Heavy Metal Timeline

Heavy metal is one of the newer genres of music. Most experts put its beginnings in the late '60s and early '70s. Since that beginning, metal has grown and evolved, spawning a multitude of genres and subgenres. In the '80s some heavy metal became mainstream, but throughout the years it been mainly an underground phenomenon. Even though most people have heard of Def Leppard or Judas Priest, the huge majority of metal bands are unknown to the mainstream.

Here's a heavy metal timeline:

Late 1960's - Early 1970's

The birth of heavy metal. Groups like Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple were the first heavy metal bands.

Late 1970's

The rise of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal (NHOBHM). Bands like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest become very popular.

1978

Van Halen released their debut album. This began the Los Angeles/Sunset Strip scene, and many bands would come out of this era, including Motley Crue and Quiet Riot. The so called "hair bands" like Poison, Warrant and Ratt came from that scene as well.

The Who's Keith Moon died.

Bands formed this year: Dokken, Ratt, Whitesnake

A sample of heavy metal albums released in 1978:
Black Sabbath - Never Say Die
Judas Priest - Stained Class
UFO - Obsession

1979

The German band Accept releases their self-titled debut album. They are considered to be the first European power metal band.

Ozzy Osbourne was fired from Black Sabbath and replaced by Ronnie James Dio.

Bands formed this year: Europe, Hanoi Rocks, Trouble, Venom

A sample of heavy metal albums released in 1979:
AC/DC - Highway To Hell
Judas Priest - Hell Bent For Leather
Led Zeppelin - In Through The Out Door
Kiss - Dynasty
Saxon - Saxon
Scorpions - Lovedrive

1980

Best Heavy Metal Album Of 1980: AC/DC - Back In Black

AC/DC lead singer Bon Scott dies and is replaced by Brian Johnson. Also Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham dies.

Bands formed this year: Manowar, Mercyful Fate, Overkill

A sample of heavy metal albums released in 1980:
Angel Witch - Angel Witch
Black Sabbath - Heaven And Hell
Def Leppard - On Through The Night
Diamond Head - Lightning To The Nations
Iron Maiden - Iron Maiden
Judas Priest - British Steel
Motorhead - Ace Of Spades
Ozzy Osbourne - Blizzard Of Ozz
Saxon - Wheels Of Steel

1981

Best Heavy Metal Album Of 1981: Motley Crue - Too Fast For Love

Venom's first album was released, beginning the genre of black metal.

Bands formed this year: Anthrax, Dark Angel, Metallica, Pantera, Slayer

A sample of heavy metal albums released in 1981:
Def Leppard - High 'N Dry
Iron Maiden - Killers
Judas Priest - Point Of Entry
Ozzy Osbourne - Diary Of A Madman
Saxon - Denim And Leather

1982

Best Heavy Metal Album Of 1982: Iron Maiden - The Number Of The Beast

Quiet Riot's Metal Health becomes the first heavy metal album to top the U.S. Billboard chart.

Paul Di'Anno is replaced by Bruce Dickinson as the lead singer for Iron Maiden.

Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Randy Rhoads is killed in a plane crash.

Bands formed this year: Death Angel, Dio, Exodus, Kreator, Napalm Death, Sodom, Voivod, W.A.S.P.

A sample of heavy metal albums released in 1982:
Accept - Restless And Wild
Anvil - Metal On Metal
Judas Priest - Screaming For Vengeance
Motorhead - Iron Fist
Twisted Sister - Under The Blade
Venom - Black Metal

1983

Best Heavy Metal Album Of 1983: Dio - Holy Diver

Metallica releases Kill 'Em All, which would begin the rise of the genre of thrash metal.

Queensryche's self-titled debut is released. They are considered the first progressive metal band, combining progressive rock and heavy metal. Later groups like Dream Theater and Fates Warning would help popularize the genre.

Bands formed this year: Bathory, Death, Fates Warning, Helloween, Mayhem, Megadeth, Morbid Angel, Metal Church, Savatage, Testament

A sample of heavy metal albums released in 1983:
Accept - Balls To The Wall
Def Leppard - Pyromania
Iron Maiden - Piece Of Mind
Mercyful Fate - Melissa
Motley Crue - Shout At The Devil
Ozzy Osbourne - Bark At The Moon

1984

Best Heavy Metal Album Of 1984: Metallica - Ride The Lightning

Def Leppards' Rick Allen loses an arm in a car accident. In another car accident, Hanoi Rocks drummer Nicholas "Razzle" Dingley was killed in a vehicle driven by Motley Crue's Vince Neil.

