Top 10 Most Influential Metal Bands

Metal Bands That inspired you to (try) to make music :D

The Top Ten

1 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, more.

Sabbath started metal, They created metal, if it werent for them, Metallica, Lamb of god, Megadeth, Slipknot and Iron maiden wouldn't exist, And what the heck is up with Slipknot, Lamb of god, and system of a down being on this list? They are good yea, But they didn't Influence

They created and popularized Heavy Metal. It is idiotic to not have Black Sabbath at #1. Not only were they the first true metal band, they also were the direct inspiration for quite a few major subgenres, Doom Metal, Sludge Metal, Stoner Metal, & Gothic Metal are all inspired by the mighty Sabbath! - ryanrimmel


Paved the road for metal - SoldierOfFortune

V 10 Comments
2 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 more.

they are one the best metal bands in ALL the metal history, maybe the most influential band with Black Sabbath and Judas Priest.
Lamb of God and Slipknot should not be here because I think they are not influential bands because they are from this times; in my opinion, an influential band is the one who have influented so much bands in metal, like IRON MAIDEN! - rock2metal

maiden started real metal sure there was sabbath and preist but maiden were the first to be really heavy

Maiden are my fave band, the three awesome guitar players work so well together

Even Eddie is more famous than most bands.

V 1 Comment
3 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". more.

Even people who don't like metal have heard of Metallica, the same can't be said about most others.

They actually should be number 1 since most of the world today wouldn't even know every band in this list (even Black Sabbath...or any other metal band for that matter) if it wasn't for Metallica.

Dude, really? Black Sabbath was HUGE even before Metallica came out. - Gruunge

They didn't influence, but they are very good - SoldierOfFortune

They are good

4 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”. more.

Painkiller is the standard every metal band should strive for

Took Sabbath's metal mold and shaped into what it is

It's getting old seeing Megadeth in the top 10 in every thing that has to do with metal. They are as gay as male cheerleaders. And so are their fans - Sabbath

This is the most influential Metal band ever, just after Black Sabbath, period.
The list must be like this:

1) Black Sabbath
2) Judas Priest
3) Iron Maiden
4) Motorhead
5) Scorpions
6) Metallica
7) Venom
8) Van Halen
9) Saxon
10) Accept

Ok, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Queen, Thin Lizzy, Kiss, Alice Cooper, Rush, AC/DC, Aerosmith, Rainbow, UFO are Metal (pionners and very influential to the genre) too. But they also are strongly inside others categories like Hard Rock or Prog Rock, sometimes even more than Metal. And also does others very famous bands like definitely Leppard, Whitesnake, Guns N Roses and Motley Crue. So that list represents, the most solid those who more represented the essence of Heavy Metal and the influence to the whole scene, I think.


11) Ozzy Osbourne
12) Dio
13) Queensryche
14) Megadeth
15) Helloween
16) Pantera
17) Slayer
18) Twisted Sister
19) Celtic Frost
20) ...more

5 Death Death Death was an American death metal band formed in 1983 by Chuck Schuldiner. Death is considered to be one of the most influential bands in heavy metal and a pioneering force in death metal. Its debut album, Scream Bloody Gore, has been widely regarded as the first death metal record, while the band's more.

Yeah everybody knows the invention of death metal, but don't undermine their influence on metal as a whole. Albums like Human and Symbolic explored the limits of metal.

And don't forget the more than legendary Sound of Perseverance - DejanKalinic

When they heard the Possessed demo, chuck said:we should be like these guys. But they influenced Possessed later by Scream Bloody gore.

The pioneers of death metal

Chuck Schuldiner literally invented the death metal genre

V 2 Comments
6 Venom Venom Venom are an English extreme metal band formed in 1979 in Newcastle upon Tyne. Coming to prominence towards the end of the new wave of British heavy metal, Venom's first two albums—Welcome to Hell and Black Metal—are considered a major influence on thrash metal and extreme metal in general.

Thrash Metal and Black Metal, all Extreme Metal bands were influenced by this band, from Death to Darkthrone. - GREYBOYY

Essentially created the Genre of Thrash and Black Metal and pretty big inspiration for Death Metal. On a side note why is Slipknot number 4.

