Metal singers are some of the most well-known and iconic figures in the world. They’re not only talented musicians, but also have a huge following behind them. Rock on!
I was recently reading some magazines and it covered the topic of legendary metal singers (specifically Rabbit Hole Music and Rolling Stone) and I found their attempt admirable but half of the singers were more classic rock then metal. I felt I could do a lot better and provide fans a list of some great metal front men or women.
In this article, we’ll be looking at 10 metal vocalists that you should know about – from Black Sabbath to Slipknot to Motorhead. We’ve got something for every metal fan!
Bruce Dickinson – Iron Maiden
Kicking off our list and coming in at number 1 is no other than Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden.
Bruce Dickinson is one of the most iconic and well-known metal singers in the world. He’s been a part of the band Iron Maiden for over 30 years and has helped them become one of the most successful heavy metal bands of all time. His vocals are unique and instantly recognizable, which is why he’s such an iconic figure in the metal community. Bruce has a huge following behind him and is known for his incredible stage presence.
As you are probably aware, Iron Maiden was my first metal concert and what turned me onto the genre so I may be a bit biased here.
Iron Maiden is a heavy metal band that was formed in London, England in 1975. They’re considered one of the most successful metal bands of all time and have sold over 90 million records worldwide.
Bruce grew up listening to his father’s record collection which had artists such as The Beatles, Dusty Springfield, Elvis Presley and Roy Orbison on it. Bruce’s inspirations are said to include singers Roger Daltrey and Rob Halford from the band Judas Priest.
Not convinced of the the greatness of Bruce Dickinson? Take a listen to the “Run to the Hills” and the pure emotion in Bruce’s voice. If you do not know this song, then maybe you haven’t discovered metal yet. Like many of Iron Maiden’s songs, the song is about the genocide on Native Americans and how it continued through to modern day.
Throughout the song, there are some haunting lyrics such as “Now we’re on the warpath on a spree of blood and gore” and “the screams for mercy they will never hear.”
If you are not impressed enough, outside of being a muscian, Bruce is also an aviation entrepreneur, author and broadcaster. Is there nothing he cannot do…
Rob Halford – Judas Priest
Rob Halford is one of the most iconic and well-known metal singers in the world. He’s been with Judas Priest since 1969, and they’ve released some of the most well-known metal songs of all time. Rob is a talented singer and musician, and he has a huge following behind him. He’s known for his powerful voice and energetic performances.
Judas Priest is a British heavy metal band that was formed in Birmingham, England in 1969. They’re considered one of the most successful metal bands of all time and have sold over 50 million records worldwide.
One of the things that makes Judas Priest so successful is their amazing guitar work. But, Rob Halford’s powerful vocals are definitely a huge part of their sound. He’s been with the band since 1969, and they’ve released a lot.
One of the things that sets Rob Halford him apart from other metal singers is his incredible stage presence. He looks like he’s having so much fun on stage, which is something that really draws people to him. He even climbs up on giant speakers during live shows!
Rob Halford has a powerful and unique vocal style that sets him apart from other metal singers. He’s able to belt out high notes with ease, and his voice is instantly recognizable. He also has a lot of energy and enthusiasm when he sings, which really comes across in his performances.
Lemmy – Motorhead
Lemmy, born in 1945 in England, was a bassist and singer for the rock-metal band Motörhead. His music career began when he formed a rock band called Hawkwind in 1968 after being rejected from another band because of its colour ban. Lemmy had various jobs and was in several bands before officially forming Motörhead in 1975 with Larry Wallis. Motörhead was formed from the ashes of previous bands with Lemmy taking on lead vocals and bass guitar duties.
Motorhead of course went on to be one of the most iconic rock bands in all of history. They have been called an icon of the heavy metal genre and have been widely influential not just in hard rock music, but also punk rock and blues rock. One of the things that set them apart from their contemporaries was a usless for speed and volume. They may not be able to play at breakneck speeds or thunderous volumes, but they have influenced many musicians over the years.
Lemmy’s vocal style was unique in that it was gruff and raspy. He didn’t have a powerful voice, but it suited the type of music that Motorhead played. His vocals were also very distinct, and you could always tell when Lemmy was singing. He had a lot of energy and power in his voice, and he always seemed to be performing with 100% conviction. He was also a great frontman and knew how to work the audience. He was entertaining and engaging, and you could tell that he loved performing live.
Cory Taylor – Stone Sour / Slipknot / Various
Cory Taylor is one of the most well-known and iconic metal singers in the world. He’s not only a talented musician, but he also has a huge following behind him. He’s been involved in several bands over the years, including Stone Sour and Slipknot. He’s also done a lot of solo work.