Bands formed this year: Annihilator, Candlemass, Celtic Frost, Iced Earth, Morbid Angel, Sepultura, Tesla

A sample of heavy metal albums released in 1984:
Celtic Frost - Morbid Tales
Dio - The Last In Line
Iron Maiden - Powerslave
Judas Priest - Defenders Of The Faith
Mercyful Fate - Don't Break The Oath

1985

Best Heavy Metal Album Of 1985: Exodus Bonded By Blood

Led Zeppelin reunites at Live Aid.

Bands formed this year: Blind Guardian, Candlemass, Carcass, Dream Theater, King Diamond, White Zombie

A sample of heavy metal albums released in 1985:
Anthrax - Spreading The Disease
Celtic Frost - To Mega Therion
Megadeth - Killing Is My Business...And Business Is Good
Possessed - Seven Churches
Slayer - Hell Awaits

1986

Best Heavy Metal Album Of 1986: Metallica - Master Of Puppets

Candlemass releases Epicus Doomicus Metallicus, the genre-defining doom metal album.

Metallica bassist Cliff Burton is killed in a bus accident and former Flotsam and Jetsam member Jason Newsted takes his place in the band.

Bands formed this year: Immolation, Pentagram, Terrorizer, Vader, Vio-Lence

A sample of heavy metal albums released in 1986:
Bathory - Under The Sign Of The Black Mark
Iron Maiden - Somewhere In Time
Kreator - Pleasure To Kill
Megadeth - Peace Sells...But Who's Buying?


Slayer - Reign In Blood

1987

Best Heavy Metal Album Of 1987: Guns 'N Roses - Appetite For Destruction

Headbangers Ball debuts on MTV.

Death releases Scream Bloody Gore, pioneering the death metal genre.

Napalm Death releases their debut album Scum. They are considered by many to be the first grindcore band.

Bands formed this year: Autopsy, Burzum, Danzig, Darkthrone, Deicide, Entombed, Primordial, Therion

A sample of heavy metal albums released in 1987:
Anthrax - Among The Living
Celtic Frost - Into The Pandemonium
Helloween - Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part I
King Diamond - Abigail
Testament - The Legacy

1988

Best Heavy Metal Album Of 1988: Queensryche - Operation Mindcrime

The movie Decline Of Western Civilization II: The Metal Years is released.

Bands formed this year: Amon Amarth, Cannibal Corpse, Dismember, Gamma Ray, Paradise Lost

A sample of heavy metal albums released in 1988:
Helloween - Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part II
Iron Maiden - Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son
Megadeth - So Far, So Good, So What
Slayer - South Of Heaven
Voivod - Dimension Hatross

1989

Best Heavy Metal Album Of 1989: Morbid Angel - Altars Of Madness

The first Grammy for hard rock/heavy metal performance is given. It was won by Jethro Tull.

Bands formed this year: Bal-Sagoth, Cathedral, Dark Tranquillity, Dissection, The Gathering, Immortal

A sample of heavy metal albums released this year:
Annihilator - Alice In Hell
Exodus - Fabulous Disaster
King's X - Gretchen Goes To Nebraska
Sepultura - Beneath The Remains
Voivod - Nothingface

1990

Best Heavy Metal Album Of 1990: Megadeth - Rust In Peace

Bands formed this year: At The Gates, Fear Factory, In Flames, Kyuss, Opeth, Satyricon, Type O Negative

A sample of heavy metal albums released in 1990:
Deicide - Deicide
Entombed - Left Hand Path
Judas Priest - Painkiller
Pantera - Cowboys From Hell
Slayer - Seasons In The Abyss

1991

Best Heavy Metal Album Of 1991: Metallica - Metallica

Metallica's self-titled "black" album becomes the first thrash metal album to hit number one.

Nirvana releases Nevermind, beginning grunge music that would wipe the "hair bands" off the popular charts.

Def Leppard guitarist Steve Clark dies.

