Top 10 Metal Frontmen

Who is the greatest metal frontman of all time? See the results to this week's poll right here.

Ultimate Guitar

Who is the best metal frontman of all time?

That's what we asked UG readers this week, and it proved to be one of our most hotly contested polls in weeks.

There's plenty of great frontmen and women in all guitar genres, but metal is where showmanship and presence really takes a stand. You've got to be pulling some real alpha qualities to have a hoard of burly metal fans echoing your every word.

The final list is pretty darn epic, but we've got to give a nod to two entries which we didn't place in the top 10. The sweet Aaralyn O'Neil from America's Got Talent who sing a metal song "Zombie Skin" to the masses actually ranked higher than Phil Anselmo, and the Tin Woodman from Wizard of Oz technically won the whole competition - but he's the wrong kind of metal. Sorry voters!

What do you think of the final results? Scroll down to see, then let us know what you think in the comments.

10. Nathan Explosion (Dethklok)

The fictional frontman is Dethlok's visionary leader who doesn't only sing in a deep growl, but talks in one too. But being a frontman of a metal band can have its pitfalls; Nathan works in the fictional Dimmu Burger fast food chain, as seen at the start of this tribute clip.

9. Phil Anselmo (Pantera, Down)

Phil defined the '90s metal frontman with Pantera, whose influence is still felt on metal bands today. Since then he's with Down, seen in the clip here, and runs Housecore Records which is about to release his debut solo album "Walk Through Exits Only."

8. Randy Blythe (Lamb of God)

Blythe hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons last year when he was suddenly arrested and charged with manslaughter in the Czech Republic. After a very public trial, Blythe was found innocent and commanded a newfound respect from fans who had been following his introspective open letters reflecting on life and freedom.

7. Rob Halford (Judas Priest)

Judas Priest have been a leading metal act since their inception decades ago, and remain one of the most revered metal acts in history. Thanks, no doubt, to frontman Rob Halford who boasts one of the most powerful voices in the whole genres, with a vocal range to match.

6. Lemmy (Motorhead)

Lemmy might feel more like a flag bearer for rock n' roll more than metal, but his black clothes and hedonistic manner put make him fitting addition to this list. He's had a rough time for the past few months after having a defibrillator fitted to help his heart in spring, then more health troubles over the last few weeks because he's been ignoring doctor's advice and continuing his hard partying lifestyle - but what do you expect? He's Lemmy!

5. Jack Black (Tenacious D)

Better known for his clown-like performances on the big screen, Jack Black also has a respectable ability as a songwriter and singer. Some might argue over the calibre of Tenacious D's overall catalogue, but there's no doubt that some of the best acoustic storytelling of the last decade has come from Jack and his cohort Kyle Gass.

4. Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden)

Iron Maiden has had several singers in its time, but Bruce is far and away the one they're destined to keep. He did quit the band at one point in the early '90s, but it led to Maiden's lest successful period of their career. His triumphant return in 1999 has kept the band alive, and he consistently leads the charge for their epic large-scale live shows.

3. Ozzy Osbourne (Black Sabbath)

This man is one of the very reasons people associate rock singers with dangerous behaviour. Whether it's snorting ants or worse. Poor old Ozzy has relapsed into his drug taking over the last year, which is a real shame, but at least Black Sabbath returned with a new album which topped their native UK charts before it's too late for another chance.

2. Ronnie James Dio (Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Dio)

Dio is widely regarded as one of the greatest singers of all time, and not just in the metal. His death in 2010 shook the metal community, and not just because his loss left a gaping hole in the genre. This video of one of Rainbow's best loved songs is a perfect sample of Dio at his best.

1. James Hetfield (Metallica)

They say he bleeds liquid metal. When he roars at a show in the US, lions in Africa run away. And out of all men in history, he's the only one who can touch MC Hammer. Yes, your official greatest metal frontman of all time is James Hetfield. And who else could it be? James has led perhaps the greatest metal band of all time, which may remain true for eternity. Today, he's your champion - congratulations!

What do you think of today's list of the best metal frontmen? Who would you list in your top three? Join the discussion in the comments and let us know.

