13 Incredible Bands Similar To Iron Maiden

Written by Dan Farrant

Iron Maiden, the British heavy metal giant, has been a powerful force in music since 1975. With albums like Killers and The Number of the Beast, they became a significant figure in the metal community.

More than just a band, they’ve been a beacon of inspiration, influencing a multitude of musicians to mirror their distinct sound. This has led to the emergence of a new wave of bands, each carrying a piece of Iron Maiden’s legacy.

In this post, we will explore 13 incredible bands like Iron Maiden to give you some new bands for your playlist. Let’s get started.

Iron Maiden by Stéphane Gallay (CC BY 2.0)

1. Judas Priest

Often mentioned alongside Iron Maiden, Judas Priest has been a dominant force in the music industry for over three decades.

Selling more than 50 million albums worldwide, Judas Priest boasts a vast discography that spans diverse subgenres of rock and metal. One prime example of their massive success is the hit song “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’,” which took the world by storm during the ‘80s.

Other standout tracks to explore are “Breaking the Law,” “Living After Midnight,” “Hell Bent for Leather,” and “Evening Star.”

Although some might argue that Iron Maiden’s stage sets give them an edge in live performances, there is no denying both groups have significantly influenced subsequent generations within the ever-evolving landscape of music genres.

2. Black Sabbath

Considered pioneers of heavy metal music, Black Sabbath formed in Birmingham, England, in 1968. Tony Iommi (guitars), Bill Ward (drums), Geezer Butler (bass), and Ozzy Osbourne (vocals) joined forces to create a darker and heavier sound than anything the world had heard before.

You can trace their influence throughout the genre’s development, with bands such as Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, and Electric Wizard drawing inspiration from their groundbreaking work.

Over the years, the band has been acknowledged for their work, including inductions into the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006. In 2019, they received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Black Sabbath’s career reached almost five decades but with many hiatuses in between. Though they disbanded in 2017, they continue to be influential in the heavy metal genre, with their legacy inspiring and shaping the music of countless artists across the globe.

3. Dio

A name that is familiar in the world of heavy metal is Dio. This band, led by Ronnie James Dio, was formed in 1982 and was known for their thunderous sound and dramatic lyrics.

Comparisons to Iron Maiden are inevitable. Both bands have a rich, layered sound. Furthermore, both emerged during the surge of heavy metal in the early ’80s and have been instrumental in shaping the genre.

Their debut album, Holy Diver, is a testament to their signature style, featuring tracks that became anthems in the heavy metal community, like “Rainbow in the Dark.” Some of their other popular tracks are “Holy Diver” and “The Last in the Line.”

When Ronnie passed away in 2010 due to stomach cancer, the remaining members continued to release live albums, but no new studio albums have been forthcoming.

4. Helloween

Our next group, the power metal band Helloween, has been around since 1984. Hailing from Hamburg, they are part of a thriving heavy metal music scene in Germany.

One of their most iconic works is their Keeper of the Seven Keys series. Part I and II, released in 1987 and 1988, respectively, are considered seminal albums in the power metal genre. The series showcases the band’s talent in creating memorable music.

One interesting fact about Helloween is that they supported Iron Maiden on their Seventh Tour of a Seventh Son back in the late ‘80s. This tour exposed them to a wider audience and helped establish them as a band to follow in the German music industry.

If you’re into Iron Maiden’s signature sound and themes, then there’s no doubt you’ll love Helloween too! Their music features dark lyrics with gothic influences, making them perfect for anyone looking for Halloween-themed music or just some good old-fashioned heavy metal.

5. Slayer

Emerging in the early 1980s, American heavy metal band Slayer took the music scene by storm. Their reputation and influence have grown so much that they are now counted among the Big Four thrash metal bands, a prestigious group that also includes Metallica, Megadeth, and Anthrax.

Slayer started out playing covers of these iconic bands before developing their own music. Songs like “Raining Blood” and “Angel of Death” best encapsulate their sound—fast, aggressive, and unrelenting.

Live performances by Slayer are experiences unto themselves. The band’s stage presence is powerful and commanding, with intense light shows and pyrotechnics adding to the spectacle.

It is undeniable that they’ve inspired countless bands and helped shape the sound of thrash metal. Sadly, in 2018, Slayer embarked on their farewell tour, signaling the end of an era. But their legacy is far from over.

6. Megadeth

Another iconic band that is considered similar to Iron Maiden is Megadeth. Founded by vocalist/guitarist Dave Mustaine in 1983 after his departure from Metallica, Megadeth has been serving a potent blend of thrash and heavy metal for decades.

One of the band’s most significant accomplishments is their sixth studio album, Countdown to Extinction, which debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200 in 1992. The album marked a shift towards a more accessible sound, and its success cemented Megadeth’s status as one of the leading bands in the thrash metal scene.

However, Megadeth’s journey hasn’t been without controversy. From lineup changes to Mustaine’s well-publicized struggles with substance abuse, the band has faced its share of challenges. Yet they’ve always emerged stronger, channeling their experiences into their music.

7. Metallica

Emerging from the burgeoning thrash metal scene of the early 1980s, Metallica quickly established themselves as a force to be reckoned with. Founded by drummer Lars Ulrich and vocalist/guitarist James Hetfield, the band has since become synonymous with heavy metal itself, just like Iron Maiden.

