Heavy Metal Music Videos: The Best of the Cartoon Genre

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


When it comes to music videos, there are few genres that are as visually interesting as heavy metal. This is especially true for the cartoon genre.

Defining Heavy Metal

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines heavy metal as “a type of rock music that has a strong beat and often has angry or dark lyrics.” If you enjoy listening to music with a strong beat and dark lyrics, then you might enjoy heavy metal.

The Elements of Heavy Metal

While there are many different interpretations of what heavy metal is, there are some core elements that are generally agreed upon by fans and musicians alike. These elements include distorted and amplified guitars, powerful drumming and drums that are double-kick capable, and aggressive lyrical content. Heavy metal is often characterized by its fast tempo and aggressive attitude, and it frequently makes use of elements from other genres such as punk rock, blues, and even classical music.

Some of the most iconic heavy metal bands include Metallica, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Slayer, Anthrax, Megadeth, Motorhead, and Black Sabbath. These bands helped to define the genre andset the stage for the many subgenres that would emerge in the years to come. Some of these subgenres include power metal, speed metal, death metal, thrash metal, black metal, doom metal, progressive metal, and stoner/stoner metal.

Whether you’re a fan of the genre or not, there’s no denying that heavy metal has had a significant impact on both popular culture and the music industry as a whole.

The History of Heavy Metal

Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It has its roots in blues rock and psychedelic rock, and is often characterized by a aggressive, distorted sound and lightspeed guitar solos.

The first heavy metal bands, such as Black Sabbath and Deep Purple, pioneers of the genre, started to gain popularity in the late 1960s and early 1970s. This was followed by a wave of British bands in the mid-1970s, such as Judas Priest and Motörhead, who achieved commercial success. In the 1980s, influential bands such as Iron Maiden, Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Anthrax and Testament brought the genre to a new level of popularity. In the 1990s and 2000s, bands such as Pantera, Sepultura and Lamb of God consolidated the popularity of heavy metal in the mainstream.

The term “heavy metal” is often used interchangeably with “metal”, but there is a distinction between the two genres. Metal is a broader category that includes a range of styles from subgenres like black metal and death metal to more commercially-oriented styles like hair metal and glam metal. Heavy metal is typically characterized by its aggressive sound and its focus on guitar solos and complex song structures.

The history of heavy metal is often told through its most iconic moments and albums. These include Black Sabbath’s self-titled debut album (1970), Judas Priest’s British Steel (1980), Metallica’s Master of Puppets (1986) and Pantera’s Vulgar Display of Power (1992).

The Best Heavy Metal Music Videos

If you’re looking for the best heavy metal music videos, you’ve come to the right place. This list includes some of the best metal videos from the ’80s and ’90s, including videos from Metallica, Slayer, and Megadeth. So sit back, crank up the volume, and enjoy.

“Aces High” by Iron Maiden

“Aces High” is a song by the English heavy metal band Iron Maiden, written by bassist Steve Harris. It is the opening track on their 1984 album Powerslave and was released as the second single from that album. It is one of the band’s most popular songs, and one of their most frequently played live.

The song is about the Battle of Britain, specifically the battle’s climax in 1940. The lyrics describe RAF pilots engaging in dogfights with German Luftwaffe pilots. The song’s title is derived from a phrase used by fighter pilots to describe an enemy fighter plane that has been destroyed.

The music video for “Aces High” was directed by Geoff Castle and released in 1984. It features animation of World War II dogfights, as well as live-action footage of Iron Maiden performing the song on stage. The video received positive reviews and was nominated for several awards.

“Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns N’ Roses

This classic song by Guns N’ Roses is the perfect introduction to the world of heavy metal music videos. The video features the band members performing in a cartoon world, with exaggerated expressions and movements. The visual style is unique and visually arresting, making it one of the best examples of the genre.

“Paranoid” by Black Sabbath

Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid” might just be the perfect heavy metal song. It’s got a catchy riff, a simple but catchy chorus, and it’s not too long. And the video is a perfect accompaniment to the song, with its simple but stylish animation.

The video was directed by acclaimed animator Peter Ziebel, who also worked on the popular cartoons “The Ren & Stimpy Show” and “Beavis and Butt-head.” The video is a mix of live-action footage of the band performing, and animated sequences that tell a story of a man who is slowly driven insane by paranoid delusions.

The animation is simple but effective, and it perfectly complements the song’s dark lyrics. The video was nominated for two Grammy Awards, and it won the MTV Video Music Award for Best Animated Video.

The Worst Heavy Metal Music Videos

The metal community has always had a solid sense of humor, satirically making fun of itself with self-deprecating humor. But there are also moments where metal bands completely miss the mark, making videos that are cringe-worthy, unintentionally funny, or just plain bad. Here are some of the worst heavy metal music videos of all time.

“Crazy Train” by Ozzy Osbourne

“Crazy Train” is a song by British heavy metal musician Ozzy Osbourne, released as the first single from his 1980 debut solo album, Blizzard of Ozz. The song was written by Osbourne, Randy Rhoads and Bob Daisley. It reached number nine on the UK Singles Chart and number 45 on the US Billboard Hot 100.

The music video for “Crazy Train” was directed by Jeff Bowden and features animation by Ralph Bakshi. It is set on a train platform, with Osbourne boarding a train that is departing for hell. As the train pulls away, passengers on the platform gradually turn into monsters. The video ends with Osbourne arriving in hell, where he is greeted by an animated version of himself.

The video was nominated for two MTV Video Music Awards in 1981, for Best Heavy Metal Video and Best New Artist.

“Enter Sandman” by Metallica

“Enter Sandman” is one of the best examples of a heavy metal music video done right. The song is catchy and the video is creepy, making it the perfect combination for a metalheads.

“The Unforgiven” by Metallica

“The Unforgiven” by Metallica is widely considered to be one of the worst heavy metal music videos ever made. The video features a cartoon metallica band playing in a hellish landscape, and interspersed with real-life footage of the band members. The video was panned by critics and fans alike, and is generally considered to be a low point in Metallica’s career.

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