325 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Matt Pike is more metal than everyone on this list combined. Except Halford, who is beyond criticism.
    Love the way Brandon describes his creation for Nathan Explosion as a cross between Corpsegrinder and Conan the Barbarian.
    Jack Black but no Hansi Kursch, Mustaine or Devin Townsend. Well done UG 'readers'.
    At least Hetfield didn't learn how to talk out of his as* from The Westboro Baptist Church.
    Neither did Mustaine, so your point is invalid
    I should have explained my statement better. I meant to say that Mustaine talks a lot of non sense that is equivalent to the Westboro Baptist Church's views on world events. That being said, your counter argument is invalid you noob, you.
    After the release of super collider, I don't think Dave Mustaine deserves to be anywhere near a top 10 list for best metal frontmen! Personally, I think Rob Halford should be number one, then Bruce Dickinson, Ozzy, James, and so on.
    yes the mighty james hetfield!! next they should have best rock/metal live acts. I started one,
    I honestly think Serj Tankian should have been on this list. Shame. Also, Hetfield over Dickinson? No...
    Something tells me this list was by UG's seems pretty bland, nothing here surprised me.
    .. Except Jack Black and the anime Chris Barnes. The rest was easily predictable.
    Vic Magnetic
    Dave Mustaine should of been in this list as well as Robert Plant....but hey 70's metal is only Black Sabbath and I'm sure there are tons and tons of guys who get kicked out of "one of" the biggest metal bands of all time and then go on to form another classic metal band.....Ahhhh.....Dave Mustaine anyone??? Point Set Match!! Cheerz
    I don't think Jack Black should be there...maybe give a place to Robb Flynn of Machine Head..he's awesome at their shows and has a great voice...but unfortunately, Machine Head aren't as popular in the US as they are over here in Europe..(why, I don't know)
    they're popular here, just don't think they're anything special. they're always an opening act for everyone.
    So I guess this isn't as metal as some 70 year olds trying to sing some classic rock...
    im glad UG voted smart this time. that thing you linked has no place in a top100 of anything tbh...
    Agent 00Awesome
    Being "metal" is more than screaming your ass off and having a seizure on stage. Learn your history and respect it.
    Dickinson at no. 4? Dafuq? I could swear he had more votes than anyone else... But hey, at least UG spelled his name right this time. That's a start. Also, we should do best frontwomen next week.
    Worst list ever. How the hell can Hetfield be the best. He plays the guitar and goes YEAAHHH. Bruce Dickinson is the best front man. He can get a crowd on their feet from anywhere in the stadium. You have to see him live. He runs around all over the place jumping off drum risers and amps, and he actually sounds good live.
    Way Cool JR.
    I seen them back during the "Seventh Tour Of A Seventh Tour" ('88) and "No Prayer On The Road" ('91) tours and they were the greatest metal shows I ever seen. Bruce was fricken amazing as was the rest of the band of course.
    I think you should change the "Nathan Explosion" to Brendon Small. Since ya know...thats the person whose actually singing.
    Yeah but on the show, Nathan Explosion is a badass frontman and Brendon Small is mostly not the attraction at their shows.
    Way Cool JR.
    For some reason I just never seen/considered Anselmo as a good frontman. Jack Black and Nathan Explosion should not even be on the list period. Mustaine should at least be in one of their spots instead.
    I love Megadeth but Mustaine isn't even a mediocre frontman. Granted, he's playing some intricate guitar but he just stands there. Even in his prime he stood there headbanging like his feet were cemented to the floor. Phil Anselmo, on the other hand, has been and still is an amazing frontman. He was one of the first high profile metal frontmen to act more like a hardcore singer onstage - actually getting into his performance. His intensity has been imitated so many times but is rarely matched.
    No Mikael Akerfeldt? Shame but still good enough list
    Completely agree, Akerfeldt is amazing. You won't catch him moving too much though.
    I was sure about James Hetfield at first place. Otherwise this couldnt be top 10 metal forntmen
    when i start from 10, i was sure first one is James Hetfield. otherwise this poll was not top 10 metal frontmen
    Hetfield as the number one metal frontman of all time? Bitch, please. Top ten? Yes. Best ever? Fuck no.
    Mikael Stanne (Dark Tranquillity) and Daniel Gildenlw (Pain of Salvation) easily win this, but their bands are probably not mainstream enough to get the votes. Mikael Akerfeldt could be considered as well, but his style is particularly of love or hate.
    Maybe he's technically more classic rock, but I thought that Robert Plant would have been on here, fur shurr.
    I my humble opinion would say that Bruce Dickinson would be number one! His feel with the crowd and his amazing singing should put him there. Ozzy and Halford are no. 2 and 3 on my personal list.
    Why in the **** is Jack Black even in this list?! AND ESPECIALLY ABOVE LEMMY!!!!!
    Face R1pper
    So we have two fake frontmen, Rob "The Statue" Halford, two poser frontmen, two who are only well known because of their excess in drugs and sex, and The Table. There's no mention of Kai and Hansi anywhere, and no good thrash frontmen like Chuck Billy or Tom Angelripper. Who taught UG what metal is?
    Ummmm I'm sorry to break it to ya...but Jack Black is a real human being
    r u kidding me!? halford is the greatest heavy metal singer of all time! how dare you speak of the metal god that way! u must b some 16 yr old kid who doesn't know the roots of heavy metal
    Face R1pper
    Come on man, Halford isn't even in the top ten for 70s metal vocalists. He has a mediocre voice and an overused falsetto. He has no stage presence. And he plays in one of the most overrated, trend-hopping heavy metal bands of all time. I like Judas Priest, and I can tolerate Halford, but he belongs nowhere near singers like Dio and Dickinson on a list like this.
    It's your opinion and everything but it is my opinion that you are talking a load of old bollocks. To say that Halford belongs nowhere near Dio or Dickinson is just wrong. But whatever, think what ya like....
    Face R1pper
    Would you like to provide any details that may lead you to believe that Halford deserves to be recognized along with Dio and Dickinson? Or is this the usual ignorant conclusion that he must be a great frontman only because he plays in one of the most successful and well-known heavy metal bands?
    The usual ignorant conclusion.... nice. Very, very nice. Could you possibly be anymore condescending? With regards to my belief that Halford should be up there with Dio and Dickinson....well, it is my opinion that a front man should be captivating and entertaining to watch. Dio, Dickinson and Halford have all done that for me when I've seen them play. They have all left me impressed. Ya can moan and bitch more if ya want and try that patronsing act again but I am confident in my own mind that Halford is a great.
    Second Rate
    in terms of his prowess as a "front man," I have to agree 100 percent with Face R1pper's assessment. Rob Halford has about as much stage presence as a potted ficus (same could be said of Ozzy Osbourne as well). Glenn and KK had more stage presence than Rob.
    this needs to be more specific, a list of best front men, a list of best vocals, then a list of frontman/axe man, in no way in hell would i put hetfield as best in any catagory except if it was lead vocals AND guitar, i like the other mentions though