These Top 10 metal lists are getting harder and harder. How can you possibly pick just a handful of rocking gentlemen to represent the best that metal has on offer? Yes, there are also frontwomen, and most definitely there are also over 100 great chaps that aren’t on this list. Cutting it down was a tough one. The criteria? Amazing performers, distinctive voice, memorable style and working with a ‘metal’ band (not hard rock, grunge, punk or hardcore). Get your votes in and argue as much as you like in the comment section below. RIP Ronnie James Dio.
1. Ronnie James Dio (Black Sabbath, Dio, Heaven & Hell, Rainbow, Elf)
The man, the legend, the inventor (arguably) of the ‘horns’ metal gesture – this week marks a year since Dio’s sad passing (May 16, 2010) and the top spot goes to the friendly man with a set of lungs that were a thousand times more powerful than his stature suggested.
2. Mike Patton (Faith No More, Mr Bungle)
Appearing completely bonkers while being held together by a fabric of genius makes for pretty amazing viewing. Patton can swing from jazz croon to metal roar and hip hop bark at the flick of a switch. All hail.
3. Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden)
No one in the world looks great in leather trousers with flapping tassels, but BD at least makes it look appropriate. Flag-waving, note-scaling, British heavy metal icon with a penchant for planes.
4. Rob Halford (Judas Priest)
A fearsome, apocalyptic wail possibly somewhat aided by the tightness of his leather, Halford rocks harder than a rocking chair on a rowing boat in a storm. ie: shit loads. Catch Judas Priest around the UK in July.
5. Ozzy Osbourne (Black Sabbath)
So much more than a reality TV show star, Mr ‘Prince Of Darkness’ Osbourne is for many the embodiment of heavy metal excess. His trademark melodies and manic stage presence have made for years of compelling viewing.
6. Axl Rose (Guns N' Roses)
Despite his recent bad (late) behavior at gigs and questionable GN’R release, Axl Rose is still one of metal’s greats. A proper rocking diva with hips that would have catwalks quaking and a banshee wail like no other.
7. Corey Taylor (Slipknot, Stone Sour)
The youngest ‘newest’ frontman on the list, but an unquestionable contender for Best Metal Frontman. Whether terrifying fans across the planet in his masked Slipknot attire, or sending rock radio rioting with Stone Sour, the sharp and witty singer will go down in history as one of our greats.
8. Phil Anselmo (Pantera, Down)
That darkened growl, that metal gurn and an attitude that screams “come on then!” - the notoriously tough Pantera frontman was and is metal aggression personified. Whether whipping up crowds into a moshing frenzy or calming with a Down melody, Anselmo’s got it all.
9. James Hetfield (Metallica)
A demon on guitar as well as on mic, Hetfield has lead the Metalli-troupe from strength to strength. Standing spread legged in centre stage and engaging crowds with his melodies (and his laugh), not even the band’s infamous 1992 pyrotechnics accident could keep him away!
10. Alice Cooper (Alice Cooper)
Horror rocker, freaky theatrical metal king, fashion icon (kinda) and… Wayne’s World actor! Go Coop! He’s 63 years old and still rocks like a hurricane. He’s survived and won over multiple rock genres and still sounds amazing. Legend.