Slipknot is an American heavy metal band from Des Moines, Iowa. The band was founded in 1995, with its original lineup consisting of nine members. The group has released five studio albums over the years and a number of EPs. Slipknot is a nine piece metalcore band that still continues to put out quality work today. They’ve headlined some of the biggest festivals in the country and all over the world. Their vocalist, Corey Taylor, is from Iowa and has been the vocalist for the band since 1999.
Cory Taylor’s vocal style is unique and instantly recognizable. He has a powerful and distinctive voice that is perfect for metal music. He has a lot of energy and passion when he sings, which makes his performances even more exciting to watch. He’s able to convey a wide range of emotions through his vocals, and he always puts on an amazing show.
One of the most impressive things about Taylor’s vocals is his ability to sing in many different styles. He has a powerful and distinctive voice that is perfect for metal music, but he can also put out softer, more melodic vocals. It’s difficult to transition from raspy vocals to melodic singing without sounding awkward, but Taylor has the technical chops to pull it off. He does an excellent job of conveying a wide range of emotions through his vocals, and his show always leaves people feeling impressed. There are few singers in the world who are capable of putting on such an emotional performance like Taylor – he really is one of a kind.
Ozzy Osbourne, of course, is an obvious inclusion on any list of the greatest metal vocalists. Although not the greatest singer, Ozzy Osbourne’s vocals are a major factor in the success of heavy metal and where we are today.
Ozzy Osborne is one of the most iconic and well-known metal singers of all time. He’s been in the music industry for over 40 years and has achieved massive success both as a solo artist and as the lead singer of Black Sabbath.
Osbourne’s vocal style is unique and instantly recognizable. He has a powerful and distinctive voice that is perfect for metal music. He has a lot of energy and passion when he sings, and is able to convey a wide range of emotions through his vocals.
Ozzy is a true metal “madman” in every sense of the word and we will never see another front man like him.
Maynard James Keenan – Tool, A Perfect Circle
Maynard James Keenan is an American singer, songwriter, and artist. He is best known as the vocalist for the bands Tool and A Perfect Circle. Fun Fact: He also has a successful career as a winemaker.
Keenan’s vocals are incredibly unique and instantly recognizable. He has a powerful voice that is able to convey a lot of emotion. One of my favorite things of Keenan outside his vocals are his lyrics are also very thought-provoking and intelligent.
Keenan is a master of his art and is considered one of the best metal singers of all time. Keenan’s voice not only kept metal alive, but also opened the door for it to explore previously uncharted territory. He is a true icon of both music and the world of wine.
Ronnie James Dio – Dio
Ronnie James Dio was an American heavy metal singer, songwriter and musician. He is best known as the singer of the band, Black Sabbath from 1979 to 1991 and as a member of Elf from 1997 to 2006. His most famous work outside those two bands was with the platinum-selling American rock group, Rainbow from 1975 to 1978, and his own self-titled band, Dio from 1983 to 2010.
Dio possessed a powerful vocal range capable of hitting notes in the high fifth octave. Dio’s voice had a wide operatic range. His voice has been compared with that of Judas Priest front man Rob Halford and Iron Maiden founder Paul Di’Anno. Dio’s musical style was often dark and epic. He is credited with popularizing the “metal horns” hand gesture in metal culture.
Unfortunately Dio died of stomach cancer on May 16, 2010, at the age of 67. Rest in power King Dio.
James Hetfield – Metallica
Ironically, James Hetfield was hesitant about becoming the band’s main vocalist in their early days. Boy are we glad he decided to stick to singing as he has provided us with some masterful metal (and not so great metal, looking at you St. Anger).
James Hetfield’s vocal style is unique in the metal genre. He doesn’t scream like other metal singers, but instead has a more punk rock style. His vocals convey attitude and show a presence rather than having a great tone. Hetfield’s vocals are effective in conveying a tough guy sentimentality.
Metallica’s metal music has evolved over the years. The band started off as a traditional metal band and their first few albums played out like that. It wasn’t until Metallica released “Master of Puppets” that they seemed to fully embrace what would come to define them as an iconic metal band. They began to take more risks with their music, exploring new sounds and collaborative experimentation that would go onto define their sound as something different than other bands in the genre. We can defetly forgive them for some of the newer albums and the direction as we have deep appreciation for what Metallica and Jame contributed to metal.
Lzzy Hale (Halestorm)
I realized our list is a little light on women metal female vocalists but do not worry, I have the ladies covered with Lzzy Hale.