Bands formed this year: Behemoth, Cradle Of Filth, Emperor, Enslaved, Mercenary, Nevermore

A sample of heavy metal albums released in 1991:
Death - Human
Morbid Angel - Blessed Are The Sick
Overkill - Horrorscope
Ozzy Osbourne - No More Tears
Sepultura - Arise

1992

Best Heavy Metal Album Of 1992: Pantera - Vulgar Display Of Power

Bands formed this year: Black Label Society, Edguy, Gorgoroth, Machine Head, Moonspell, Necrophagist

A sample of heavy metal albums released in 1992:
Black Sabbath - Dehumanizer
Cannibal Corpse - Tomb Of The Mutilated
Dream Theater - Images And Words
Iron Maiden - Fear Of The Dark
Megadeth - Countdown To Extinction

1993

Best Heavy Metal Album Of 1993: Sepultura - Chaos A.D.

Rob Halford leaves Judas Priest and forms Fight.

Mayhem's Euronymous murdered by fellow band member Varg Vikernes.

Bands formed this year: Children Of Bodom, Dark Funeral, Dimmu Borgir, Hammerfall, Limbonic Art, Nile, Symphony X

A sample of heavy metal albums released in 1993:
anthrax - Sound Of White Noise
Carcass - Heartwork
Death - Individual Thought Patterns
Life Of Agony - River Runs Red
Morbid Angel - Covenant

1994

Best Heavy Metal Album Of 1994 Emperor - In The Nightside Eclipse

Korn releases their self-titled debut album, helping begin the genre of nu-metal. Other bands like Limp Bizkit would popularize the genre in the late '90s and early 2000's.

Bands formed this year: Down, Lacuna Coil, Limp Bizkit, Six Feet Under, Strapping Young Lad, Symphony X

A sample of heavy metal albums released in 1994:
Amorphis - Tales From The Thousand Lakes
Burzum - Hvis Lyset Tar Oss
Mayhem - De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas
Megadeth - Youthanasia
Pantera - Far Beyond Driven

1995

Best Heavy Metal Album Of 1995 Death - Symbolic

Bands formed this year: Agalloch, Borknagar, Shadows Fall, Slipknot, System Of A Down

A sample of heavy metal albums released in 1995:
At The Gates - Slaughter Of The Soul
Dissection - Storm Of The Light's Bane
Fear Factory - Demanufacture
Gamma Ray - Land Of The Free
Moonspell - Wolfheart

1996

Best Heavy Metal Album Of 1996: Pantera - The Great Southern Trendkill

Ozzfest begins. The traveling summer metal tour was started by Ozzy Osbourne. The first year included bands like Slayer, Danzig, Sepultura, Fear Factory, and of course Ozzy.

Bands formed this year: Arch Enemy, Disturbed, God Forbid, Kittle, Nightwish, Sonata Arctica, Within Temptation

A sample of heavy metal albums released in 1996:
Amorphis - Elegy
In Flames - The Jester Race
Metallica - Load
Neurosis - Through Silver In Blood
Opeth - Morningrise

1997

Best Heavy Metal Album Of 1997: Emperor - Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk

Bands formed this year: Akercocke, Dillinger Escape Plan, Finntroll, Pig Destroyer

A sample of heavy metal albums released in 1997:
Bruce Dickinson - Accident Of Birth
Dimmu Borgir - Enthrone Darkness Triumphant
Gamma Ray - Somewhere Out In Space
In Flames - Whoracle
Therion - Theli

1998

Best Heavy Metal Album Of 1998: Bruce Dickinson - The Chemical Wedding

Bands formed this yeCanar: Atreyu, Chimaira, Tyr, Underoath, Unearth

A sample of heavy metal albums released in 1998:
Blind Guardian - Nightfall In Middle Earth
Death - The Sound Of Perseverance
Fear Factory - Obsolete
Metallica - Garage Inc.
Opeth - My Arms, Your Hearse

1999

Best Heavy Metal Album Of 1999: Nevermore - Dreaming Neon Black

Bruce Dickinson rejoins Iron Maiden.

