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100 Greatest Heavy Metal Songs of the 80s and 90s

Updated on September 12, 2016
Heavy Metal Rules
Heavy Metal Rules | Source

While the roots of heavy metal emerged towards the end of the 60s, the movement took off in the 70s giving rise to a plethora of new sounds in the genre. Experimentation in musical structure and lyrical structure in the realms of metal helped new sub-genres emerge. Heavy metal songs from various subgenres have a fresh sound because of their varied influences that stem from ancient history. In the 80s heavy metal became excessively popular globally. Many pioneering acts of extreme metal genres emerged in the 80s. Hard rock bands with heavy metal influences achieved commercial success in the 80s. The brand of heavy metal emerging from Scandinavian countries became insanely popular with metal fans globally.

Heavy Metal Concerts
Heavy Metal Concerts | Source

80s and 90s: The Heavy Metal Years

The 80s propelled heavy metal to new heights. Heavy metal which was considered non-mainstream suddenly found the spotlight in the 80s. Songs of heavy metal bands became a symbol of rebellion with youth in the 80s and 90s. Many bands in this genre landed recording contracts with major record companies. Record labels such as Metal Blade Records, Roadrunner Records, Noise Records and Earache Records played a pivotal role in signing new and upcoming metal bands in the 80s and 90s. A number of speed metal bands, thrash metal bands and death metal bands from US and Europe became hugely popular through the 80s and 90s. The Norwegian black metal movement sprung forth to a new level in the 90s. Many pioneering acts in extreme subgenres of heavy metal are cited as influences by present-day metal bands.

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Heavy Metal Songs
Heavy Metal Songs | Source

Although not many power metal bands tasted commercial success, a significant number of bands in this genre garnered a cult following globally. The 80s also saw a phenomenal rise of hair metal and glam metal bands. Many hair metal bands had s string of successful singles in the 80s. Needless to say…the 80s were the glory days for hair metal and glam metal. Several hair metal bands released commercially successful albums. Thanks to MTV…the music television channel showcased singles of numerous bands in the realms of heavy metal. Furthermore, several heavy metal bands received regular airplay on radio stations.

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Jackson JS32 King V - White with Black Bevels

It's all the metal you can think of.

Metal World
Metal World | Source

Whilst the alternative and grunge movement did put the brakes on the glam metal scene in the 90s, many new extreme metal genres came to the forefront with an amalgamation of complex odd time musical structure. Progressive metal which surfaced in the late 80s was taken to another level by bands in this genre. The complex music structure in progressive metal has led to diverse sounds in various subgenres of metal. Heavy metal in the 80s and 90s unlocked doors to new sounds that gave shape to the nu-metal sound in 2000s.

The list below showcases the best Heavy metal songs from various subgenres.

