Heavy metal is a global phenomenon, but its strongest roots remain in the United States and Europe. The top American heavy metal bands continue to produce fantastic new music, appealing to old fans and winning over new ones. If you’re looking for some of the best American heavy metal bands out there, read on! We’ve put together this list of popular heavy metal bands from the U.S., with a focus on their origin and current residence. Whether you’re a fan or just want to learn more about one of these bands, this article has everything you need to know!
What is American metal?
In the simplest terms, American heavy metal (also called “metalcore”, “screamo”, and other names) is a type of rock music. Rock, and related genres like pop, soul, and folk, have been around since the ‘50s. The ’60s saw the emergence of rock and roll, which became a worldwide phenomenon with iconic musicians and songs. Like other rock genres, American heavy metal includes guitar-based music, with vocals and often drums. There is no single definition of what constitutes a heavy metal band, but they’re all generally louder, more guitar-driven, and more intense than other rock styles.
Slipknot is one of the most successful rock bands in the world. Originally hailing from Des Moines, Iowa, the band is one of the most recognizable and iconic American heavy metal bands. As one of the founders of nu-metal, the band released their first album in 1999. Over the following decade, Slipknot would go on to become one of the most successful heavy metal bands of all time. The band released five studio albums during their original run, from 1999 to 2010, when the band went on hiatus. Their final performance was at the end of the Iowa Music Festival. The hiatus was short-lived, however, as the band reunited in 2011 and has since released two more albums. With nine albums (three of which went platinum), millions of records sold, and one of the largest and most passionate fanbases in all of rock, Slipknot remains one of the biggest and most successful American heavy metal bands.
Disturbed is yet another band that originated in the Midwest. The band’s members have said they were inspired by bands like Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin but wanted to create something entirely new. Disturbed has been incredibly successful, with six platinum albums, multiple Grammy nominations, and countless sold-out tours. They’ve also won a number of heavy metal awards, including Band of the Year from both MTV and the Revolver Golden Gods Awards. Disturbed’s music is often described as nu-metal and alternative metal. But whether they’re nu-metal, alternative metal, or something else, Disturbed has become one of the most popular heavy metal bands in the world.
Metallica is one of the most iconic American heavy metal bands of all time. The band formed in California in 1981 and defined the sound of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. They’ve been described as one of the “big four” of thrash metal, alongside Anthrax, Megadeth, and Slayer. As one of the most successful American heavy metal bands, Metallica has won multiple awards and sold over 100 million records. Their most successful album is “Metallica”, which is considered one of the best heavy metal albums of all time. A number of Metallica’s songs have become synonymous with the genre, including “Enter Sandman”, “Nothing Else Matters”, and “Sad but True”. The band has continued to produce new music over the past few decades, though their sound has evolved significantly since their early days.
Machine Head is one of the most recent and notable bands on this list. The band was formed in Oakland, California, in 1992, and has gone on to become one of the most popular heavy metal bands of the modern era. Machine Head is a groove metal band, which takes inspiration from and is similar to alternative metal. The band’s most recent album is “Catharsis”, which came out in December of 2018. As one of the most successful and famous American heavy metal bands, Machine Head has sold over 10 million records worldwide. Machine Head has remained popular since their formation, with the majority of their albums reaching the top 10 in the US. Their music is often described as aggressive, but it’s clear that Machine Head has a strong fan base and continues to produce fantastic new music. Together with Avenged Sevenfold, Slipknot, and Disturbed, Machine Head makes up one-third of the “big four” of California heavy metal.
Lamb of God
Lamb of God is another very recent and notable band on this list. The band formed in Virginia in 2000, and went on to become one of the most successful heavy metal bands of the 2000s and 2010s. Lamb of God is a groove metal band that draws on punk, thrash, and progressive metal. The band’s most recent album is “Flower”, which came out in September of 2017. Lamb of God has remained successful over the years, with all of their albums reaching the top 10 in the US. Lamb of God has received multiple awards and honors, including the Revolver Golden Gods Award for the “Best New Talent” in 2005. They were also ranked at number 40 on VH1’s 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock.