Who are the best speed metal bands

The ten best German metal bands of all time

Black Sabbath and Birmingham may be considered the cradle of metal by most people, while many of the greats of the genre have earned legendary status from the United States over the past few decades. At the same time, Germany is considered to be one of the strongest markets when it comes to energetic music with electronically amplified guitars. So it's no wonder that a few creative minds have also found each other in this country who have been able to exert an immense influence on their respective fields! At this point we are directing the spotlight on ten bands from the Federal Republic of Germany who have distinguished themselves through special merits and thus successfully immortalized themselves in the best list of German metal.


Hard Rock / Heavy Metal, founded in Hanover in 1965

No list of heavy guitar music from the Federal Republic would be complete if we left out the longest-running export hit in modern German music history! In view of their immense influence on countless subsequent bands, we turn a blind eye to the metallic purity law: At the end of the day, the long-lived group around front tube Klause Meine and guitarist Rudolf Schenker can be assigned to hard rock rather than metal, but with driving forces Classics like “Rock you like a Hurricane”, “Big City Nights”, “Blackout”, “The Zoo” or “Loving you Sunday Morning” are guaranteed not to step on the feet of open-hearted robe wearers at genre parties. And how many German bands can claim that they had Iron Maiden, Girl School, Rainbow and Riot as support acts on a tour (“Blackout” US tour, 1982)?

The long-time favorites, who have long since resigned, are best known in this country for their standard ballad “Wind of Change”, about which their style-defining contributions from the seventies and eighties are sometimes forgotten. What a serious mistake!

Blind Guardian

Power Metal, founded in Krefeld in 1984

The fusion of metal and bombast does not succeed in many bands around the world as skilfully as Blind Guardian - that they are therefore also among the best German genre representatives of all time can be easily deduced! The ongoing success story of fantasy and literature-loving musicians began as Lucifer’s Heritage, before three Speed ​​Metal albums, which are still popular today, with an occasional thrash touch, were released between 1988 and 1990. In contrast to the majority of our other list representatives, the creative zenith of Blind Guardian is located by many fans in the nineties: On "Somewhere Far Beyond" and above all "Imaginations from the other Side" and "Nightfall in Middle-Earth" they were created Songs of the group more multi-faceted, multi-layered and sometimes more folky than before - the band's own hits like “The Bard's Song” or “Mirror Mirror” originate from this high phase.

The albums after the turn of the millennium are a little more difficult to access due to progressive elements, which, however, did not detract from their success: Since the late nineties, Blind Guardian have subscribed to a place in the German top ten!


Thrash Metal, founded in 1982 in Essen

The Teutonic Thrash wave, which broke through the entire metal world from the mid-eighties, was significantly shaped by this group, led by Miland “Mille” Petrozza from day one. The relentless debut album "Endless Pain" followed in 1985, which was to give the starting signal for a whole series of future reference works - from "Pleasure to Kill" to the "Flag of Hate" EP to "Coma of Souls" “The guys from the Ruhr area had an enormous influence on many representatives of the hard sector.

After the nineties for Kreator were characterized in particular by line-up changes and not only positively received enthusiasm for experimentation, the band found back to the old style and thus old strength in the new millennium. Since then she has also been more successful on a commercial level than ever before: In 2017 Kreator climbed to the top of the German sales charts for the first time in her long career with her album "God of Violence".


Thrash Metal, founded in Gelsenkirchen in 1981

Anyone who says Kreator has to say Sodom: Just like the colleagues around Mille Petrozza, this band originated in the Ruhr area in the early eighties. Already the first real signs of life, namely the mini-LP “In the Sign of Evil” and the debut “Obsessed by Cruelty”, put the metal underground into a turmoil: With their raw sound, brutal lyrics and the appropriate pseudonyms, they became Men around frontman and bassist Tom Angelripper on the one hand ridiculed - on the other hand, they inspired the Norwegian black metal wave of the late eighties and early nineties precisely through these elements, noticeably and verifiably.

Sodom earned more widespread recognition for the musically more sophisticated and lyrically thought-out “Agent Orange” album, which in 1989 was the first work by a German thrash metal band to make it into the domestic charts. Another parallel to Kreator: Sound experiments in the nineties were followed by a return to raw Thrash after the turn of the millennium, which later went hand in hand with the greatest chart success in the band's history (7th place for “Decision Day”, 2016).


Thrash Metal, founded in 1982 in Weil am Rhein

The German trinity of Thrash Metal is completed by the gentlemen of Destruction from southern Baden, who initially played as Knight of Demon for two years after their founding. The band's early works proved to be extremely influential beyond the boundaries of their own subgenre and were also received very benevolently in the burgeoning death and black metal scene.

With the albums "Infernal Overkill" and "Eternal Devastation" or the "Mad Butcher" EP, Destruction consolidated their good reputation and in the eighties went on tour with Slayer, Motörhead, Kreator and Celtic Frost, among others, before front man Marcel "Schmier" Schirmer left the band at the end of the decade. Fortunately, the thrash revival from 2000 onwards didn't pass Destruction either: Lubricant returned to the band, which hit the German charts more successfully than ever before with “Born to Perish” (No. 26, 2019).


