Metallica is the most legendary metal band ever, with albums and live concerts since the day they were showed up, no longer needing to be introduced. But for the new fans, Metallica is around 42 years and is often considered as the thrash metal that started with them.
Their first big success was with Metallica‘s third album, Master Of Puppets, one of the heaviest heavy metal albums ever. Each album has a different theme, taste, and style regarding lyrics, vocals, and instruments.
Metallica has released eleven studio albums. As of 2023, they sold more than 125 million albums worldwide and 58 million albums only in the United States. And, this made the band one of the most commercially successful bands ever. Metallica has inspired many metal bands. And they are known as a thrash metal band and have pioneered the birth of many others, each of which is better.
Heavy Metal Bands Similar to Metallica
In this article, we will list with you 15 heavy metal bands that Metallica fans love to listen to and that music lovers who have just started to listen to Metallica may prefer to listen to. We chose those bands because all have many common points with Metallica regarding band members, vocal styles, guitar riffs, lyrics, etc…
Of course, many similar bands are around, but we hope our choices make your day!
Let’s have a look at those!
What bands should I listen to if I like Metallica?
- Iron Maiden
- Machine Head
- Lamb Of God
- Death Angel
- Avenged Sevenfold
Megadeth was formed in 1983 by Dave Mustaine and bassist David Ellefson, shortly after guitarist Mustaine was fired from Metallica.
Along with Metallica, Slayer, and Anthrax (Big Four), they are one of the four bands claimed to have played an essential role in the evolution of thrash metal.
Their songs contain complex and fast guitars, strong vocals, and drums. Lyrics are based on death, war, politics, and religion.
Over the years, the metal giant released many memorable albums such as “Rust In Peace” and “Countdown To Extinction”. Despite many line-up changes, they continue to take an active role in the metal scene and keep their fans tasting metal music.
Another Big Four band Slayer is an American thrash metal band founded by two guitarists Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman.
Tom Araya’s unique vocals, Dave Lombardo’s incredible drum skills, fighting guitar riffs, and solos created the band’s identity. Their album Reign In Blood made a huge impact on this genre in 1986. Although they are not like they sound in terms of personalities, they faced a lot of album bans, delayed publishes, and lawsuits because of albums’ subjects such as necrophilia, satanism, religion, anti-religion, and war.
This censorship could not stop them and they continued to bang their heads and rock the world as on the first day. They even continued to produce new materials after Dave Lombardo’s break-up and Jeff Hanneman’s tragic death by a poisonous spider.
Slayer announced the last world tour in 2018, and they completed this final tour on November 2019. Now the members enjoying their retirements with their families.
Although they have not officially announced, their worldwide album sales number is thought to be more than 20 million copies.
The last member of the Big Four Anthrax was founded by two guitarists Scott Ian and Dan Lilker.
Their third album Between The Living established their reputation as one of the most successful thrash metal bands.
There have been so many lineup changes since the beginning. But still, they could stand along with the others on top. The band had their most significant jump during the Joey Belladonna era between 1985-1992. Albums like Spreading The Disease, Among The Living, State Of Euphoria, and Persistence Of Time made the band’s name reach more comprehensive audiences and strengthened their place in the metal world. Each of those albums has so many unique parts from lyrics to musical structures.
They covered the song called Antisicoal which was composed initially by French heavy metal band Trust but Anthrax‘s version was added to MTV’s lists and continuously played for a long time. Many music fans think this song is Anthrax’s, but the truth is funnier.
They had minor lineup changes after Joey Belladonna, but he returned in 2010. The only original member is the guitarist and founder Scott Ian, who keeps the band alive and energetic.
Testament was formed by guitarist Eric Peterson and his cousin Derrick Ramirez, who is also a guitarist. The band first used the name The Legacy.
While the band was recording their first album, they changed their name to Testament. Because the name Another jazz band used the Legacy.
Their debut album, The Legacy, was recorded in 1987. They quickly became famous and were often compared to Metallica.
The Formation of Damnation debuted at number 15 on the top 20 songs in Germany. Their 1999 album The Gathering was also included in the top 50 songs list in Germany. They also achieved success in the top 100 albums rankings in the USA.
One of the most important ensembles of thrash metal sound, Exodus, has signed cult albums such as Pleasures Of The Flesh, Fabulous Disaster and Impact Is Imminent throughout its career, which started with the album Bonded By Blood in 1985.
Although the band, which had been separated and became silent after 1992, broke their silence with the concert album Another Lesson In Violence released in 1997. They did not release another record until 2004, and announced their comeback with Tempo Of The Damned in 2004.
Their first guitarist was Kirk Hammett from Metallica. In fact, the only constant member of the band, Gary Holt, was Kirk Hammett’s guitar tech at first, but when Tim Agnello left the band, he joined the band as the guitarist.
Band’s name comes from the song called “Overkill” by Motörhead.
Overkill tried to draw attention by creating a style of their own with black make-up like corpsepaint, and stage decors with themes such as horror and vampire. With this style, they released their first demo Power In Black in 1983 but they can not achieve the success.
In 1985, they signed with Megaforce Records and released their first album Feel The Fire. With this album, the success was achieved with its unique sound between heavy metal and thrash metal.
They always moving in different directions like Testament style, Black Sabbath style, etc. With their works, Overkill set an example for many bands that make music in different styles.
German thrash metal band Kreator formed in 1982.
Lineup has changed multiple times during their 41 year career, mostly with their bassists and lead guitarists. Mille Petrozza and Ventor Reil are the only two original members right now.
To this date, Kreator has released 15 studio albums. Their second studio album Pleasure To Kill gained a huge underground fanbase worldwide. This album is regarded as an influence for its genre.
