Metallica is an American Thrash Metal band formed in 1981 . The original lineup was James Hetfield (Vocalist and Rhythm guitarist), Dave Mustaine (Lead Guitar), Lars Ulrich (Drums), Ron McGovney (Bassist). The group came into mainstream from their Self-Titled album and the hit single "Enter Sandman".
With their first two albums, Kill 'Em All and Ride The Lightning reaching underground success, their third effort, Master of Puppets has since become one of the most important heavy metal albums ever, as it became the first thrash metal album to be certified platinum. The title track has since become the band's most played song live.
On September 27, 1986, bass player Cliff Burton was killed after he was thrown out of the window and crushed to death.
Metallica released their first music video in 1989. The song was One from their 1988 album, ...And Justice For All. The song received heavy critical acclaim and has since become their most played song from the album. The album also saw the debut of new bassist, Jason Newsted.
Their fifth album, Metallica (also known as the Black Album), took more of a mainstream approach and has since become one of the best selling albums in America, certified 16x Platinum. The album spawned five singles, Enter Sandman, The Unforgiven, Nothing Else Matters, Wherever I May Roam and Sad But True.
After Load, ReLoad, Jason left the band and the heavily criticised St. Anger featured longtime producer Bob Rock play the bass, although Robert Trujillo would later be handed the job of permanent bass player.
Metallica's ninth studio album, Death Magnetic received critical acclaim as the band return to their thrash roots from the 80s. Critics have called it the best Metallica album in 20 years. The album also made Metallica become the first band to ever receive five consecutive albums debut at number 1 in the Billboard 200. It was also Robert Trujillo's debut on a Metallica album. The song, My Apocalypse, won Metallica a Grammy in 2009 for Best Metal Performance.
Metallica's tenth studio album, Hardwired... to Self-Destruct, would be released worldwide on November 18, 2016 via their independent label, Blackened Recordings. They also unveiled the track listing, album artwork, and released a music video for the album's first single, "Hardwired" . The album was released as scheduled and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 .
Metallica is currently on a worldwide tour called "WorldWired Tour" with Avenged Sevenfold and Volbeat.
2. Iron Maiden
Iron Maiden are an English Heavy Metal / Hard Rock band formed in Leyton, East London, in 1975 by bassist and primary songwriter Steve Harris. The most critically acclaimed period for the band was from 1983-1989. With vocalist Bruce Dickinson, bassist Steve Harris, lead guitarist Dave Murray, rhythm guitarist Adrian Smith, and drummer Nicko McBrain. Smith left the band in 1989 and was replaced by Janick Gers. But returned in 1999, and now the band has three guitar players.
The band is known for hits such as The Trooper, and The Number of the Beast, and have released 16 studio albums. The New Wave of British Heavy Metal Pioneers would gain success in the early 80s, releasing many platinum albums during the time, causing them to become one of the most successful metal bands in history. As of 2015, the band sold over 90 million albums.
3. Black Sabbath
Black Sabbath were a Heavy Metal band formed in Birmingham, England in 1968 by guitarist and songwriter Tony Iommi, singer John "Ozzy" Osbourne, bassist and main lyricist Geezer Butler and drummer Bill Ward.
The band became mainstream after improving after their debut album got panned. In 1978, Osbourne was fired and replaced with former Rainbow vocalist Ronnie James Dio. Who went to release 2 albums before leaving in 1983, only for Osbourne to return in 1992.
Black Sabbath are cited as the godfathers of Heavy Metal. Their final album, 13. Was released in 2013. They were ranked by MTV as the "Greatest Metal Band" of all time, and placed second in VH1's "100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock" list.
Black Sabbath were inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006.
Megadeth is an American thrash metal band from Los Angeles, California. Megadeth was formed in 1983 by guitarist Dave Mustaine and bassist David Ellefson, shortly after Mustaine was fired from Metallica. They have released 15 studio albums to date, and have gone through many lineup changes, with Dave Mustaine being the sole constant member.
They released their debut album “Killing Is My Business...And Business Is Good!” in 1985, but became successful after the release of “Peace Sells...But Who’s Buying?” in 1986.
Their most successful album to date is “Countdown To Extinction” (1992), with their most popular songs being “Symphony Of Destruction” and “Holy Wars...The Punishment Due” (more frequently referred to as Holy Wars).
In 2016, Megadeth released “Dystopia”, their 15th studio album, and recently concluded their Dystopia World Tour.
5. Judas Priest
Judas Priest are a British heavy metal band that formed in Birmingham, England, in 1969. They are often referred to as one of the greatest metal bands of all time, and are even commonly called “The Metal Gods”, after one of the songs on their 1980 album “British Steel”.
They are known for several of their hit songs, which include “Painkiller”, “Breaking The Law”, You’ve Got Another Thing Coming”, and “Turbo Lover”.
Their original lineup consisted of Al Atkins (vocals), K.K. Downing (lead/rhythm guitar), Ian Hill (bass), and John Ellis (drums). Atkins never recorded on any Judas Priest releases, but contributed to several songs.
Their current lineup consists of Rob Halford (vocals), Glenn Tipton (lead/rhythm guitar, studio only as of 2018), Scott Travis (drums), Ian Hill (bass), Richie Faulkner (lead/rhythm guitar), and Andy Sneap (lead/rhythm guitar, touring only as of 2018.) Tipton, as of 2018, no longer tours with the band due to Parkinson’s disease.
