One of the most influential and commercially successful heavy metal bands is Black Sabbath. They have contributed to the genre since their formation in 1968 until their disbandment in 2017.
With five decades in the music industry, it’s no wonder they are regarded as the pioneers of heavy metal. Not only that. They were also monumental influencers in doom, stoner, and hard rock genres. Their powerful riffs and dark lyrical themes have inspired musicians to experiment with their sound.
In this post, we will explore 14 amazing bands like Black Sabbath that carry the torch for groundbreaking music while adding their unique twist. Read on!
1. Led Zeppelin
Few bands can measure up to what Led Zeppelin has accomplished in the music industry. They are popular, influential, and among the best-selling artists of all time.
In 10 years, the band has released eight studio albums that brought them commercial success. Some of their most popular songs include “Stairway to Heaven,” “Ramble On,” and “Whole Lotta Love.”
Led Zeppelin is often compared to Black Sabbath due to their significant influence on the development of heavy metal music. The band’s sound combined blues, folk, and complex rock elements, setting the stage for future heavy metal artists.
Although both bands emerged similarly, they carved out distinct niches within the world of hard rock and heavy metal. Black Sabbath leaned more toward dark themes and lyrics exploring topics such as war and social unrest. On the other hand, Led Zeppelin’s music offered a wider variety encompassing various musical styles.
As both bands helped establish critical aspects of heavy metal music, they served as an influence on bands who followed in their footsteps.
2. Deep Purple
Did you know that Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and Deep Purple make up the “unholy trinity of British hard rock and heavy metal in the early to mid-seventies”? These bands emerged as pivotal forces in defining heavy metal during its early years.
Deep Purple emerged in 1968 as a psychedelic and progressive rock band. By 1970, they showcased a heavier sound in their album Deep Purple in Rock. Some of their popular songs are “Black Night,” “Fireball,” and “Strange Kind of Woman.”
As both Deep Purple and Black Sabbath emerged in the same era, it’s not surprising that they are always compared to each other. Both are renowned for their dynamic fusion of classic rock and roll elements with heavier guitar riffs.
Decades later, Deep Purple continues to impact the heavy metal and hard rock genres. They are an influence on new musicians who find their discography impressive.
3. Judas Priest
Formed in Birmingham, England, Judas Priest has firmly established itself as one of the most influential heavy metal bands ever. Since their formation in 1969, they have sold more than 50 million albums.
But it wasn’t a smooth ride for the band at the start. It took them more than 10 years before they experienced their first mainstream success with the album British Steel. It produced the singles “United,” “Breaking the Law,” and “Living After Midnight.”
As Judas Priest and Black Sabbath are heavy metal bands and existed in the same era, they often found themselves performing in the same places. One such event was in 1985 during the Live Aid in Philadelphia.
In addition, both bands solidified their place in rock music. They consistently pushed boundaries and redefined heavy metal music over decades-long careers.
4. Blue Öyster Cult
Another hard rock band that can be compared to Black Sabbath is Blue Öyster Cult. They came together in New York in 1967. Their music is characterized by a fusion of various genres like heavy metal, psychedelic rock, and progressive rock.
Some of the band’s songs include “Burnin’ For You,” “Godzilla,” and “(Don’t Fear) the Reaper.” Their discography consists of 15 studio albums released between 1972 and 2020. Throughout their career, they sold 25 million records worldwide.
Black Sabbath heavily influenced Blue Öyster Cult. In fact, the latter was initially dubbed “America’s answer to Black Sabbath.” And they often found themselves moving in the same circle. In 1980, they co-headlined a tour they called “Black and Blue” in support of Blue Öyster Cult’s album, Cultösaurus Erectus.
5. Iron Maiden
The English heavy metal band Iron Maiden has since become one of the most influential bands in the genre. They were formed in 1975 and have been compared to Black Sabbath due to their similar genre.
Iron Maiden’s sound features electric guitars, powerful vocals, and driving drum beats. Since their formation, they have released an impressive 41 albums and played 2500 live shows!
In terms of musical influence, Iron Maiden drew inspiration from Black Sabbath and other notable hard rock bands like Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. Their music has also influenced subsequent generations of metal musicians over the years.
Iron Maiden’s legacy in heavy metal music cannot be overstated. They remain a beloved fixture of rock and roll history with a devoted fan base spanning multiple generations.
One of the pioneers of the subgenre of doom metal, and heavy metal in general, is Pentagram. The American band emerged from Washington, D.C., and has been associated with Black Sabbath. Pentagram and other influential bands have been credited with keeping occult rock alive.
One reason why Pentagram and Black Sabbath are compared is due to the latter’s influence. In fact, Pentagram’s music resembles the first few releases of Black Sabbath. Both featured heavier sounds and dark lyrical themes.
Throughout Pentagram’s career, they released eight albums, two live albums, and eight compilation albums. While they did not achieve widespread commercial success like Black Sabbath, Pentagram remains an essential influence on heavy metal music today.
Up next is Candlemass, a pioneering epic doom metal band from Sweden. Established in 1984, the band has been known for its heavy bass and classic doom sound.
Black Sabbath has a huge influence on Candlemass, most especially on the band’s bassist and songwriter, Leif Edling. The band recorded their version of Sabbath Medley as a tribute to the pioneering metal band.
Candlemass is also considered one of the “big four” pioneers of doom alongside Pentagram, Trouble, and Saint Vitus.
