The 25 Best Metal Bands of All Time!

The 25 Best Metal Bands of All Time, the REAL #1: Black Sabbath


The 25 Best Metal Bands of All TimeBlack Sabbath Best Metal Band of All TimeMetalSucks recently polled more than a hundred of metal’s most revered musicians, critics, journalists, artists, publicists, and industry insiders to find out which 25 bands represent the very BEST in the history of metal. We now conclude our countdown FOR REAL with the one, the only…

Black Sabbath
85 Votes
1,751 Points

It’s hard to quantify Black Sabbath’s impact on heavy metal, because without Black Sabbath, there would be no such thing as heavy metal. Theirs was a logical continuation of the increasingly heavy sounds that came before, from Wagner to The Beatles and Deep Purple to Steppenwolf, but it took a perfect storm of Birmingham’s working class gloom, Tony Iommi’s mangled fingers, inner demons both real and imagined, and the nascent menace of Thatcherism waiting in the wings to first coax true heavy metal thunder down from the lofty realm of the gods and into this mortal coil.

Sabbath’s strongest albums were arguably released between 1970 and 1979. Their later material had its moments, but nearly any recording pales next to the untouchable quality of their first four records. The band formed as Earth in 1968, quickly shedding its blues rock origins and that first stab at a name to harness the otherworldly power of Iommi’s riffs. At age seventeen, Tony had lost the tips of two fingers to an industrial accident on his last day or work at a Birmingham sheet metal factory. Instead of giving up, he fashioned himself some plastic “fingertips” out of old thimbles, pressed down heavier on his strings, and inadvertently launched a genre. His blues-based riffs exploited the minor keys’ inherent darkness and a treble-boosting effects pedal slapped heavy distortion on the down-tuned notes. It sounded bigger, heavier, and darker than anything else rock music had managed up until that point; even pioneering Satanic psych rock outfit Coven trod on the lighter side of heavy, and they were far deeper into the occult than Black Sabbath delved even at their witchiest. Doom metal owes its entire existence to that rumbling roar, and the blueprints for so many other styles and genres come smeared by plastic fingertips. Ozzy Osbourne’s quivering wail sounded desperate and uncertain as he sang of wizards, women, and weed; he touched upon the evil that men do, on dirty politics and dreadful wars and the horrors of addiction. Snowblind and flying high, Sabbath rode the crazy train straight on through to the other side of the Seventies, through the Dio-fueled Eighties, in and out of breakups and hiatuses and headlong into the Nineties, when things really got weird.

A revolving lineup, errant singers (including a long stint with Tony Martin, who was later given a bloody raw deal by the band when they tried to effectively erase him from its history) , and drug-addled confusion left Black Sabbath weakened, and the dawn of the 2000s saw even more mayhem unfold when Ozzy found unexpected success as a reality TV star and the band fractured into multiple camps. The return of Ronnie James Dio injected vital new blood into Sabbath’s aging veins under the guise of Heaven & Hell, reviving interest in the band’s back catalogue and perhaps giving the ol’ boys from Brum a much needed kick up the arse in the process. Dio’s place in the Black Sabbath saga is unshakable, but when the man – the legend – met left us in 2010 on his ultimate earthly departure, the future looked bleaker than ever for Ward, Butler, Iommi, and even Osbourne. When Black Sabbath came together once more with its original lineup and promised to record anew, it seemed too good to be true. As any proud owner of a “Bill Sabbath” shirt will tell ya, it was, but we still got a decent record out of the semi-legitimate current lineup (joined by new drummer Brad Wilk). Rumor has it the band is plotting a twentieth (!) full length and final world tour, but given Iommi’s current medical condition, only time will tell on that front.

Now, given the shifting nature of the band’s lineup, it’s not entirely fair of me to question this version’s legitimacy, but my reasoning is more sentimental than spiteful. Like so many others I fell in love with the Black Sabbath my dad introduced me to when I was young – with the immortal Ward, Butler, Iommi, Osbourne lineup. That’s what struck the loudest chord. In all honesty, that’s the only era I still listen to (apologies to Dio) but there is so much of merit in their considerable discography that there really is something for everyone.

So, why is Black Sabbath one of the most important metal bands of all time? If it weren’t for them, none of us would be here. For that at the very least, to say nothing of their incredible music, they deserve our veneration.

No Sabbath, no metal. Period.

Sabbath Bloody Sabbath,
Nothing more to do.
Living just for dying,
Dying just for you…


Fake #1 — Manowar
#2 — Iron Maiden (86 Votes, 1,635 Points)
#3 — Slayer (85 Votes, 1,571 Points)
#4 — Metallica (84 Votes, 1,486 Points)
#5 — Pantera (65 Votes, 1,052 Points)
#6 — Judas Priest (61 Votes, 997 Points)
#7 — Megadeth (64 Votes, 913 Points)
#8 — Death (57 Votes, 778 Points)
#9  — Motorhead (42 Votes, 622 Points)
#10 – Carcass (42 Votes, 516 Points)

#11 – Cannibal Corpse (40 Votes, 510 Points)
#12 – Anthrax (42 Votes, 497 Points)
#13 – Sepultura (41 Votes, 444 Points)
#14 – Dio (33 Votes, 433 Points)
#15 – Mercyful Fate (31 Votes, 419 Points)
#16 – Morbid Angel (33 Votes, 406 Points)
#17 – Meshuggah (32 Votes, 377 Points)

