Top 10 International Rock Bands

date: 08/09/2013 category: features
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Top 10 International Rock Bands
As somewhat of the world's universal language, English is also the language of rock music. With the genre originating on English-speaking territories, it comes as no surprise that most, if not each and every of the ultimate rock greats are native English speakers. But does this mean that musicians have to be native English speakers, or sing in English at all in order to reach global superstardom? We have an interesting subject on our hands and would like to hear the opinion of UG community on it, so in order to give you a bit clearer picture, we present you with the list of 10 greatest foreign rock bands. We should note that the term foreign in the title was used loosely and in fact refers to non-native English-speaking bands or the groups from countries that don't have English as primary language singing in their mother tongue.


Kicking things off like a hurricane, the Scorpions come as a representative of the German hard rock/heavy metal scene. With such staple rock tunes as "Wind of Change," "Rock You Like a Hurricane" and "Still Loving You," the Hanover-based group actually used Klaus Meine's heavy German-accent singing to their advantage, making it one of the Scorpions' signature traits. Notable heavy metal German acts also include Accept, Helloween and Running Wild. If we were to delve into the heavy power domain, the likes of Blind Guardian, Gamma Ray and Avantasia would definitely stand out, only scratching the surface of truly rich German music scene.

Golden Earring

Coming from Netherlands, Golden Earring scored major US success back in the day, even topping the Billboard Top Album Tracks chart. Tracks like "Radar Love" and "Twilight Zone" all proved as major hits, earning the band the title of arguably the greatest Dutch band ever. On the metal side of the scene, Within Temptation stand out as the most prominent Dutch group to reach major global success in recent years. Of course, we should definitely not forget that the greatest among all greats, Eddie Van Halen, was also born in Netherlands.


Swedish rockers Europe entered the big league in the '80s with the release of their landmark record "The Final Countdown," reaching multi-platinum status with the major hit title track. What's interesting about the Joey Tempest-fronted five-piece is that they could perfectly fit in with the '80s US rock scene, both in terms of sound and appearance. So it doesn't come as much of a surprise that people are often baffled by they Swedish nationality. But the band's name is actually a clear indication of their origins, now isn't it?


Steadily proving the German domination in this area, Kreator serve as a prime example of the country's thrash metal scene. Also consisting of such groups as Sodom, Destruction and Tankard, the scene itself managed to get on par with a lot of the US thrash greats. As for Kreator, tunes like "Violent Revolution," "Phobia," "Tormentor" and "Flag of Hate" made Mille Petrozza and co. a must-listen act for any well-respected metalhead. And once again, the German accent was fully used as an advantage and a distinctive trait.


To capitalize on the power of the German scene, we bring you Rammstein, the only band on the list to actually sing in their mother tongue and reach international fame. Originating from Germany's capital of Berlin, the band succeed in what very few, if any acts can brag about - developing their own style, or even a genre using their first language that isn't English and garner a global following with almost 30 million records sold around the world. Tunes such as "Du Hast," "Feuer Frei" and "Ich Will" speak for themselves, making Rammstein possibly the ultimate foreign metal band.

Lacuna Coil

We're now in Italy, among the ranks of Milan-based metallers Lacuna Coil. In all fairness, not a lot rock bands from Italy managed to reach worldwide acclaim, but Lacuna Coil are definitely one of such representatives, if not the only one. With over 2 million records sold since 1994, the Cristina Scabbia-fronted act released several hit numbers, including "Heaven's a Lie" and "Our Truth." Since we're in Italy, we should also mention the '70s prog rockers Premiata Forneria Marconi. The band reached solid reputation and success outside of its native country, but if you're a prog rock aficionado, they're pretty much a must-hear material.


Returning to Sweden, Opeth come as our delegate of the country's more extreme scene. With a touch of prog genre, the Stockholm five-piece ventured further away from their death metal roots with the latest release "Heritage," but still kept their music top-level. However, if there's a single city in Sweden that deserves the most respect music-wise, it's Gothenburg. Home to the likes of At the Gates, HammerFall and In Flames, it spawned an entire generation of metal musicians gathered around the so-called Gothenburg metal scene.

Children of Bodom

Still in Scandinavia, just went a bit east-bound, to Finland. Another European country known for its top-notch metal scene, Finland was responsible for unleashing the likes of Nightwish, HIM, Stratorvarius and Children of Bodom into the world's music scene. The band we singled out for this occasion are the so-called "kings of melodeath," Espoo-based Children of Bodom. With hit numbers galore, Alexi Laiho and co. easily managed to thrive outside of their county's borders and become a globally-renowned act.


Proving that South America also has its key players, Brazilian thrash masters Sepultura went against the grain throughout their entire career, earning Latin America arguably its only worldwide metal success. During the peak of Max Cavalera-fronted era, the band unchained such classic records as "Arise," "Roots" and "Chaos A.D." The group is still going fairly strong, maintaining an intense relationship with the fans through both the old and the new tracks. Whatever the future might bring, hit like "Refuse/Resist," "Roots Bloody Roots" and "Ratamahatta" have definitely stood their test of time.

Dimmu Borgir

Our final stop is country with the most black metal bands per square mile in the world - Norway. The country's infamous, yet quite prolific scene brought us the likes of Mayhem, Emperor, Satyricon, Burzum and of course, Dimmu Borgir. The latter Oslo-based act gets to stand out as the scene's representative with such tunes as "Progenies of the Great Apocalypse" or "Puritania."
As you can see from this brief, yet packed list, the foreign acts have plenty to show, but do you think it's enough to beat, or even stand on par with the native-English greats? And for that matter, do you think it's better for any band to sing in English or using their mother tongue? Let us know in the comments section.
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