Between 1984 and 2022, Candlemass released 13 studio albums. They toured extensively until the 1990s before disbanding in 1994. Candlemass reunited in 1997, broke up in 2002, and reunited once again in 2004.
Candlemass undoubtedly wouldn’t be where they are today without Black Sabbath’s impact on rock music and heavy metal.
8. Saint Vitus
Before they were Saint Vitus, they called themselves Tyrant. This American doom metal band was established in Los Angeles in 1978. They are one of the “big four” pioneers of doom and loved to incorporate psychedelic elements into their music.
Black Sabbath was among the bands that heavily influenced Saint Vitus. In fact, they changed their name to Saint Vitus after the Black Sabbath’s 1972 song “St. Vitus Dance.”
In addition, Saint Vitus’ self-titled 1984 album was influenced by Sabbath’s signature sound. It featured slow, heavy riffs combined with melancholic lyrics. Out of nine albums, Born Too Late (1986) was considered their best.
Saint Vitus was not as successful as other doom metal bands. But they contributed to the evolution of the genre, as well as sludge metal and stoner rock.
9. Witchfinder General
The heavy metal band Witchfinder General gained popularity in the early ’80s and influenced doom metal. As with many bands of that era, Black Sabbath’s influence on their sound is undeniable.
Despite being influenced by Black Sabbath, Witchfinder General created a distinctive sound and style. Their music showcased heavy riffs and powerful vocals that appealed to their audiences.
Although they were sometimes lumped together with other sonic derivations of Black Sabbath, Witchfinder General was recognized for helping shape the new wave of British doom metal.
So if you’re looking for a sound similar to that of Black Sabbath, you should not overlook Witchfinder General. The band brought something new while still paying homage to its roots.
10. Electric Wizard
Another band that would not exist without Black Sabbath is the English doom metal outfit Electric Wizard. Their albums Come My Fanatics… and Dopethrone are landmarks in the genre.
Electric Wizard’s music is characterized as a fusion of stoner and sludge metal. Their lyrics explore themes of witchcraft, horror films, and the occult, among other things.
The band became known for their plodding hooks and distorted vocal melodies that pay homage to Black Sabbath. Heavy metal fans will appreciate the thunderous riffs and driving rhythms that Electric Wizard delivers with each track.
If you’re a fan of Black Sabbath and want more music like theirs, Electric Wizard should be on your list.
Another stoner and doom metal band that found success in the 1990s is Sleep. The trio consists of Matt Pike on guitar, Al Cisneros on bass and vocals, and Jason Roeder on drums. Some consider them the ultimate stoner rock band of their era.
Sleep’s sound can be described as slow-paced. Heavily distorted guitars create a doomy atmosphere that often evokes images of hazy, smoke-filled rooms.
Throughout their career, the band released four studio albums. Of these, Sleep’s Holy Mountain and Dopesmoker were considered the best classics of the genre. The band also released a cover of the Black Sabbath song “Snowblind.”
It’s easy to see why Sleep is considered part of the legacy left by Black Sabbath. They continued making music showcasing a blend of distortion-laced chords mixed with psychedelic elements. This was their way of paying homage to the masters who came before them.
The last band to complete the “big four” pioneers of doom metal is Trouble. They emerged in 1979, heavily influenced by Black Sabbath and Judas Priest.
Trouble drew inspiration from the psychedelic rock of the 1960s, incorporating elements like bluesy guitar riffs and dark, brooding lyrics to their songs. Notably, their albums Psalm 9 and The Skull were landmarks of the genre.
Trouble’s sound can be described as a blend of heavy metal and psychedelic rock with soulful vocals, similar to the Black Sabbath. Their music has been influential to many other bands in the genre who look up to them for inspiration.
Up next, we have the American rock band Kyuss which was formed in California in 1987. Between 1991 and 1995, Kyuss released four studio albums. One of these is Blues for the Red Sun, considered a stoner rock classic.
What makes Kyuss different from heavy metal bands is their unique blend of psychedelic and hard rock, which incorporates elements of stoner and punk rock. Their sound featured charismatic vocals, pounding drums, and heavy riffs reminiscent of Black Sabbath co-founder Tony Iommi’s signature style.
As such, Kyuss was often compared to Black Sabbath. This is unsurprising, considering that both bands exerted stoner and doom influences.
Kyuss’ legacy can still be felt today in countless bands that draw inspiration from their groundbreaking music.
To end the list, we give you Orchid, a hardcore punk band that emerged in 1997 in Amherst, Massachusetts. The band was active until 2002, during which they released several studio albums, EPs, and split records.
Notably, Black Sabbath influenced many areas of rock music, including punk. Although Orchid is a hardcore punk band, they were likely influenced by Black Sabbath.
In addition, both bands exhibited an aggressive music style. Black Sabbath favored a heavier and darker sound that evolved into heavy metal. Orchid, similarly, featured a fast and aggressive style.
Summing Up Our List Of Bands Like Black Sabbath
As our list above showed you, Black Sabbath’s influence on music has been immeasurable. The band changed the face of rock and roll forever, creating an entirely new genre of heavy metal that inspired countless artists worldwide.
So if you liked Led Zeppelin’s fusion of blues, folk, and rock, or Trouble’s music combining heavy metal and psychedelic rock, our list has everything you could ever want.
Have we missed a band that you want to see on the list? Let us know, and we will add it for you.