Top 150 Most Influential Metal Bands Of All Time


Please write your opinions on the list, if you have any. I'm not doing this list because I consider myself as an expert more than other people here, but because I think it is interesting to discuss things like this. I might be wrong in many cases, and I would only be glad if you correct me about any of my "mistakes", if you find any, or suggest other bands that deserves to be on the list. I have tried to only include bands that are fully accepted as metal, why many alternative bands are excluded.

Created by: Aristarchos | 18.07.2012



1. Black Sabbath
The first band considered as metal. All their influence could not be described.
2. Judas Priest
They brought in more melody to metal, added the twin guitar and created the traditional heavy metal sound.
3. Iron Maiden
Has had a huge influence on all kind of melodic metal and also on early thrash metal bands.
4. Motörhead
The first band to mix metal with punk. Had a major influence on the thrash genre.
5. Venom
Usually considered as the first extreme metal band. Influenced genres like black metal and thrash metal.
6. Metallica
The first thrash metal band to record an album. Have influenced numerous bands in different genres.
7. Slayer
Brought in hardcore influences in thrash metal to make it more extreme, and influenced a genre like death metal.
8. Celtic Frost
The first band to be described as avant-garde metal. Have had a big influence on different genres like death, black, gothic and symphonic metal.
9. Bathory
Usually considered as the first pure black metal band. They also created the viking metal genre.
10. Helloween
They created the power metal genre, and have influenced most of the bands in the genre since.
11. Possessed
Had a huge influence on early death metal.
12. Death
Created what many considered as the first pure death metal.
13. Pantera
They started the groove metal genre and influenced genres like nu metal, metalcore and other forms of alternative metal.
14. Godflesh
Created the industrial metal genre (or at least was one of the originators). Had a major influence on post metal, and also influenced drone metal and other forms of alternative metal.
15. Morbid Angel
Brought in ultra-speed to death metal.
16. Paradise Lost
Created the gothic metal genre.
17. At The Gates
They started the Gothenburg movement and have had a major influence on the metalcore genre.
18. Mercyful Fate
They perhaps didn't create a genre on their own, but have influenced bands in numerous genres.
19. Accept
Had a big influence on early power metal, speed metal and thrash metal.
20. Melvins
Created the sludge metal genre and influenced bands in alternative metal, drone metal and post metal.
21. Budgie
Had a huge influence on NWOBHM.
22. Queensrÿche
Influential for prog metal.
23. Napalm Death
The first grindcore band along with Repulsion.
24. Kreator
Influenced the death and black metal genres.
25. Sepultura
Started as a death/thrash metal band but had their biggest impact on genres like nu metal and metalcore.
26. Dream Theater
Took the progressive influences more further into metal than any band before them.
27. Mayhem
Although bands like Burzum, Emperor and Darkthrone have had a bigger influence for later black metal, Mayhem was the band that started the 2nd wave black metal.
28. Yngwie Malmsteen
Created the neoclassical metal genre.
29. Manowar
Made the metal more epic and bombastic. Influenced the power metal genre and also the viking metal genre.
30. Candlemass
Bands like Pentagram, Trouble and Saint Vitus were earlier, but it was Candlemass who made the genre popular and influenced most forth-coming bands.
31. Watchtower
The first technical thrash metal band, and to many also the first prog metal band.
32. Burzum
Created the atmospheric black metal genre.
33. Emperor
Created the symphonic black metal genre.
34. Atheist
The first technical death metal band.
35. Repulsion
Along with Napalm Death, the first grindcore band.
36. Pentagram
The first band that took Black Sabbath's doom metal sound further, although they didn't release any album until the 1980's.
37. Trouble
One of the bands that is responsible for the creation of doom metal as a genre.
38. Saint Vitus
Together with Trouble and Pentagram, they are responsible for the doom metal genre. They also brought in some punk influences to doom metal.
39. Entombed
As Nihilist they could be said to be responsible for the swedish death metal scene. They brought in a hardcore element to death metal, and had a big influence for the evolution towards melodic death metal, and also started death 'n' roll
40. Obituary
One of the pioneers of death metal.
41. Neurosis
Created the post metal genre.
42. Ministry
One of the pioneers of industrial metal. Combined industrial metal with some influences from thrash metal.
43. Suffocation
Created the brutal death metal genre. Also had a big influence on the deathcore genre.
44. Diamond Head
Had a big influence on thrash metal.
45. Anthrax
Brought in NY hardcore and rap into thrash metal.
46. Darkthrone
