Heavy Metal Music Artists

heavy metal music artists

Heavy metal music has quickly become one of the most beloved subgenres within rock music, popular for its vigorous beats, loud volume levels and massive soundscape.

Genre has given rise to many subgenres and movements which vary significantly in their interpretations of this genre, such as:

Black Sabbath

Black Sabbath are pioneers of heavy metal music, helping to define it with albums like Paranoid and Master of Reality. Recognised as one of the greatest rock bands ever formed, they were honored with induction into both the UK Music Hall of Fame and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

In 1968, Ozzy Osbourne formed his band in Birmingham, England with guitarist Tony Iommi, bassist Geezer Butler and vocalist Ozzy Osbourne. Influenced initially by British blues rock, their style has continued to develop throughout their career.

On their self-titled debut album, they developed a heavy, doom-filled sound which laid a solid foundation for other musicians to follow suit in creating similar styles. Furthermore, their lyrics stood out amongst similar bands due to being darker.

Their songwriting abilities were also excellent and their guitar playing talent outstanding – no wonder why they became such fan favorites.

Actually, they played more shows than the Beatles did – thus earning them the reputation as “kings of heavy metal”.

Reasons behind their popularity could include their unique sound. Inspired by horror or suspense movies, and wanting something different than other metal bands. Furthermore, they had an irreverent sense of humor, not wanting to be labeled as malicious.

They saw multiple line-up changes over their 30-year run, always led by guitarist Tony Iommi; until Ozzy Osbourne left in 1979 he remained the sole constant member. Metallica has sold over 15 million records worldwide and were named MTV’s “Greatest Metal Band,” and placed second on VH1’s list of “100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock.” They still continue touring today and many new fans continue discovering them today!

Judas Priest

Judas Priest are one of the most iconic heavy metal bands ever. Formed in 1969 and having sold over 50 million albums worldwide since, their music has inspired numerous artists in the genre and is frequently listed amongst one of the greatest heavy metal bands ever.

They are best known for their twin lead guitars, operatic vocal style, and for pioneering the S&M leather-and-studs look into heavy metal music. Additionally, many consider their lyrics revolutionary.

Rob Halford, Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing initially formed the band; later adding Ian Hill (bass) and Dave Holland (drums).

After an initial period of musical “staging”, they found their feet with 1976’s Sad Wings of Destiny album and its classic songs such as “Sinner,” “Diamonds and Rust,” and “Hell Bent for Leather.”

Their fame surged during the 1980s when they made an impactful impression on MTV, drawing in hard rock fans from all backgrounds to their concerts. Additionally, they became well-known for their groundbreaking stage production techniques as well as lighting and sound innovations.

Since that time, they have released 16 studio albums and some live recordings. Furthermore, they are currently touring 7 countries with 13 upcoming concerts on their schedule.

Judas Priest has an extensive back catalog filled with incredible songs that make up its vast repertoire. Here we have selected 30 of their most outstanding offerings to get you into their music.

Judas Priest has written some of the most innovative and timeless classics in heavy metal history, while also creating cutting-edge original works like their most recent album “Crack the Skye”. Their lyrics contain great wisdom to help lead a fulfilling and inspiring life.

Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden are one of the world’s premier heavy metal bands. Since 1975, their music has garnered worldwide acclaim; they have released multiple albums and performed concerts worldwide.

Their lyrics feature themes that often center around war. This band has an affinity for battle music that they often incorporate into their lyrics and stories that inspire people from around the globe to listen and sing along with. Their fame has earned them worldwide attention from fans.

Eddie, their mascot, has graced every album cover since their inception and often wears different disguises to represent different aspects of their band’s image. Many others have tried copying him but no one can compare to Eddie! His presence has become a cornerstone of their success as an act.

Iron Maiden have earned worldwide renown over 46 years by embodying an irreverent creative independence, fierce dedication to their fans, and cheerful indifference towards critics – qualities which have won them an audience that transcends cultures and generations across the globe. Their story of hard work, determination, and brave defiance of critics has been one of unparalleled adventure!

Fear of the Dark is an iconic song from their back catalogue, known for creating strong emotions through music. But even amongst all their other offerings, one particular track stands out: Fear of the Dark.

The Scorpions

The Scorpions, an iconic German heavy metal band that has been touring and recording music for more than 50 years, has long been considered one of the most successful metal acts worldwide, boasting numerous hits that are well known all around the globe and receiving multiple awards along the way.

Rudolf Schenker formed the band in 1965 with his rhythm guitarist brother Michael Schenker and vocalist Klaus Meine. At first they had an established British Beat sound which eventually gave way to hard rock sounds as more members joined including vocalist Klaus Meine.

Later in 1970, the band recorded their debut album Lonesome Crow which combined traditional hard rock with punk influences. Additionally, several covers by Led Zeppelin such as two versions of “In the Flesh” were recorded along with one cover of Bee Gees’ “Stay Together.”