Lzzy Hale is the lead singer of Halestorm. She has been in the band for over 10 years and has put out three albums with them. Lzzy’s popularity is not only based on her singing, but also her fashion sense.
Lzzy Hale has a powerful vocal style that is both unique and recognizable. She is able to belt out high notes with ease, and her voice has a lot of emotion in it. Lzzy’s lyrics are also very personal, and she often sings about her struggles and experiences.
Halestorm finished up a tour for their latest album, “Vicious” and have kicked off a tour in 2021 with Evanescence (Amy Lee and Lzzy Hale in the same show is INSANE, two of my favorite female vocalists).
The concert I seen from their previous tour was at the Fillmore in Philadelphia. It was a sold-out show and the crowd was really excited to see Halestorm perform. Lzzy Hale is an incredible singer and she puts on an amazing show. The band played all of their hits, and the crowd was singing along to every word. It was an amazing concert and I’m really glad I got to see it.
Her amazing abilities, incredible vocal range and incomparable charisma make her a must-see for everyone. What’s not to love about Lzzy? They’re the greatest of the best when it comes to their songwriting skills, vocal talent, and stage presence – what more could you want out of life?
Mike Patton (Faith No More, Mr. Bungle etc)
Mike Patton is a singer and musician who has been involved in many different projects over the years. He is perhaps best known for his work with Faith No More and Mr. Bungle. He is a highly talented singer and musician.
Faith No More is an American rock band that was formed in San Francisco, California in 1979 (has it really been that long-ago, time flies). The band is well-known for their unique and eclectic style, which combines elements of metal, funk, and alternative rock. They have released six studio albums to date, with their most successful album being The Real Thing, which was released in 1989. The band is currently on hiatus, but there is always the possibility of a reunion in the future.
Mike Patton’s vocal style is very unique and eclectic. He is able to sing in a variety of different styles, and he often experiments with different sounds and effects. He is able to range from low growls to high screams, and he often incorporates elements of metal, funk, and alternative rock into his music. He is a highly versatile singer and musician.
Jeff Walker – Carcass and Lock Up
Jeff Walker is the vocalist for the black metal bands Carcass and Lock Up. He’s one of the most unique singers in metal, due to his extremely guttural vocals. However, Jeff is far from being all growls. Some of his songs are so melodic that you wouldn’t think he’d be capable of singing them.
More known for Grunge than metal, I could not leave one of the greatest vocal talents off the list.
Chris Cornell is a singer and musician who was best known for his vocal ability. He has been involved in many different projects over the years, and is perhaps best known for fronting Soundgarden and Audioslave. He is also well-known for his solo work such as the soundtrack to the film Machine Gun Preacher. Chris Cornell had a very versatile vocal style that allowed him to met all sorts of styles from Grunge to metal. His vocals were often described as sounding like a “wounded animal,” but in a good way. They were full of emotional depth and a sense of longing or loneliness that listeners could empathize with.
After losing him in 2017, the music world was left without one of its true vocal giants.
Amy Lee – Evanescence
Amy Lee is an American singer and songwriter who is best known as the vocalist for the rock band Evanescence. She is a very talented singer with a unique voice that can be described as “ethereal.”
Evanescence was formed in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1995 by Amy Lee and Ben Moody. The band is well-known for their dark and gothic sound, which is often attributed to Amy Lee’s ethereal vocals. The band has released four studio albums, with their most successful album being Fallen, which was released in 2003. The band went on hiatus in 2012, but announced their reunion in 2018.
Amy Lee is a highly talented singer with a unique voice. Her vocals are often described as haunting, and they contribute to the dark and gothic sound of Evanescence.
Chester Bennington – Linkin Park
Chester Bennington was a singer and musician who was best known as the vocalist for the rock band Linkin Park. He was a very powerful singer, but he was also able to sing with a great deal of emotion and gentleness.
Linkin Park was formed in Los Angeles, California in 1996 by Mike Shinoda and Chester Bennington. The band is well-known for their unique sound, which combines elements of hip-hop, rock, and electronica. They have released six studio albums to date, with their most successful album being Meteora, which was released in 2003.
The vocal style of Chester would be described as being powerful but also gentle at times, which helped him to connect with listeners on a personal level
In 2017, Chester Bennington tragically took his own life, he will be missed and not forgotten.
Metal vocalists are often thought of as being all growls, but there is a wide range of different singing styles. We’ve highlighted some of the best metal vocalists in this article and provided examples for each one to help you get started thinking about who might be right for your band or project. Let us know your favorites in the comments below.