Bands formed this year: Avenged Sevenfold, Dragonforce, Mastodon

A sample of heavy metal albums released in 1999:
Cannibal Corpse - Bloodthirst
Dream Theater - Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes From A Memory
In Flames - Colony
Opeth - Still Life
Testament - The Gathering

2000

Bands formed this year: 3 Inches Of Blood, Killswitch Engage, Trivium, Wolfmother

A sample of heavy metal CDs released in 2000:
Cradle Of Filth - Midian
Dio - Magica
In Flames - Clayman
Killswith Engage - Killswitch Engage
Lamb Of God - New American Gospel
Nightwish - Wishmaster

2001

Death guitarist Chuck Schuldiner dies of brain cancer.

Jason Newsted leaves Metallica and joins Voivod.

Bands formed this year: As I Lay Dying, Black Dahlia Murder, Masterplan, Sirenia

A sample of heavy metal albums released in 2001:
Dimmu Borgir - Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia
Fear Factory - Digimortal
Judas Priest - Demolition
Opeth - Blackwater Park
Slayer - God Hates Us All

2002

Bands formed this year: Apocalypse, Eluveitie

A sample of heavy metal CDs released in 2002:
Blind Guardian - A Night At The Opera
Immortal - Sons of Northern Darkness
In Flames - Reroute to Remain
Opeth - Deliverance
Soilwork - Natural Born Chaos

2003

MTV2 brings back the heavy metal show "Headbanger's Ball."

Rob Halford rejoins Judas Priest.

Bands formed this year: Communic, DevilDriver, Epica, Korpiklaani

A sample of heavy metal CDs released in 2003:
Cannibal Corpse - 15 Year Killing Spree
Children of Bodom - Hate Crew Deathroll
Cradle Of Filth - Damnation And A Day
Lamb Of God - As The Palaces Burn
Metallica - St. Anger
Opeth - Damnation

2004

"Dimebag" Darrell Abbott of the band Damageplan and formerly Pantera was shot and killed while performing on stage in Ohio.

Bands formed this year: Job For A Cowboy, Scar Symmetry, Threat Signal, Wintersun

A sample of heavy metal CDs released in 2004:
Cradle Of Filth - Nymphetamine
Dillinger Escape Plan - Miss Machine
Iced Earth - The Glorious Burden
In Flames - Soundtrack to Your Escape
Killswitch Engage - The End of Heartache
Lamb of God - Ashes of the Wake
Mastodon - Leviathan
Megadeth - The System Has Failed

2005

Best Heavy Metal CD Of 2005: Opeth - Ghost Reveries

Voivod guitarist Denis "Piggy" D'Amour and former Metal Church vocalist David Wayne died.

Bands formed this year: Beyond Fear, Five Finger Death Punch, In This Moment

A sample of heavy metal CDs released in 2005:
Arch Enemy - Doomsday Machine
Avenged Sevenfold - City Of Evil
Candlemass - Candlemass
Children Of Bodom - Are You Dead Yet
Exodus - Shovel Headed Kill Machine
God Forbid - IV: Constitution Of Treason
Judas Priest - Angel Of Retribution
Trivium - Ascendancy

2006

Best Heavy Metal CD Of 2006: Mastodon - Blood Mountain

Bands formed this year: Devil Wears Prada, Divine Heresy

A sample of heavy metal CDs released in 2006:
Amon Amarth - With Oden On Our Side
Cannibal Corpse - Kill
Evergrey - Monday Morning Apocalypse
Iron Maiden - A Matter Of Life And Death
Killswitch Engage - As Daylight Dies
Lamb Of God - Sacrament

2007

Best Heavy Metal CD Of 2007: Dillinger Escape Plan - Ire Works

Quiet Riot singer Kevin DuBrow died.

A sample of CDs released in 2007:
Arch Enemy - Rise Of The Tyrant
Dark Tranquillity - Fiction
High On Fire - Death Is This Communion
Mayhem - Ordo Ad Chao
Megadeth - United Abominations
Melechesh - Emissaries
Primordial - To The Nameless Dead

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Your Citation
Bowar, Chad. "Heavy Metal Timeline." ThoughtCo, Apr. 17, 2017, thoughtco.com/heavy-metal-timeline-1756181. Bowar, Chad. (2017, April 17). Heavy Metal Timeline. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/heavy-metal-timeline-1756181 Bowar, Chad. "Heavy Metal Timeline." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/heavy-metal-timeline-1756181 (accessed December 11, 2017).