The Most Popular Heavy Metal Song: Ranking the Ultimate Anthem of the Genre

Choose the song you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Jun 16, 2023 10:18 (Updated on Dec 2, 2023 20:45)
Unleash your inner headbanger and let your voice be heard in the ultimate showdown of heavy metal anthems! StrawPoll presents the most electrifying, adrenaline-pumping ranking of "What is the most popular Heavy Metal song?" ever assembled. Traverse through thunderous riffs and bone-crushing beats as you vote for your all-time favorite metal masterpiece, or suggest a missing gem to shake up the list. Will it be the power of "Master of Puppets" or the ferocity of "War Pigs" claiming the throne? You decide! Join legions of metal fanatics around the globe in this ear-shattering battle for supremacy, and together, let's find out which track reigns supreme in the pantheon of heavy metal! \m/

What Is the Most Popular Heavy Metal Song?

  1. 1
    This iconic song from Metallica's third album is often cited as one of the greatest heavy metal songs of all time. Its complex structure, blistering guitar riffs, and haunting lyrics have made it a fan favorite for over 30 years.
    Master of Puppets is a popular heavy metal song by Metallica. Released in 1986, it is the title track and lead single from their third studio album with the same name. The song is known for its powerful and intense sound, featuring complex guitar riffs, heavy drumming, and poignant lyrics.
    • Release Date: 1986
    • Album: Master of Puppets
    • Genre: Heavy Metal
    • Length: 8 minutes and 35 seconds
    • Songwriter: James Hetfield
  2. 2
    This classic track from the British metal pioneers is instantly recognizable for its heavy, chugging guitar riff and apocalyptic lyrics. It's often considered one of the most influential songs in the history of heavy metal.
    Iron Man is a classic heavy metal guitar riff by the British band Black Sabbath. It was released in 1970 as a part of their second studio album, Paranoid. The riff is instantly recognizable and has become one of the most iconic and popular guitar riffs in rock history.
    • Release Year: 1970
    • Album: Paranoid
    • Genre: Heavy Metal
    • Key: E
    • Tempo: Moderate
    "Iron Man" by Black Sabbath in other rankings
  3. 3
    Another classic from Black Sabbath, "Paranoid" is a fast-paced, riff-heavy song that helped define the sound of heavy metal in the early 1970s. Its catchy chorus and aggressive energy have made it a staple of rock radio for decades.
    Paranoid by Black Sabbath is a legendary hard rock song that was released in 1970 as the title track of their second studio album, 'Paranoid'. It is considered one of the most popular and influential songs in the history of hard rock and a definitive Black Sabbath classic. The song combines heavy, distorted guitar riffs, powerful vocals, and impactful lyrics, showcasing the band's signature sound and setting a benchmark for the genre.
    • Album: Paranoid
    • Year: 1970
    • Genre: Hard Rock
    • Length: 2:50
    • Songwriter(s): Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Ozzy Osbourne, Bill Ward
    "Paranoid" by Black Sabbath in other rankings
  4. 4
    One of Metallica's most commercially successful songs, "Enter Sandman" features a memorable opening riff and a haunting, surreal melody. It's often cited as a gateway song for people new to heavy metal.
    Enter Sandman is a heavy metal guitar riff that serves as the opening track and lead single of Metallica's self-titled fifth studio album, released in 1991. The riff is instantly recognizable and has become one of Metallica's signature songs.
    • Key: E minor
    • Tempo: 120 beats per minute
    • Rhythm: Power chords with palm-muted downstrokes
    • Tuning: Standard tuning (EADGBE)
    • Time Signature: 4/4
    "Enter Sandman" by Metallica in other rankings
  5. 5
    This epic track from Iron Maiden's third album is a fan favorite for its catchy chorus, intricate guitar work, and horror-inspired lyrics. It's often cited as one of the greatest heavy metal songs of all time.
    The 'Number of the Beast' is a heavy metal song by the British band Iron Maiden. It was released in 1982 as the title track of their album 'The Number of the Beast'. The song is renowned for its powerful and energetic sound, with a combination of melodic guitar riffs, thundering drums, and soaring vocals. It is considered one of the most iconic and influential songs in heavy metal history.
    • Album: The Number of the Beast
    • Year: 1982
    • Genre: Heavy metal
    • Length: 4:51
    • Writer(s): Steve Harris
  6. 6
    Another classic from Iron Maiden, "Hallowed Be Thy Name" is a dark, atmospheric song that builds to a powerful climax. Its haunting melody and vivid lyrics have made it a favorite among fans of the genre.
    Hallowed Be Thy Name is a classic heavy metal song by the British band Iron Maiden. It was released as the seventh track on their third studio album, The Number of the Beast, in 1982. The song has since become one of Iron Maiden's most popular and enduring tracks, known for its powerful vocals, intense guitar riffs, and memorable lyrics.
    • Album: The Number of the Beast
    • Release Year: 1982
    • Genre: Heavy Metal
    • Track Number: 7
    • Length: 7:13
  7. 7
    This emotional ballad from Pantera's fifth album is a departure from the band's usual aggressive sound, but its soaring guitar solos and heartfelt lyrics have made it a beloved track among heavy metal fans.
    Cemetery Gates is a guitar riff by the American heavy metal band Pantera. It is featured in their 1990 album Cowboys from Hell. The riff is known for its technical complexity, combining fast palm-muted power chords with melodic lead lines and intricate picking patterns. It is frequently cited as one of the most challenging guitar riffs to play due to its combination of speed, precision, and synchronization between the guitarists. Cemetery Gates is considered a classic in the heavy metal genre and showcases Dimebag Darrell's exceptional guitar skills and musical creativity.
    • Album: Cowboys from Hell
    • Year: 1990
    • Genre: Heavy metal
    • Difficulty Level: Advanced
    • Techniques Used: Palm-muted power chords, melodic lead lines, intricate picking
    "Cemetery Gates" by Pantera in other rankings
  8. 8
    This fast-paced, hard-hitting track from Motörhead's fourth album is often cited as one of the band's signature songs. Its catchy riff and aggressive energy have made it a staple of rock radio and a favorite among fans of heavy metal and punk.
    The song "Ace of Spades" by Motörhead is a classic heavy metal anthem that was released in 1980. It is known for its fast and aggressive sound, featuring powerful guitar riffs, intense drums, and gritty vocals by the band's frontman, Lemmy Kilmister. The song's lyrics revolve around themes of gambling, risk-taking, and living life to the fullest.
    • Year of release: 1980
    • Genre: Heavy metal
    • Length: 2 minutes and 49 seconds
    • Album: Ace of Spades
    • Record label: Bronze Records
  9. 9
    This classic track from Judas Priest's sixth album features a catchy chorus, memorable guitar riff, and driving beat. Its upbeat energy and rebellious lyrics have made it a favorite among fans of the genre for over 40 years.
    "Breaking the Law" is a classic Heavy Metal song by the British band Judas Priest. It was released in 1980 as a part of their album "British Steel". The song is known for its infectious catchy melody, powerful guitar riffs, and impactful lyrics.
    • Album: British Steel
    • Release Year: 1980
    • Genre: Heavy Metal
    • Duration: 2:34
    • Writer(s): Rob Halford, K.K. Downing, Glenn Tipton
  10. 10
    This blistering track from Metallica's fourth album features complex guitar work and intense, apocalyptic lyrics. Its driving beat and powerful energy have made it a favorite among fans of heavy metal and thrash.
    Blackened is a famous Death Metal song by Metallica. It is the opening track from their 1988 album '...And Justice for All'. The song is known for its intense and aggressive musical style, featuring heavy guitar riffs, fast-paced drumming, and dark lyrics. Blackened showcases Metallica's signature thrash sound and incorporates elements of Death Metal, with its powerful instrumentation and aggressive vocals. It has become a staple in Metallica's live performances and remains a fan-favorite.
    • Album: ...And Justice for All
    • Release Year: 1988
    • Genre: Death Metal
    • Length: 6:41
    • Opening Track: Yes
    "Blackened" by Metallica in other rankings

