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Top 20 Symphonic Metal Bands of All Time

The Best and Most Prolific Symphonic Metal Bands from the Past 40 Years

Symphonic Metal is the fusion of rock metal and symphony, often using wind instruments or other non-traditional rock elements. Fantasy themes usually dominate the lyrics and artwork showcasing the albums. Most symphonic metal bands start out with strong metal bases, and evolve or mature into a folk/metal hybrid. The biggest problem with the genre is the lack of good vocals to accompany the imaginative songwriting, but a lot of bands have overcome this hurdle. Some very talented symphonic metal bands have emerged in the past 4 decades, and produced some of the finest music on the planet. It's hard to sift through the hundreds of symphonic rock/metal bands to find the few gems, so we've created a list to help you get started. If you're exploring more of this genre, this list may help you discover some great new tunes. Here are the top 20 Symphonic Metal Bands of all time:

1 - Blind Guardian , formed in Germany, they've been powering music for 30 years. Talented songwriting and wide range of sounds take them to the top of our list. Start with "Nightfall" and "Mordred's Song," then the more advanced "Maiden and the Minstrel Knight."

2 - Avantasia , another German act, Tobias Sammet's band has created some of the most intricate mind-blowing music to date. Start with "The Scarecrow" and enjoy the ride.

3 - Gamma Ray , sometimes called power metal, they really fit best in the symphonic metal genre. Listen to "Rebellion in Dreamland" to get the point.

4 - Ayreon , a Dutch band created by Arjen Lucassen, often called rock opera and electronica metal, the music is incredible. My favorites are "My House on Mars" and "Love".

5 - X Japan This Japanese band has been producing great symphonic and progressive metal since 1982 and still going strong today. Always loved Endless Rain, Kurenai and Tears.

6 - Manowar …the song "Master of the Wind" is a favorite.

7 - Sonata Artica, a symphonic metal band from Finland

8 - Symphony X, always been drawn to their Paradise Lost album.

9 - Therion, from Sweden, founded in 1987 and still playing.

10 - Freedom Call , listen first to "A Perfect Day," and "Turn Back Time."

11 - Demons and Wizards … listen to the song "Fiddler on the Green"

12 - Altaria

13 - Elvenking To explore this band, start with the album "The Sycthe"

14 - Stratovarius

15 - Kamelot

16 - Nightwish another band from from Finland, but this one has a female lead singer.

17 - Myrath A Tunisian symphonic metal band worth looking into. Listen to the "Tales of the Sands" album

18 - Luca Turilli

19 - Dark Moor

20 - Wintersun is a band showing a lot of promise. Their music shows talent; they just need a real singer.

Honorable mention to: Waylander, Hammerfall, Sabaton, Angra, Symfonia, and Rhapsody aka Rhapsody of Fire (aka Thundercross).

Discovery is half the fun, so do enjoy your journey into old and new Symphonic Metal bands. There's always something interesting out there, so be brave and explore.

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