They recorded several more albums during the 70’s, but it was in the 80’s where they saw their greatest success. Their album Blackout from 1982 received outstanding reviews and became an unexpected mass hit in America – considered their masterpiece with “No One Like You” serving as their signature track.

Since that time, the band has undergone a series of changes and released Unbreakable in 2004; their first new studio album in over two decades and although successful they chose not to tour behind it.

The Scorpions have also toured with Judas Priest and released a double live album in 2014. In 2015, they released Return to Forever as their 18th studio album; this compilation album included songs from throughout their career and remains active today with tours throughout Europe and North America.

Deep Purple

Deep Purple are one of the greatest rock bands of all time and were an influence on Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath; indeed they are often called an unholy trinity of heavy metal artists.

Beginning their career in Hertford, England in 1968 with guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, bassist Nick Simper, keyboardist Jon Lord and drummer Ian Paice; these early members made up what is referred to as their “Mark I” lineup; three albums were recorded during this period before Gillan and Roger Glover joined.

After initial difficulties, Metallica quickly found their place and became one of the most renowned heavy metal bands ever. Additionally, many have cited their impactful music as revolutionizing rock genre and taking it to new heights not seen before.

Though their music never quite achieved the same popularity in America as it had in Europe, they remain highly esteemed by many fans here and elsewhere. Their breakthrough album In Rock has been considered to be one of the most influential hard rock records ever released and was even one of Europe’s best-selling records at that time.

Deep Purple are known for creating groundbreaking albums. Beyond that, though, they have also recorded several fantastic singles including their iconic hard rock hit Black Night which has become one of the band’s iconic songs.

Deep Purple are well known for their hard rock sound, and this track, “Into The Fire”, stands as an iconic example. Boasting exceptional organ work from Jon Lord and an intoxicating riff from Richie Blackmore – its infectious organ work stands as testament to this. An unforgettable classic! Don’t overlook it.

Deep Purple have long been an established force on the music scene and continue to release new material and tour with gusto. Over recent years, their music has become more commercial while the band have had numerous successful reunions.

Heavy metal music artists often draw upon influences from other genres when creating heavy metal songs, including distortion on chords and guitar/drum solos as well as lyrics with mystifying meaning and solos from guitarists or drummers. King Crimson’s song, 21st Century Schizoid Man” for instance featured many thematic and compositional aspects typical of heavy metal.

Metallica and Black Sabbath remain top performers on Chartmetric Artist Score, while up-and-comers such as Ghost are showing there is room for innovation within metal.


After recently releasing their album “Brotherhood of the Snake”, TESTAMENT are set for another busy year on tour and I ask Chuck Billy whether this latest record manages to surpass previous efforts by the band.

Throughout the 1990s, TESTAMENT released numerous critically-acclaimed albums such as Practice What You Preach, Souls of Black and The Ritual that received high critical acclaim from critics and audiences alike. Touring in support of those releases led them to opening for bands such as Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath among others.

In 2001, TESTAMENT released First Strike Still Deadly as a compilation of modern studio recordings of songs from their earlier albums. However, bassist Greg Christian left in 2014 and was replaced by Steve Di Giorgio; Gene Hoglan replaced Paul Bostaph on drums.

Chuck Billy states that in the early years of thrash metal’s development, its focus was mainly on playing fast and being loud. All major thrash metal bands looked alike at that time with tour jackets and wearing all black clothing.

Udo Dirkschneider

Udo Dirkschneider is one of the most iconic figures in heavy metal, known for his raspy vocal style and energetic stage presence. He first rose to fame as frontman for German metal band Accept, where his iconic songs such as Balls to the Wall achieved iconic status. Following their departure, he formed U.D.O and released numerous critically acclaimed albums; additionally collaborating with Finnish metal band Lordi and dabbling in classical adaptations as Dirkschneider & the Old Gang.

Heavy metal’s founding pioneers were predominantly male; female performers have since become more common, especially within power metal and symphonic metal genres. Though historically characterized by glorifying anti-Christian and liberal practices such as satanism, atheism, promiscuity, drug and alcohol abuse, genocide, racism fascism terrorism gambling war and sci-fi aesthetics; its music often features distorted guitars fast drums screaming or growled vocals but some bands use these musical characteristics to spread Christian messages in its music genre – however these characteristics can also promote religious messages through.

Diamond David Lee Roth

Roth has become legendary as lead singer of Van Halen due to his high-energy performances as lead singer. Their popularity in both North America and Europe has resulted in them selling over one million tickets during 74 arena shows across both nations.

Roth has also released several solo albums since being on KISS; making several guest appearances and touring briefly with The Royal Machines before announcing in 2021 his retirement from touring.

