Heavy Metal Bands
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List of Heavy Metal Bands

This is a list of heavy metal artists, especially those from the first fourteen 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]


Name Origin Years active Brief summary
220 Volt Sweden 1979-present  
44 Magnum Japan 1977-1989, 2002-present  


Name Origin Years active Brief summary
A II Z United Kingdom 1979-1982  
Accept[8] Germany 1968-1989, 1992-1997, 2004-2005, 2009-present Accept 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 Australia 1973-present  
Aerosmith[10] United States 1970-present  
Alice Cooper[9][11] United States 1968-present  
Angel United States 1975-1981, 1987, 1998-present  
ngeles del Infierno Spain 1978-present  
Angel Witch United Kingdom 1977-1982, 1984-1998, 2000-present  
Anthem Japan 1980-1992, 2000-present  
Anthrax United States 1981-present  
Anvil Canada 1978-present  
Armageddon United Kingdom 1974-1976  
Atomic Rooster United Kingdom 1969-1975, 1980-1983  
Atomkraft United Kingdom 1979-1988, 2005  
Attila United States 1969-1970 Bandmembers included Billy Joel and Jon Small.
Avenged Sevenfold Huntington Beach, California   1999- present   Axe United States 1979-1984, 1997-2004  


Name Origin Years active Brief summary
Babe Ruth United Kingdom 1970-1976, 2005-present  
Bang[12] United States 1969-1973, 2001-2004  
Barnabas United States 1977-1986  
Barn Rojo Spain 1980-present  
Battleaxe United Kingdom 1980-1988, 2010-present  
Bengal Tigers Australia 1979-present  
Beowlf United States 1981-1995, 2000-present  
Birth Control Germany 1966-1983, 1993-2014  
Bitch United States 1980-present First band to be signed by the Metal Blade Records label.
Black Death United States 1977-present The first all-African-American heavy metal band.
Black 'n Blue United States 1981-1989, 1997, 2003, 2007-present Lead guitarist Tommy Thayer joined Kiss in 2003.
Black Rose United Kingdom 1980-1989, 2006-present  
Black Sabbath[13] United Kingdom 1968-2006, 2011-2017 Black 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 Kingdom 1966-1973, 2007-present  
Blitzkrieg United Kingdom 1980-1981, 1984-1991, 1992-1994, 1996-1999, 2001-present  
Bloodrock United States 1969-1975  
Blue Cheer[14] United States 1966-1972, 1974-1976, 1978-1979, 1984-1994, 1999-2009  
Blue yster Cult[15] United States 1967-present  
Bodine Netherlands 1978-1984  
Boss Australia 1979-1986  
Bow Wow[16] Japan 1975-present Also known as Vow Wow for part of their career (1984-1990).
Bronz United Kingdom 1976-1985, 1999-2000, 2003-2005, 2010-present  
Edgar Broughton Band United Kingdom 1968-2010 Cited in the 2010 BBC TV documentary Heavy Metal Britannia as a formative influence on the genre in the UK.
Budgie[17] United Kingdom 1967-present  
Buffalo[18][19] Australia 1971-1977  
Bulldozer Italy 1980-1990, 2008-present  


Name Origin Years active Brief summary
Cactus[20] United States 1969-1972, 2006-present  
Captain Beyond United States 1971-1973, 1976-1978, 1998-2003  
Chateaux United Kingdom 1981-1985  
Cirith Ungol United States 1972-1992, 1996-2001, 2015-present  
Cloven Hoof United Kingdom 1979-1990, 2000-present  
Coven United States 1968-1975, 2007-2008  
Crimson Glory United States 1979-1992, 1998-present  
Crushed Butler United Kingdom 1969-1971  


Name Origin Years active Brief summary
Dark Angel United States 1981-1992, 2002-2005, 2013-present  
Death United States 1983-2001 The band is a pioneering force in death metal.
Death Angel United States 1982-1991, 2001-present  
Death SS Italy 1977-1984, 1988-present  
Dedringer United Kingdom 1977-1985  
Deep Machine United Kingdom 1979-1982, 2009-present  
Deep Purple United Kingdom 1968-1976, 1984-present  
Def Leppard United Kingdom 1977-present The band began as a heavy metal outfit.
Demon United Kingdom 1979-present Headlined the first British Steel Festival in 2006.[21]
The Deviants United Kingdom 1967-1969, 1978, 1984, 1996, 2002, 2011-present Singer and writer Mick Farren died on 27 July 2013.
Diamond Head United Kingdom 1976-1985, 1991-1994, 2002-present  
Die Krupps Germany 1980-present  
Divlje Jagode Bosnia and Herzegovina 1977-present  
Dokken United States 1978-1989, 1993-present  
Dust United States 1969-1972 Drummer Marc Bell joined The Ramones in 1978.