#18 – Opeth (30 Votes, 364 Points)
#19 – Testament (33 Votes, 347 Points)
#20 – At The Gates (28 Votes, 331 Points)
#21 – AC/DC (17 Votes, 313 Points)

#22 – Celtic Frost (24 Votes, 310 Points)
#23 – Ozzy Osbourne (21 Votes, 290 Points)
#24 – Napalm Death (22 Votes, 278 Points)
#25 – Lamb of God (29 Votes, 277 Points)



Chris Alfano – East of the Wall, Gear Gods
Paul Allender – White Empress, ex-Cradle of Filth
Rob Arnold – The Elite, ex-Chimaira, ex-Six Feet Under
Alan Averill (aka A.A. Nemtheanga) – Primordial
Chuck B.B. – Artist
Matt Bachand – Shadows Fall
Micke Berg – Below
Chuck Billy – Testament
Randy Blythe – Lamb of God
Paul Booth – Last Rites Tattoo and Art Gallery
Jake Bowen – Periphery
Terry Butler – Obituary
Liz Ciavarella-Brenner – Publicist, Earsplit PR
Blake Charlton – Ramming Speed
Richard Christy – Charred Walls of the Damned, ex-Death, ex-Iced Earth, ex-Control Denied, The Howard Stern Show
Monte Conner – President, Nuclear Blast Entertainment
Bruce Corbitt – Rigor Mortis, Warbeast
Doc Coyle – ex-God Forbid
Sergeant D. – MetalSucks, Stuff You Will Hate
Topon Das – Fuck the Facts, Merdarahta
Anso DF – MetalSucks
Peter Dolving – Rosvo, ex-The Haunted
Ryan J. DowneySuperhero Artist Management
Sacha Dunable – Intronaut, Bereft, Dunable Guitars
Vince Edwards – Head of Publicity, Metal Blade Records
Excretakano – MetalSucks
Extreme Management Group
D.X. Ferris – Slayer ScholarThe 25 Best Metal Bands of All Time, the REAL #1: Black SabbathMetalSucks
Ryan Fleming – Black Table
Jon Freeman – Publicist, Freeman Promotions
Matthew Friesen – Culted
Ville Friman – Insomnium
Mike Gitter – Senior Director of A&R, Razor & Tie
Frank Godla – Metal Injection, Meek is Murder
Mike Greene – Director of Digital Marketing, Razor & Tie
Shane Handel – Set and Setting
Jeff Hodak – Head of Sales, Razor & Tie
Terence Hannum – Locrian
John Hoffman – Weekend Nachos
Mark Hunter – ex-Chimaira
Don JamiesonThat Metal Show
Daniel Jansson – Culted
John Jarvis – Pig Destroyer, Fulgora
Gaz Jennings – Death Penalty, ex-Cathedral
Patrik Jensen – The Haunted
Rick Jimenez – Extinction A.D.
Kassa – Below
Mirai Kawashima – Sigh
“Grim” Kim KellyMetalSucks
Zeena Koda
Erik Kluiber – Gypsyhawk
Eyal LeviUnstoppable Killing Machine, Dååth
Jason Lekberg – IKILLYA
Adam Lindmark – Morbus Chron
Ryan Lipynsky – Serpentine Path, Unearthly Trance, The Howling Wind
Jonah Livingston – Ramming Speed
Bob Lugowe – Director of Promotions/Marketing, Relapse Records, Brutal Panda Records
James Malone – Arsis, Necromancing the Stone
Jose Mangin – Director of Music Programming, Sirius XM Liquid Metal
Bobby Mansfield – 16
Misha Mansoor – Periphery
Morgan McGrath – Live Nation
Mike “Gunface” McKenzie – The Red Chord, Stomach Earth, Nightkin
Vince Neilstein – MetalSucks
Eventansvarig Biostaden Nyköping – Below
Chris Ojeda – Byzantine
Casey Orr – Rigor MortisWarbeast
Rob Pasbani – Metal Injection
Anders Persson – Portrait
Chris Pervelis – Internal Bleeding
Karim Peter – Artist Relations, IndieMerchandising
Raphael Pinsker – Booking Agent, 3Thirteen Entertainment Group
Markus “Rabapagan” – Metsatöll
Josh Rand – Stone Sour
Emperor Rhombus – MetalSucks
Gus Rios – Gruesome
Tobias Rosén – Noctum
Axl Rosenberg – MetalSucks
Travis Ryan – Cattle Decapitation, Murder Construct, Nader Sadek
Marc Schapiro, Branch Marketing Collective
Zach Shaw – The Syndicate
Patrick Sheridan – Fit For An Autopsy
Alex Skolnick – Testament
Brian Slagel – Chairman/CEO, Metal Blade Records
Mark Solotroff – Anatomy of Habit, Bloodlust!, BLOODYMINDED
Steve “Zetro” Souza – Exodus, Hatriot
Kevin Stewart-Panko – Decibel, MetalSucks
Black String – Vampire
Jason Suecof – Audiohammer Studios
Bram Teitelman – Metal Insider
Nick Tieder – No Jacket Required Marketing, Indegoot
Tone Deaf Touring
Aaron Turner – Old Man Gloom, ex-ISIS, Hydra Head Records
Brody Uttley – Rivers of Nihil
George Vallee – Head of Publicity, Street Smart Marketing
Dirk Verbeuren – Soilwork, Bent Sea, Scarve
Jens Vestergren – Below
Jake Wade – Columns
Kelly Walsh – Publicist, Prosthetic Records
Mike Wohlberg – The Fat Kid Illustration
Wookubus – The PRP

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