The first 2nd wave black metal band to release an album.
47. Megadeth
One of the biggest thrash metal bands.
48. Autopsy
Has influenced many big death metal bands and death doom bands.
49. Savatage
Has had a big influence on american heavy metal.
50. Fates Warning
One of the pioneers of prog metal. Has also influenced power metal bands.
51. Suicidal Tendencies
Influential for crossover thrash.
52. Carcass
Influential in both grindcore and melodic death metal.
53. Deicide
One of the more influential in death metal.
54. Exodus
One of the pioneers of thrash metal.
55. Amorphis
Has had a big influence in finnish metal. Brought in some finnish folk influences.
56. Fear Factory
Brought industrial influences to the extreme metal scene.
57. Immortal
Brought speed to black metal.
58. Sodom
Influenced death and black metal.
59. My Dying Bride
One of the pioneers in death doom. Brought in violins to doom metal and influenced gothic metal.
60. The Gathering
One of the originators of gothic metal.
61. Theatre Of Tragedy
Developed the beauty and the beast sound, and was the first one to use it on an entire album.
62. Dark Angel
Influenced death metal.
63. The 3rd And The Mortal
Influential for atmospheric metal.
64. Saxon
One of the first NWOBHM band.
65. Thergothon
Created the funeral doom metal genre.
66. Earth
Created the drone metal genre.
67. Isis
One of the pioneers of post metal.
68. Sleep
Influential stoner metal band.
69. Opeth
Took the progressivity farther into death metal than any band before.
70. Blind Guardian
Influential power metal band.
71. Therion
Took the symphonic element further into metal than any one before.
72. In Flames
The most melodic of the classic gothenburg metal bands. Influenced melodic metalcore.
73. D.R.I.
Influential for crossover thrash.
74. Meshuggah
Created what has been labelled as djent.
75. Rhapsody Of Fire
The first symphonic power metal band.
76. Stratovarius
Influential power metal band.
77. Manilla Road
American cult band. Infuential for american heavy metal.
78. Destruction
One of the big three within teutonic thrash metal.
79. Sarcófago
Influential for black metal and technical death metal.
80. Tiamat
Created what could be called psychedelic doom metal.
81. Nightwish
First female-fronted symphonic metal band.
82. Children Of Bodom
Created extreme power metal.
83. Enslaved
Influential in viking metal and progressive black metal.
84. Dissection
Created melodic black metal.
85. Dark Tranquillity
One of the pioneers of the gothenburg sound.
86. Master's Hammer
Early experimental black metal band.
87. Master
One of the pioneers of death metal.
88. Cannibal Corpse
Influential in death metal.
89. Nocturnus
Brought in keyboards to death metal.
90. Crimson Glory
Influential for prog metal.
91. Anathema
One of the originators of death doom metal. Influenced gothic metal.
92. Bethlehem
Gave name to the most diffuse metal genre dark metal. Introduced the suicidal lyrics.
93. Cathedral
Took the doom metal genre into the 90's.
94. Ulver
Influential for the blackened folk metal genre. Later they experimented with electronica.
95. Katatonia
Influential for the blackened doom metal genre, and also for death doom metal.
96. Terrorizer
Classic grindcore band.
97. W.A.S.P.
The heaviest of the glam metal band.
98. Raven
Influential for thrash metal.
99. Anvil
Influential for thrash metal.
100. Dio
Classic heavy metal band.
101. Gamma Ray
Influential power metal band.
102. Ozzy Osbourne
The biggest influence he had was I think by the guitar-player Randy Rhoads.
103. Skyclad
The first folk metal band.
104. Cynic
Took the jazz influences further into death metal than any band before.
105. Type O Negative
Created their own form of gothic metal.
106. Skepticism
Influential funeral doom metal band.
107. Disembowelment
Influential extreme doom metal band.
108. Danzig
Influential for gothic and doom metal band.
109. Graveland
Influential for the eastern european black metal scene.
110. Rotting Christ
Early greek black metal band.
111. Sentenced
Influential for what on this site is described as suomi metal.
112. White Zombie
Influential for groove metal, industrial metal and nu metal.
113. Immolation
Influential for dark death metal
114. Bolt Thrower
Influential english death metal band
115. Exhumed
Influential deathgrind band.
116. Angel Witch
Influential for thrash metal.
117. Stormtroopers Of Death
Influential for crossover thrash.
118. Winter
Influential extreme doom metal band.
119. Vulcano
Influential brazilian extreme metal band.
120. Corrosion Of Conformity
Influential for crossover thrash.
121. King Diamond
122. Machine Head
123. Eyehategod
124. Crowbar
125. Carnivore
126. Exhorder
127. Thorns
128. Unholy
129. Prong
130. Testament
131. Overkill
132. Slaughter
133. Massacre
134. Voivod
135. HammerFall
136. Dimmu Borgir
137. Cradle Of Filth
138. Finntroll
139. Satyricon
140. In The Woods...
141. Mastodon
142. Witchfinder General
143. Running Wild
144. Metal Church
145. Marduk
146. Samael
147. Strapping Young Lad
148. Symphony X
149. Nile
150. Summoning