Name Origin Years active Brief summary
Earthshaker Japan 1978-1994, 1999-present  
Easy Action Sweden 1981-1986, 2006-present  
E.F. Band Sweden 1978-1986  
Electric Sun Germany 1978-1986  
Elf United States 1967-1975 Ronnie James Dio on vocals.
Ethel the Frog United Kingdom 1976-1980  
Europe Sweden 1979-1992, 1999 (partial reunion), 2003-present The band began as a heavy metal outfit.
Exciter Canada 1978-present  
Exodus United States 1979-1993, 1997-1998, 2001-present  


Name Origin Years active Brief summary
Faith No More United States 1979-1998, 2009-present  
Fallout United States 1979-1982  
Fist United Kingdom 1978-1982, 2001-2006  
Flotsam and Jetsam United States 1981-present  
Flower Travellin' Band[22] Japan 1967-1973, 2007-present  
The Flying Hat Band United Kingdom 1971-1974 Glenn Tipton on vocals and guitar, later joined Judas Priest in 1974.


Name Origin Years active Brief summary
Gamma United States 1978-1983, 2000  
Geordie United Kingdom 1972-1980, 1982-1985, 2001 Singer Brian Johnson went on to join AC/DC in 1980, after the death of Bon Scott.
Gillan United Kingdom 1978-1983  
Girl United Kingdom 1979-1982  
Girlschool United Kingdom 1978-present All-female band formed during the new wave of British heavy metal.
Gordi Serbia 1977-1984  
Grand Funk Railroad[23][24][25] United States 1968-1977, 1980-1983, 1996-present  
Grave Digger Germany 1980-1987, 1991-present  
Gravestone Germany 1977-1986  
Great White United States 1977-2001, 2002-present  
Grim Reaper United Kingdom 1979-1988, 2006-present  
The Gun United Kingdom 1967-1970  


Name Origin Years active Brief summary
Sammy Hagar United States 1967-present  
The Handsome Beasts United Kingdom 1972-present  
Hanoi Rocks Finland 1979-1985, 2001-2009  
Hard Stuff United Kingdom 1971-1973  
Hawkwind United Kingdom 1969-present  
Headpins Canada 1979-present  
Heaven Australia 1980-2000  
Heavy Load Sweden 1976-1985  
Heavy Metal Kids United Kingdom 1972-1985, 2002-present Initially featured actor Gary Holton on vocals.
Helix Canada 1974-present  
High Tide United Kingdom 1969-1970  
Hollow Ground United Kingdom 1979-1982, 2007, 2013  
Holocaust United Kingdom 1977-present  
Holy Moses Germany 1980-1994, 2000-present  


Name Origin Years active Brief summary
Icon United States 1979-1990, 2008-present  
Iron Butterfly[22] United States 1966-present Second guitarist Erik Braunn died in 2003 of a heart attack. Original bassist Lee Dorman died on 21 December 2012.
Iron Claw United Kingdom 1969-1974, 1993, 2010-present  
Iron Maiden United Kingdom 1975-present Iron 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.


