Top 10 Founders of Power Metal

The Top Ten
1 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

Rainbow created power metal - 'Gates Of Babylon' was the first power metal song ever.

'Eyes Of The World' was the first symphonic power metal song (no symphonic orchestra but symphonic vibe from start to finish).

'A Light In The Black' and 'Kill The King' were among the first speed metal songs. Currently speed metal is a subgenre of power metal because speed metal is a smaller subgenre than power metal. But chronologically speed metal emerged before power metal - power metal is a mix of speed metal and traditional metal (slower than speed metal and faster than traditional metal).
Regarding speed metal Ritchie Blackmore just continued what he started with Deep Purple (songs like Highway Star, etc. )

2 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.

There are many early influences for power metal, but Helloween clearly pioneered the fast paced, catchy, uplifting sound that defines the genre of power metal that we know today. "Walls of Jericho" (1985) was the first power metal album and should be up with the Keepers albums even though it did not get as much publicity.

To me, Manowar never achieved this type of sound until the "Fighting the World" album which came out in 1987... with the song "Black wind, Fire and Steel". Everything before that fell into the "heavy metal" category.

However, It should be noted that the first actual power metal SONG was "Warrior" by the band Riot off the album "Rock City" (1977).

3 Manowar Manowar is an American power metal band from New York City, New York. Formed in 1980, the group is known for lyrics based on fantasy and mythology.

They have been a significant influence in the history of metal, especially in genres such as power metal, symphonic metal, Viking metal, war metal,... read more

Should be #2 after Rainbow.
1) Manowar released 4 power metal albums before Walls of Jericho. They were influenced by Dio because Joey DeMaio (bassist) and Dio were close friends.

2) Formed in 1980, the band is known for lyrics based on fantasy (particularly swords and sorcery) and mythology (particularly Norse mythology).

3) They wrote lots of metal anthems glorifying metal music, which is another power metal feature (mostly power metal bands sing about the metal music). Manowar have to be credited for starting this power metal tradition.

4) They practically invented Battle Metal (a subgenre of power metal) because Manowar's stuff has a martial air to it (and their name says it loud - Man O' War). Turisas made it more popular.

4 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.

I'll start with this: they are a very proficient band with several masterpieces but terribly underrated.
As far as I know, they first introduced progressive elements into power metal (mid/late 80s). Savatage fans wonder if they are a prog metal band or power metal band - they are both but most of their stuff is Prog Power Metal, combining the two subgenres. I think Prog Power Metal is great.
Formed in 1978, they started as a power and speed metal band, but later added prog and symphonic elements. Their later songs are better but relevant here are their early songs (enjoy the insane vocals and solos):
1983 - Scream Murder, Sirens (power/speed metal); 1984 - Visions, The Whip, The Dungeons Are Calling (power/speed metal); 1985 - Washed Out (speed metal); 1989 - Gutter Ballet (prog power metal).

Their most popular song is 'Hall Of The Mountain King (1987) - it's great but they had better songs in the 90s/00s.
At a later stage Blind Guardian also included some prog elements and I like those songs.

5 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
6 Running Wild Running Wild is a German heavy metal band, formed in 1976 in Hamburg. They were part of the German metal scene to emerge in the early to mid-1980s.

The instrumentals influenced Power Metal with their first 2 albums, but then "Under Jolly Roger" turned them into a Power Metal band in 1987.

7 Yngwie Malmsteen Yngwie Johan Malmsteen is a Swedish guitarist, songwriter and bandleader who was born on June 30th, 1963, in Stockholm, Sweden. He was known for his neoclassical metal playing style back in the 1980s.

Yngwie's instrumentals are neo-classical metal but his non-instrumental songs are either power metal or speed metal.
My fave song is Rising Force - it's a masterpiece.
Other power metal songs from the early Yngwie (1984-1986): As Above So Below, Liar, Disciples of hell, Anguish And Fear, Fury, Magic Mirror.

Besides, Yngwie Malmsteen made a significant impact on many future power metal guitarists, with his accurate and fast neo-classical style (most notably Timo Tolkki - Stratovarius, and Olaf Lenk - At Vance).