Disclaimer: All top lists are unofficial and do not represent the point of view of the MS Staff.
[ More lists by Aristarchos ]



Comments page 2 / 2

‹‹ Back to Lists
Comments: 56   Visited by: 201 users
06.10.2012 - 16:18
Aristarchos
Written by Guest on 27.09.2012 at 05:59

How about bands that influenced Crossover like Suicidal Tendencies, S.O.D., D.R.I.?

Since I haven't got any reply yet I will add these band just outside top 100. If I find, or anyone gives me, a better description of the history of crossover I might adjust it later. And wasn't Corrosion Of Conformity quite influential in that genre too? I'm thinking of adding them too.
Loading...
06.10.2012 - 16:41
Aristarchos
To make an even number I expanded the list to a top 140.
Loading...
20.11.2012 - 13:01
Aristarchos
I have chosen ten more bands so now it is a 150 top.
Loading...
02.01.2013 - 13:22
Aristarchos
Written by Guest on 27.09.2012 at 05:59

How about bands that influenced Crossover like Suicidal Tendencies, S.O.D., D.R.I.?

I have checked out the crossover thrash bands now. They sounded more interesting than I had expected. Especially liked Suicidal Tendencies - Lights Camera Revolution and Carnivore - Retaliation. Still not sure which of these bands that deserves to be highest on the list. Anyway I included Carnivore too in the list for their influence on for example the sludge genre.
Loading...
02.01.2013 - 13:33
Marcel Hubregtse
Grumpy Old Fuck
Written by Aristarchos on 02.01.2013 at 13:22

Anyway I included Carnivore too in the list for their influence on for example the sludge genre.


wtf?
----
Member of the true crusade against European Flower Metal

Yesterday is dead and gone, tomorrow is out of sight
Dawn Crosby (r.i.p.)
05.04.1963 - 15.12.1996

Loading...
03.01.2013 - 16:50
Aristarchos
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 02.01.2013 at 13:33

Written by Aristarchos on 02.01.2013 at 13:22

Anyway I included Carnivore too in the list for their influence on for example the sludge genre.


wtf?

I have read an interview with Crowbar in Sweden Rock Magazine where they mention Carnivore as one of their major influences, and according to the wikipedia page for Eyehategod, they too mention Carnivore as one of their major influences. And next to Melvins and Neurosis I guess that Crowbar and Eyehategod have been the two most influential bands in the sludge genre.
Loading...
04.01.2013 - 16:07
Marcel Hubregtse
Grumpy Old Fuck
Written by Aristarchos on 03.01.2013 at 16:50

Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 02.01.2013 at 13:33

Written by Aristarchos on 02.01.2013 at 13:22

Anyway I included Carnivore too in the list for their influence on for example the sludge genre.


wtf?

I have read an interview with Crowbar in Sweden Rock Magazine where they mention Carnivore as one of their major influences, and according to the wikipedia page for Eyehategod, they too mention Carnivore as one of their major influences. And next to Melvins and Neurosis I guess that Crowbar and Eyehategod have been the two most influential bands in the sludge genre.


lots of those bands will also mention Kiss as their influence, but that doesn't make Kiss influential for the sludge genre.
----
Member of the true crusade against European Flower Metal

Yesterday is dead and gone, tomorrow is out of sight
Dawn Crosby (r.i.p.)
05.04.1963 - 15.12.1996

Loading...
05.01.2013 - 13:06
Aristarchos
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 04.01.2013 at 16:07

lots of those bands will also mention Kiss as their influence, but that doesn't make Kiss influential for the sludge genre.

