List of heavy metal bands

Last updated

This is a list of heavy metal artists from the formative years of the movement. For bands that formed after 1981, please consult the lists for each heavy metal subgenre.


Original movement: 1965–1981

In the late 1960s a number of bands began pushing the limits of blues rock into a new genre which would be called heavy metal. [1] [2]

In 1981, [3] three of the 'Big Four' thrash metal bands emerged: Metallica, [4] Slayer [5] and Anthrax; [6] to be joined on the scene in 1983 by Megadeth. [7]


NameOriginYears activeBrief summary
220 Volt Sweden1979–present
44 Magnum Japan1977–1989, 2002–present


NameOriginYears activeBrief summary
A II Z United Kingdom1979-1982
Accept [8] Germany1968–1989, 1992–1997, 2004–2005, 2009–presentAccept played an important role in the development of speed metal and Teutonic thrash metal, being part of the German heavy/speed/power metal scene which emerged in the early to mid-1980s. [9]
AC/DC Australia1973–present
Aerosmith [10] United States1970–present
Alice Cooper [9] [11] United States1968–present
Angel United States1975–1981, 1987, 1998–present
Ángeles del Infierno Spain1978–present
Angel Witch United Kingdom1977-1982, 1984-1998, 2000–present
Anthem Japan1980–1992, 2000–present
Anthrax United States1981–present
Anvil Canada1978–present
Armageddon United Kingdom1974–1976
Atomic Mass United Kingdom1977, 2003
Atomic Rooster United Kingdom1969–1975, 1980–1983, 2016-present
Atomkraft United Kingdom1979–1988, 2005
Attila United States1969-1970Bandmembers included Billy Joel and Jon Small.
Axe United States1979-1984, 1997-2004


NameOriginYears activeBrief summary
Babe Ruth United Kingdom1970-1976, 2005–present
Bang [12] United States1969–1973, 2001–2004
Barnabas United States1977-1986
Barón Rojo Spain1980–present
Battleaxe United Kingdom1980–1988, 2010–present
Bengal Tigers Australia1979–present
Beowülf United States1981–1995, 2000–present
Birth Control Germany1966-1983, 1993-2014
Bitch United States1980–presentFirst band to be signed by the Metal Blade Records label.
Black Death United States1977–presentThe first all-African-American heavy metal band.
Black 'n Blue United States1981–1989, 1997, 2003, 2007–presentLead guitarist Tommy Thayer joined Kiss in 2003.
Black Rose United Kingdom1980-1989, 2006–present
Black Sabbath [13] United Kingdom1968–2006, 2011–2017Black Sabbath was formed by Ozzy Osbourne (lead vocals), Tony Iommi (guitar), Geezer Butler (bass guitar), and Bill Ward (drums). Alcohol abuse led to Ozzy Osbourne getting fired and replaced with former Rainbow vocalist Ronnie James Dio. Black Sabbath is considered to be the progenitor of doom metal.
Black Widow United Kingdom1966–1973, 2007–present
Bleak House United Kingdom1972-1983
Blind Illusion United States1978-1989, 2009-present
Blitzkrieg United Kingdom1980–1981, 1984–1991, 1992–1994, 1996–1999, 2001–present
Bloodrock United States1969–1975
Blue Cheer [14] United States1966–1972, 1974–1976, 1978–1979, 1984–1994, 1999–2009
Blue Öyster Cult [15] United States1967–present
Bodine Netherlands1978-1984
Boss Australia1979-1986
Bow Wow [16] Japan1975–presentAlso known as Vow Wow for part of their career (1984–1990).
Bronz United Kingdom1976-1985, 1999-2000, 2003–2005, 2010–present
Edgar Broughton Band United Kingdom1968–2010Cited in the 2010 BBC TV documentary Heavy Metal Britannia as a formative influence on the genre in the UK.
Budgie [17] United Kingdom1967–present
Buffalo [18] [19] Australia1971–1977
Bulldozer Italy1980–1990, 2008–present


NameOriginYears activeBrief summary
Cactus [20] United States1969–1972, 2006–present
Captain Beyond United States1971-1973, 1976-1978, 1998-2003
Chateaux United Kingdom1981-1985
Cirith Ungol United States1972–1992, 1996–2001, 2015–present
Cloven Hoof United Kingdom1979–1990, 2000–present
Coven United States1968–1975, 2007–2008
Crimson Glory United States1979–1992, 1998–present
Crushed Butler United Kingdom1969-1971