Also, Yngwie's bandmate Jens Johansson modernized the keyboard sound of Deep Purple's Jon Lord, which was further incorporated into the power metal genre.

8 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.
9 Stratovarius Stratovarius is a Finnish power metal band that formed in 1984. Since their formation, they have released 16 studio albums, 4 DVD and 3 live albums.
10 Helstar
The Contenders
11 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

New Wave Of British Heavy Metal (mostly Maiden and Priest) certainly influenced the New European power metal of the 80s:
Power metal became faster - it's just because Maiden and Priest made traditional metal faster and closer to speed metal, started by Deep Purple;
Most of the new European power metal singers embraced high pitched vocals, inspired by Halford and Dickinson (Kiske, Kotipelto, Scheepers, etc).

Dio and Eric Adams of Manowar, as representatives of the early power metal, were not tenor wailers.
High pitched singing became a typical feature of power metal but it's not obligatory. Hansi Kursch is not a high pitched singer but Blind Guardian is considered by many as the best power metal band ever.
So Blind Guardian vocals are closer to the first power metal bands - Rainbow, Manowar and Dio.

12 Leige Lord

Leige Lord is a very underrated Speed Metal band who only released 3 albums. Their instrumentals influenced Power Metal

13 Rage

The speed they displayed in their early albums was highly influential, but they became a Power Metal band in 1989

14 Riot
15 Gamma Ray Gamma Ray is a power metal band from Hamburg, northern Germany, founded and fronted by Kai Hansen after his departure from the German power metal band Helloween.

Gamma Ray is a power metal band from Hamburg, northern Germany, founded and fronted by Kai Hansen after his departure from the German power metal band Helloween. Hansen is the current lead vocalist, guitarist as well as the chief songwriter of Gamma Ray. The band is known as one of the most prominent bands of the German heavy metal scene.

16 Queen Queen are an English rock band formed in London in 1970. The original lineup was Freddie Mercury (lead vocals, piano), Brian May (guitar, vocals), Roger Taylor (drums, vocals), and John Deacon (bass guitar, vocals). Before forming into Queen, Brian May and Roger Taylor had played together in a band... read more

It's ashamed that Queen II gets so over looked as being a clear beginning of Power Metal. Most seem to reject Queen, Iron Maiden, and Judas Priest as being Power Metal only because they are older and don't have the exact same sound as the 90s and 2000s Power metal bands, which is completely illogical. The all carried the same characteristics of the genre, and just did it much earlier. Of course it's going to sound different. it was a different time with different recording technology and formats. That doesn't make it not Power Metal. It's like saying "Black Sabbath (song) isn't Doom Metal because it was much earlier than later Doom Metal bands". That doesn't disprove the claim in any way because even bands of the same genre at the same time will sound different. So why wouldn't a band from 20-30 years prior be considered in the same genre?

17 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.
18 Manilla Road Manilla Road is an American heavy metal band from Wichita, Kansas, founded by lead guitarist Mark 'the Shark' Shelton.

Excellent, yet heavily underrated band. Made some truly classic epic heavy power metal albums. Just great.

Phenomenal, just discovered them recently.

19 Grave Digger
20 HammerFall HammerFall is a Swedish heavy metal band from Gothenburg, Sweden. The band was formed in 1993 by ex-Ceremonial Oath guitarist Oscar Dronjak.

HammerFall is a Swedish heavy metal band from Gothenburg, Sweden. The band was formed in 1993 by ex- Ceremonial Oath guitarist Oscar Dronjak.

21 Warlord

Warlord is an American heavy metal band, formed in 1980 and based in Los Angeles, California. Since its formation the band has been led by guitarist William J Tsamis and drummer Mark Zonder. And the Cannons of Destruction Have Begun..., issued in October 1984 and accompanied by a VHS home video release of the same name (now in DVD) was first power/speed metal album.

22 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.

Influential towards the creation of Power Metal, but Accept is a Traditional Heavy Metal band.

23 Scorpions Scorpions are a German rock band formed in 1965 in Hanover by Rudolf Schenker. Since the band's inception, its musical style has ranged from hard rock to heavy metal.
24 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
25 Crimson Glory Crimson Glory is an American progressive metal band that formed in 1979 under the name Pierced Arrow.
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