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 1. Black Sabbath



 2. Judas Priest


 3. Metallica



 4. Iron Maiden



 5. Pantera



 6. Slayer



 7. AC/DC



 8. Motorhead



 9. Kiss



 10. Motley Crue



  Honorable Mentions



  Future Shockers



  Celebrity Top 10's



  The MTV Metal Brain Trust


The Brain Trust has spoken and now the readers have weighed in. Check out their top 10s and share your own in You Tell Us.



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— by Jon Wiederhorn, with occasional solos by Chris Harris and Jem Aswad

There are music fans, and then there are heavy metal fans.

Metal fans are not a crowd that loves one band this year and another the next. Their loyalty — to their favorite bands and the genre itself — is intense and usually lifelong. That's one reason why, if you go to see Slayer or Judas Priest or Ozzy or Mötley Crüe, you'll probably find yourself crammed between a middle school student and a graying biker, and you're all banging your heads and pumping your fists together.

They're a tough crowd and they know their stuff, so when nine of them get together to debate the Greatest Heavy Metal Bands of All Time, it's safe to expect a lot of agreement on the main points — and a lot of very specific, very heated disagreement on others, particularly which artists are or aren't metal.

In such debate lies much geekdom and fun, and MTV's metal brain trust — our panel of experts, consisting of nine die-hard, longtime fans — had a blast conjuring and debating this list.

Creating it was a two-part process.

In part one, we reached out to the most passionate and knowledgable metal fans working at MTV and asked them to send us their individual picks for the 10 greatest, with the only criteria being "whatever greatness means to you." Some feel that the influence a band had on others is the most important factor in judging greatness; others say the strength of the albums is the primary concern; and some believe the power of a band's live performance is the ultimate measure. We did not care what each participants criteria was; we only asked them to vote from their hearts.

Once we had all the lists, we did a little math. Every time a band was ranked #1 by someone, it received 10 points; #2 rankings received 9 points, and so on. When the points were added up, we had a list that represented the collective wisdom of the voters ... in theory, anyway.

In part two, we gathered everyone together, showed them the results, and asked them to either stand by it, or change it as they saw fit, the only rule being that a majority had to vote in favor of every change. The discussion and debate over the rankings is what you see in the Overdrive show.

There was some debate over the absence of newer jacks — particularly recent Scandinavian bands like In Flames and Emperor. In response, we point out that this is essentially a hall of fame, and, to paraphrase brain trust member Rob Mancini, the nature of the term "greatest" requires time — the best is yet to come from many younger bands, and thus it's not fair to compare their body of work to, say, Slayer's decades of decadence. So we also made a list of 10 bands we consider to be the most promising. In addition, there's an "Honorable Mention" list of the dozen runners-up, whom some brain trust members felt passionate enough about to include in their personal top 10s.

So, herein lies the results of our hours of (mostly) friendly arguing and our years of obsession. Talking about it, thinking about it, arguing about it made us want nothing more than to crank the volume up to 11 and give our well-trained neck muscles a good workout, and we hope it does the same for you.




"Is there a way to define metal?" Are you up for the challenge? Step up to the plate with your lists and arguments in You Tell Us.




NEXT: Judas Priest's Rob Halford says, 'To me, [this band] are in the same league as the Beatles or Mozart.' ...
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