NameOriginYears activeBrief summary
Dark Angel United States1981–1992, 2002–2005, 2013–present
Death SS Italy1977-1984, 1988–present
Dedringer United Kingdom1977-1985
Deep Machine United Kingdom1979-1982, 2009–2015
Deep Purple United Kingdom1968-1976, 1984–present
Def Leppard United Kingdom1977–presentThe band began as a heavy metal outfit.
Demon United Kingdom1979–presentHeadlined the first British Steel Festival in 2006. [21]
The Deviants United Kingdom1967–1969, 1978, 1984, 1996, 2002, 2011–presentSinger and writer Mick Farren died on 27 July 2013.
Diamond Head United Kingdom1976–1985, 1991–1994, 2002–present
Die Krupps Germany1980–present
Divlje Jagode Bosnia and Herzegovina1977–present
Dokken United States1978–1989, 1993–present
Dust United States1969-1972Drummer Marc Bell joined The Ramones in 1978.


NameOriginYears activeBrief summary
Earthshaker Japan1978-1994, 1999–present
Easy Action Sweden1981–1986, 2006–present
E.F. Band Sweden1978-1986
Electric Sun Germany1978-1986
Elf United States1967-1975 Ronnie James Dio on vocals.
Ethel the Frog United Kingdom1976-1980
Europe Sweden1979–1992, 1999 (partial reunion), 2003–presentThe band began as a heavy metal outfit.
Exciter Canada1978–present
Exodus United States1979–1993, 1997–1998, 2001–present


NameOriginYears activeBrief summary
Faith No More United States1979–1998, 2009–present
Fallout United States1979-1982
Fist United Kingdom1978-1982, 2001–2006
Flotsam and Jetsam United States1981–present
Flower Travellin' Band [22] Japan1967–1973, 2007–present
The Flying Hat Band United Kingdom1971–1974 Glenn Tipton on vocals and guitar, later joined Judas Priest in 1974.


NameOriginYears activeBrief summary
Gamma United States1978–1983, 2000
Geordie United Kingdom1972–1980, 1982–1985, 2001Singer Brian Johnson went on to join AC/DC in 1980, after the death of Bon Scott.
Gillan United Kingdom1978–1983
Girl United Kingdom1979-1982
Girlschool United Kingdom1978–presentAll-female band formed during the new wave of British heavy metal.
Gordi Serbia1977–1984
Grand Funk Railroad [23] [24] [25] United States1968–1977, 1980–1983, 1996–present
Grave Digger Germany1980–1987, 1991–present
Gravestone Germany1977-1986
Great White United States1977–2001, 2002–present
Grim Reaper United Kingdom1979–1988, 2006–present
The Gun United Kingdom1967-1970


NameOriginYears activeBrief summary
Sammy Hagar United States1967–present
The Handsome Beasts United Kingdom1972–present
Hanoi Rocks Finland1979–1985, 2001–2009
Hard Stuff United Kingdom1971–1973
Hawkwind United Kingdom1969–present
Headpins Canada1979–present
Heaven Australia1980–2000
Heavy Load Sweden1976–1985
Heavy Metal Kids United Kingdom1972-1985, 2002–presentInitially featured actor Gary Holton on vocals.
Helix Canada1974–present
Hellhammer Switzerland1981-1984 Thomas Gabriel Fischer and Martin Eric Ain went on to form Celtic Frost in 1984.
High Tide United Kingdom1969–1970
Hollow Ground United Kingdom1979-1982, 2007, 2013
Holocaust United Kingdom1977–present
Holy Moses Germany1980–1994, 2000–present


NameOriginYears activeBrief summary
Icon United States1979-1990, 2008–present
Iron Butterfly [22] United States1966–presentSecond guitarist Erik Braunn died in 2003 of a heart attack. Original bassist Lee Dorman died on 21 December 2012.
Iron Claw United Kingdom1969-1974, 1993, 2010–present
Iron Maiden United Kingdom1975–presentIron Maiden achieved success during the early 1980s. After several line-up changes, the band went on to release a series of U.S. and UK platinum and gold albums, including 1982's The Number of the Beast , 1983's Piece of Mind , 1984's Powerslave , 1985's live release Live After Death , 1986's Somewhere in Time and 1988's Seventh Son of a Seventh Son .


