METAL has dependably had an exceptional place in the hearts of many metal heads and performers the world over. It is a kind that justifies itself with real evidence. As far back as the late 60’s there has been an ascent and fall of thousands of groups from everywhere throughout the world. We have (had) legends like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Motorhead, Judas Priest who made a world mark with their brand of music during their initial years. Soon then the music started spreading like plague to other parts of the world, influencing thousands of them. Many musicians particularly drew the attention of the crowd with their music. We have limited the rundown to one part/ band to back off and furthermore have a decent assortment with respect to their popularity, artistic status, influence in today’s music, their musicality and so on.
12. Zakk Wylde (ex- Ozzy Osbourne/ Black Label Society)- This American artist has made written some great songs since his tenure with Ozzy Osbourne‘s solo project in the early years of his career. How can we possibly forget some of his heart warming works in albums such as No Rest for the Wicked, No More Tears to name a few? Although throughout his career, Zakk has quite possibly experimented and explored other genres outside Heavy Metal such as with his solo project and some of the later Black Label Society albums/ songs; he will be remembered as one of the greatest guitarists and also for his close interaction with fans at shows and elsewhere, showing his down-to-earth character.
11. Abbath (Abbath/ ex- Immortal/ ex- Old Funeral)- Often called as the funniest Black Metal demigod. Primarily known as the founding member of Norwegian Black Metal overlords Immortal; Abbath or Olve Eikemo, had to part ways in 2015 and then form another project by the name Abbath. People have always had a very jovial opinion about this man, for cracking jokes in between his shows, crowd interaction, close association with fans and so on. Abbath always admitted to having fun was a part of his ‘inner self‘ and that Black Metal can also be fun as opposed to an always serious imagery.
10. John Petrucci (Dream Theater)- John, is one of the most reputed guitarists in the Heavy Metal/ Progressive Metal world. He is known for using complex time signatures and playing at high speed precisely adding a lot of variety with great emotion and musical content. John‘s career took a peak during the G3 Tour which got him exposed to millions of fans worldwide along the likes of Joe Satriani, Steve Vai among others. Although John‘s primary writing has been focused on Progressive Metal content, he has however experimented with various other genres throughout career and has inspired millions of aspiring guitarists the world over with his playing style and writing.
9. King Diamond (Mercyful Fate/ King Diamond)- Kim Bendix Petersen or popularly called as King Diamond, known for having a great vocal range, thereby using a falsetto is a Danish singer. King Diamond has however had strict beliefs over Satanism and has remained mum over politics. King Diamond‘s unique stage attitude, corpse paint, presence is enough to get his fans in a state of frenzy.
8. Mikael Akerfeldt (Opeth)- You cannot just make a list without this man. Known for his lively stage presence, guitar playing, roaring growls and soothing clean vocals complimented by his on stage humor and close interaction with fans. This man would have just made it to the list easily.
7. James Hetfield (Metallica)- A man who is in his mid 50s and fronting one of the greatest Heavy Metal bands in the world ever. The man is still known for singing and playing guitar so precisely even at this age; with three and a half decades of industry expertise since his first days with Metallica. His energetic live performance, interaction with fans, timeless playing skills and singing has fetched him various accolades and has won him many hearts over the years.
6. Chuck Schuldiner (RIP) (Death)– Known as the nicest guy in the Death Metal industry and often cited as the ‘The Godfather of Death Metal‘, by his beloved fans. He is known for using a distinct vocal style by infusing death growls and high pitched screeches against Death Metal music; which was a huge influence for many new wave bands all over the world. Chuck was known for disavowing the stereotypical mindset of people and their general views about ‘metalheads’. This idea, view and particularly the ‘Extreme Metal Music‘ in the early years got him many fans from all corners of the industry. The legacy of Death continues even today.
5. Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden)– Most of you would have expected his name to be in the list already. And here you are. Known as one of the pioneers to include operatic vocal style in his singing, Bruce has always found a way to tease his fans with his on stage being and performances. The man holds a Pilot’s license and had spent years in the British Aviation industry, hosted Radio shows, among tonnes of other career driven activities.
4. Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath/ Heaven and Hell)- One of the greatest Heavy Metal guitarists and a True pioneering force behind every riff you hear today. Tony would have already played that decades ago. Several artists and fans from all over the world refer to him as the true ‘Father of Heavy Metal Music‘. The man is known for using deep and heavy tone known as his signature style. It is his contribution to music that has earned him a massive name in the Rock/ Metal Music industry. Several metal guitarists cite Tony as one of their primary influences with regards to their playing.
3. Rob Halford (Judas Priest)- One of the most recognizable voices in the Heavy Metal music, Rob is known for his wide operatic vocal range with his impeccable high pitched screams and vibrato. His singing style and performance criteria has influenced thousands of vocalists the world over and most importantly, Power Metal. Judas Priest is known for endorsing badass costumes on stage with Hardcore biker style which had a massive cult following; that also edged their primary influence on the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM). Thus, playing a pioneering force behind it. Several Old school bands are noted today for using such costumes in their performances and photoshoots.
2. Lemmy Kilmister (RIP) (Motorhead)- Probably the coolest guy in Heavy Metal with a ‘No fucks given’ attitude. Known for his infamous mutton chops, distinct vocals and bass playing style, the man earned his fame over the years for his solid presence, rebellious imagery and unusual lifestyle.
1. Ronnie James Dio (RIP) (Dio/ Rainbow/ Black Sabbath)- I am sure many of you would have guessed it right. We did say about including one member per band, but we simply couldn’t make this list without this man. This had to be it. He was known by many personally for his humble and warm nature; besides, being involved with his wife for philanthropic activities. Dio dedicated around 5 decades of his life for Heavy Metal music. From fronting several bands over the years; he was also affected by severe illness towards the end of his career. Known for his powerful operatic vocals that was also popularised with the likes of Bruce Dickinson and Rob Halford during the NWOBHM.
Dio throwing the horns that was popularised by him during his era.
Honorable mentions- Tom Araya, Nergal, Dave Mustaine, Devin Townsend, Corey Taylor.
[PS: The respective images belong to the respective owners/ editors/ photographer/ whosoever concerned. No copyright infringement intended]
What is your list like? Let us know what you got in mind by commenting below.
Harsha Vardhan (Metaljesus Magazine- Chief Editor/ Owner)