Anyway, I guess Carnivore have been influential enough to be included on the list, don't you agree with that?
Loading...
27.02.2013 - 18:12
Aristarchos
I discovered I had left out Vulcano. I definitely think they deserve to be on the list for starting the South American extreme metal scene and influencing bands like Sarcofago and Sepultura. I put them in on a random position.
Loading...
27.02.2013 - 23:35
Erik M.
I'm sorry, but this list is way too long for its own good. Why don't you just list two or three bands per metal subgenre that pioneered the genre? And order them properly... you'd still have a pretty big list then, but 150 is way too much in my opinion, for "influential" bands.
Loading...
04.03.2013 - 18:52
Aristarchos
Written by Erik M. on 27.02.2013 at 23:35

I'm sorry, but this list is way too long for its own good. Why don't you just list two or three bands per metal subgenre that pioneered the genre? And order them properly... you'd still have a pretty big list then, but 150 is way too much in my opinion, for "influential" bands.

I think there are too many bands that have been part of shaping the metal genre for a short list, but if you want a shorter list you can only look at top 40. These are what I consider the most essential bands, that was how far I came when I still really tried to weigh every position against each other, after that it became impossible, although I have tried the best I can. If you have any objections against my order you can express them, I'm only glad for all feedback I receive.

I have no idea if anyone else cares about this list, but at least I think it has been very fun doing this list, and I have learnt a lot by all the research I have put down on it, and also by some of the comments so far.
Loading...
23.01.2014 - 19:37
SilentShredder
I couldn't agree more with this list than I already do and all these bands definitely deserve a place here, but I don't know why Killing Joke isn't on this list. They started/heavily influenced industrial rock and metal in their later years and laid the foundation of Godflesh, not to mention influencing some of today's most well-known metal bands like Metallica, Korn, Slipknot, Ministry, even Nirvana and Soundgarden (although they're more grunge than metal). If any revision needs to be made to this list, Killing Joke needs a spot on it.
Loading...
31.01.2014 - 18:10
Aristarchos
Written by SilentShredder on 23.01.2014 at 19:37

I couldn't agree more with this list than I already do and all these bands definitely deserve a place here, but I don't know why Killing Joke isn't on this list. They started/heavily influenced industrial rock and metal in their later years and laid the foundation of Godflesh, not to mention influencing some of today's most well-known metal bands like Metallica, Korn, Slipknot, Ministry, even Nirvana and Soundgarden (although they're more grunge than metal). If any revision needs to be made to this list, Killing Joke needs a spot on it.

Thanks! I agree Killing Joke being hugely influential for metal but I have never considered them metal enough for the list.
Loading...
13.09.2014 - 04:37
vgmaster9
No Iced Earth? Seriously?
Loading...
05.10.2014 - 11:47
Aristarchos
Written by vgmaster9 on 13.09.2014 at 04:37

No Iced Earth? Seriously?

Very popular band, but how many bands have been influenced by them?
Loading...
12.10.2014 - 19:09
Erik M.
No Summoning? Honestly, they pioneered Tolkien-themed epic (symphonic) black metal. All/most other Tolkien-themed (BM) bands have been influenced by Summoning. Minas Morgul (1995) is the first album on which their unique sound is heard.
Loading...
23.10.2014 - 17:44
Aristarchos
Written by Erik M. on 12.10.2014 at 19:09

No Summoning? Honestly, they pioneered Tolkien-themed epic (symphonic) black metal. All/most other Tolkien-themed (BM) bands have been influenced by Summoning. Minas Morgul (1995) is the first album on which their unique sound is heard.

How many Tolkien-themed black metal bands are there? And I don't think the lyrics do matter that much, besides other metal bands (perhaps not black metal bands) have had Tolkien-influenced lyrics earlier. I agree though they have a unique sound, but I can't put every band with a unique sound on the list. It is really difficult to choose in the bottom. But I appreciate every suggestion I obtain, so thanks for your comment!
Loading...
25.10.2014 - 22:01
Erik M.
Written by Aristarchos on 23.10.2014 at 17:44

How many Tolkien-themed black metal bands are there? And I don't think the lyrics do matter that much, besides other metal bands (perhaps not black metal bands) have had Tolkien-influenced lyrics earlier. I agree though they have a unique sound, but I can't put every band with a unique sound on the list. It is really difficult to choose in the bottom. But I appreciate every suggestion I obtain, so thanks for your comment!


