Which are the most important heavy metal bands? At Top Festivals we are not afraid of controversy, and this selection is sure to be. There may be few more passionate fans among the musical tribes than the metalheads. So, everyone will defend their favorites, but here we leave you the top ones, the ones that for whatever reasons -good sound, marketing, luck- managed to carve a niche in the collective memory.
Most important heavy metal bands
It is difficult -not to say impossible- to make a selection of the most important heavy metal bands without someone not liking them. But let's go all out! It is clear that, as in many other genres, the American mainstream managed to occupy the top spots in the radio charts -and now streaming- always. And that's why this list is full of American names, but some European and Spanish names also made it into the top 10. We won't tell you more, discover the most important heavy metal bands.
The first band could not be any other, no one who is more or less cultured in music can say that he has never heard of this band. Iron Maiden is the British band that since 1975 is the totem of heavy metal . They knew how to combine quality in their sound and a loyal and numerous fans.
Their first albums are the paradigm of what heavy metal should be, they are the metaphysics of the genre. Although after that the debacle is undeniable, and causes more abulia than passion. However, after decades and decades no one has been able to dethrone them, although there are several contenders.
If you still doubt that Iron Maiden should be first, listen to The number of the beast and tell us that it is not a masterpiece of the genre.
Close on Iron Maiden's heels. Their sound -the one of the early 80's, at least- was sonorous perfection, musically masterful, and technically complex and almost cathedratic. And yet they still retained some of that rabid heavy metal rebelliousness. Afterwards? The mainstream may have swallowed them up a bit, they became more commercial, more predictable and somewhat comfortable.
They made us wait, but finally they came back. After years playing only with the sound of nostalgia, in 2008 they came back with an album that positioned them again among the vanguard of metal, and they regained - by far - their place of honor. Let's never forget this anthem, Master of Puppets .
Contrary to the two previous ones, Pantera's first albums were, to be generous, insubstantial. Finally, Cowboys from Hell broke everything and reformulated the genre with its trash sound and Pantera entered through the big door at the head of the world's rockers. The troubled and tragic history of the members did not give them much time to maneuver when they took off, but the legacy of their best albums remained forever in the heart of western music. Turn up the volume, and Walk!
Aggressive and fast, Slayer's trash is epic. It belongs to the so-called big 4 of trash in the 80's along with Metallica, Anthax and Megadeth. They started doing covers of greats like Black Sabbath or Iron Maiden in the 80's, and ended up becoming legends themselves. Their tremendously violent style in sound and image led them to be accused throughout their career of being satanic and of advocating violence.
Arguments come and go between detractors and fans, but what cannot be denied is that their music is one of the best things that happened to heavy metal. In 2019 they released their latest studio album and world tour Repentless. The song and video of the same name are a sample of their talent and the impact of their proposal.
You can't keep this countdown moving forward without including Black Sabbath. Ozzy Osborne is the character by which many poperos today know heavy metal. He may have been one of music's most incredible phenomena put in context. Shortly after the British invasion of the Beatles and their laid-back, harmonic rock and roll, Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath appeared, biting animal heads and making satanic allusions.
The shock paralyzed half the music industry. They weren't afraid to be grotesquely irreverent, and yet they totally nailed it, they are rock royalty. Listen to Paranoid, one of their best songs, composed in just 30 minutes.
From Brazil to the world. Pantera's most direct competitor in trash. The Cavalera brothers made history after becoming the most influential death and heavy metal band in South America. Max Cavalera was the composer of most of the lyrics and riffs of the first period -the best-, of Sepultura, curiously, although he is catalogued as a genius lyricist, he says that it is the part of the "work" that he enjoys the least. Here is one of Cavalera's most famous compositions and one of Sepultura's best works, Territory.
The most important heavy metal band in Spain, could compete on equal terms against big names in this list in Europe at least, but never could overcome their internal conflicts and ended up splitting in the worst terms in 2020.
There remained their songs for posterity and to prove that heavy metal in Spanish has punch and can stand fearlessly in front of titans and come out well. Los Rockeros Van al Infierno is an unforgettable song from their discography that managed to consolidate the whole heavy metal movement in Spain.
Corey Taylor, Slipknot's leader, is the poet of heavy metal. The guy with the deep lyrics and the terrifying face. Slipknot was born in the heyday of Nu metal and although it has always had its flirtations with that genre, it definitely more than earned its place on the podium of the most important heavy metal bands.
Psycosocial competed for the Grammy for best Metal song in 2009 and lost against Metallica's My Apocalipse, it was a turning point and divided those who still believed in the top of showbusiness. What do you think, did it deserve it or not?
The most iconic rock look in history. Since 1969 they have been touring the world taking the best of heavy metal around the world. After more than 50 years of rocking, these Brits are one of the most influential bands in the history of music.
This great song, Breaking The Law, is a must when you want to talk about the new wave of British heavy metal, and Judas Priest is one of the precursors of the style that reinvented the genre.
Guns N' Roses
To be or not to be, that's the dilemma! Is Guns and Roses really a heavy metal band or is it pure hard rock? Let's at least agree that it is the last phenomenon band in the history of the heaviest rock. Whether it's marketing, talent, fashion, however you want to look at it, Guns and Roses' notoriety, fan base and numbers, no one else has ever done it.
Welcome to the Jungle is one of those songs that make you doubt if they are or not, but it is undeniably one of the best in their discography and in the history of rock.