The 12 Best Heavy Metal Music Videos Of All Time (2023)

Before there was the current buffet of online platforms to watch metal music videos at your leisure, fans had to wait for a TV special to see their idols in action. Then, on August 1, 1981, came the birth of the music video via MTV, television’s first 24/7 music channel, giving musicians an outlet to visually communicate their music in truly bold, cinematic ways to the masses.

For metal fans, these videos offered a glimpse into the wild imaginations of their favorite artists and provided a platform for live footage – the next best thing to seeing a band play in concert. From the classic thrashers from the 80s to the slick productions of today, here are some of the best metal music videos that pushed the artistic boundaries of the form.

Black Sabbath: God Is Dead? (2013)

It’d been 35 years since Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler of Black Sabbath had made an album together, and this video marked their triumphant return. This Nietzsche-approved music video utilizes existing footage from the controversial and politically-charged trilogy film series Zeitgeist, by Peter Joseph, who served as director. More of a short film than a promo video, archival footage of the band is imposed over clips of war, destruction and a gluttonous couple straight out of The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie, that will make you never want to eat shrimp again.

Black Sabbath - God Is Dead? (Official Video)

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Megadeth: Sweating Bullets (1992)

What’s better than Dave Mustaine losing his mind in a music video? Multiple Daves going crazy in the video for “Sweating Bullets”, off Megadeth‘s commercial smash, Countdown To Extinction. The video captures Mustaine’s conversational style of singing as he battles all the “Daves” stuck in a prison of their own mind. Supposedly written about a friend of Mustaine’s wife who suffered from extreme anxiety attacks, the video illustrates how sometimes you can be your own worst enemy. Reuniting with director Wayne Isham (who had also directed “Symphony Of Destruction” and “99 Ways To Die”) the band also deployed seasoned cinematographer Daniel Pearl, who’d worked on everything from the cult horror film Texas Chainsaw Massacre to Mariah Carey music videos (you can’t say he lacks range) for a perfect combination of technical wizardry and emotional wallop.

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Rob Zombie: Dragula (1988)

As the auteur of horror, Rob Zombie‘s visual-arts pedigree and penchant for old creature features allowed him to step into the director’s seat when it came to crafting his own metal music videos. After going solo in 1998, he made his video debut with a phantasmagoric vision for “Dragula”, off his hit album Hellbilly Deluxe. Racing along in a car from the 60s TV show The Munsters, Zombie brings along some demonic sidekicks for the ride on a dizzying hallucinatory road trip filled with kids and creepy clowns. Standard Zombie stuff. Revisiting this mini-film, it’s clear that Zombie was destined for a future in filmmaking. With 74 million views and counting on YouTube, clearly the thrills were built to last.

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Slayer: Seasons In The Abyss (1990)

Just as the occult is a concurrent theme in metal, ancient Egypt is equally a subject of fascination. Look no further than Iron Maiden’s Powerslave cover, Metallica‘s “Creeping Death” and Dio’s “Egypt (The Chains Are On)”. For their first official music video, Slayer went to the source itself and, through a series of bribes and good fortune, found themselves playing among the pyramids in Egypt – even amid the first Gulf War. While there are plenty of mysterious scenes in ancient tombs, the video is less about the narrative and more about vocalist Tom Araya’s reflections on death. The video got heavy rotation on MTV’s Headbangers Ball and remains one of the more ambitious metal music videos. The band would later top themselves with their Tarantino-inspired carnage-fuelled video for “You Against You” in 2015.

Slayer - Seasons In The Abyss (Official Video)

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Anthrax: Madhouse (1985)

Even during the early era of MTV, it seemed almost like a rite of passage to get your video banned on the network. Everything from Queen‘s promo for “I Want To Break Free” to Megadeth’s “A Tout Le Monde” fell foul of the censors, so it came as no surprise when Anthrax‘s video for their hit “Madhouse”, which depicts the band as patients moshing in a mental institution, alerted the censors. The video not only showed off Anthrax’s humorous side but also their new lead singer, Joey Belladonna, who had taken over from Neil Turbin. Directed by famous punk and no wave filmmaker Amos Poe, “Madhouse” captures the chaotic nature of metal music videos while staying tongue in cheek: a combination that would characterize Anthrax’s career. Most of the videos had an element of humor (like their collaboration with Public Enemy on “Bring The Noise”) but they would truly break new ground with their thrashterpiece “Blood Eagle Wings”.

