The Best Heavy Metal Music of the 80s

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


A look at the best heavy metal music of the 80s, including bands like Metallica, Megadeth, and Iron Maiden.


In the 1980s, Heavy Metal music became extremely popular with young people all over the world. It was a time of great creativity, with many new bands and styles emerging. This was also the era when Heavy Metal music really came into its own and developed its own distinct identity.

There were so many great Heavy Metal bands in the 1980s that it is impossible to list them all here. However, we have compiled a list of some of the best and most influential bands of this era. If you are a fan of Heavy Metal music, then you are sure to enjoy this list!

Defining the genre

Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom and the United States. With roots in blues rock and psychedelic rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. The genre’s lyrics and performance styles are sometimes associated with aggression and machismo.

The birth of heavy metal

In the early 1970s, a new breed of rock ‘n’ roll was born. With its distorted guitars and thunderous drums, this new style of music was too loud and aggressive for many people’s tastes. But for others, it was the perfect way to express their frustrations and rebel against the establishment. This new style of music would come to be known as heavy metal.

While heavy metal had been around in some form or another since the 1960s, it was in the 1980s that the genre really came into its own. This was the decade that saw bands like Metallica, Iron Maiden, and Slayer forge their way into the collective consciousness of metalheads around the world.

So crank up those speakers and get ready to headbang your way through our list of the best heavy metal songs of the 1980s!

The golden age of heavy metal

The golden age of heavy metal was the 1980s. This was a time when metal was at its peak, both commercially and artistically. New bands were constantly emerging, and the genre was evolving and growing at a rapid pace. The best heavy metal music of the 80s came from all over the world, and it was this diversity that made the decade so special.

There were so many great bands active in the 80s that it’s impossible to list them all here, but some of the most popular and influential acts included Metallica, Megadeth, Iron Maiden, Slayer, Anthrax, Exodus, and Testament. These bands took metal in new and exciting directions, and their music still sounds fresh and relevant today. If you’re a fan of heavy metal, then the 80s were definitely a golden age for the genre.

The decline of heavy metal

The late ’70s and early ’80s were a boom time for heavy metal. But as the decade progressed, metal fans began to turn away from the overblown theatrics of bands like Kiss and Judas Priest in favor of a grittier, more down-to-earth sound typified by groups like Metallica and Slayer. This new wave of metal was heavier and faster than anything that had come before, and it would lay the foundations for the thrash metal explosion of the mid-’80s.

The resurgence of heavy metal

In the early Eighties, metal faced a serious backlash. Punk and New Wave were in vogue, and guitar-based music was considered out of date and passé. But a funny thing happened on the way to metal’s oblivion: the music just got heavier, faster and more aggressive. The metal subgenre known as thrash was born, and it quickly garnered a passionate following among disaffected teens and twenty-somethings.

While metal had always been popular in Europe, it was thrash that finally broke the genre onto the mainstream charts in America. Bands like Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax released a string of groundbreaking albums that would come to be known as classics of the genre. And though metal would fall out of favor with the mainstream once again in the Nineties, its impact on popular culture is undeniable.


In conclusion, the best heavy metal music of the 80s was a product of the unique circumstances of the time. Bands were becoming more proficient at their craft, and they were able to experiment with new sounds and styles. The result was a decade of music that was both exciting and influential.

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