow of a doubt one of the most important inspirations in my life. I love you, Xandria!

18 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... read 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 and life in. Great live, as well!

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

Avantasia is my favorite symphonic metal band for one reason: Tobias Sammet! I saw an Edguy show in Quebec City ten years ago. Only a few hundred people were attending, but wow, he won over the crowd in a minute. He's an ultimate frontman and an incredible vocal talent. He reminds me of Bruce Dickinson!

So, when I saw the name Avantasia on the 2013 bill of the Festival d'été de Québec, I bought my pass and saw a powerful performance by stars like Tobi, Sommerville, Kiske, and many others. Go to an Avantasia show, and I can assure you all, you will vote for Avantasia!

20 Tristania

This is a whole new level of orchestral metal. I think Tristania should be on top of the list. Harsh vocals and Vibeke's voice are just the perfect blend, and do concentrate on the keyboards and drums. The coordination is amazing. If you haven't heard the band, you're missing something.

The only drawback is that they changed their lineup. Angina from the album Beyond the Veil is the song you really should listen to.

I wonder why people forgot such an awesome band like Tristania. All the albums from "Widow's Weeds" to "Illumination" are symphonic metal masterpieces.

"Rubicon" and "Darkest White" are solid as well but with a different lineup. The vocals are on the highest level, and the musicianship is amazing. They deserve much more credit than they actually get.

21 Wintersun Wintersun is a metal band from Helsinki, Finland and was originally created by guitarist, keyboardist, bassist, songwriter and vocalist Jari Mäenpää as a side project to folk metal band Ensiferum for whom he was lead singer and guitarist.

You WILL listen to their (currently only 2) albums NON-STOP. If you like fast, heavy, and symphonic metal about dying in the dark, cold, unforgiving winter, or if you're just looking for something to please your musical soul, you can't go wrong with these guys.

Time I is one of the most awe-inspiring symphonic, progressive, and power metal albums ever recorded. Hands down.

22 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 band, it also falls into the progressive category. But they must be within the top five on 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 in the dungeon until death.

Recently, in the past year, I 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.

23 Beyond the Black Beyond the Black is a German symphonic metal band from Mannheim originally consisting of Jennifer Haben (vocals), Nils Lesser (guitar), Christopher Hummels (guitar, vocals), Tobias Derer (drums), Erwin Schmidt (bass) and Michael Hauser (keyboard). As of August 2016, the members parted ways, with Haben... read more

Beyond the Black creates some epic music. Their recipe is a characterful melody mixed with amazing lyrics, sung by the most beautiful voice of the younger singers out there!

24 Haggard

Honestly, Haggard may be one of the most underrated 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 music 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 out Awaking the Centuries. You won't regret it!

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

In my opinion, Evanescence are just legendary. They were the first rock band I came across and actually liked, mainly because the first song I heard from them was Lithium, which was so dark.

There's not a song from them that I don't like. They were the first rock band I came across, so they hold a special place in my heart.

Amy Lee has an amazing voice capable of very low and very high notes, and she always sounds great! She can play the piano and the harp!

Her songs can appeal to every emotion a human could feel.

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