Anthrax - Madhouse (Official Video)

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Dio: Holy Diver (1983)

One of the most beloved songs in heavy metal history, with an unmistakable opening riff, Dio’s “Holy Diver” is a classic track, featured on their album Holy Diver. The accompanying music video, directed by Arthur Ellis, illustrates the song’s story arc with a Conan-style narrative complete with a sword-wielding quest. Between these vignettes, we see Ronnie James Dio emotively singing in front of flames. This video authentically encapsulates the 80s’ love of fantasy, adventure and myth circa Dungeons And Dragons fame – a concurrent theme in metal cover art and metal music videos.

Metallica: One (1989)

With its unforgettable chilling riffs and lyrics, the anti-war track “One” is not only pivotal to Metallica’s catalogue, but to the canon of metal music videos. Directed by Michael Salomon and Bill Pope, the band’s 1989 debut video captured the intensity of the song and immediately grabbed the No.1 spot on MTV that same year. The video intersperses footage of the band with clips from the 1971 film Johnny Got His Gun, which reinforces the anti-war theme of the song. When the chugging riffs and double bass come in, the film reaches a crescendo with James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett frantically playing their guitars with a palpable frenzy while the lasting image of a World War I soldier lays in a hospital bed, sheet over his face.

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Rammstein: Mein Teil (2004)

Widely known for their provocative lyrics and slightly disturbing (albeit entertaining) metal music videos, controversial East German industrial metal band Rammstein went all out for “Mein Teil”, off their 2004 album Reise, Reise. Inspired by the notorious German cannibal Armin Meiwes (known as the “Rotenburg Cannibal”), the video depicts all manner of illicit imagery that satiates people’s grotesque fascination with the obscene actual events, proving music videos to both an artistic and political form of expression. The cinematography, sepia-colored shots, and erratic camerawork combine to put the viewer on edge – all hallmarks of the Rammstein aesthetic. Needless to say, this video was banned from airing on German MTV until after 11pm, just in time to give everyone nightmares.

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Iron Maiden: Can I Play With Madness (1988)

Choosing the more conceptual route over live footage, Iron Maiden‘s “Can I Play with Madness” remains one of most influential metal music videos of all time. Shot at Tintern Abbey and the Chislehurst Caves in the UK, the video is like Harry Potter for heshers. The video opens with a white-haired wizardly man gazing into a crystal ball, then cuts to Monty Python‘s Graham Chapman starring as a curmudgeonly teacher who scolds young lads drawing Maiden’s famous mascot, Eddie. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Maiden video without Eddie, who soon appears in the sky, followed by coming to life on the pages of Metal Madness.

Iron Maiden - Can I Play With Madness (Official Video)

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Pantera: Five Minutes Alone (1994)

While the title implies some kind of groupie gathering, this Pantera hit actually gets its name from an encounter with a fan’s father. The man in question filed a lawsuit against frontman Phil Anselmo for allegedly beating him up after he heckled the band during their opening performance for Megadeth. Anselmo reported that the dad wanted “five minutes alone” with him, spawning this killer song and music video. It’s remarkable the amount of head-banging and thrashing that Anselmo deploys, despite having recently ruptured two discs in his back at the time. The video wraps with live show footage (featuring Anselmo rocking an Eyehategod shirt), slow-motion flames, and headbanging. Because what’s a metal music video without fire and headbanging?