Most influencial extreme metal band ever, Thrash Metal, Black Metal & Death Metal would never existed without them.

They are the reason thrash/black/death metal exist today. If it wasn't for Venom them there would be no Death, Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Mayhem, Emperor, Burzum etc. Venom for me is by far the most influential band of all time. Their 2nd album is so much influential that the entire Black Metal genre is named after it. I love other bands like Judas Priest, Mötorhead etc too but Venom a little more 🍻🤘

7 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, more.

I'm pretty sure most metal bands will cite three main bands as being most inspirational: Sabbath, Zeppelin, and Deep Purple. That being said, Ritchie Blackmore's technical ability was and will always be the best and fastest (just listen to his solo on Highway Star). - bighercules

Many bands of the 60s-70s played heavy blues rock or hard rock, believing it was heavy metal (many metal fans still make this mistake). Deep Purple played hard rock but also metal as we know it now: non-bluesy rock music, mostly based on classical music. For example, "Highway Star" is a metal definition: An entirely non-bluesy song based on Bach-like chord sequences. It's not their first metal song but it's the best.
Later this non-bluesy sound became the most important feature of metal music - Rainbow, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden made it more evident. Metal in general became a genre based on classical music - behind the riffs of Holy Wars and Master of Puppets you can hear classical music. R. Blackmore is a pure genius. "Highway Star" is widely considered as 'early speed metal'. Also a memorable riff, breathtaking technical solo and Gillan's great vocals. - Metal_Treasure

The inventors of heavy metal not influential enough for the top 3? Why so low?

It all began... - waldo

V 2 Comments
8 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 more.

It's all about infuence, isn't it?

So here's my list:
1. Black Sabbath - Founders of the metal genre, no discussion that they should be 1st.
2. Pantera - They shaped all modern metal as we know. Obvious second place.
3. Motorhead - They were crucial in developing the metal in 80's. Lemmy pretty much started merging Hardcore Punk with Metal and popularized this kind of music.
4. Judas Priest - They started NWoBHM movement and launched metal into mainstream in late 70's. They are way more important than Iron Maiden, no matter which band is better. "Irons" were just pursuing the subgenre, making awesome music, "Priest" were making something new (and awesome too).
5. Slayer - Although I like Metallica and Megadeth more, Slayer was the most influencial band of the big4 of thrash because of their more aggressive style. Death Metal and other extreme metal subgenres developed because of them. They were also important in developing the image of metal music.
6. Venom - ...more

I think Pantera should be at the 5 spot. Pantera invented groove metal, which is the sub-genre that many bands like Slipknot fall into. Slipknot should definitely not be in front of Pantera.

If this list was 'top metal bands' instead of 'influential metal bands' I would put Pantera at number simply for the fact that their music seems as heavy now as it did when it was released. As legendary as they were, I just don't think the same can be said for bands like Sabbath and Maiden. If it wasn't for Pantera we wouldn't be able to enjoy many of the top metal bands around now, due to Pantera being the frontmen in the charge against the post metal grunge era (Nirvana), when metal was no longer considered 'cool'.

Pantera was so influential band but they don't create Groove metal, it was done by Exhorder from new orleans, Pantera give shape to that sound.

V 2 Comments
9 Bathory Bathory Bathory was a Swedish Black/Viking Metal band formed in 1983 by Quorthon and Jonas Åkerlund. Bathory's first 4 albums layed the blueprint for Scandinavian Black Metal. Quorthon is often credited with creating the "shrieking" vocal style of Black Metal. Their 5th album, Hammerheart (1990) displayed more.

What, the most influential Black Metal band is not in top ten? This band was responsible for the Norwegian Black Metal scene. - GREYBOYY

Slipknot higher than Bathory? That's insane...

10 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. more.

Some of the first and most important thrash bands

The Contenders

11 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 more.

This is an awful list, as per usual on this site. How is Pantera ahead of Motorhead? What on earth...To me, the top 8 is just unassailable...Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Motorhead, Iron Maiden, Venom in some order, then Metallica, then Death and Slayer.

Motorhead influenced bands such like Metallica, these guys need to be at the top with Black Sabbath... but lets be honest you can only trust the first Black Sabbath album anyway! Motorhead all the way!

