1) Bullet For My Valentine
Hailing from the Welsh town of Bridgend, this metalcore band began life as Jeff Killed John back in 1998. Fronted by lead vocalist Matt Tuck and backed by Michael Paget, Jason James and Michael Thomas, a name change and a shift in style earned the quartet a five album deal with Sony in 2002. BFMV have since sold over five million albums and received the accolade of Best British Band three times at the Kerrang! Awards.
Sweden’s progressive dynamo has continued to subvert the metal genre for decades. Formed in Stockholm in 1989, Opeth has seen many members come and go over the years, although their vocalist and songwriter Mikael Akerfeldt has remained a driving force behind the band, encompassing folk, blues and jazz to create a unique sound generating plenty of critical acclaim.
3) Black Sabbath
Regarded as the pioneers of heavy metal music, Black Sabbath’s impact on the industry can still be seen in every twisted form of the genre that exists today, which paved the way for such iconic acts as Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Metallica. Established in Birmingham, England in 1968 by original members Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Bill Ward and Ozzy Osbourne, this legendary powerhouse toured for almost half a century and sold a massive 70 million albums worldwide.
4) In Flames
This alternative Swedish group pioneered the melodic death metal scene, alongside Dark Tranquillity and At The Gates, from their respective hometown of Gothenburg. Created by guitarist Jesper Stromblad in 1990, In Flames brought a new mix of harmonised guitars to the death metal field, utilising keyboards and their characteristic growled vocals to great effect.
Yet another indicator of Sweden’s domination over the heavy metal world, Meshuggah are considered one of the genre’s most influential bands. Inspiring the djent movement, renowned for their technical prowess and constant innovation, and thrilling fans across the globe since the late 1980s, founders Jens Kidman and Frederick Thordendal continue to push the boundaries of extreme metal to this day.