New York City is widely considered to be the center for arts and culture in the world. It’s a true melting pot of diversity, bringing together nearly every culture and nationality on earth to one place.
Of course, New York City is responsible for great leaps in music, be it hip-hop or experimental music. However, the heavy metal bands that defined the city cannot be discounted, merging the city’s ethos with a forward-thinking approach to heavy metal.
That said, here are the 10 greatest heavy metal bands from New York City.
Type O Negative
Type O Negative is widely regarded as one of the most unique and influential metal bands to emerge from New York City. Known for their blend of somber, doomy riffs and unforgettable melodies, the band created a sound that was both dark and melodic. Led by the late, great Peter Steele, Type O Negative’s impact on the metal scene cannot be overstated.
Anthrax is a legendary band that played a pivotal role in shaping the thrash metal genre. With their energetic performances and boundary-breaking approach, Anthrax became one of New York City’s greatest musical achievements. Their discography boasts timeless classics like “Caught In A Mosh” and “I Am The Law,” solidifying their status as metal icons.
New York’s Merauder never got the love they deserved from heavy metal on a larger scale, but their debut LP Master Killer has remained an “if you know, you know” masterpiece for real heads. Merauder helped to take hardcore in multiple directions that were totally unlike what anyone else was doing at the time; incorporating all types of metal into an insanely impactful sound.
Considered one of the pioneers of alternative metal, Helmet hails from New York City. With their low, groove-laden riffs and powerful songwriting, Helmet created a unique sound that influenced many bands to come. Albums like Meantime, Betty and Aftertaste showcased their incredible talent and cemented their place among the city’s heavy metal greats.
New York City has also produced exceptional death metal bands, and Suffocation stands out as one of the best. Known for their technical prowess and guttural vocals, Suffocation has been consistently delivering brutal and uncompromising music since the late 1980s. Their influence on the death metal genre cannot be overstated, making them a cornerstone of New York City’s metal legacy.
Immolation is another New York City-based death metal band that has garnered immense respect within the metal community. With their dark and atmospheric sound, complex song structures, and thought-provoking lyrics, Immolation has consistently pushed the boundaries of the genre. Their album “Close to a World Below” is considered a masterpiece and showcases their unique blend of technicality and brutality.
Biohazard, originating from Brooklyn, brought a fusion of hardcore punk and metal to the forefront of the New York City music scene. Their aggressive sound, socially conscious lyrics, and raw energy resonated with a diverse fanbase. Albums like “Urban Discipline” and “State of the World Address” solidified their position as one of the most influential crossover metal bands to emerge from the city.
Sick of It All
Few bands defined the attitude of growing up in New York City like Sick of it All. From their emergence in the late-80s, SOIA helped give hardcore a new path forward into a new decade. Blood, Sweat and No Tears stands up as one of the best the genre produced, and they remain steadfast in touring hard.
Prong, led by the visionary Tommy Victor, emerged from the New York City metal scene in the late 1980s. Combining elements of industrial, thrash, and groove metal, Prong created a distinct sound that set them apart. Their album “Cleansing” remains a classic, featuring the hit single “Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck” and solidifying their place in New York City’s heavy metal history.
While not traditionally categorized as a heavy metal band, Swans’ influence on the genre cannot be ignored. Formed in New York City, Swans explored dark, intense, and often experimental sounds that transcended boundaries. Their album “Children of God” showcased a blend of post-punk, industrial, and heavy elements that left a lasting impact on the New York City music scene.