NameOriginYears activeBrief summary
Jag Panzer United States1981–1988, 1994–2011
Jaguar United Kingdom1979–1985, 1998–present
Jameson Raid United Kingdom1975–1983, 2008–present
Jerusalem United Kingdom1972–presentProduced and managed by Ian Gillan of Deep Purple. Early creators of Metal, Doom and Stoner rock. Remastered vinyl and CD versions of original Decca, Deram and Universal releases have been reissued by Rockadrome Records.
Josefus United States1969–2005
JPT Scare Band United States1973–present
Judas Priest United Kingdom1969–present


NameOriginYears activeBrief summary
Kat Poland1979-1987, 1990-1999, 2002–present
Kerber Serbia1981–present
Kick Axe Canada1976–1988, 2003–present
Killer Belgium1980–present
Killer Dwarfs Canada1981–1997, 2001–present
Killing Joke United Kingdom1978-1996, 2002–present
King's X United States1979–present
Kiss United States1973–present
Kix United States1977–1996, 2003–present
Krokus Switzerland1974–present


NameOriginYears activeBrief summary
Leaf Hound United Kingdom1969-1971, 2004–present
Leatherwolf United States1981–present
Led Zeppelin [26] United Kingdom1968–1980, 2007, 2011
Legs Diamond United States1975–present
Leño Spain1978-1983
Leviticus Sweden1981–1990
Lionheart United Kingdom1980-1986
Living Death Germany1980-1991
London United States1978–1981, 1984–1990, 2006–presentEarly lineups featured future members of Mötley Crüe, Guns N' Roses, W.A.S.P. and Cinderella. [27]
Lone Star United Kingdom1975–1978
Los Suaves Spain1980–present
Loudness Japan1980–present
Lucifer's Friend [28] Germany1970–1982, 1993–1997, 2014–present


NameOriginYears activeBrief summary
Mahogany Rush Canada1970–1980, 1998–present
Malice United States1980-1989, 2006–present
Yngwie Malmsteen Sweden1978–present
Mama's Boys Ireland1978–1993
Manilla Road United States1977-1990, 2001–present
Manowar United States1980–presentDrummer Scott Columbus died on 4 April 2011.
Marseille United Kingdom1976–present
Max Webster Canada1973–1982
May Blitz United Kingdom1969–1972
Megadeth United States1983–present
Mentors United States1976–present
Mercyful Fate Denmark1981–1985, 1992–1999 King Diamond on vocals.
Metal Church United States1980–1994, 1998–2009, 2012–present
Metallica United States1981–presentBassist Cliff Burton died on 27 September 1986.
Ministry United States1981-2008, 2011–presentStarted as a new wave act.
Misfits United States1977–1983, 1995–present
Montrose United States1973–1976, 2005
More United Kingdom1980–1982, 1985, 1998–2000, 2011–present
Mötley Crüe United States1981–2015
Motörhead United Kingdom1975–2015 Lemmy died on 28 December 2015.
Mountain [29] United States1969–1972, 1973–1974, 1981–1985, 1992–1998, 2001–2010
Moxy Canada1974-1983, 1999-2009


NameOriginYears activeBrief summary
Napalm Death United Kingdom1981–present
Nazareth United Kingdom1968–present
Necromandus [22] [30] United Kingdom1970–1973
The Next Band United Kingdom1978-1982
Nightmare France1979–1987, 1999–present
Night Sun [31] Germany1970–1973
Nightwing United Kingdom1978–1987, 1996–present
Ted Nugent [32] [33] United States1975–present


NameOriginYears activeBrief summary
The Obsessed United States1976–1986, 1990–1995, 2011–present
Ozzy Osbourne United Kingdom1980–present
Ostrogoth Belgium1980–1988, 2002, 2010–present
Overkill United States1980–present
Oz Finland1977-1991, 2010–present


NameOriginYears activeBrief summary
Pagan Altar United Kingdom1978–1982, 2004–present
Pantera United States1981-2003Started as a glam metal band.
Pentagram United States1971–1976, 1978–1979, 1981–present
Persian Risk United Kingdom1979–1986
Picture Netherlands1979–1987, 1997–1999, 2007–present
Pink Fairies United Kingdom1970-1976, 1987-1988
Praying Mantis United Kingdom1974–present
Pretty Maids Denmark1981–present
Primevil United States1973-1974


NameOriginYears activeBrief summary
Quartz United Kingdom1974-1983, 1996, 2011
Queensrÿche [34] United States1981–present
Quiet Riot United States1975–present