Sepultura: Roots Bloody Roots (1996)

Deriving their name from the Portuguese translation of Motörhead‘s song “Dancing on Your Grave” (“Dançando Na Sua Sepultura”), Brazilian death and thrash metal giants Sepultura made a name for themselves in the late 80s and 90s for their singular sound and visuals. For their concept album Roots, the band partially recorded their album and this music video in the Brazilian rainforest with an indigenous tribe. Shot in the Salvadorian catacombs where slaves were bought and sold, the video juxtaposes traditional Brazilian imagery, such as Timbalada percussionists, Catholic churches, and capoeira fighting, with recurring metal themes and a quote by the late Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe. This music video not only celebrates a band that embraces their cultural identity, but also gives you a glimpse into their personal identities as proud Brazilians.

Sepultura - Roots Bloody Roots [OFFICIAL VIDEO]

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Tool: Stinkfist (1996)

Tool fan or not, the band has reached notoriety for their metal music video stylings. Off their 1996 album Ænima, “Stinkfist” won a well-deserved Grammy for Best Music Video. In typical Tool style, the music video for “Stinkfist” is highly artistic, conceptual, and enigmatic, thanks to director and Tool guitarist Adam Jones, whose signature stop-motion animation and quick-focus still shots are immediately recognizable. Even the song title was deemed too offensive for MTV and was retitled as “Track #1”, causing irate fans to complain to the network. Though the title remained, MTV host Kennedy would famously whiff her fist in solidarity before introducing the video as “Track #1”.

TOOL - Stinkfist

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Honorable Mentions

Mötley Crüe – Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)
Van Halen – Right Now
Slipknot – All Out Life
Guns N’ Roses – November Rain
Whitesnake – Here I Go Again
Slaughter – Up All Night
Metallica – Enter Sandman
Rollins Band – Liar
Korn – Freak On A Leash
Dokken – Dream Warriors
Warrant – Down Boys

Think we missed one of the best heavy metal music videos? Let us know in the comments below.


What is the #1 metal song of all time? ›

1Black SabbathIron Man
2Guns N' RosesWelcome to the Jungle
3MetallicaMaster of Puppets
4AC/DCBack in Black
36 more rows

What is the #1 music video of all time? ›

1. Michael Jackson, 'Thriller' (1983)

What is the darkest heavy metal song? ›

The Top 10 Darkest Music Videos in Rock + Metal
  • Rammstein, "Mein Teil" ...
  • Queens of the Stone Age, "Sick, Sick, Sick" ...
  • The Cure, "Lullaby" ...
  • Tool, "Schism" ...
  • Nirvana, "Heart-Shaped Box" ...
  • Metallica, "One" ...
  • Linkin Park, "Breaking the Habit" ...
  • Slipknot, "The Devil in I"
5 Oct 2021

What is the loudest metal song? ›

Loudest Metal Ever
  • Symphony Of DestructionMegadeth.
  • Super Charger HeavenWhite Zombie.
  • This CallingAll That Remains.
  • SadioWitchElectric Wizard.
  • IdentityAugust Burns Red.
  • Like Broken GlassCrowbar.
  • I Am The Black WizardsEmperor.
  • UnsungHelmet.

What is the hardest metal song to sing? ›

10 Metal Songs That Are Impossible to Sing
  • Slayer, "Angel of Death" ...
  • Mercyful Fate, "Gypsy" ...
  • Type O Negative, "Christian Woman" ...
  • Alice in Chains, "Man in the Box" ...
  • Iron Maiden, "The Number of the Beast" ...
  • Tool, "The Grudge" ...
  • Linkin Park, "Given Up" ...
  • A Perfect Circle, "Judith"
17 Sept 2021

What video has 1 billion views first? ›

'Gangnam Style': The first YouTube video to hit 1 billion views turns 10 | Mashable.

Which music video reached 1 billion views the fastest? ›

Despite having long been surpassed by Luis Fonsi's global smash hit "Despacito ft. Daddy Yankee" in terms of total views, Adele's record for fastest video release to generate one billion views still stands as of February 2022.

What was the first video of 1 billion views? ›

In December 2012, "Gangnam Style" became the first video to reach one billion views. By June 2015, only "Baby" had also managed to pass this threshold, but, by October 2015, a total of ten videos had done so, and the number grew further to over 200 in February 2022.

