Some of the Best Metal Bands of All Times

Heavy Metal has been an integral part of the development of Rock and Rock music since the 1960s. After its pioneers Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple introduced the genre to the public, bands like Van Halen, Iron Maiden, Mötley Crüe, Def Leppard and Metallica solidified its presence in the musical world. From then on many different groups have entered the stage with varying degrees of success but only a handful have earned the recognition of all Metal fans as the best. Here is a list of the bands that became the most successful of all time.


Regarded by many as the greatest metal band ever, Metallica has more than earned its titles with its plethora of accomplishments. After its formation in 1981, the group was one of the trailblazers of thrash metal quickly earning a reputation in the underground music community. Despite its rocky start with Dave Mustaine who was ejected from the band and later found Megadeth, Metallica's first two albums 'Kill 'Em All' and 'Ride the Lightning' built the foundation of their careers. However, it was 'Master of Puppets' that was the springboard of their fame, maintaining a place on the Billboard 200 chart for 72 weeks. Even though the group went into a decline in the 90s due to the rising popularity of Grunge rock, they eventually made a come back with 'Death Magnetic' (2008) and 'Hardwired... to Self-Destruct' (2016). In over 30 years, Metallica has sold 120 million copies worldwide and became a part of the Rock and Roll Hall of fame.

Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden is another name known worldwide and one of the top English bands. It boasts a massive commercial success of 100 million copies sold, accomplishing much with little to no radio and television support. The self-titled 1980 album quickly reached the No. 4 on the UK Albums Chart. It also gained attention in the US, further aiding the group gain traction. Some of the staples that helped establish Iron Maiden as a group include 'The Number of the Beast', 'Piece of Mind', 'Live After Death' and 'Somewhere in Time'. The band has influenced big name artists like Slayer's Kerry King and Scott Ian from Anthrax.


Slayer made its way along Metallica, Megadeth and Anthrax as one of “The Big Four” of thrash metal. Its most iconic studio albums some of which have US Gold Certification are 'Reign in Blood', 'South of Heaven', 'Seasons in the Abyss', 'Show no Mercy' and 'Hell Awaits'. Throughout the years, the group became known for its technical skill such as Jeff Hanneman and Kerry King's guitar solos, and Dave Lombardo's double bass drumming. The themes that the band uses in the lyrics of their songs and album cover art centre around topics such as Satanism, murder, genocide, Nazism, torture and human experimentation to name a few. Consequently, Slayer's songs have often resulted in a backlash from different communities and a lawsuit in 1996. Despite that, the members have pulled through and keep going strong.


After his fallout with Metallica, Dave Mustaine struck fame with Megadeth. Earning platinum status for five of its albums, twelve Grammy nominations and a Grammy award in 2017 for one of its newest songs Dystopia, the group gives other metal bands some stiff competition. They rose to prominence with albums like 'Countdown to Extinction', 'Rust in Peace', 'Peace Sells... but Who's Buying?', their lyrics revolving around death, war, politics, social problems and nihilistic philosophies. Complicated instrumentals with fast rhythm sections during their heyday was the reason why journalists often defined Megadeth as a state-of-the-art speed metal band. In spite of the rise of Grunge in the 90s, the group managed to streamline their sound and adapt to the changing times. Because of their flexibility, the band remains one of the few who has retained a significant number of their fans.


Pantera's intense heavy sound and gut-stirring playing style earn them a solid place on this list. After forming as a glam metal band in 1981, the group introduced groove metal into their style in their groundbreaking hit album 'Cowboys from hell'. Pantera's sound is based on Van Halen's wailing and Metallica's intense riffs. Frontman Philip Anselmo developed his singing techniques during his hair metal days. Their other great albums include 'Vulgar Display of Power' (1992) and 'Far Beyond Driven' (1994) the later topping the Billboard 200 chart upon its release.


Death was a US death metal band found in 1983 by Chuck Schuldiner who is considered the father of extreme metal. Many experts claim that their album 'Scream Bloody Gore' is the first record of its kind. Some of their best songs viewed as classics in the genre are 'Lack of Comprehension', 'The Philosopher' and 'Crystal Mountain'. As their albums progressed, Death's music got more technical while their themes progressed from death and gore to societal problems and enlightenment. Even though Schuldiner died from brain cancer in 2001, his band and he forever changed the world of metal.

  • "When I first heard of the Temples Festival, the fact that the one and only Neurosis was among the headliners immediately caught my attention. Least to say, this shaped up to be my best weekend of the year with doom and heavy riffs on Stage 1 and death metal on Stage 2. After witnessing Jucifer, Sonance, Wolfbrigade, Amenra and other great bands, it felt like the organisers had picked the selection especially for me. The staff was really helpful during the second day, clearing up the problems with lighting, sound and access to the main stage. All in all, Temples had plenty of positives and almost no negatives.”

  • "Temples Festival's debut last year was a resounding success. The shows the bands put on were thrilling, the audience was on fire, and the exceptional event organisation left metal fans happy and impatient for next year.
    2015 has improved on the previous edition, adding a third stage and giving the crowds more of what they want. Along with 'One Louder' 'Pig Destroyer' and 'Earth', this year's line-up was utterly sublime. Although on Sunday there was a sudden lack of beer, this was but a small issue compared to the grand spectacle of Temples"

  • "If you ask a metal fan which event is the best, he or she would probably answer 'Download' or 'Sonisphere'. It's only natural since they are the biggest Rock Festival names in the UK. However after the end of this weekend, many will answer the same question with 'Temples'.
    The line-up is mindblowing from beginning to end. When I try to describe the performances of the past three days, I can think of one word – brutal! If you ask me to name my favourite moments from the event, I'd be at a loss because there are just too many to count."