NameOriginYears activeBrief summary
Rainbow United Kingdom1975–1984, 1993–1997, 2016–presentGuitarist Ritchie Blackmore formed Rainbow in 1975 after leaving Deep Purple.
Ratt United States1976–1992, 1996–present
Raven United Kingdom1974–present
Riot United States1975–1984, 1986–2012
Rock Goddess United Kingdom1977–1987, 1994–1995, 2009, 2015–present
The Rods United States1978-1986, 2008–present
Rok Mašina Serbia1980–1982
Rose Tattoo Australia1976–1987, 1993, 1998–present
Uli Jon Roth Germany1968–present
Rough Cutt United States1981–1987, 2000–2002
The Runaways United States1975–1979
Running Wild Germany1976–2009, 2011–present
Rush Canada1968–2017


NameOriginYears activeBrief summary
Saber Tiger Japan1981–present
Sacred Rite United States1980-1990
Saint United States1980–1989, 1999–present
Saint Vitus United States1978–1996, 2003, 2008–present
Salem United Kingdom1979–1983, 2009–present
Paul Samson United Kingdom1977–2002
Satan United Kingdom1979–1988, 2005–present
Savage United Kingdom1976–present
Savage Grace United States1981–1993, 2009-2010
Savatage United States1978–2002, 2014–presentPrevious members of the band formed the Trans-Siberian Orchestra in 1996.
Saxon United Kingdom1976–present
Michael Schenker Group Germany1979–present
Scorpions Germany1965–present
Shark Island United States1979-1992
Sir Lord Baltimore United States1968-1976, 2006–present
Sister United States1976–1978
Skitzo United States1981–present
Slayer United States1981–present
Sodom Germany1981–present
Sorcery United States1976-1987
Sortilège France1981–1986
Sound Barrier United States1980-1987
Spinal Tap United States1979–presentParody heavy metal band which first appeared on TV in 1979, with American actors playing the parts of fictional British musicians.
Spider United Kingdom1976-1986
Stampede United Kingdom1981-1983, 2009–present
Starz United States1975–1979, 1980, 1990, 2003–present
Steeler Germany1981–1988
Steppenwolf Canada/United States1967–presentThe 1967 recording "Born to Be Wild" was one of the first rock songs to contain the phrase "Heavy Metal" in its lyrics.
Stormwitch Germany1979–1994, 2002–present
Stray United Kingdom1966–present
Suck South Africa1970–1971
Suicidal Tendencies United States1980–1995, 1997–present
Sweet Savage United Kingdom1979–present


NameOriginYears activeBrief summary
Tank United Kingdom1980-1989, 1997–present
Tarantula Portugal1981–present
Tesla United States1981–1996, 2000–present
Thin Lizzy Ireland1969–1984, 1996–2012
Thor Canada1976-1978, 1983–1986, 1997–present
TKO United States1977–2001
Toad Switzerland1970–1995
Tobruk United Kingdom1981–1987
Trance Germany1977–1998, 2011–presentAccording to Manfred Meyer from Metal Hammer magazine, some would rank the band alongside Accept and Scorpions as the third most important hard rock band from Germany.
Trespass United Kingdom1978–1982, 1992–1993, 2013–present
Triumph Canada1975–1993, 2008–present
Trooper Canada1974–present
Trouble United States1979–present
Trust France1977-1985, 1988, 1996-2000, 2006
TSA Poland1979–present
Tucky Buzzard United Kingdom1969-1974
Turbo Poland1980–present
Twisted Sister United States1972–1988, 1997–present
Tygers of Pan Tang United Kingdom1978–1987, 1999–present
Tytan United Kingdom1981-1983, 2012–present


NameOriginYears activeBrief summary
UFO United Kingdom1969–1988, 1992–present
Urchin United Kingdom1972-1980
Uriah Heep United Kingdom1969–present


NameOriginYears activeBrief summary
V8 Argentina1979–1987
Vandenberg Netherlands1981–1987
Van Halen United States1972–present
Vanilla Fudge [35] United States1967–1970, 1982–1984, 1987–1988, 1991, 1999–present
Vardis United Kingdom1973–1986, 2014–present
Venom United Kingdom1979–presentPioneers of the Black Metal genre, with their 1981 album, Black Metal and subsequent releases.
Vicious Rumors United States1979–present
Virgin Steele United States1981–present
Vixen United States1973-1991, 1997-1998, 2001–present
Vulcain France1981-1998, 2009–present


