The band that started heavy metal! Black Sabbath was slow, dark, morbid and heavy. They influenced almost every single metal band in this list, and many more that aren't.
2. Iron Maiden
If Black Sabbath started heavy metal, Iron Maiden were the best band since them. 'The Number of the Beast' is the ultimate metal anthem in my opinion
In the last few years (in fact probably the last decade), it has become really trendy to hate Metallica. I guess I can sort of understand it, they don't make albums like Master of Puppets or Ride the Lightning anymore, but in my opinion, they could be the best speed/thrash band ever, with the possible exception of Exodus.
Did I say Metallica were a great thrash band? If Metallica are great, Exodus are godly!
A killer Italian goth metal band. What Evanescence would sound like if they were good.
6.Type O Negative
Type O Negative are a band I have a lot of respect for. They are easily one of Roadrunner's best bands (along with Fear Factory and Cradle of Filth) and make some truely unique gothic/doom metal.
7. Fear Factory
Fear Factory join bands like Type O Negative and Cradle of Filth in the 'bands that are mainstream that don't suck' category. Especially early Fear Factory is some brilliant death metal (they may not be strictly death metal anymore).
8. Cannibal Corpse
Cannibal Corpse are just one of those bands I can't help laugh at. Nobody can honestly take them seriously, or even suspend their disbelief while listening to the music. That said, Cannibal Corpse make some great, if repetetive death metal.
An old school thrashy death metal band from Holland who formed with the intention of attacking all organised religion.
10. Napalm Death
One of the groups that began Grindcore. Napalm Death were influenced by both Hardcore Punk and Extreme Metal when they formed. Over the years they have turned more into a death metal band, but are still a brilliant band.
11. Opera IX
Black-y, doom-y, goth-y metal from Italy.
12. Cradle of Filth
My favourite metal band. I get a lot of shit for loving this band so much because so many people consider them to be sold out and not real black metal. They may have sold out, and they definitely aren't black metal, but I love Cradle of Filth.
Easily the most respected symphonic extreme metal (at least within the mainstream underground) band, Emperor came out of the same scene as Immortal, Burzum, Mayhem and Darkthrone and have as many controvertial issues with Satanism, murder and church burning as any of the previously mentioned bands.
Black Metal, unlike many other styles, often experiments alot. Whether it be with folk music and symphonics, ambient music or the gothic tendancies of bands like COF and Dimmu Borgir, Black Metal has never been afraid to think outside the square.
Italy's Aborym are probably the best and most effective band to mix black metal with industrial music.
Another brilliant Norwegian black metal band. Satyricon are one of those bands who experiment with some extremely varied styles but have never really 'sold-out', in my opinion.
16. Deströyer 666
A wise human once said "Destroyer 666 are the ultimate metal test. If you love Destroyer, you are metal as they come, if you don't, you just don't cut it". Wise words about this killer Australian old school black/thrash metal band.
Is it possible for a band with as much legend behind them as Mayhem to live up to expectations? FUCK YES! The band that started the extreme metal underground in Norway, amist the murder, suicide, church burnings and other such weirdness, make some of the best black metal around.
I do not support the actions of Varg Vikernes in anyway. I hate fascism and any right wing, racist bullshit, but the fact is that Burzum makes some incredibly atmospheric black metal music.
Another in the incredible list of brilliant Norwegian black metal bands. Darkthrone make some incredible primitive black metal.
Along with Falkenbach and Nachtfalke (which didn't quite make the list), Kampfar make some absolutely brillant viking metal music.