Top 10 German Bands of All Time

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Top 10 German Bands of All Time

Sure, when you think of Germany your mind conjures some terrible puns or images of Oktoberfest celebrations. But besides beer and sausages, one of Germany's biggest cultural exports is heavy metal music, in particular power metal and thrash. So, today we bring you 10 German bands that you really got to listen to. And of course share your favorite German bands in the comment section below. 

The honorable mentions will be:

Die Toten Hosen

Guano Apes



Let's kick it!

10. Blind Guardian

Originating from West Germany in the mid 1980s, melodic speed metal band Blind Guardian rose to become one of the world's leading mythical power metal sensation. The band has conquered fans of classical music, opera, progressive rock and thrash. In a majestic career that spans three decades, Blind Guardian helped to invent power metal and have evolved to perfect and innovate it. Using themes such as mythology and tales from ancient traditions and folklore, Blind Guardian's latest album.

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9. Oomph!

Forming in 1989 and releasing twelve albums - their most recent being 2015's "XXV" - all with the same three members, Wolfburg's Oomph! must be doing something right. The trio is known as pioneering the metal subgenre of Neue Deutsche Härte, influencing the best known bands of that genre, Rammstein and Megaherz, with their mix of traditional metal with raw industrial rock, comparing them to American contemporaries Nine Inch Nails - just with more melody. Beginning with a pure, dark industrial rock sound (which was a fairly new genre at the time), the band shortly evolved into a more mainstream rock sound, while in recent years adding in more pulse-pounding EDM and pop elements on top of their heavy, down-tuned guitars. But with all these changes - which helped the band chart all the way to number two with "Wahrheit oder Pflicht" - they never threw away what made them Oomph! And to be even more accessible to the rest of the world, in 2010 the band released "Truth or Dare," a greatest hits compilation where they re-recorded their hits in English.

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8. Kreator

Arguably, Kreator is the German counterpart to Slayer when it comes to violent, raging, fast as hell and sinister sounding thrash metal. Through decades of relentless touring since the early '80s, Kreator have risen to become one of the world's most prominent thrash metal band. The band's pure thrash assault wins over fans of death metal, black metal and punk. Original guitarist and vocalist Mille Petrozza has led the band through countless world tours, and 13 studio albums, including the seminal classic.

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7. Sodom

Another big name in German thrash, Sodom was also created in the early 1980s and drew inspiration from Motörhead and Venom. Early on, the band's sound was more raw, dark, and lyrically into evil and the occult. Sodom's first album, "Obsessed by Cruelty" (1986), has been cited as an inspiration by black metal bands like Mayhem and others. Many also consider it, and "In the Sign of Evil" (a 1984 EP) to be an early black metal release. But, it was the 1989 release "Agent Orange" that catapulted Sodom to the top in terms of worldwide tours exposure and album sales. The band's solid heavy, fast-paced thrash was violent, head pummeling and included songs about violent horrific war stories and apocalyptic scenarios. But, to date, the band has 13 studio albums and shows no sign of slowing down soon.

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6. Kraftwerk

Originators of techno sound. One of the most influential bands of all time. Electronic version of The Beatles. All of this can be said about Kraftwerk. The guys were truly ahead of their time and that's what gives them the 6th place on our list.

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5. Accept

At the front of the German heavy metal explosion in the early to mid 1980s, Accept was first brought together in the late 1970s, by vocalist Udo Dirkschneider, guitarist Wolf Hoffman and bassist Peter Baltes. Although Dirkschneider no longer fronts the band, Accept rages on new singer, Mark Tornillio. But, undoubtedly, it is the fourth album, Balls to the Wall, and the it song of the same name that put Accept onto the eternal map of heavy metal music, it an iconic metal classic that still rings the true spirit of classic true metal to this day.

