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Top 10 Heavy Metal Frontmen

Updated on January 17, 2015

These guys brought a voice to some of metals greatest bands. Today I rank the top 10 heavy metal frontmen of all time.

10. Maynard James Keenan- Tool

He helped make the progressive metal band a force in the American metal scene.

Founding Tool in 1990, Maynard James Keenan made the band three time Grammy winners. His lyrics for Tool involve a desire to connect with the audience on a personal level and to encourage them to look within themselves for self-identity, understanding and reflection. Unlike most frontmen in any music genre, Keenan has often been known to be situated on a platform towards the rear of the stage, without a spotlight facing the backdrop rather than the crowd.

He has also had success in bands like A Perfect Circle and Puscifer.

9. M. Shadows- Avenged Sevenfold

He has helped the band become one of the biggest metal acts today.

Founding the band with childhood friends in 1999, M. Shadows set the tone for the groups path. Starting off with a metalcore sound, Shadows worked with a vocal coach prior to the band's work on their third album and helped the band have more of a classic metal sound. Combining his punk and hard rock influences with his unique baritone voice, Shadows has developed an instantly recognizable vocal style for one of the most successful metal bands of the last decade.

8. Corey Taylor- Slipknot

He is the voice of the Maggots.

Joining the band in 1997, Corey Taylor helped the nine become one of the biggest metal acts of the new millennium. Former Slipknot drummer Joey Jordison has called Taylor's vocal style "really good melodic singing." His style contains at times melodic singing, growling, screaming, shouting, and rapping. Although it's his ability to switch between the contrasting vocals is what has garnered him such praise in the metal community.

Taylor is also one of the founders of the hard rock band Stone Sour.


7. Phil Anselmo- Pantera

He was the pioneering vocalist for extreme metal.

Joining Pantera in 1987, Phil Anselmo helped transform the group from a glam metal band, to one of the founders of the new wave of American heavy metal. Anselmo brought pure emption and energy to a band that was meant to be seen live. The bands heavy progression on each album was seen in his vocals combining screams and growls into his lyrics. He also demanded heavy crowd interaction for the band's live sets.

After Pantera's demise, Anselmo became the lead vocalist in the super group Down.


6. Dave Mustaine- Megadeth

He's a great guitarist but he's just as valuable as a vocalist.

After being kicked out of Metallica for his drug and alcohol abuse, Dave Mustaine strove to create a faster, louder, and harder band with Megadeth. After auditions for a singer didn't go well, Mustaine decided that he himself would be the band's lead singer. His style of vocals incorporate growls and screams to spoken lyrics most notably in the band's break through single Peace Sells. He has also used his status to retaliate against the crowd and to speak on his political views.

5. Ronnie James Dio- Black Sabbath, Dio, Rainbow

He made "metal horns" a metal staple.

Ronnie James Dio may not have been the most skillful vocalist, but whether it was fronting Black Sabbath or his own band, he gave everything he had to metal. Possessing a versatile vocal range, he was capable of singing heavy metal as well as lighter ballads. in his over 50 years in music, he has left a legacy of iconic heavy metal songs and lyrics from his bands Elf to Heaven and Hell.

Dio passed away in 2010 from stomach cancer. His legacy will be remembered for being successful and likeable wherever he was.

4. Rob Halford- Judas Priest

"The Metal God" had a voice any frontman would kill for.

Joining the band in 1974, Rob Halford help give the band a new harder image. He is considered one of the most consistently powerful singers in rock, possessing a wide vocalrange, and is particularly known for his trademark high-pitched operatic, soaring screams. Halford is one of the pioneers of the operatic vocal style later to be adopted by power metal vocalists. Also having your lead singer ride up on stage on a Harley has to put you on this list.

Halford has also had ventures in bands like Fight, 2wo and Halford.

3. James Hetfield- Metallica

He brought American heavy metal into the mainstay.

Founding Metallica in 1981, James Hetfield serves as the band's lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist. It's no doubt that his tough lyrics and rough vocals made Metallica one of the biggest bands in the world. drawing many of his lyrics from his troubles as a child, Hetfield has brought life to some of the most iconic metal tunes ever conceived. He has even been able to comeback from great circumstances including his battle with alcoholism and a pyrotechnic accident in 1991.

2. Bruce Dickinson- Iron Maiden

He helped make Iron Maiden part of the new wave of British heavy metal.

After the band fired previous singer Paul Di'Anno for his drug use, Bruce Dickinson was brought in. His first album with the band "The Number of the Beast," went to number one on the UK charts. Although Dickinson never received formal training, he still possesses a wide vocal range which was trademarked by his quasi-operatic tenor. In addition to his vocal ability, he is known for his consistently energetic stage performances. Since he joined the band, Iron Maiden has been one of the most popular live bands in the world.

1. Ozzy Osbourne- Black Sabbath, solo

He isn't the "Godfather of Heavy Metal" for nothing.

Whether it's with Black Sabbath or his own band, Ozzy Osbourne has left his mark on heavy metal. He brought to life the dark and heavy sound of Black Sabbath in songs like Iron Man, Paranoid, and N.I.B. Even after his firing from Sabbath, Ozzy had continued success with his namesake solo band. In his solo career, he sang alongside some of the greatest guitarists in history including Randy Rhoads, Jake E. Lee, and Zakk Wylde. He brought audiences and fans albums hits with recognizable songs and riffs. The song "Crazy Train" is one of the most known heavy metal songs ever recorded.


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