Missing your favorite song?


Ranking factors for popular song

  1. Sales and chart performance
    The number of copies sold and how well the song performed on various music charts are significant indicators of its popularity.
  2. Streaming and digital downloads
    In the digital age, the number of times a song is streamed on platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube, as well as the number of digital downloads, can give a clear indication of its popularity.
  3. Airplay and exposure
    How often the song is played on radio stations, television, or at live events contributes to its overall popularity.
  4. Critical acclaim and reviews
    Positive reviews and rankings by music critics, magazines, and websites can impact the overall perception and popularity of a song.
  5. Awards and recognition
    If a song has received awards or nominations, it can be considered an additional factor in determining its popularity.
  6. Influence and impact
    The influence a song has on other artists, the genre, and the music industry can signify its importance and popularity.
  7. Fan engagement
    The level of fan engagement with the song on social media, online forums, and at live events can also be indicative of its popularity.
  8. Longevity
    Some songs have a lasting impact and continue to be popular even years after their release. A song's staying power can contribute to its overall popularity.
  9. Cultural relevance
    A song's connection to larger cultural trends or movements can enhance its popularity and impact.
  10. Personal taste and subjective factors
    While objective measurements are important, personal taste and preferences also play a role in determining a song's popularity. Some songs might resonate more with certain listeners, leading to higher rankings in individual lists.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular Heavy Metal song. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or song is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 221 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each song once every 24 hours. The rank of each song is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most popular heavy metal song

Heavy Metal is a genre of music that emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s, characterized by its aggressive and often distorted sound. It has since grown into a global phenomenon, with countless bands and fans worldwide. Heavy Metal songs often feature intense guitar riffs, pounding drums, and powerful vocals, with themes ranging from social and political commentary to horror and fantasy. Some of the most iconic Heavy Metal songs include classics like "Iron Man" by Black Sabbath, "Ace of Spades" by Motörhead, and "Master of Puppets" by Metallica. With so many great songs to choose from, it can be challenging to determine which one is the most popular, but that's exactly what we aim to find out with this StrawPoll.

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