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.

YouTube preview picture

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."

YouTube preview picture

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.

YouTube preview picture

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.

YouTube preview picture

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!

YouTube preview picture

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.

YouTube preview picture

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.

YouTube preview picture

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.

YouTube preview picture

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.

YouTube preview picture

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!

YouTube preview picture

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

    Pretty solid list. I'd love to see Bruce Dickinson closer to 1st, but hey, just my opinion.
    The only one worthy to win over Bruce is Dio. And that's because he is a true legend that has gone on to the afterlife.
    I would argue that Ozzy is a better frontman than Bruce. Not a better singer, mind, but nobody does a show like Ozzy...
    link no1
    Not saying you're wrong but essentially saying "he would be better because he's dead" isn't a very good reason to why he is a better frontman...
    For sure... Bruce is a super frontman. But I have a problem with that list... Where's Dave Mustaine? Charismatic frontman of one of the most known metal band. He totally deserves his place here... Who the **** is Nathan Explosion and Jack Black???
    I saw Megadeth live, and I own the Big 4 DVD, and I have to say, Dave is pretty boring live. He barely moves from the mic when he isn't singing, he stands like a statue when he's riffing, and he barely speaks between songs at all. I would say he's the opposite of charismatic. I'm gonna assume you're being sarcastic about Explosion and Black.
    My thoughts exactly on Bruce. In my opinion nobody comes close, he has it all, plus a god gifted voice that hasn't given out one bit. Though I will say, James is a fantastic frontman, very influential. So many of today's metal bands have a frontman with the "Hetfield stance." And I may get shit for this, but it would have been nice to see Chino from Deftones or Dave Mustaine in place of a cartoon at number 10.
    If Jack Black is a metal frontman, than MJK is most definitely a metal frontman and is miles ahead of JB. Maynard James Keenan is top 5, Bruce Dickinson should be at least top 3. Bruce Dickinson is in his mid-late 50's and I would argue he sounds better live now than he ever has before, that man has taken pretty good care of his body and voice and it shows.
    I agree with everything, but Black deserves to be on this list. Trust me, when you see Tenacious D live you'll understand. He has all the qualities of a brilliant frontman
    Oh I love Jack Black, I'm just saying if he's a metal frontman then so is MJK, and MJK is better than most on this list. But Bruce Bruce should be #1. I can understand putting Dio ahead of him, but thats the only person who could be ahead IMO. Not tryin to disrespect the others on the list, just tryin to give respect where its due.
    What about Alice Cooper?
    Yabba Who
    I prefer Alice's music to almost everyone on this list, but I wouldn't call him metal. I haven't heard his last few albums though, I'm stuck in the seventies.
    A fictional character and a lame comedian in a top 10 metal frontmen list?. Did people not understand the Wednesday question?. Anyway Chuck Schuldiner should be included.
    Second Rate
    Would you expect anything less on this site? I'm just surprised they didn't also include Chris "Izzy" Cole, Timmy, David St. Hubbins, and Cane Skretteberg.
    No Mikael Akerfeldt? Shame but still good enough list
    Completely agree, Akerfeldt is amazing. You won't catch him moving too much though.
    I'd trade Anselmo and Jack Black (who's awesome, but i don't think he can be considered a metal frontman) for Maynard and Akerfeldt.
    I agree with Akerfeldt but keep Phil up there. Maynard sings to a bass and drums band not a metal band.
    This is list is cool, and I don't like complaining about these top 10 articles, but Jack Black higher than Lemmy?! C'mon!
    Mustaine should definitely be on this list, probably in Jack Black's spot. You might not like the guy, but he is an iconic frontman and fantastic guitarist.
    Rob haldord is number 1! They don't call him the metal god for nothing. Back in halfords prime he was untouchable as a vocalist. Nobody could top him and everyone wished they could sing like him. Not even the almighty dickenson can top halford. All those copy cats that came and went were never able to compare. It is blasphemy that he is only number 7. I don't think ppl realize how important and huge priest/halford were to heavy metal
    While I agree that Halford is awesome, and should probably be higher on the list, you do realize that he is called the metal god because of their song. It's not like someone outside the band invented that title for him.
    He is called that, but the metal gods in the song are robots destroying humanity. It just worked out well.