Judas Priest released their first studio album, “Rocka Rolla” in 1974, and their 18th studio album, “Firepower” in 2018. As of 2019, Judas Priest have sold over 50 million records worldwide
Slayer is an American thrash metal band from Huntington Park, California, formed in 1981 by guitarists Jeff Hanneman and Kerry King. They rose to fame with their 1986 album Reign in Blood, and is credited as one of the big four of thrash metal bands, the others being Metallica, Megadeth, and Anthrax.
Slayer is known for their graphic and controversial lyrics which cover topics such as satanism, religion, murder, serial killers, terrorism, hate crimes, necrophilia, torture, human expiramentation, genocide, nazism, antireligion, and war. One of their songs has even been linked to the murder of a teenage girl (Elyse Pahler). Despite their explicit songs, Slayer have never claimed to be satanists (with frontman Tom Araya claiming to be a devout Catholic who doesn't let Slayer's lyrics interfere with his beliefs) or have condoned harm in people.
Slayer is also known as one of the most influential bands in metal history, influencing many bands that have come out in the past few years. Steve Huey of AllMusic believes that Slayer's musical style makes them stronger than the other members in the big four of thrash metal.
Pantera was an American Heavy Metal band formed in 1981 by guitarist Dimebag Darrell and drummer Vinnie Paul. The band started out as a Glam Metal act in the 1980s with little success. After discarding their original lead vocalist and enlisting Phil Anselmo, the band signed a major record deal with Warner Music Group via Atco Records. Around this time, Pantera would undergo a major change in their musical direction, discarding their Glam Metal image in favor of a more more Thrash Metal esque reputation. Their Thrash influences would eventually be seen as influences for Groove Metal
Pantera would release their fifth album and first major debut "Cowboys from Hell" in 1990 to major critical and commercial success. Their follow up album "Vulgar Display of Power" is considered the band's greatest effort to date and is seen as a breakthrough moment for Groove Metal. As the pioneers of the New Wave of American Heavy Metal, They would be influential to the development of Nu Metal and Metalcore. They are known for songs like "Cowboys From Hell", "Walk", "Cemetery Gates", "I'm Broken" and "5 Minutes Alone" .
In 2001, Pantera was a musical guest for the Spongebob Squarepants episode “Prehibernation Week”. The instrumental version of their song “Death Rattle” played throughout the episode.
Pantera disbanded in 2003, for lead singer Phil Anselmo and bassist Rex Brown to continue with the sludge metal band Down (with Crowbar lead singer Kirk Windstein as guitarist), and guitarist Dimebag Darrel and drummer Vinnie Paul to continue with the nu metal band, Damageplan. The next year, Dimebag Darrell was murdered live on stage on stage whilst performing for Damageplan.
And in 2018, Vinnie Paul died having a heart attack. He was drummer for the band Hellyeah around the time of his death.
8. Dream Theater
Dream Theater is an American progressive metal band from Boston, Massachusetts. The band was formed in 1985 under the name of "Majesty", only to change its name to Dream Theater later.
The members of the band’s original lineup consisted of John Petrucci (Guitar), John Myung (Bass) and Mike Portnoy (Drums). The band had multiple keyboardists and singers, but as of and since 1991, the band's lead vocalist has been James LaBrie.
The band released their debut album "When Day and Dream Unite" in 1989, but only gained success and notoriety after the release of their second album, "Images and Words" in 1992.
Since the release of “Images And Words”, the band has developed to be one of the most well-known and successful progressive metal bands in the world, and with the release of their 5th studio album, "Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes From a Memory" in 1999, they created one of the most well-known and beloved progressive metal and also concept albums of all time.
In 2010, their drummer, Mike Portnoy left the band to pursue other projects. He was replaced by Mike Mangini. Since then, they have released 3 new studio albums, their most recent of those being “The Astonishing” in 2016.
Since Portnoy’s departure, their lineup consists of James LaBrie (vocals), John Petrucci (lead/rythym guitar), Jordan Rudess (keyboard), Mike Mangini (drums), and John Myung (bass).
9. Avenged Sevenfold
Avenged Sevenfold is an American heavy metal band, that was formed 1999 in California. Their longest lineup of members was M. Shadows (Vocals), Synyster Gates (Lead Guitar), Zacky Vengeance (Rhythm Guitar), Johnny Christ (Bass Guitar), and The Rev (Drums).
Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan (Drums), their most notable drummer, passed away in 2009, being temporarily replaced by Mike Portnoy, who was replaced by Arin Ilejay, who was finally replaced with Brooks Wackerman. A common phrase for fans "foREVer" was created after the Rev's death in his remembrance.
With the bands debut album "Sounding the Seventh Trumpet" they started with producing metalcore music, until they changed their sound into alternate metal with the album "City of Evil".
The band is best known for songs, like "Afterlife" or "Nightmare", and sometimes "A Little Piece of Heaven". They have created over ten albums.
Since 1999 Avenged Sevenfold or A7X for short became one of the most well-known modern rock bands with an immense fanbase.
Death was an American death metal band formed in 1983 by Chuck Schuldiner. Death is considered to be one of the most influential bands in heavy metal and a pioneering force in death metal. Its debut album, Scream Bloody Gore, has been widely regarded as the first death metal record, while the band's driving force, Chuck Schuldiner, is acknowledged as the "Godfather of Death Metal." Death released 7 studio albums, and are the band that started the Florida Death Metal scene. They were known for their death metal classics Lack of Comprehension and Crystal Mountain. Death ended in 2001 when Schuldiner died of Brain Cancer.