Top 10 Frontmen in Heavy Metal and Hard Rock

When it comes to fronting a heavy metal or hard rock band, you’ve really gotta know how to get your fans riled up. Whether it’s through your loud vocals, onstage presence, musical talents or all of the above, these guys know how to rock hard and they still amaze and entertain us today. For this list, we’re following up our Top 10 Frontmen in Rock with this list of male lead vocalists in hard rock and heavy metal. We’ve based our picks on a combination of their stage presence, songwriting abilities, popularity, and vocal chops. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the top 10 frontmen in heavy metal and hard rock. Special thanks to our users parkermiddleton, Aidan Poliwrath Mason, waterblonk and Jacob Pollock for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest.
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Metal wouldn’t be the same without them. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 frontmen in heavy metal and hard rock.

For this list, we’re following up our Top 10 Frontmen in Rock with this list of male lead vocalists in hard rock and heavy metal. We’ve based our picks on a combination of their stage presence, songwriting abilities, popularity, and vocal chops.

#10: Bon Scott
AC/DC


10-AC-DC - Girls Got Rhythm (Official Video)
Though the later success they had with Brian Johnson would merit him a spot on this list, it’s the Scottish-born Australian Bon Scott that’s got the edge in our eyes. Thanks to his lewd lyrics and onstage charisma, Scott helped the band earn popularity in their hometown and then around the world. It’s little wonder Powerage and Highway to Hell remain some of AC/DC’s greatest work.

#9: Phil Anselmo
Pantera


Thanks to his intense vocals, Phil Anselmo replaced Terry Glaze as Pantera’s frontman in the late 1980s. He helped transform their glam metal sound into a heavier, groove metal one and took the band to the top of the Billboard 200 chart with Far Beyond Driven. Known for his screeching wail, intense presence and wild stage behavior, Anselmo also proved his staying power through several musical projects.

#8: Joe Elliott
Def Leppard


After spearheading the New Wave of British Metal in the late-1970s, Def Leppard set the blueprint for ‘80s hard rock – with Joe Elliott leading the charge. By setting his vocal harmonies among a blend of hard rock, glam metal, arena rock and pop, Def Leppard solidified their place as one of the decade’s most successful bands. The group’s co-founder and key songwriter was also adept at engaging crowds, as demonstrated by their countless arena shows.

#7: Dave Mustaine
Megadeth


Dave Mustaine overcame being fired from Metallica to form one of heavy metal’s biggest bands. As Megadeth’s vocalist, songwriter, and guitarist, Mustaine crafted complex instrumentals, memorable guitar solos and volatile lyrics that turned the band into one of thrash metal’s “Big Four.” Along with their multiple Grammy nominations, gold records and massive international following, Mustaine also ensured they didn’t lose any of their speed or intensity in later years.

#6: Alice Cooper
Alice Cooper


Since Alice Cooper is technically the name of the artist and the band he fronts, we’re putting “The Godfather of shock rock” on our list. Inspired by horror imagery, he crafted elaborate stage shows laden with execution devices, fake blood and reptiles. He then upped the shock factor by dressing up to match! His heavy metal sound and showmanship have also set the stage for many shock rockers thereafter.

#5: Rob Halford
Judas Priest



If you’re looking for pure heavy metal, look no further than Judas Priest. In the 1970s, these metal gods combined the double guitar style of K.K. Downing and Glen Tipton with Rob Halford’s theatrical vocals to create their unique and heavy sound. And with his four-octave range and powerful screams, Halford’s singing prowess is practically unparalleled. Add his songwriting abilities and attention-grabbing sense of style and you’ve got one helluva frontman.

#4: Ronnie James Dio
Dio/Black Sabbath/Rainbow


Whether he was fronting Black Sabbath, his own band or various other projects, Ronnie James Dio really put his all into everything he did. In his 50-plus years in music, he marked the genre with the unfaltering strength of his voice and made metal horns a metal staple. Meanwhile, the major outpouring of sorrow that followed his death was a testament to his impact and influence in music in general.

#3: James Hetfield
Metallica


He’s not only a co-founder, but also the main songwriter, lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist of one of heavy metal’s most successful bands. By helping to craft Metallica’s early fast-paced and aggressive complex compositions, Hetfield positioned the band as one of thrash metal’s big four. With his recognizable roar and their technically astounding performances, he led Metallica to mainstream success and turned them into leaders of the genre.

#2: Bruce Dickinson
Iron Maiden


Bruce Dickinson wowed with a range that reached practically operatic proportions. He didn’t only seamlessly meld his showmanship with Iron Maiden’s theatrical live shows but also helped give the band their first UK chart-topper with The Number of the Beast. While he’d have been ranked higher if he had a bigger songwriting role, it can’t be denied he helped Iron Maiden spearhead the New Wave of British Metal.

Honorable Mentions


David Coverdale (Whitesnake)
Lemmy Kilmister (Motorhead)
Geoff Tate (Queensryche)
Corey Taylor (Slipknot)
M. Shadows (Avenged Sevenfold)

#1: Ozzy Osbourne
Black Sabbath


With Black Sabbath, the Prince of Darkness set the blueprint for heavy metal and countless subgenres. Alongside Tony Iommi’s big bad riffs, Ozzy’s signature vocals made for an original, dark and heavy blues-rock sound. But it was after leaving that the “Godfather of heavy metal” took his stage antics to the next level, as his shocking theatrics kept him the center of attention and increased his appeal and success.

Do you agree with our list? Who is your favorite metal frontmen? If you didn’t see someone you think should be on this list, like Axl Rose or Robert Plant, be sure to check out our list of the Top 10 Frontmen in Rock and our Top 10 Frontwomen in Rock. With new videos published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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