Motorhead at number 11? Should be at number 1, or 2. They invented so many genres it's ridiculous.


V 3 Comments
12 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 more.

Without Rainbow and Deep Purple, nobody will e-v-e-r understand the process of metal invention and its evolution - in the late 70s Judas Priest and Iron Maiden continued in the direction of Rainbow and Deep Purple (non-bluesy heavy sound, mostly based on classical music). Judas Priest and Iron Maiden didn't sound like the bluesy Led Zep and the bluesy Black Sabbath.

Moreover, in 1977 Roger Glover (Rainbow bassist and ex-Purple bassist) became a producer of Judas Priest to help them. Not many believed in Judas Priest back then and they had no support, money, gigs, etc. So lets talk about influence.
Rainbow perfected the general pattern of metal music and also the speed metal sound, started by Deep Purple. Rainbow also invented at least 3 metal subgenres: power, symphonic, and neo-classical metal.
I'd say this is quite influential. - Metal_Treasure

13 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 more.

WHY IS SLIPKNOT ON HERE? They're not even really metal! Every band in the whole list is 5 stars (except Slipknot) so it was really hard to choose. Zeppelin are THE early metal band definition.

Led Zep are not metal. Never been. Shouldn't be on the list. - Metal_Treasure

Whether or not you think Zep is metal, it's certainly the biggest influence to have existed on the genre; nobody played hard rock/"classic metal" until Zep came around. Black Sabbath should be in second, they basically did Zep but a bit heavier with more distorted guitar. But that "metal" sound came from Zep

14 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 more.

I get sore necks and head aches head banging to Megadeth all day!

Not as influetal as metallica or sabbath, but still awesome band - Disturbedpotato

This band deserves the 2nd or 3rd position

Metallica & Megadeth! m/

15 Slipknot Slipknot Slipknot is an American Heavy Metal band formed in 1995 from Iowa. The band is best known as one of the pioneers of the New Wave of American Heavy Metal during the late 1990s - 2000s and are distinguishable by the band's clothing choices, consisting of black/red jumpsuits and horror inspired masks. more.

Slipknot is not a bad band but they don't deserve to be in this list at all. - GREYBOYY

Actually you are, because tell me exactly how slipknot is influential. That's right, they aren't - MUSHROOM

Slipknot definitely doesn't deserve to be in this top 10 list. How can you put slipknot in front of Pantera?

Not influential at all and they're terrible.

Who did the influence? Nu-metal died in early 00s. - Disturbedpotato

V 5 Comments
16 Celtic Frost Celtic Frost Celtic Frost was a Swiss extreme metal band from Zürich. They are known for their strong influence on the development of extreme metal. Formed in 1981 as Hellhammer, the band became Celtic Frost in 1984 and was active until 1993.
17 Possessed Possessed Possessed is an American thrash/death metal band, originally formed in 1983 in the San Francisco Bay Area. Noted for their fast style of playing and Jeff Becerra's guttural vocals, they are routinely called the first band in the death metal genre. Possessed is the sometimes credited with being the first more.

Creators of Death Metal - DejanKalinic

I'm surprised that they are this low. - SoldierOfFortune

18 Cannibal Corpse Cannibal Corpse Cannibal Corpse is a American death metal band from Buffalo, New York, formed in 1988. The band is known for their graphic album covers, explicitly violent lyrics and song titles like "I C** Blood" The group got into mainstream after performing the song "Hammer Smashed Face" in the 1994 film Ace Ventura: more.

While death may have invented death metal. (and therefore still are more influential) It was Cannibal Corpse who made death metal truly brutal. The low growls of Chris Barnes was more extreme than any others at the time. Even those who doesn't usually listen to death metal likes them. A lot of extreme metal bands still mention Cannibal Corpse as one of their biggest influenses. Also they were played in Ace Ventura!

19 Lamb of God Lamb of God Lamb of God is an American heavy metal band from Richmond, Virginia. Formed in 1994, the group consists of vocalist Randy Blythe, guitarists Mark Morton and Willie Adler, bassist John Campbell, and drummer Chris Adler.

