Top 10 Best Heavy Metal Music Videos of All Time
VOICE OVER: Ryan Wild
WRITTEN BY: Mimi Kenny
These heavy metal music videos rock! For this list, we'll be looking at the best official visuals from artists in the genre. Our countdown includes Judas Priest, Metallica, Iron Maiden, and more!
Top 10 Heavy Metal Music Videos
Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Heavy Metal Music Videos.
For this list, we’ll be looking at the best official visuals from artists in the genre.
What do you look for in a heavy metal video? Let us know in the comments.
#10: “Breaking the Law”
A song with as much headbanging-power as “Breaking the Law'' deserves an equally awesome video. Fortunately, Judas Priest gave us exactly that. This ode to criminality finds the English band holding up a bank not with guns, but guitars as they look to score a special bounty. Throughout the video, vocalist Rob Halford displays maximum intensity as well as some pretty fun dance moves. Eventually, their rebellious attitude even rubs off on the bank’s security guard. We can't blame Beavis and Butthead for loving this song as much as they do, especially not with riffs like those and an awesome video like this.
Slipknot fans are a passionate bunch. How passionate? Just check out the masked nu-metal band’s video for “Duality.” In the video, a swarm of diehards rush into a house the band’s playing in. Their passion quickly amounts to destruction. Despite being instructed to go easy on the house, the fans went wild. Their actions resulted in Roadrunner Records paying the homeowners $50,000 to cover the damage. This sweaty, claustrophobia video has its own kind of duality: simultaneously chaotic and comforting. If you were a teenager in the 2000s, it might be a big dose of nostalgia. Just don’t try this at home.
The members of Tool proved themselves one of the most innovative bands in metal history with their music and videos like “Schism”. However, it’s the “Stinkfist '' video that might be their most unique. You’ll have to see this one to believe it: and even then, you’ll have questions. The best way to describe it is to imagine if David Cronenberg or David Lynch got into stop-motion animation. Before finding musical fame, Tool guitarist Adam Jones also had a good deal of filmmaking knowledge. His direction here shows he's an artist of many skills. We do have one qualm: in no way does this song, or video, stink.
#7: “Sweating Bullets”
We thought getting one Dave Mustaine in videos like “Holy Wars...The Punishment Due” was intense enough. But then we saw multiple ones in Megadeth’s video for a classic track off of their “Countdown to Extinction.” album. In this video, the redheaded frontman finds himself trapped in a squalid cell with the worst possible company: himself. As he talks to the other Mustaines and makes his way through the limited space, it’s clear he’s not in a good headspace. He’s not completely alone, though, as the rest of their band are in cells of their own and also have clones for companionship. This is the perfect video for anyone who’s ever felt stuck in their mind and wasn’t sure how to express that feeling.
#6: “Five Minutes Alone”
Have you ever been so angry you couldn’t see straight? Pantera understands how you feel. For six—not five, minutes, the groove metal band presents absolutely unbridled rage. Vocalist Phil Anselmo's eyes give new meaning to the phrase "if looks could kill." Despite the anger, it's a very uplifting video if you're trying to work through aggression in a healthy manner. The visuals are full of close-ups and flashing lights.. When combined with guttural vocals and searing riffs, every part of this song and video adds up to a rager for the ages. It also taught us a very important lesson: don't get on Pantera's bad side.
Alice in Chains
Heavy metal videos often use imagery to create haunting experiences for the viewers. But few dig into our psyche quite like Alice in Chains' video for “Rooster”. The visuals contain real-life footage from the Vietnam War as well as interview footage with veterans of the conflict. There's also dramatized scenes with a band of soldiers making their way through the jungle, not knowing what dangers await. The tension of the video matches that of the song. Some images are so gruesome, you might need to turn away from the screen. The titular “Rooster” is based on guitarist Jerry Cantrell's father, who fought in Vietnam and provided consultation. If you ever need a reminder that war is hell, watch this video.
#4: “Can I Play with Madness”
We’ve all had at least one teacher we just wish we could get back at, and Iron Maiden perfectly channels all those feelings in “Can I Play with Madness.” In this video, a group of art students are sketching at Tintern Abbey. They’re forced to create under the watchful eye of an uptight instructor, played by the late Graham Chapman of “Monty Python” fame. Suddenly, a shocking image of Iron Maiden mascot Eddie appears in the sky. It’s not long before the teacher soon finds himself in an underground nightmare. This video so perfectly demonstrates why younger audiences love heavy metal.
#3: “Holy Diver”
“Holy Diver” is one of those metal songs that even a non-metalhead can appreciate. Its video also deserves love. As Stefon might say, this video has everything: a church, rats, and lava. Frontman Ronnie James Dio looks like he wandered off the set of "Conan the Barbarian” as he stalks through his surroundings with his sword. He also encounters a trio of figures in red cloaks, including one with a face you’ll never forget. Watching the “Holy Diver” video is like diving into the Middle Ages with one of the best metal artists of all-time as your guide.
#2: “We’re Not Gonna Take It”
Need a pick-me-up? Instead of grabbing a cup of coffee, try putting on this legendary Twisted Sister video. “We’re Not Gonna Take It” captures everything awesome about the glam metal band. An aspiring young rocker is badgered by his father, played by Mark Metcalf. So, he responds in the best way possible. The boy knocks him out of his bedroom window with the power of rock and ages into Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider. His siblings turn into the rest of the band and continue to get revenge on Dad for his mistreatment. When you've had enough, Twisted Sister has your back, as well as some absolutely amazing hair, makeup, and outfits.
Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
"Bulls on Parade", Rage Against the Machine
The Visuals Captured Everything Fans Love About The Band
"Mein Teil", Rammstein
Pure Nightmare Fuel
Another Great Use of Stop-motion
"Breaking the Habit", Linkin Park
A Sobering Glimpse at Depression
#1: “One” (1989)
While Metallica usually isn’t a very political band, they can definitely make a powerful statement. In the nearly eight-minute video for “..And Justice For All” , the metal legends tell the story of a soldier who is injured in combat with no hope of returning to the life he once knew. The riffing and vocals, at times somber and at other times infuriated, paints a picture of despair that lives on for generations. Cast in a blue tint, the band gives the video more dramatic urgency without being over-the-top. If you don't have a lump in your throat from watching this video, we don't know what to say. For its great filmmaking and always relevant messaging, we absolutely had to put “One” at number one.