Name Origin Years active Brief summary
Jag Panzer United States 1981-1988, 1994-2011  
Jaguar United Kingdom 1979-1985, 1998-present  
Jameson Raid United Kingdom 1975-1983, 2008-present  
Jerusalem United Kingdom 1972-present Produced 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 States 1969-2005  
JPT Scare Band United States 1973-present  
Judas Priest United Kingdom 1969-present  


Name Origin Years active Brief summary
Kat Poland 1979-1987, 1990-1999, 2002-present  
Kerber Serbia 1981-present  
Kick Axe Canada 1976-1988, 2003-present  
Killer Belgium 1980-present  
Killer Dwarfs Canada 1981-1995, 2001-2008  
Killing Joke United Kingdom 1978-1996, 2002-present  
King's X United States 1979-present  
Kiss United States 1973-present  
Kix United States 1977-1996, 2003-present  
Krokus Switzerland 1974-present  


Name Origin Years active Brief summary
Leaf Hound United Kingdom 1969-1971, 2004-present  
Leatherwolf United States 1981-present  
Led Zeppelin[26] United Kingdom 1968-1980, 2007, 2011  
Legs Diamond United States 1975-present  
Leo Spain 1978-1983  
Leviticus Sweden 1981-1990  
Lionheart United Kingdom 1980-1986  
Living Death Germany 1980-1991  
London United States 1978-1981, 1984-1990, 2006-present Early lineups featured future members of Mtley Cre, Guns N' Roses, W.A.S.P. and Cinderella.[27]
Lone Star United Kingdom 1975-1978  
Los Suaves Spain 1980-present  
Loudness Japan 1980-present  
Lucifer's Friend[28] Germany 1970-1982, 1993-1997, 2014-present  


Name Origin Years active Brief summary
Mahogany Rush Canada 1970-1980, 1998-present  
Malice United States 1980-1989, 2006-present  
Yngwie Malmsteen Sweden 1978-present  
Mama's Boys Ireland 1978-1993  
Manilla Road United States 1977-1990, 2001-present  
Manowar United States 1980-present Drummer Scott Columbus died on 4 April 2011.
Marseille United Kingdom 1976-present  
Max Webster Canada 1973-1982  
May Blitz United Kingdom 1969-1972  
Mentors United States 1976-present  
Mercyful Fate Denmark 1981-1985, 1992-1999 King Diamond on vocals.
Metal Church United States 1980-1994, 1998-2009, 2012-present  
Metallica United States 1981-present Bassist Cliff Burton died on 27 September 1986.
Ministry United States 1981-2008, 2011-present Started as a new wave act.
Misfits United States 1977-1983, 1995-present  
Montrose United States 1973-1976, 2005  
More United Kingdom 1980-1982, 1985, 1998-2000, 2011-present  
Mtley Cre United States 1981-2015  
Motrhead United Kingdom 1975-2015 Lemmy died on 28 December 2015.
Mountain[29] United States 1969-1972, 1973-1974, 1981-1985, 1992-1998, 2001-present  
Moxy Canada 1974-1983, 1999-2009  


Name Origin Years active Brief summary
Napalm Death United Kingdom 1981-present  
Nazareth United Kingdom 1968-present  
Necromandus[22][30] United Kingdom 1970-1973  
The Next Band United Kingdom 1978-1982  
Nightmare France 1979-1987, 1999-present  
Night Sun[31] Germany 1970-1973  
Nightwing United Kingdom 1978-1987, 1996-present  
Ted Nugent[32][33] United States 1975-present  


Name Origin Years active Brief summary
The Obsessed United States 1976-1986, 1990-1995, 2011-present  
Ozzy Osbourne United Kingdom 1980-present  
Ostrogoth Belgium 1980-1988, 2002, 2010-present  
Overkill United States 1980-present  
Oz Finland 1977-1991, 2010-present  


Name Origin Years active Brief summary
Pagan Altar United Kingdom 1978-1982, 2004-present  
Pantera United States 1981-2003  
Pentagram United States 1971-1976, 1978-1979, 1981-present  
Persian Risk United Kingdom 1979-1986  
Picture Netherlands 1979-1987, 1997-1999, 2007-present  
Pink Fairies United Kingdom 1970-1976, 1987-1988  
Praying Mantis United Kingdom 1974-present  
Pretty Maids Denmark 1981-present  
Primevil United States 1973-1974  


Name Origin Years active Brief summary
Quartz United Kingdom 1974-1983, 1996, 2011  
Queensrche[34] United States 1981-present  
Quiet Riot United States 1975-present  