Dudes, you're forgetting the name of the list, it's not best bands it's most influential - SoldierOfFortune

It gives me redneck when I see this in top 11. Holy cow this is better than the others

LAMB OF GOD FOREVER THE #1 metal bands in the universe.

This must be on top #1

V 1 Comment
20 Napalm Death Napalm Death Napalm Death are a British grindcore/death metal band formed in Meriden, West Midlands, England, in 1981. While none of its original members remain in the group, the lineup of vocalist Mark "Barney" Greenway, bassist Shane Embury, guitarist Mitch Harris and drummer Danny Herrera has remained consistent more.
21 Meshuggah Meshuggah Meshuggah is a Swedish progressive metal band from Umeå, formed in 1987. They are often considered the fathers or founders of the djent metal sub genre due to their use of downtuned guitars. They are also known for their song “Bleed”, which is known for its extremely complicated instrumentation, more.

They are more influential than the rest of these bands here, even townsend says that everyone imitates meshuggah in the end

They are one of the most influential Bands by far, sad that everyone votes for their Favorite band

INFLUENTIAL, not who you like!

Just sad that they are not in top 5, for me they are maybe even the most influential after sabbath motörhead metallica and bathory

V 1 Comment
22 Kreator Kreator Kreator is a German thrash metal band from Essen. Their style of music is similar to that of their compatriots Destruction, Sodom and Tankard; along with those three bands, Kreator has been referred to as one of the "big four" of Teutonic thrash metal, and they are often credited with helping pioneer more.
23 System of a Down System of a Down System of a Down formed in 1994 as an Armenian-American Nu Metal group from Glendale, California . The band name is sometimes shortened to System or SOAD. more.
24 Ozzy Osbourne Ozzy Osbourne John Michael "Ozzy" Osbourne was born on December 3, 1948. He is also known as ''The Prince of Darkness''. Ozzy is an English singer, songwriter, and television personality. He rose to prominence in the early 1970s as the lead vocalist of the band Black Sabbath. Osbourne was fired from Black Sabbath more.

Many of those Dejavu songs that play in my head are his, like I Just Want You and Tonight - SoldierOfFortune

25 Mayhem Mayhem Mayhem is a Norwegian black metal band formed in 1984 in Oslo, regarded as one of the pioneers of the Norwegian black metal scene. The band is also known for the infamous events surrounding them including the 1991 suicide of vocalist Dead (in which former guitarist Euronymous took pictures of Dead's more.
26 Tool Tool Tool is an American progressive/alternative metal band, that was formed in 1990. 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.

One of the pioneers of technical thrash. They've been putting out great albums for 25 years. - Metal_Treasure

28 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.

They helped Power Metal become what it is today. Also, I was afraid Black Sabbath was NOT going to be number 1. - MusicalPony

29 Machine Head Machine Head Machine Head is an American heavy metal band from Oakland, California. Formed on October 12, 1991, the group was founded by vocalist and guitarist Robb Flynn and bassist Adam Duce. They have received great critical success especially for their album "The Blackening" which is considered a modern metal more.
30 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.
31 Scorpions
32 Faith No More Faith No More Faith No More is an American rock band from San Francisco, California, formed in 1979. Before settling on their current moniker in 1983, the band performed under the names Sharp Young Men and later Faith No Man.
33 Fear Factory Fear Factory

Very influential, one of the first metal bands, if not, the first metal band combine hardcore/bellow/growls with clean melodic vocals more associated with grunge. As well as being one of the first industrial metal bands.

Slipknot stole Burton C Bell's forearm tattoo and used it as their logo.
Corey Taylor kind of took Burton C Bell's screaming style from FF's debut "soul of a new machine" as well.

This band should be way further up on the list.

34 Carcass Carcass Carcass are a British extreme metal band from Liverpool, who formed in 1985 and disbanded in 1995. A reformation was enacted in 2007 without one of its original members, drummer Ken Owen, due to health reasons.