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4. Helloween

Perhaps one of the world's most renowned melodic power metal bands next to Iron Maiden, Helloween have been cranking out an epic, mystic coagulation of classical music, and thunderous heavy metal since forming in Hamburg, in 1984. Considered to be one of the pioneering forces of European power metal, the band has had over a dozen musicians in its line up and has 14 studio albums under its belt. The pair of albums, "Keeper of the Seven Keys, parts I" and "II" (1987-88) are still considered seminal power metal albums.

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3. Die Ärtze


Die Ärzte started out in Berlin's punk scene during the '80s. Two members - Farin Urlaub and Bela B. - were in various different punk bands before joining forces under their medical moniker. In 1993 they were joined by Rodrigo Gonzalez to create their current lineup.

Some of their most notable hits include the anti-Nazi anthem "Schrei nach Liebe" (Cry for Love) and "Hurra" (Hoorah). In recent years they've taken a more poppy route with their music.


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2. Scorpions

No German rock band has hit the charts more often or climbed higher than Scorpions. The band from Lower Saxony has been scoring international hits for five decades. And while they're on their 5th farewell tour it looks like they scrapped plans to retire long ago!

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1. Rammstein

Known across the world as a group of industrial metal freakazoid pyromaniacs, the band formed in 1994 and soon began a plot of world domination, one twisted show at a time. In 1998, Rammstein was unleashed to perform for American crowds at the 1998 Family Values Tour along with Korn, Limp Bizkit, Ice Cube and others. Since then, the firebug sadist headbangers have been recording, touring the world and pissing off conservative citizens of the globe. With a musical mix of synthetic, mechanical sounds and metallic harsh musicianship, the band takes from NIN, Ministry, Fear Factory, KMFDM, Sepltura, Godflesh and Depeche Mode. As if music with lyrics sung mostly in German and songs about bestiality, sadomasochism, sexual perversion and arson aren't provocative enough, the band makes use of flamethrowers, pyrotechnics and heavy-duty explosives for its live performances.

