Best NWOBHM (New Wave of British Heavy Metal) Bands

The top ten best New Wave of British Heavy Metal bands. A full list can be found here.
The Top Ten
1 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

I just recently got into Iron Maiden. I started at their debut album 'Iron Maiden", which is where everyone should. Work up to the acclaimed Number of the beast. Their first 2 with Paul Di'anno are very good. Bruce Dickinson era is great also but don't not listen to their first 2 albums just because he is not lead singer. Iron Maiden is the overall flagship band of the NWOBHM and always will be.

The Trooper, number of the beast, Run to the hills, Hallowed be thy name, Aces high, Powerslave, Iron Maiden, Prowler, Fear of the dark, Wasted Years, Ghost of the navigator, Can I play with madness, Still life, 2 Minutes to midnight. Long live Eddie the Head! Up the Irons!

2 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

Judas Priest actually wasn't really a NWOBHM band. They are credited to being sort of the leaders of the second wave after Zeppelin, Purple, and Sabbath had already established the genre earlier. Priest jumped on the NWOBHM band wagon by polishing their sound and struck it big on 1980s British Steel.

The very band that inspired Maiden. They have more diversity between albums, better guitarists and overall much more melody and songwriting talent. With that said, Maiden does indeed have better live shows and I like Bruce Dickinson slightly more than Halford; not to mention that BD's aged a bit better than Halford.

3 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.

Trust me, Maiden was my Champion for many many years, and the still make the shortest of short lists (Murray and Harris are still the gold standard for their respective instruments)... Priest grew on me over time, but they weren't my favorites during the heyday, they just didn't resonante with me like Maiden / Saxon / (love to add an oblique angle like an Armored Saint, but they are not Brits)... But year in, year out, decade in, decade out... in the final analysis, after tens of thousands of listens to the complete comprehensive catalogues, other bands just play classic British Heavy Metal; SAXON IS BRITISH HEAVY METAL

4 Motorhead Motörhead were an English heavy metal 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 metal and... read more

Without Motorhead there would be no thrash metal, and no Ace of Spades. Go listen to Overkill and tell me if they know how to make music.

Motorhead and Venom were very influential in the creation of Thrash, Speed, Death, and Black Metal

5 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.

Venom singlehandedly invented not one, but two new music genres out of their first two albums alone. Without them, Thrash Metal wouldn't exist and neither would black metal. They should be #2 after Maiden of course.

6 Diamond Head Diamond Head are an English heavy metal band formed in 1976 in Stourbridge, England. The band is recognised as one of the leading members of the new wave of British heavy metal and is acknowledged by thrash metal bands such as Metallica and Megadeth as an important early influence.

Their 1st album is very good and is literally guitar riff heaven. But they sort of fell off a cliff after their debut. They changed styles within and album and their debut is the only one in their discography to sound so amazing.

Should be joint first with the Leps and Maiden - sorry but Priest and Motorhead were NOT NWOBHM bands - whoever voted for them doesn't knows what NWOBHM was!

Underrated amazing band, way more people should listen to them

7 Satan

Their first album is a must hear for any metalhead. Without a doubt in the same league with Iron Maiden, just far less successful comercially.

Any fans of this band would also enjoy Blitzkrieg and Blind Fury, both composing of some of Satan's members at the time they released their debuts.

8 Angel Witch Angel Witch are a British heavy metal band which formed in London, England in 1977 as part of the new wave of British heavy metal movement.

Listen to "Straight from hell".
One of my favourite bands!
So underrated..

9 Tygers of Pan Tang Tygers of Pan Tang are a heavy metal band, part of the new wave of British heavy metal movement. They formed in 1978 in Whitley Bay, England, and were active until 1987. The band reformed in 1999 and continue to record and perform.

The first two albums were definitely top tier speedy NWOBHM. A real shame these guys sold out afterwards.

Highly influential Great Talented Band but inconsistent probly why they were never huge.

10 Def Leppard Def Leppard are an English hard rock band formed in 1977 in Sheffield as part of the new wave of British heavy metal movement.

They shouldn't have been lumped in with the movement, they were separate from it. Then again hard rock and metal were considered almost the same back then.

Definitely Leppard take a lot of crap for leaving the NWOBHM, their producer (mutt lange) glossed up their production and rounded off their rough edged sound. Their 1st 2 albums, On through the night, and High n dry are extremely good. They were one of the leaders of the NWOBHM at this time but then thing happend.

The Contenders
11 Witchfinder General Witchfinder General were a heavy metal band from Stourbridge, England. They were part of the new wave of British heavy metal scene and have been cited as a major influence on the doom metal genre.

Soviet Invasion is the single best NWoBHM of all time!

Really wish we saw more of these guys.

12 Tank
13 Grim Reaper

Steve Grimmet is a beast, finally able to utilize his amazing vocal abilities to their full potential, unlike in Chateaux.

14 Blitzkrieg

An absolute classic band with some top tier NWOBHM material. Unfortunately, they released their debut when the movement was practically dead.

15 Raven

The first 3 albums are killer. One of the loudest and most fun bands to see live. Riot are as well

16 Praying Mantis

Although on the softer side of the NWOBHM spectrum, they make for some of the best melodic heavy metal/hard rock found throughout the movement.

17 Tokyo Blade

Brilliant guitar playing on their first two full length albums. Just listen to, If heaven is hell"

18 Girlschool Girlschool are a British heavy metal band that formed in the new wave of British heavy metal scene in 1978 and frequently associated with contemporaries Motörhead.

All chicks playing metal in the same vain as Motorhead. What else do you need?

19 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.

They are more like new wave of american heavy metal.

It sounds more british than american.

20 Demon

Demons first two al;bums are classic NWOBHM fayre, and are two of the best records of that era. Then we get to their classic material The Plague, Breakout, British Standard Approved etc, mixing the classic NWOBHM sound with what would laterly be called prog metal. Demon have to be one of the most influential bands of the whole era (and remember people NWOBHM was a movement NOT a genre - and yes Priest and Motorhead are great bands, but they are NOT NWOBHM.. Both were well established before the term was coined (by Sounds writer Malcome Dome) in March 1979)

21 Samson Samson were a British hard rock band formed in 1977 by guitarist and vocalist Paul Samson. They are best known for their first three albums with future Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson, then known as "Bruce Bruce", and drummer Thunderstick, who wore a leather mask and performed on stage in a metal... read more
22 UFO UFO are an English rock band that was formed in 1969. They became a transitional group between early hard rock and heavy metal and the new wave of British heavy metal.
23 Holocaust
24 Quartz

Tony Iommi was the producer of their first album as well as a big fan of theirs. That's how you know they gotta be good.

25 Pagan Altar
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