Carcass should replace the Slipknot. - GREYBOYY

35 Shining
36 Anthrax Anthrax Anthrax is an American thrash metal band from New York City, formed in 1981 by guitarist Scott Ian and bassist Dan Lilker.
37 KoRn KoRn Korn is an American Nu-Metal band from Bakersfield, California, formed in 1993. The band's current lineup includes founding members Jonathan Davis, James "Munky" Shaffer, Brian "Head" Welch, and Reginald "Fieldy" Arvizu, with the addition of Ray Luzier, who replaced the band's original member, David more.

In terms of being influential, Korn may not have created metal, but they created a major subgenre that dominated the mainstream unlike almost any other subgenre.

Korn and slipknot should switch places, because if one of them deserves to be that high it's korn

There's no nu-metal without Korn. They invented it.

Korn had huge influence in nu metal history - Disturbedpotato

38 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. more.
39 In Flames In Flames In Flames is a Swedish melodic death metal band from Gothenburg, Sweden, formed in 1990. more.
40 Disturbed Disturbed Disturbed is an American nu metal/ alternative rock/ alternative metal band from Chicago, Illinois. The band comprises vocalist David Draiman, bassist John Moyer, guitarist Dan Donegan, and drummer Mike Wengren. They are known for songs like "Down With the Sickness" and "Stricken" .
41 Kiss Kiss Kiss is an American hard rock band formed in New York City in January 1973 by Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons and the band's original manager, Lew Linet.
42 Bullet for My Valentine Bullet for My Valentine Bullet for My Valentine are a Welsh metalcore/emo band from Bridgend, formed in 1998. The band is composed of Matthew Tuck (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Michael Paget (lead guitar, backing vocals), Michael Thomas (drums) and Jamie Mathias (bass guitar). Former members include Nick Crandle and Jason more.
43 Exodus Exodus Exodus is an American thrash metal band formed in 1979 in Richmond, California. Spanning a career of 37 years, Exodus has gone through numerous lineup changes, two extended hiatuses, and the deaths of two former band members.
44 Dead Horse
45 Gwar Gwar Gwar, often styled as GWAR, is an American heavy metal band formed in Richmond, Virginia, United States, in 1984, composed of and operated by a frequently rotating line-up of musicians, artists and filmmakers collectively known as Slave Pit Inc.
46 As I Lay Dying As I Lay Dying As I Lay Dying is an American metalcore band from San Diego, California. Founded in 2000 by vocalist Tim Lambesis, the establishment of the band's first full lineup, which included drummer Jordan Mancino, occurred in 2001. As I Lay Dying has released six albums, one split album, and two compilation more.
47 Linkin Park Linkin Park Linkin Park is an American rock band formed in Agoura Hills, California, in 1996. The members currently include Mike Shinoda (vocals, keyboards, rhythm guitar), Brad Delson (guitar), Dave "Phoenix" Farrell (bass), Joe Hahn (DJ) and Rob Bourdon (drums). Linkin Park are associated with a mixture of Alternative more.
48 Exhumed Exhumed Exhumed is an American death metal band from San Jose, California that is currently signed to Relapse Records.
49 Cattle Decapitation Cattle Decapitation Cattle Decapitation is an American Deathgrind band from San Diego, California formed in 1996. Cattle Decapitation's songs protest the mistreatment and consumption of animals, the abuse of the environment and touch subjects such as misanthropy and genocide of the human race. Much of their music is based more.
50 Three Days Grace Three Days Grace Three Days Grace is a Canadian rock band formed in Norwood, Ontario in 1997 with a line-up consisting of guitarist and lead vocalist Adam Gontier, drummer and backing vocalist Neil Sanderson, and bassist Brad Walst. In 2013 Gontier left the band due to creative differences. He was replaced with Brad's more.

They are NOT metal. - Metal_Treasure

PSearch List

Related Lists

Most Influential Thrash Metal Bands Most Influential Death Metal Bands Most Influential Heavy Metal Bands of the 80s and 90s Most Influential Traditional Heavy Metal Bands Most Influential Extreme Metal Bands

List Stats

800 votes
72 listings
8 years, 137 days old

Top Remixes (10)

1. Black Sabbath
2. Iron Maiden
3. Venom
1. Deep Purple
2. Rainbow
3. Black Sabbath
1. Black Sabbath
2. Deep Purple
3. Led Zeppelin

View All 10

Error Reporting

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