There are quite a few Tolkien-themed bands (as this list shows).

The main point is that Summoning is an influential band in the genre and the sound they had 18 years ago was back then totally unique. That alone should be enough to put them on the list. Strange what you say about lyrics, since lyrics obviously are a huge factor when it comes to what kind of theme a band is. If Summoning didn't have Tolkien lyrics (or referenced to the books) or song titles then what ties would they have to Tolkien? What I mean is that Tolkien-themed metal is a thing, as there are plenty of bands in that "subgenre".
Loading...
14.11.2014 - 13:24
Aristarchos
Written by Erik M. on 25.10.2014 at 22:01

Written by Aristarchos on 23.10.2014 at 17:44

How many Tolkien-themed black metal bands are there? And I don't think the lyrics do matter that much, besides other metal bands (perhaps not black metal bands) have had Tolkien-influenced lyrics earlier. I agree though they have a unique sound, but I can't put every band with a unique sound on the list. It is really difficult to choose in the bottom. But I appreciate every suggestion I obtain, so thanks for your comment!


There are quite a few Tolkien-themed bands (as this list shows).

The main point is that Summoning is an influential band in the genre and the sound they had 18 years ago was back then totally unique. That alone should be enough to put them on the list. Strange what you say about lyrics, since lyrics obviously are a huge factor when it comes to what kind of theme a band is. If Summoning didn't have Tolkien lyrics (or referenced to the books) or song titles then what ties would they have to Tolkien? What I mean is that Tolkien-themed metal is a thing, as there are plenty of bands in that "subgenre".

OK, I added them in the end, but I never been a fan of genre names based upon themes and not the music, besides on that list Cirith Ungol is way earlier with Tolkien-theme, and in black metal Burzum is included, although I do not know if he had any more Tolkien-connection than the name.
Loading...
07.02.2015 - 20:15
Alejandry
Where is VAN HALEN and MOTLEY CRUE?
Loading...
16.02.2015 - 17:53
Aristarchos
Written by Alejandry on 07.02.2015 at 20:15

Where is VAN HALEN and MOTLEY CRUE?

I excluded them because I don't consider them as metal. Perhaps first two mötley albums has an element of metal, but not enough for this list.
Loading...
03.09.2015 - 09:30
Ganondox
Pretty good list, but I'd personally include alternative metal bands like Tool and Korn. Also I'd order some things differently, but that's more minor.
Loading...
08.10.2015 - 15:58
Aristarchos
Written by Ganondox on 03.09.2015 at 09:30

Pretty good list, but I'd personally include alternative metal bands like Tool and Korn. Also I'd order some things differently, but that's more minor.

I agree some alternative bands like Tool and KoRn deserves to be in the list, but I'm not enough in to that kind of music to tell which bands to include, and how high they deserves to be. What would you order differently?
Loading...
10.10.2015 - 01:26
Ganondox
Written by Aristarchos on 08.10.2015 at 15:58

Written by Ganondox on 03.09.2015 at 09:30

Pretty good list, but I'd personally include alternative metal bands like Tool and Korn. Also I'd order some things differently, but that's more minor.

I agree some alternative bands like Tool and KoRn deserves to be in the list, but I'm not enough in to that kind of music to tell which bands to include, and how high they deserves to be. What would you order differently?


It's just some really minor things, like Death before Possessed, In Flames before At the Gates, Ministry before Godflesh ect. , but that's me coming from more of an alternative metal background, and since all those bands are really influential and there is so many bands it's hard to place specific places and everyone has their own reasons.
Loading...
26.01.2016 - 23:52
3030Will
How do you have time to listen to all these bands?
Loading...
07.04.2016 - 18:39
Aristarchos
Written by 3030Will on 26.01.2016 at 23:52

How do you have time to listen to all these bands?

Sorry for late reply, I missed your comment for some reason. But I'm 31 and I have had periods in my life when I have been unemployed and spent my days listening to metal. I still don´t think I know anything about metal in comparison to a few other people on this site, especially Marcel.
Loading...

Hits total: 60707 | This month: 1181