1. Ronnie James Dio (Black Sabbath, Dio)
2. Rob Halford (Judas Priest)
3. Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden)
4. Eric Adams (Manowar)
5. Geoff Tate (Queensrÿche)
6. King Diamond (Mercyful Fate, King Diamond)
7. Tom Araya (Slayer)
8. John Bush (Armored Saint/Anthrax)
9. James Hetfield (Metallica)
10. Max Cavalera (Sepultura, Soulfly)
I thought it was pretty well-rounded, anyway. The only quibble I have is the inclusion of Tom Araya. Confession time, maybe: Back when I was dipping my toes into the metal pool, I bought Slayer’s Reign in Blood. I had heard a lot of good things about it and was curious to see how it sounded. Suffice it to say I was not really impressed by it, and Tom Araya’s vocal style was pretty much the beginning and end of the reason for that. It had pretty awesome guitars and all (RIP Jeff Hanneman), but Araya’s…how to put this….half-chant-half-yell just never did anything for me. I would probably have replaced him with Dave Mustaine or Lemmy Kilmister if it had been my list to make. I would guess both of them rank in the top 20…at least I would hope they do, at any rate.
And, yeah, despite his recent crowning as the Eternal Supreme Douchebag of the Metal Universe, Geoff Tate deserves his place on this list. Dude can’t hold a note to save his life anymore, but he was damn near untouchable back in the day. While I am 100 percent behind Queensryche with Todd La Torre — and while I do think Eddie Jackson, Michael Wilton, and Scott Rockenfield are master musicians in their own right — it was Geoff Tate’s vocals that drew me to the band’s music as much as the musical arrangements themselves.
I was quite amused at some of the comments about who should have been included. One commenter suggested the inclusion of Aaron Lewis because of his covers of songs from metal bands like Stone Temple Pilots and Shinedown. Yes, really. I do like both of those bands, but I certainly never thought of them as metal. Another suggestion was Paul Rodgers — and while I think Paul Rodgers is great, the closest he’s ever gotten to metal is Paul Kossoff’s 1957/’63 Fender Stratocaster, which is now played by Iron Maiden guitarist Dave Murray.
I do wonder, though, how the list would look if they just included more current bands like Kamelot or Symphony X, or perhaps just took into account certain bands’ non-original lead singers…