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104 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Blind Guardian deserve to be higher. Also, no love for Tankard, Destruction, Die Apokalyptischen Reiter, Warlock/ Doro, Holy Moses, Edguy, or KMFDM?
    KMFDM didn't really become great until they toured the States opening for Ministry. I consider them much more of a German-American band.
    Scorpions behind Rammstein... you gotta be kiddin me
    Yeah, Rammstein isn't even that popular in Germany. They're pretty out there for most citizens so their major fan bases are in places outside the country. Like the U.S.
    Saw Die Ärzte in the ranking and thought a lot of foreign UG-users probably never heard of them - they aren't really known outside of Germany but were/are extremely important for the younger generations of German rock and punk musicians, most of their shows are sold out arena shows. Some other interesting or weird German bands people might want to get into: Die Krupps EBM/ Industrial Metal - had a huge influence on Oomph and Rammstein, Rammstein even used one of their riffs. (the riff for ''tier'' is the main riff from ''The Dawning of Doom'') Coppelius - they play rock/metal with chamber-orchestra instrumentation (in a nice, upbeat way, not as lame as Apocalyptica) Van Canto - A Capella Metal (yep) Eisregen - Dark Metal / Black Metal - known for their anti-political correct humor and gory lyrics Knorkator - Whatever rock / metal - extremely chaotic live shows, weird sense of humor Deichkind - Electro / Hip Hop / Rap - great, funny live shows and a cool sound, actually quite enjoyable for people who don't like electro music or rap music.
    Also Atari Teenage Riot. Very influential in the hardcore/noise scene.
    I would not say "younger generations" or not anymore, because, with respect, I am German and a big fan but I have waited over 13 years for a meaningful or good Die Ärzte song and album...otherwise yes, awesome and important band and I love that their tickets never got expensive over time and their concerts were much longer than most bands'. Now Bela B. released new boring solo music so still no Die Ärzte music coming up...
    Rammstein are freaking awesome. I was one weird kid when I was listening to them, but I honestly learned some German out of it too. Educational, and pyromaniacal!
    Literally every krautrock band that is not on this list is better than all the bands on this list (apart from kraftwerk)
    NEU!, Can, Amon Düül II, Faust, Tangerine Dream, Popol Vuh... All of them are just great!..
    So true, i wasn't expecting much from this list but i was very disappointed that there were no single one krautrock band (plus kraftwer was krautrock but only for three first albums).
    If you want some great industrial/alt metal, in the same circles as Rammstein, check out Eisbrecher and Megahertz.
    Megahertz! I forgot about them. I remember coming across them in my downloading music phase as a kid. Good stuff.
    They're not as cool as Rammstein, but they have some groovy grooves. And it helped with my German.
    Caliban, Nailed To Obscurity, Mystic Prophecy, Gamma Ray and Vanden Plas are a few more I would consider for this list... (in no particular order).
    Not huge bands but, Finsterforst, Empyrium, The Vision Bleak and Heretoir are quite great german bands. Then you have We Butter The Bread With Butter.
    Forgot about Secrets of the Moon, Crone, Dark Fortress, Obscura, Alkaloid, Amon Duul II, nektar, Sun...
    If you want some nice German thrash/groove metal, listen to this band called Drone:
    And from their current album:
    I also recommend Equilibrium with the song Blut im Auge, if you want some folk/black/pagan metal.
    Bedside Shred
    This is the worst list UG has EVER done, not a SINGLE band I would have put on here made it and there are TONS of amazing German bands. Here's a real list: 1. Popol Vuh 2. Can 3. Ash Ra Temple 4. Faust 5. Amon Duul II 6. Destruction 7. Celestial Ocean 8. Bohren and the Club of Gore 9. Tangerine Dream 10. Neu SAD!!!!!
    yes, all these obscure never-heard-em-before's should be #1 exclusively.
    Bedside Shred
    All of these bands are actually legendary.
    yep right up there with the beatles and elvis, right?
    Bedside Shred
    What are you, twelve? You've seriously never heard of Tangerine Dream? They might not be as legendary as Elvis or the Beatles or other pop icon merchandise factories but they made way better music than either of em.
    Kreator and Helloween are better than Rammstein. I actually find Rammstein pretty overrated. I mean if they were an American band they wouldn't be put on a pedestal by all these people who think they're smart and cultured cause they like a Non-English speaking band.
    Everyone who clicked this knew they would put fucking rammstein at number 1 just because they dont give a fuck. Scoprions should be up there!
    Scott O
    Germans are some strange folk.
    No stranger than any other folk.
    Well, we never, willingly, put people in ovens. That's a start.
    Nazi Germany =/= all Germans.
    Oh, I know but listen, Hitler had the approval and the support of the majority of the german (and other European) people what implies that they were also guilty. And you can't carry such a huge extermination plan without the consent and the approval of the people.
    Actually, don't the palestinians stabbing civilians in Israel use a very similar rethoric?
    Hitler having the approval of the majority of Germans is largely misunderstood. Take a look at the book "The 'Hitler Myth': Image and Reality in the Third Reich" by Ian Kershaw. He goes into detail of the German people had low approval of Hitler's actions, especially by the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941. So no, Hitler did not have the approval of the people.
    That's why 70% of the democratic govt. in the 60-70's had a past in the NSDAP. Same happens in my country, old fascist parties are in the institutions because they don't have the people's approval. Sure thing. I mean they fucking voted for him, they KNEW EXACTLY what they were voting for that's why he won the '33 election.
    You do realise that the concentration camps were always described as simple labour camps? People only really learned about the Holocaust towards the end of the war.
    I'm German, I like metal, I went to Wacken, I like some Blind Guardian songs, but seriously...Blind Guardian are boring as hell and they're only hyped because they're German and Wacken happens to be in Germany so it's an occasion for the band to pretend to be big and relevant. Without Wacken they wouldn't be half as famous. P.S.: I get one Euro for every downvote, no kidding, so be busy, fanboys!
    I am a huge fan of Kadavar. They formed in 2010, so not really a band that can be considered for this list, but damn they are awesome!
    I love Kadavar, too. I'd also put Lucifer's Friend on this list (near the fucking top!)