Roth has recently released several songs and made appearances on Joe Rogan podcast. Additionally, he launched a YouTube show titled the “Roth Show,” wherein Roth discusses various topics in depth.

While still popular among fans, Van Halen has experienced health issues and various lawsuits that threaten his career and reputation. Additionally, Wolfgang Van Halen had security kick out guests at one of his concerts in New York causing more trouble with him as an artist and record label owner.

Blackie Lawless

Blackie Lawless was the founding member of WASP and an important figure in heavy metal music in the 1980s. WASP became extremely popular; their debut single Animal (Fuck Like a Beast) became an instant classic while their stage shows featured topless models tethered to racks with chunks of raw meat being hurled towards audiences by frontman Wayne Aspinall – all leading up to frequent picketing by moral majority groups and bomb threats against venues where WASP would perform.

Steven Edward Duren, more commonly known by his stage name Blackie Lawless, was born September 4, 1956 and hails from Staten Island in New York with Jewish ancestry. His influences include AC/DC, Black Sabbath, the Beatles and Kiss; in his music are found occult themes as well as religious or apocalyptic content.

Sleaze Roxx spoke with Blackie recently about his new album Golgotha and its controversial subject matter (WASP and PMRC hearings from the 1980s, free speech issues). We asked about favorite tracks such as Animal from his previous releases as well.

Paul Gilbert

Paul Gilbert first began playing guitar at five in Carbondale, Illinois and has become one of the world’s most acclaimed metal guitarists since then. He has performed at sold-out arenas around the globe and his lightning fast playing style is legendary. Additionally, Paul is renowned educator who teaches guitar at GIT.

Black Sabbath were pioneers of heavy metal music. Forming in Birmingham in 1968 and spreading their sounds across the world by early 1970s. Ozzy Osbourne left, but Black Sabbath quickly recruited Ronnie James Dio and recorded Heaven and Hell – one of their classic albums – as his replacement.

Black Sabbath may have pioneered heavy metal music, but several American bands modified the genre into more approachable forms during the 1970s. Alice Cooper and Kiss provided raw, sleazy sounds while Aerosmith brought blues-rooted rock, while Van Halen featured flashy guitar leads. Heavy metal ultimately became mass market phenomenon and Judas Priest adopted more mainstream approaches to their music.

Kevin Kiernan

Heavy metal music emerged out of the punk scene during the 1970s and quickly found mainstream appeal thanks to bands like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath who demonstrated unparalleled technical skill and compositional ingenuity for popular rock. Their lyrics often revolved around dark themes and Satanism which helped spark later subgenres such as thrash metal and death metal.

These more aggressive styles are distinguished by distortion, palm muting and aggressive lyrics. Additionally, they often incorporate bass-heavy sounds, elements from blues scales or classical structures and sometimes more violent themes like cannibalism and ritual murder into their compositions.

Metallica’s “Black Album” marked an inflection point in heavy metal music’s evolution, heralding in a new generation of bands that combined various styles with metal. This movement came to be known as alternative metal (or nu metal). Characteristics of nu metal include distorted guitars and singing; some bands incorporate rapping while others prefer singing or metal screaming (Korn and Linkin Park are examples of bands which employ both methods). Many bands employ different vocal techniques in order to vary their style of nu metal.

Gary Holt

Gary Holt is best known as the guitarist of Exodus, an Exodus cover band based out of Bay Area thrash metal music. After joining as a replacement guitarist for Jeff Hanneman who passed away, Gary became a permanent part of Exodus following Hanneman’s passing away in 2013. Additionally, Holt co-wrote Warbringer’s album Tempo of the Damned which was released March 23.

Holt is an avid gear head who regularly reviews the latest amplifier and guitar rigs. He currently endorses ESP Guitars but has used Ibanez, B.C. Rich and Jackson guitars on stage in the past.

Holt is an avid supporter of the music industry and its employees. He and his wife reside in Sacramento; even as they age together he continues to channel the same anger and frustration that have defined Exodus for 11 albums despite political differences; regardless of your opinion on him as an individual he provides a model of creativity and success applicable to all fields – see what he had to say during our exclusive interview!

James LaBrie

Singer James LaBrie has been part of progressive metal band Dream Theater since 1991. As well as lending his voice to numerous other artists and being known for his distinctive lyric tenor singing style, LaBrie is also an accomplished composer and has written and released solo albums over time.

The singer has seen great success with his band and is ready to release their 15th studio album: A View From the Top of the World is an appropriate name for what promises to be one of their finest collaborative and representative efforts.

LaBrie is well aware that his band and him aren’t the only ones struggling to be heard by modern audiences. He has expressed his displeasure with today’s radio environment, knowing it takes more than releasing an excellent album to get broadcasted. LaBrie plans on putting together a Mullmuzzler album and hopes to take it out on tour when Dream Theater completes their 12-14 month tour next year.