My Top 10 Heavy Metal Lyricists


10) Ronnie James Dio

The guy that made geeky themes like Dungeons and Dragons cool and who’s smaller physical frame was juxtaposed with a tremendous voice and range. Whether fronting Sabbath, his own solo band, or later Heaven and Hell, Ronnie always had a vocal style all his own and lyrics that struck the inner comic book or D&D enthusiast in all of us. Even Tenacious D paid the ultimate tribute to him in their full-length film, The Pick of Destiny. Great stuff all around!

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About Jeff Kendrick 125 Articles
Jeff is one of the founders of All Axess, and was formerly a guitarist for the heavy metal band DevilDriver.


  1. Confusing list order is confusing. Surely it’s not just me? It should be counting down from 10 to 1.

    Either way, good list.

  2. I normally scoff at these ‘lists’ but I really can’t fault this one. Maybe the numbering is weird but in general an agreeable top ten. I was pleasantly surprised to find Dax Riggs in the mix, where he belongs. If you don’t know who Dax is, you better find out.

    • He should have been all ten just based on this masterpiece:

      I did it all for the nookie (c’mon)
      The nookie (c’mon)
      So you can take that cookie
      And stick it up your (yeah!)
      Stick it up your (yeah!)
      Stick it up your (yeah!)

  3. MetallicA and Pantera are 2/3 of my favourites bands ever, so finding them at the top is awesome. Maybe i’m gonna say something stupid, excuse me if I make a mistake (I’m from Argentina), but what about Tony Kakko? A friend says the music in Sonata Arctica sounds always the same, but the lyrics… Damn.

  4. CUTE list, but someone needs to get a reality check. Too many legends omitted here. And Daxx made top 10? Acid Bath rocked but not top 10

  5. A great top 10, but out of order, IMO. On the other hand, it’s a showcase of the diversity of music and the way different music affects different listeners. So in the end, this is your list, not mine. You put it out there and that’s something. I also like the fact that you seem to be thumbing your nose at your high school English teacher with every paragraph. lol “Comma, period, WGAF?”

  6. Mustaine should be number one. His lyrics on Rust In Peace, SFSGSW, Countdown to Extinction and Youthanasia are second to none. I love Phil Anselmo, he’s a very talented frontman and his lyrics can be great on some albums (looking at you, TGST, NOLA and Over the Under), but this number one spot is undeserved. Chuck Schuldiner should remplace Hetfield as number two, he wrote very thoughtful lyrics, especially on the last 3 albums. I would have also included Jon Nödtveidt. And as much as I respect Dio, his lyrics are pretty much the worse thing about his music. They’re as cheesy and derivative as you can get. I get you can be geeky in your subject matters, but Steve Harris and Geezer Butler are better at it.

    • Thoughtful doesnt equal good lyrics. Chuck Schuldiner had excellent lyrics since leprosy(check the song pull the plug).

  7. I have to admit, when I saw Anselmo ahead of Hetfield and Mustaine I thought, wtf? But truth be told I dont know his lyrics well enough to judge. Itd have to be over the top amazing to beat out those too though.

    • Man, I agree with you. Huge Pantera fan here, but Phil Anselmo’s lyrics range from mediocre to downright idiotic. What was the author thinking??

  8. this list was obviously made by a 15 year-old…… most important metal lyric-gods are almost all missing: John Arch, Geezer Butler, Chuck Schuldiner, Geoff Tate….. and most likely the greatest heavy metal lyricist of all time Martin Walkyier…..

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