Who has the best voice in heavy metal? ›

1. Ronnie James Dio. Few people ever get to go by just one name, but the late, great Dio is one of them. The exuberant singer fronted numerous groups throughout his career — Elf, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Heaven & Hell and, of course, his eponymous band — leading them all with rafter-shaking, sky-scrapping vocal prowess.

Who has the deepest voice in metal? ›

10 Stupidly Deep Screamers in Extreme Metal
  • George 'Corpsegrinder' Fisher (Cannibal Corpse, ex-Monstrosity) ...
  • Peter Tagtgren (Hypocrisy, ex-Bloodbath) ...
  • David Vincent (ex-Morbid Angel) ...
  • Barney Greenway (Napalm Death) ...
  • Frank Mullen (Suffocation) ...
  • Mikael Akerfeldt (Opeth, ex-Bloodbath) ...
  • Chuck Schuldiner (Death)
7 Mar 2019

What's the hardest metal music? ›

These are ten riffs that have stood out to me as the heaviest I've heard over the past couple of decades.
  1. Black Sabbath – Children of the Grave.
  2. Cannibal Corpse – Scourge of Iron. ...
  3. High On Fire – 10,000 Years. ...
  4. Morbid Angel – Nothing Is Not. ...
  5. Crowbar – High Rate Extinction. ...
27 Oct 2020

What is the biggest band to ever exist? ›

As of 2020, according to Business Insider, The Beatles are at number one, having sold around 183 million units.

Who is the heaviest band ever? ›

Top 10 Heaviest bands of all time
  • Motörhead. A classic hitter, super intense for the time and they definitely set the standard for other bands and influenced many after them. ...
  • Slayer. ...
  • Pantera. ...
  • Death. ...
  • Cannibal Corpse. ...
  • Lil Thrash. ...
  • Gorguts. ...
  • Skinless.

Who is the Big 4 metal bands? ›

The Big Four: Live from Sofia, Bulgaria is a live video with performances by Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax, the "big four" of American thrash metal.

What is the loudest song on earth? ›

The loudest popular song is Welcome to the Jungle by Guns 'N Roses with a loudness of -1.931 dB. You may be wondering how a loudness value can be greater than 0dB. Loudness is a complex measurement that is both a function of time and frequency.

What is the easiest metal song to play? ›

What Are the Easiest Metal Songs to Play on Guitar?
  • “Iron Man” – Black SabbathFeasy.
  • “Whole Lotta Love” – Led Zeppelin.
  • “Back in Black” – AC/DC.
  • “You've Got Another Thing Comin” – Judas Priest.
  • “Master of Puppets” – Metallica.
  • “Lonely Day” – System of a Down.
  • “This Means War” – Avenged Sevenfold.
  • “The Trooper” – Iron Maiden.
4 Nov 2021

Is listening to heavy metal good for you? ›

Listening to this genre of music can improve symptoms of stress and depression. Metal also might help some people feel accepted, belonging to a community of other like-minded fans. People who prefer metal may also have higher cognitive function based on logic and scientific thinking.

What is the number 1 hardest song to sing? ›

Here's our list of 10 hardest karaoke songs to sing
  • 8) MONEY by Pink Floyd. ...
  • 7) IMAGINE by Ariana Grande. ...
  • 6) LOVIN' YOU by Minnie Riperton. ...
  • 5) WITHOUT ME by Eminem. ...
  • 4) STONE COLD by Demi Lovato. ...
  • 3) BODY AND SOUL by John Green. ...
  • 2) B.Y.O.B by System of a Down. ...
  • 1) BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY by Queen.
26 Aug 2020

What is the hardest rock song to sing? ›

Table Of Contents show
  • 1. “ Back In Black” by AC/DC.
  • 2. “ Dancing Queen” by ABBA.
  • 3. “ Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen.
  • 4. “ Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen.
  • 5. “( I Can't Get No) Satisfaction” by The Rolling Stones.
  • 6. “ Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin.
  • 7. “ Smoke On The Water” by Deep Purple.
  • 8. “
16 Aug 2021

What is the fastest video to reach 1 million views? ›

Butter by BTS is the video that has garnered the fastest 1 million views on YouTube.