    Bruce should move up 3 slots from where he is now... No offense but he still kicks A** live and is better than the number #1 on this list... Up The Irons!! but really cool list..
    Good list.Glad my choice was number 1.Dont really agree with Jack Black being there but obviously he got the votes.
    Oooooo YeaYeaaaaa!!! - James Hetfield
    Heh, he was my number one choice as well. And I am glad he was voted the best frontman in metal. But what is going on with the video chosen to showcase why he is so good? Nothing Else Matters? Really? Out of all of Metallica's songs on video where he can be seen towering above the crowd, with his guitar at the classic just-below-the-waist position, growling the lyrics of the song, that was the one they managed to pick?
    Not suprised he got 1st, he's the most well-known on the list, but Dickinson and Halford should be ahead of him.
    Anyone else think that in the metallica video, Kirk looks like Dave Navarro? lol
    Or maybe Dave Navarro just looked like Kirk...? How about that?
    Or maybe saying x looks like y, means that x and y look similar and mot that x copied y...
    No Mike Patton???
    Mike Patton's style is so varied that it'd be a crime to put him in a "Top 10 Metal Frontmen".
    Because... Variety is somehow incongruous with metal? If varied, creative bands like Faith No More and Mr Bungle don't count as Metal, then count me out of the fan club.
    I didn't write that. What I meant was that the guy's involved in so much different stuff that it'd kind of pass the idea that he's only involved in Metal projects. PS: Glad that I'm not the only one that listens to Mr. Bungle!
    Just so we're clear, Randy Blythe is a better frontman than Phil Anselmo in the eyes of the UG readership? I guess NOT being a dick about manslaughter charges makes you a hero and better than the guys you owe your entire career to.
    I downvoted by accident because I read your comment too fast. They're both great frontmen but Phil is much better in my opinion. That said, I can understand Randy being higher because of people wanting to show support for him after his trial and because LoG are a more popular band than Down. I disagree about them owing their entire career to Pantera. They are undoubtedly an influence but I don't understand why so many people think LoG are just a Pantera rip-off.
    first of all, LOL @ thinking UG readers know anything about anything second, why the hell would it have to do with his manslaughter charges? Maybe its something to do with LoG being a POPULAR metal band... I dunno, maybe im crazy here.. Yeah sure, phil anselmo is a badass, but its not the 80s anymore man, evolution of music dude... do try to stay at least 2 steps behind, shall we?
    So you're saying that being in a huge news story that had been going on for months has not raised Randy's profile at all?
    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 don't like how they put Metallica with Nothing Else Matters as number 1, why not use a Metal Metallica song to put on the first place
    What a horrible list. How can a cartoon character and Jack Black be on this list? An even bigger joke is that James Hetfield is in first place.
    solid list, but everybody has favorites. The list could have been much longer with addition to Mike Patton and the girl who sang Zombie Skin on America's Got Talent, but still a good list.
    Great list. But out of all metallica songs you chose Nothing else matters? Why not blackened or whiplash, or anything that is metal?
    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.
    Should have been on the list. Come on UG, stick to the actual results here. 6-Year-Old Aaralyn Scream Her Original Song, "Zombie Skin" - America's Got Talent
    According to UG, a frontgirl isn't the same thing as frontwoman. So I guess Angela Gossow would've been excluded aswell?
    does anyone actually see the video? I was working this morning, all I see is the title.
    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.
    No Layne Staley? these voters should stop voting for fictional people, cuz they wasted a slot for someone who really deserved it.
    Why in the **** is Jack Black even in this list?! AND ESPECIALLY ABOVE LEMMY!!!!!
    My Last Words
    I'm surprised that no one's talking about Max Cavalera.. Maybe not top 10 worthy, but yeah..
    Seal of Badassosity granted. If Jimmy Hetfield made it to the top spot by standing legs akimbo, occassionaly raising his picking hand and repeatedly shouting 'YYEEAAAHHHH!!!!' then Max clearly belongs on there somewhere. He actually moves sometimes.
    Lol. The shallow readers of UG put Metallica in the number 1 spot again?? Holy sh1t that's a mind blower! A monkey with half a brain could guess the order of these top 10 lists UG puts out.
    I honestly think Serj Tankian should have been on this list. Shame. Also, Hetfield over Dickinson? No...
    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.
    Jack Black ahead of the metal god? what a ****ing joke. Metalheads these days don't appreciate Priest enough.
    Hetfield as the number one metal frontman of all time? Bitch, please. Top ten? Yes. Best ever? Fuck no.
    Really hetfield at no.1 that's some bull sh*t. Rob halford should be at no.1.