Name Origin Years active Brief summary
Rainbow United Kingdom 1975-1984, 1993-1997, 2016-present Guitarist Ritchie Blackmore formed Rainbow in 1975 after leaving Deep Purple.
Ratt United States 1976-1992, 1996-present  
Raven United Kingdom 1974-present  
Riot United States 1975-1984, 1986-2012  
Rock Goddess United Kingdom 1977-1987, 1994-1995, 2009, 2015-present  
The Rods United States 1978-1986, 2008-present  
Rok Ma?ina Serbia 1980-1982  
Rose Tattoo Australia 1976-1987, 1993, 1998-present  
Uli Jon Roth Germany 1968-present  
Rough Cutt United States 1981-1987, 2000-2002  
The Runaways United States 1975-1979  
Running Wild Germany 1976-2009, 2011-present  
Rush Canada 1968-present  


Name Origin Years active Brief summary
Saber Tiger Japan 1981-present  
Sacred Rite United States 1980-1990  
Saint United States 1980-1989, 1999-present  
Saint Vitus United States 1978-1996, 2003, 2008-present  
Salem United Kingdom 1979-1983, 2009-present  
Paul Samson United Kingdom 1977-2002  
Satan United Kingdom 1979-1988, 2005-present  
Savage United Kingdom 1976-present  
Savage Grace United States 1981-1993, 2009-2010  
Savatage United States 1978-2002, 2014-present Previous members of the band formed the Trans-Siberian Orchestra in 1996.
Saxon United Kingdom 1976-present  
Michael Schenker Group Germany 1979-present  
Scorpions Germany 1965-present  
Shark Island United States 1979-1992  
Sir Lord Baltimore United States 1968-1976, 2006-present  
Sister United States 1976-1978  
Skitzo United States 1981-present  
Slayer United States 1981-present  
Sodom Germany 1981-present  
Sorcery United States 1976-1987  
Sortilge France 1981-1986  
Sound Barrier United States 1980-1987  
Spinal Tap United States 1979-present Parody heavy metal band which first appeared on TV in 1979, with American actors playing the parts of fictional British musicians.
Spider United Kingdom 1976-1986  
Stampede United Kingdom 1981-1983, 2009-present  
Starz United States 1975-1979, 1980, 1990, 2003-present  
Steeler Germany 1981-1988  
Steppenwolf Canada/United States 1967-present The 1967 recording Born to Be Wild was one of the first rock songs to contain the phrase "Heavy Metal" in its lyrics.
Stormwitch Germany 1979-1994, 2002-present  
Stray United Kingdom 1966-present  
Suck South Africa 1970-1971  
Suicidal Tendencies United States 1980-1995, 1997-present  
Sweet Savage United Kingdom 1979-present  


Name Origin Years active Brief summary
Tank United Kingdom 1980-1989, 1997-present  
Tarantula Portugal 1981-present  
Tesla United States 1981-1996, 2000-present  
Thin Lizzy Ireland 1969-1984, 1996-2012  
Thor Canada 1976-1978, 1983-1986, 1997-present  
TKO United States 1977-2001  
Toad Switzerland 1970-1995  
Tobruk United Kingdom 1981-1987  
Trespass United Kingdom 1978-1982, 1992-1993, 2013-present  
Triumph Canada 1975-1993, 2008-present  
Trooper Canada 1974-present  
Trouble United States 1979-present  
Trust France 1977-1985, 1988, 1996-2000, 2006  
TSA Poland 1979-present  
Tucky Buzzard United Kingdom 1969-1974  
Turbo Poland 1980-present  
Twisted Sister United States 1972-1988, 1997-present  
Tygers of Pan Tang United Kingdom 1978-1987, 1999-present  
Tytan United Kingdom 1981-1983, 2012-present  


Name Origin Years active Brief summary
UFO United Kingdom 1969-1988, 1992-present  
Urchin United Kingdom 1972-1980  
Uriah Heep United Kingdom 1969-present  


Name Origin Years active Brief summary
V8 Argentina 1979-1987  
Vandenberg Netherlands 1981-1987  
Van Halen United States 1972-present  
Vanilla Fudge[35] United States 1967-1970, 1982-1984, 1987-1988, 1991, 1999-present  
Vardis United Kingdom 1973-1986, 2014-present  
Venom United Kingdom 1979-present  
Vicious Rumors United States 1979-present  
Virgin Steele United States 1981-present  
Vixen United States 1973-1991, 1997-1998, 2001-present Also known as Genesis (1973-1974).
Vulcain France 1981-1998, 2009-present  