Speed ​​Metal / Power Metal, founded in Hamburg in 1984

When popular and influential stainless steel pioneers from Germany are in demand, there is no getting around the Northern Lights from Helloween. Already the debut work “Walls of Jericho” from 1985 achieved respectable successes and obviously inspired wrestling icon and Fozzy frontman Chris Jericho when choosing his stage name.

The band's international breakthrough finally came when Michael Kiske, who was barely of age at the time, took over the vocals from Kai Hansen, who wanted to get rid of the double burden of microphone and guitar: The first two parts of the "Keeper of the Seven Keys" series (1987 & 1988) are hailed in some places as the birth of Power Metal and have long been considered standard works. In the following years, both Hansen and Kiske left the group, and Andi Deris has been the regular front man since then. From 2017 onwards Helloween brought their fans the joy of reunion with the "Pumpkins United" tour (including Deris, Kiske and Hansen)!

Atlantean Code

Heavy Metal, founded in Vilseck in 2005

The gentlemen of Atlantean Kodex from Vilseck, Bavaria, have the honor of being the only band on this list to have come into being in this millennium. Precisely because the quintet has less obvious mainstream appeal than many of the other groups represented here, it was able to earn a devoted fan base, especially in the traditionally oriented underground: Atlantean Codex rely on natural-sounding, analogue recordings and see themselves as a conscious alternative to modern metal .

Stylistically, they are therefore based on the great deeds of bygone days - mind you, without missing any outstanding ingenuity. Their heavy metal, inspired by the early Manowar, among other things, proves more depth than the American true metal advocates through the processing of mythology or literature. In addition, tastefully interspersed influences of Doom Metal give the sound of Atlantean Kodex an engaging epic, which the critics of the international trade press are reliably carried away by.

Nail color

Black Metal, founded in 1993

Nagelfar - not to be confused with the Swedish melodic black metal band Naglfar - have achieved legendary status in the extreme underground with just three albums. Named after the death ship from Nordic mythology, the troupe led by Zorn (guitar) and Alexander von Meilenwald (drums) initially dealt with Germanic legends with the help of changing members; see the debut album “Hünengrab im Herbst” from 1997, which was acclaimed by fans and critics.

At the latest with the dark "Virus West", Nagelfar cemented their status in the scene extremely impressively - the announcement of the immediate dissolution in 2002 was all the more surprising. Through an idiosyncratic mixture of genre-typical frenzy and atmospheric calm, varied rhythms and vocal styles or fearless experiments with unusual Influences (such as the electronic elements on "Srontgorrth"), Nagelfar had developed a devoted circle of followers within a relatively short time, which she holds in honor to this day. Ex-drummer Alexander von Meilenwald has been attracting attention since the separation through The Ruins of Beverast!


New German Hardness / Industrial Metal, founded in 1994 in Berlin

Who else do you have to introduce Rammstein to? The sextet from the German capital, which has remained unchanged since the band was founded, has long since replaced the aforementioned Scorpions as the republic's most sought-after music export. It doesn't matter where in the world the charismatic-mysterious front man Till Lindemann and his colleagues announce a concert - it is almost certainly sold out within a few minutes.

Of course, the incomparably spectacular live show by Rammstein, including its countless fire effects, makes a considerable contribution to the overall package, but the provocative pyromaniacs also meet with approval without accompanying visualization: only the debut album "Herzeleid" from 1995 has not made it to the German one Made it to the top of the chart. The officially untitled work from 2019 even gave Rammstein the "most successful start of a band in this millennium" and a top three placement in England. Anything but a matter of course for German-language brute-force theater!


Heavy Metal, founded in Solingen in 1971

The New Wave of British Heavy Metal, which rolled across the musical landscape in the early eighties, also tore Accept with her skin and hair: In the seventies, the band was more to be assigned to hard rock, but was inspired by Maiden, Priest and co. the men around the striking front siren Udo Dirkschneider noticeably increased the intensity with the 1981 work "Breaker". Records like “Restless and Wild” (including the speed metal hit “Fast as a Shark”), “Balls to the Wall” or “Metal Heart” ensured that Accept was able to establish itself as an internationally popular band.

After various other line-up changes, guitarist Wolf Hoffmann may now be the last remaining member from the legendary era of the group, but it is as successful as ever with new staff: since the revival of Accept in 2010, the group has been a permanent guest in the German Top ten, whereby “Blind Rage” (2014) was even awarded the prestigious top position.


Music is rated more subjectively than pretty much any other art form - so there will certainly be no names on this list that some people would take for granted. Comparatively classic representatives of Teutonic steel such as Running Wild, Warlock, Gamma Ray, Grave Digger, Tankard or Rage are therefore just as honorable as extreme pearls à la Secrets of the Moon, Eisregen, Necrophagist, Der Weg einer Freiheit, Bethlehem or Dark Fortress. Even commercially successful bands such as Edguy, Avantasia, Heaven Shall Burn, Die Apokalyptischen Reiter, Powerwolf or J.B.O. and Knorkator contribute in their very own way to keep the flag of metal flying lofty!