The band sold over two million albums, making them one of the best-selling German thrash metal bands of all time. Along with Destruction, Sodom, and Tankard, Kreator is credited as one of the big four of Teutonic Thrash Metal.
8. Iron Maiden
One of the biggest bands in the heavy metal genre, Iron Maiden also does not need to be introduced deeply. Iron Maiden released a series of UK and US Platinum and Gold albums as pioneers of the new wave of severe British metal movement. After the joining of Bruce Dickinson established them as one of heavy metal’s most influential bands.
Their most famous heavy metal album The Number Of The Beast has sold almost 20 million copies. Also, their last three albums The Final Frontier, The Book Of Souls, and Senjutsu, have all reach number 1 in more than 20 countries. The band sold over 130 million copies worldwide and gain over 600 certifications.
The band and its members have received multiple industry awards, including Grammy, Brit, and Guinness Book Of World Records. Guinness World Record holds that Iron Maiden has the most songs featured in video games than any other metal artist with 51 songs, including 2 Minutes To Midnight in GTA: Vice City, The Number Of The Beast in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4. Another world record holds that the band’s Run To The Hills song is the most difficult to play in Rock Band.
Iron Maiden released 41 albums, including 17 studio albums, 13 live albums, 4 EPs and 7 compliations during their 40 year carreer. As you can see, Iron Maiden is more than a music band. Long live the legends.
Pantera started as a glam metal band and released three studio albums with little success until Phil Anselmo joined the band. In 1986, Anselmo joined the team, and in 2 years they released the album Power Metal. In 1990, the most well-known album Cowboys From Hell was removed, and the band got popular in the groove metal genre. The following album Vulgar Display Of Power achieved a heavier sound and increased their popularity.
After those albums, Anselmo became addicted to heroin due to his pain issues and the band breaking up in 2003. Until this time they released a couple of albums but completed those separately.
In 2004, the legendary guitarist Dimebag Darrell was shot and killed on stage by a mentally unstable fan during a concert. After this tragic death, everything changed for the remaining members until 2022. In 2022, Rex Brown and Phil Anselmo who are the only surviving members of the band’s best-known lineup, announced the reuniting along with Zakk Wylde and Charlie Benante. Now their reunion tour will continue into 2024. If you have a chance to catch them, you better see them.
10. Machine Head
Machine Head is a little bit younger band comparing the others in this list. Vocal and lead guitarist Robb Flynn formed the band and is also the only remaining original member.
Its aggressive style made the band one of the pioneers in the new wave of American heavy metal. We said the American, but the first four albums mostly earned the band a fan base in Europe. Machine Head gained success in the US in later releases. They experienced groove metal and nu-metal in early albums but then changed to a more traditional thrash metal sound and longer songs with their sixth album The Blackening. This album was chosen as the album of the decade by Metal Hammer in 2010.
Machine Head has released ten studio albums, two live albums. Four studio albums have been certified silver in the United Kingdom.
Sepultura, which means “tomb” in Portuguese, formed in 1984 by Max and Igor Cavalera. They succeeded greatly with the album Morbid Visions but their worldwide reputation started with Beneath The Remains. This success continued with following albums such as Arise, Chaos A.D. and Roots.
Starting out with the influence of bands like Slayer and Venom, Sepultura managed to capture a strict line and created an original style. This style is a mix of death metal, black metal, thrash metal and speed metal. With this combined style, they became one of the most loved bands among the 90s generation.
Sepultura has released fifteen studio albums to date and sold over three million units in the United States, 20 million worldwide. And they gained multiple gold and platinum records in countries like France, Australia, Indonesia, United States, Cyprus and their homeland Brazil.
12. Lamb Of God
Lamb Of God has been with us since 1994 and they managed to gain a place for themselves in the metal scene. They are one of the new wave of American heavy metal bands along with Machine Head.
Heavy guitars, strong drums and brutal vocals combined perfectly and this powerful style gave them the chance to be touring band. They played in Ozzfest, Slayer’s tour, many festivals. Between 2008-2010, they joined Metallica’s World Magnetic tour and played in so many different locations. These opportunities made them the headliner and they gained a strong place in this genre.
Lamb Of God released eleven studio albums, one live album and sold almost two million copies in the United States.
Trivium is also a similar band to Metallica because of their styles and sounds. Fast riffs, complicated solos and powerful drums create their musical style. Also Heafy’s vocals are so dynamic, ranging between clean, melodic singing and scream vocals.
Their live performances, energetic stage personalities have earned them a great fan base.
Trivium released nine studio album so far and Ascendancy album was chosen as album of the year by Kerrang! magazine.
14. Death Angel
Another thrash metal band Death Angel is around almost 40 years and they have released many popular albums such as The Ultra-Violence and Humanicide. With such albums they are often compared to Metallica.
Thrash metal fans love their unique music which blends heavy metal and punk rock elements. Also their lyrics touches very important issues like violence and injustice.
15. Avenged Sevenfold
Avenged Sevenfold are famous for their various sounds. They started with a metalcore sound on their debut album, but it evolved into a classic heavy metal style.
With the ex-Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy, they released their fifth studio album Nightmare and which debuted at the top of the Billboard 200 list. There were many line-up changes during their career but the band’s musical identity remained the same.
Until today, they released seven studio albums and sold over 8 million albums worldwide. They also received many awards.
Avenged Sevenfold was ranked number 47 on Loudwire’s list of Top 50 Metal Bands of All Time.
According to our musical tastes, we chose those bands similar to Metallica. Probably many of you listen to them already. What do you think about this list? Let us know in the comment section and share your alternative bands in addition to these bands.
You can watch the video version from Metalshout‘s YouTube channel below!
Stay safe, stay metal!