Name Origin Years active Brief summary
Warhorse[22] United Kingdom 1970-1974, (partial reunions: 1985, 2005)  
Warning France 1980-1985  
Warpig Canada 1968-1975, 2004-present  
White Sister United States 1980-1986, 2008-2009  
Whitesnake United Kingdom 1978-1990, 1994, 1997, 2002-present  
White Spirit United Kingdom 1975-1981  
White Wolf Canada 1975-1986, 2007-present  
Wild Dogs United States 1981-present  
Wild Horses United Kingdom 1978-1981  
Witchfinder General United Kingdom 1979-1984, 2006-2008  
Witchfynde United Kingdom 1974-1984, 1999-present  
Wrathchild United Kingdom 1980-1990, 2009-present  
Wrathchild America United States 1978-1993  


Name Origin Years active Brief summary
Xentrix United Kingdom 1985-2004, 2005-2012, 2017 - present One of the first bands of English thrash metal.


Name Origin Years active Brief summary
Y&T United States 1974-1991, 1995-present  


Name Origin Years active Brief summary
Zoetrope United States 1976-1993  

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. ^ http://80music.about.com/od/80smusic12/tp/1981moments.htm 1981 Snapshots in Music from About.com Web Guide
  4. ^ http://www.kerrang.com/wheretostartwith/artists/metallica Profile of Metallica at www.kerrang.com
  5. ^ http://www.answers.com/topic/slayer-1 Profile of Slayer at Answers.com
  6. ^ http://www.answers.com/topic/anthrax-artist Profile of Anthrax at Answers.com
  7. ^ http://www.lyricsfreak.com/m/megadeth/back in the day_10177974.html "The world of metal changed forever..." - autiobiographical Megadeth lyrics at LyricsFreak website
  8. ^ Rivadavia, Eduardo. "Accept biography". AllMusic. Retrieved . 
  9. ^ a b 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 . 
  13. ^ Ruhlmann, William. "Black Sabbath biography". AllMusic. Retrieved . 
  14. ^ Ruhlmann, William. "Blue Cheer biography". AllMusic. Retrieved . 
  15. ^ Ruhlmann, William. "Blue Oyster Cult biography". AllMusic. Retrieved . 
  16. ^ "BOWWOW Frontman Kyoji Yamamoto". bravewords.com. Retrieved . 
  17. ^ Prato, Greg. "Budgie biography". AllMusic. Retrieved . 
  18. ^ Bealmear, Bart. "Dead Forever... review". AllMusic. Retrieved . 
  19. ^ Rivadavia, Eduardo. "Volcanic Rock review". AllMusic. Retrieved . 
  20. ^ Planer, Lindsay. "One Way... or Another review". AllMusic. Retrieved . 
  21. ^ http://legacy.roadrunnerrecords.com/blabbermouth.net/news.aspx?mode=Article&newsitemID=48603 British Steel Festival 2006 details at Roadrunner Records' website, 20 February 2006
  22. ^ a b c d Sleazegrinder (March 2007). "The Lost Pioneers of Heavy Metal". Classic Rock. 
  23. ^ [1] Rolling Stone
  24. ^ [2] Rock Eras by James M. Curtis
  25. ^ [3] 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. ^ http://www.musicmight.com/artist/united states/california/los angeles/london Biography of the band London at MusicMight.com, 2009
  28. ^ "AMG bio of Lucifer's Friend". Retrieved . 
  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 . 
  31. ^ Rivadavia, Eduardo. "Mournin review". AllMusic. Retrieved . 
  32. ^ Roberts, Roxanne & Argetsinger, Amy. "Ted Nugent: Long past his 'rock star' days, how he caused a political firestorm". The Washington Post. Retrieved . 
  33. ^ Rolling Stone magazine. "Ted Nugent biography". Simon & Schuster. Retrieved . 
  34. ^ [4] allmusic ((( Queensryche > Overview )))
  35. ^ Christe, Ian (2004). Sound of the Beast. Allison & Busby. p. 13. ISBN 0-7490-8351-4. 

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