Rock Concert
Rock Concert | Source

100 Greatest Heavy Metal Songs of the 80s and 90s

  1. Seek and Destroy- Metallica (Heavy Metal/Thrash Metal)
  2. Paradise City- Guns N Roses (Hard Rock/Heavy Metal)
  3. Breaking The Law- Judas Priest (Heavy Metal)
  4. Territory-Sepultura (Heavy Metal/Groove Metal)
  5. Cowboys From Hell- Pantera (Heavy Metal/Groove Metal)
  6. Raining Blood- Slayer (Heavy Metal/Thrash Metal)
  7. Hallowed Be Thy Name- Iron Maiden (Heavy Metal)
  8. Holy Diver- Dio (Heavy Metal)
  9. Run To The Hills- Iron Maiden (Heavy Metal)
  10. Hangar 18- Megadeth (Heavy Metal/Thrash Metal)
  11. The Accolade- Symphony X (Progressive Metal/Heavy Metal)
  12. Dead Embryonic Cells- Sepultura (Thrash Metal/Heavy Metal)
  13. We’re Not Gonna Take It- Twisted Sister (Hard Rock/Heavy Metal)
  14. Ace of Spades- Motorhead (Heavy Metal/Hard Rock/Speed Metal)
  15. Fast As a Shark- Accept (Heavy Metal)
  16. Heaven and Hell- Black Sabbath (Heavy Metal)
  17. Divine Wings of Tragedy- Symphony X (Progressive Metal/Heavy Metal)
  18. Painkiller- Judas Priest (Heavy Metal)
  19. Alison Hell- Annihilator (Heavy Metal/Thrash Metal)
  20. Caught In A Mosh- Anthrax (Speed Metal/Heavy Metal)
  21. For Whom The Bells Toll- Metallica (Heavy Metal/Thrash Metal)
  22. The Toxic Waltz- Exodus (Thrash Metal/Heavy Metal)
  23. Crazy Train- Ozzy Osbourne (Heavy Metal)
  24. Pleasure To Kill- Kreator (Thrash Metal/Heavy Metal)
  25. Enter Sandman- Metallica (Heavy Metal/Speed Metal)
  26. Practice What You Preach- Testament (Thrash Metal/Heavy Metal)
  27. Future World- Helloween- Helloween (Power Metal/Heavy Metal)
  28. Rock You Like A Hurricane (Heavy Metal)
  29. Symphony Of Destruction- Megadeth (Speed Metal/Heavy Metal)
  30. Whiplash- Metallica (Thrash Metal/Heavy Metal)
  31. Heavy Metal Maniac- Exciter (Thrash Metal/Heavy Metal)
  32. Hammer Smashed Face- Cannibal Corpse (Death Metal/Heavy Metal)
  33. Bounded By Blood- Exodus (Thrash Metal/Heavy Metal)
  34. I Am The Black Wizards- Emperor (Black Metal/Heavy Metal)
  35. War Ensemble- Seasons of the Abyss (Thrash Metal/Heavy Metal)
  36. The Burning of Sodom- Dark Angel (Thrash Metal/Heavy Metal)
  37. Elimination- Overkill (Thrash Metal/Heavy Metal)
  38. Hall of The Mountain King- Savatage (Heavy Metal)
  39. Heartwork- Carcass (Extreme Metal/Heavy Metal)
  40. Battery- Metallica (Heavy Metal/Thrash Metal)
  41. Belly of The Beast- Anthrax (Thrash Metal/Heavy Metal)
  42. The Last In Line- Dio (Heavy Metal)
  43. Lack of Comprehension- Death (Death Metal/Heavy Metal)
  44. The Trooper- Iron Maiden (Heavy Metal)
  45. Battle Hymn- Manowar (Heavy Metal)
  46. Revolution Calling- Queensryche (Progressive Metal/Heavy Metal)
  47. Dante’s Inferno- Iced Earth (Heavy Metal)
  48. Chapel of Ghouls- Morbid Angel (Thrash Metal/Heavy Metal)
  49. Solitude- Candlemass (Doom Metal/Heavy Metal)
  50. The Philosopher- Death (Death Metal/Heavy Metal)
  51. Voivod- Voivod (Thrash Metal/Heavy Metal)
  52. Pull The Plug- Death (Death Metal/Heavy Metal)
  53. Remember the Fallen- Sodom (Thrash Metal/Heavy Metal)
  54. Crystal Mountain- Death (Death Metal/Heavy Metal)
  55. Guardian- Fates Warning (Heavy Metal)
  56. Somewhere Out In Space- Gamma Ray (Heavy Metal/Power Metal)
  57. Five Minutes Alone- Pantera (Heavy Metal/Groove Metal)
  58. Metal Heart- Accept (Heavy Metal)
  59. Hell Awaits- Slayer (Thrash Metal/Heavy Metal)
  60. Blinded By Fear- At The Gates (Heavy Metal)
  61. Pace Til’ Death- Bathory (Death Metal/Heavy Metal)
  62. Thrown To The Wolves- Death Angel (Thrash Metal/Heavy Metal)
  63. One- Metallica (Heavy Metal/Thrash Metal)
  64. Metropolis Pt. 1- Dream Theater (Progressive Metal/Heavy Metal)
  65. Mad Butcher- Destruction (Thrash Metal/Heavy Metal)
  66. Freezing Moon- Mayhem (Black Metal/Heavy Metal)
  67. Darkness Descends- Dark Angel (Thrash Metal/Heavy Metal)
  68. Beneath The Remains- Sepultura (Thrash Metal Heavy Metal)
  69. Dark Throne- Transilvaniian Hunger (Black Metal/Death Metal/Heavy Metal)
  70. Evil- Mercyful Fate- Evil (Heavy Metal)
  71. Symbolic- Death (Heavy Metal)
  72. Don’t Talk To Strangers- Dio (Heavy Metal)
  73. Queen of the Reich- Queensryche (Progressive Metal/Heavy Metal)
  74. Keeper of the Seven Keys- Helloween (Power Metal/Heavy Metal)
  75. Am I Evil- Diamond Head (Heavy Metal)
  76. Black Metal- Venom (Heavy Metal)
  77. Man on a Mission- Gamma Ray (Heavy Metal/Power Metal)
  78. Human Insecticide- Annihilator (Heavy Metal/Thrash Metal)
  79. Metal Health- Quiet Riot (Heavy Metal)
  80. Angel of Death- Slayer (Thrash Metal/Heavy Metal)
  81. Dead By Dawn- Deicide (Death Metal/Heavy Metal)
  82. Infectious Hospital Waste (Thrash Metal/Heavy Metal)
  83. Time- Anthrax (Thrash Metal/Heavy Metal)
  84. Battalions- Metal Church (Thrash Metal/Heavy Metal)
  85. Majesty- Blind Guardian (Heavy Metal)
  86. Mind Over Metal- Raven (Heavy Metal/Speed Metal)
  87. Pull Me Under- Dream Theater (Progressive Metal/Heavy Metal)
  88. Fight Fire With Fire- Metallica (Heavy Metal/Thrash Metal)
  89. Possessed By Fire- Exumer (Thrash Metal/Heavy Metal)
  90. Cry War- Kreator (Thrash Metal/Heavy Metal)
  91. I Want Out- Helloween (Power Metal/Heavy Metal)
  92. In My Darkest Hour- Megadeth (Heavy Metal/Speed Metal)
  93. Souls of Black- Testament (Thrash Metal/Heavy Metal)
  94. Power of Thy Sword- Manowar (Heavy Metal)
  95. Tornado of Souls- Megadeth (Heavy Metal/Speed Metal)
  96. Merciless Death- Dark Angel (Thrash Metal/Heavy Metal)
  97. Gutter Ballet- Savatage (Heavy Metal/ Progressive Metal)
  98. Years of Decay- Overkill (Thrash Metal/Heavy Metal)
  99. People of the Lie- Kreator (Thrash Metal/Heavy Metal)
  100. Krokus- Screaming In the Night (Heavy Metal)

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Heavy Metal Or No Metal At All!
Heavy Metal Or No Metal At All! | Source


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