What is the most disliked video on YouTube? ›

YouTube Rewind 2018 is the most disliked video on YouTube, receiving over 19 million dislikes since its upload on December 6, 2018.

How much money do you get from 1 million YouTube views? ›

You can expect to make up to $6 per 1,000 views. This means that your estimated earnings would be $1,200 to $6,000 for every million views on the videos you post.

What is the fastest song to reach 2 billion views? ›

1Luis Fonsi - Despacito ft. Daddy Yankee154.4
2Ed Sheeran - Shape of You (Official Music Video)187.2
3Maroon 5 - Girls Like You ft. Cardi B (Official Music Video)293.2
4Shakira - Chantaje (Official Video) ft. Maluma379.5
64 more rows

Which is the fastest song to reach 10 million views? ›

“Butter” by BTS becomes the fastest video in Youtube history to surpass 10 million views, doing so in just 13 minutes.

Which is the fastest song to reach 300 million views? ›

This year's voting took place on MTV's Instagram Story. “How You Like That” became the Fastest Group video to reach 300 million views on YouTube! The music video was released on June 26 at 6 p.m. and took just 21 days and 11 minutes to reach the milestone!

What is the most viewed song in the world? ›

“Despacito,” Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee's smash collaboration that was inescapable at its peak in 2017, currently holds the title as the most-watched music video on YouTube, boasting more than seven billion views at the time of publication (for reference, the Earth has a population of 7.5 billion).

What is the most watched video of all time? ›

Baby Shark Dance” might be the current record-holder in terms of total views, but Korean artist Psy's “Gangnam Style” video remained on the top spot for longest (1,689 days or 4.6 years) before ceding its spot to its successor.

What's the most watched song on YouTube? ›

1. “Baby Shark Dance” by Pinkfong Kids' Songs & Stories (9.53bn views)

Who is the number one heavy metal band? ›

Metallica is officially the Biggest Band in the world for Heavy Metal based on sheer revenue, longevity and popularity. With a Net Worth of over $900 million dollars Metallica has sold over 125 million albums worldwide and has sold upwards of 22 million tickets equaling 1.5 Billion dollars in sales.

Is helter skelter first metal song? ›

Swiss industrial black metal band Samael covered the song on their 2017 album Hegemony, with a music video released in 2021 where they credit "Helter Skelter" as being the "first metal song ever recorded".

What is metal rap called? ›

Rap metal is a subgenre of rap rock and alternative metal music which combines hip hop with heavy metal. It usually consists of heavy metal guitar riffs, funk metal elements, rapped vocals and sometimes turntables.

Who is the Big 4 metal? ›

The Big Four: Live from Sofia, Bulgaria is a live video with performances by Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax, the "big four" of American thrash metal.

What is the oldest metal band? ›

According to popular opinion, Black Sabbath were the first metal band to exist, releasing their debut album in 1970, but many rock acts set up the devil's favorite genre by recording some seriously heavy tracks in the 1960s and even the '50s.

What is the oldest band? ›

The oldest band is Golden Senior Trio (Japan), consisting of three active members aged 82, 85, and 93 years old, with an average age of 87 years and 132 days as of 27 October 2019.

Who is the father of heavy metal? ›

Who Was the 1st Heavy Metal Band? Black Sabbath is generally credited as being the first heavy metal band. The band's lead vocalist, “Ozzy Osbourne”, is often credited for being ”The Father of Metal”.

What do you call fans of heavy metal? ›

Nomenclature. Heavy metal fans go by a number of different names, including metalhead, headbanger, hesher, mosher, and thrasher, being used only for fans of thrash metal, which began to differentiate itself from other varieties of metal in the late 80s.

What do you call black metal fans? ›

What does kvlt mean? Kvlt is a term used by and about fans of the black metal subgenre of heavy metal.

What is metal singing called? ›

Terminology and technique

Death growls are also known as death metal vocals, brutal vocals, guttural vocals, death grunts, growled vocals, low pitched vocals, low growls, unclean vocals, harsh vocals, vocal fry, glottal fry, false cord vocals, death cord vocals and disparagingly as "Cookie Monster vocals".


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