NameOriginYears activeBrief summary
Warhorse [22] United Kingdom1970–1974, (partial reunions: 1985, 2005)
Warning France1980-1985
Warpig Canada1968–1975, 2004–present
White Sister United States1980-1986, 2008-2009
Whitesnake United Kingdom1978–1990, 1994, 1997, 2002–present
White Spirit United Kingdom1975-1981
White Wolf Canada1975-1986, 2007–present
Wild Dogs United States1981–present
Wild Horses United Kingdom1978–1981
Witchfinder General United Kingdom1979–1984, 2006–2008
Witchfynde United Kingdom1974–1984, 1999–present
Wrathchild United Kingdom1980–1990, 2009–present
Wrathchild America United States1978-1993


Xentrix United Kingdom1984 - present


NameOriginYears activeBrief summary
Y&T United States1974–1991, 1995–present


NameOriginYears activeBrief summary
Zoetrope United States1976-1993

See also


  1. Weinstein, Deena. Heavy Metal: The Music and its Culture. DaCapo, 2000. ISBN   0-306-80970-2, pg. 14.
  2. Christe, Ian (2004). Sound of the Beast. Allison & Busby. p. 1. ISBN   0-7490-8351-4.
  3. 1981 Snapshots in Music from Web Guide
  4. Profile of Metallica at
  5. Profile of Slayer at
  6. Profile of Anthrax at
  7. "The world of metal changed forever..." - autiobiographical Megadeth lyrics at LyricsFreak website
  8. Rivadavia, Eduardo. "Accept biography". AllMusic . Retrieved 2012-01-30.
  9. 1 2 Walser, Robert (1999). Running with The Devil. Wesleyan University Press. pp. s. 11, 16, 78. ISBN   0-8195-6260-2.
  10. Walser, Robert (1999). Running with The Devil. Wesleyan University Press. pp. s. 8, 13. ISBN   0-8195-6260-2.
  11. Christe, Ian (2004). Sound of the Beast. Allison & Busby. pp. 2, 16, 18, 19, 39, 56–69, 93, 304, 333. ISBN   0-7490-8351-4.
  12. Rivadavia, Eduardo. "Bang biography". AllMusic . Retrieved 2012-01-30.
  13. Ruhlmann, William. "Black Sabbath biography". AllMusic . Retrieved 2012-01-30.
  14. Ruhlmann, William. "Blue Cheer biography". AllMusic . Retrieved 2012-01-30.
  15. Ruhlmann, William. "Blue Oyster Cult biography". AllMusic . Retrieved 2012-01-30.
  16. "BOWWOW Frontman Kyoji Yamamoto". Retrieved 2012-06-08.
  17. Prato, Greg. "Budgie biography". AllMusic . Retrieved 2012-01-30.
  18. Bealmear, Bart. "Dead Forever... review". AllMusic . Retrieved 2012-01-30.
  19. Rivadavia, Eduardo. "Volcanic Rock review". AllMusic . Retrieved 2012-01-30.
  20. Planer, Lindsay. "One Way... or Another review". AllMusic . Retrieved 2012-01-30.
  21. British Steel Festival 2006 details at Roadrunner Records' website, 20 February 2006
  22. 1 2 3 4 Sleazegrinder (March 2007). "The Lost Pioneers of Heavy Metal". Classic Rock.
  23. Rolling Stone
  24. Rock Eras by James M. Curtis
  25. Saga of Rock Still Rolling, Toledo Blade, 1979
  26. Christe, Ian (2004). Sound of the Beast. Allison & Busby. p. 12. ISBN   0-7490-8351-4.
  27. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-04-12. Retrieved 2010-06-26.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) Biography of the band London at, 2009
  28. "AMG bio of Lucifer's Friend" . Retrieved 2007-10-15.
  29. Ingham, Chris (2002). The Book of Metal. Thunder's Mouth Press. p. 204. ISBN   978-1-56025-419-5.
  30. Rivadavia, Eduardo. "Necromandus biography". AllMusic . Retrieved 2012-01-31.
  31. Rivadavia, Eduardo. "Mournin review". AllMusic . Retrieved 2012-01-31.
  32. Roberts, Roxanne & Argetsinger, Amy. "Ted Nugent: Long past his 'rock star' days, how he caused a political firestorm". The Washington Post . Retrieved 2014-05-01.
  33. Rolling Stone magazine. "Ted Nugent biography". Simon & Schuster . Retrieved 2014-05-01.
  34. allmusic ((( Queensryche > Overview )))
  35. Christe, Ian (2004). Sound of the Beast. Allison & Busby. p. 13. ISBN   0-7490-8351-4.