From their early raw and aggressive sound to their more melodic and nuanced later work, Metallica’s evolution has been nothing short of extraordinary.

The band’s lineup, solidified with lead guitarist Kirk Hammett and bassist Robert Trujillo, has been instrumental in shaping their distinctive sound—a potent mix of rapid-fire riffs, complex arrangements, and emotionally charged lyrics.

One cannot discuss Metallica’s accomplishments without mentioning the Black Album, their self-titled fifth studio album. Released in 1991, it debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 and spawned several hit singles, including “Enter Sandman” and “The Unforgiven.” To date, it has sold over 16 million copies in the United States alone, making it the best-selling album of the SoundScan era.

8. Anthrax

Pioneering the thrash metal scene of the 1980s, Anthrax came out of New York City with a sound that would leave a lasting mark on the genre.

Formed by rhythm guitarist Scott Ian and bassist Dan Lilker in 1981, they soon joined the ranks of the Big Four in thrash metal alongside Metallica, Megadeth, and Slayer.

Over their career, they’ve released 11 studio albums to critical acclaim. Their fifth album, Persistence of Time, earned a Grammy nod and displayed their maturing sound.

Despite lineup changes, Anthrax’s energetic performances and genre-blending experiments, like the collaboration with Public Enemy on “Bring the Noise,” have kept them relevant. Four decades later, they remain key influencers in the heavy metal scene.

9. Accept

German heavy metal band Accept formed in the late 1970s. They are known for their speed metal sound, which they helped popularize alongside bands like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest.

Some of their biggest albums include Restless & Wild, Balls to the Wall, and Metal Heart. These are filled with popular songs that many heavy metal fans love. The song “Balls to the Wall,” for example, talks about fighting against unfair systems, showing how Accept often mixes meaningful messages with their music.

Accept’s impact on music goes beyond just their songs. They’ve inspired many other bands and have helped shape what heavy metal music sounds like today. Even after changes in the band and over 40 years of making music, they continue to be important in the music scene.

10. Saxon

Another British heavy metal band often mentioned in the same breath as Iron Maiden is Saxon. Like their contemporaries, Saxon’s music is characterized by hard-hitting riffs and soaring vocals that have earned them a place among the most influential bands of the genre.

Led by vocalist Biff Byford, Saxon has been making music since 1977 and has released over 23 studio albums in their career. They have also toured extensively worldwide, playing to audiences who can’t get enough of their signature sound.

With hits like “Wheels of Steel,” “Denim and Leather,” “747 (Strangers in the Night),” and “Princess of the Night,” Saxon has established themselves as one of the greatest bands in metal history.

11. Motorhead

Legendary rock band Motörhead formed in London in 1975. Led by Lemmy Kilmister, they became known for their heavy metal and punk rock sound and helped reshape heavy metal.

Their self-titled debut album in 1977 was a head-turner, but it was the next release, Overkill, that solidified their place in the annals of heavy metal. The album’s title track, with its double-pedal drumming, became a staple of the genre.

Lemmy’s unique vocals, powerful bass, and mutton chops and mole became Motörhead trademarks. They collaborated with diverse artists, from The Damned to WWE wrestlers. Their hit “Ace of Spades” appeared in films, ads, and games, making them cultural staples.

Motörhead’s aggressive style laid the groundwork for thrash metal and inspired bands like Metallica, Slayer, and Iron Maiden. Their impact on music is monumental, and their legacy continues to resonate.

12. Testament

Formed in 1983, Testament is a thrash metal band hailing from California. Initially known as Legacy, the band’s current lineup consists of Eric Peterson (rhythm guitar), Chuck Billy (lead vocals), Alex Skolnick (lead guitar), Gene Hoglan (drums), and Steve Di Giorgio (bass).

Their journey began with their debut album, The Legacy, in 1987. The album set the tone for their aggressive yet melodic style, which has become a defining characteristic of their music. They went on to release 12 more albums in their four-decade career.

Like Iron Maiden, Testament has played a crucial role in shaping the thrash metal genre. Despite changes in the music landscape, they have remained consistent, continuously producing music that stays true to their roots while still pushing boundaries.

13. Blind Guardian

Yet another German power metal band hits this list as a group similar to Iron Maiden. Blind Guardian has been making music since the mid-1980s. They debuted in 1988 with Battalions of Fear but received commercial breakthrough with Nightfall in Middle-Earth in 1998.

Nightfall in Middle-Earth is a concept album based on J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion. Taking the #7 spot on the German chart, the album has become a fan favorite. The standout track “Mirror Mirror” is often regarded as one of their greatest hits.

Just like Iron Maiden’s impact on heavy metal, Blind Guardian has left a big mark on the power metal scene. They’ve inspired countless bands with their innovative approach and continue to shape the genre to this day.

Summing Up Our List Of Bands Like Iron Maiden

And there you have it, readers! These bands each bring their own unique flavor to the world of heavy metal while echoing some of the elements that make Iron Maiden so iconic.

We hope this article has not only been informative but also introduced you to some potential new favorites.

However, the world of music is vast and ever-changing. If you think we missed any bands that deserve a spot on this list, let us know so we can add them here!

Photo of author

Dan Farrant, the founder of Hello Music Theory, has been teaching music for over 15 years, helping hundreds of thousands of students unlock the joy of music. He graduated from The Royal Academy of Music in 2012 and then launched Hello Music Theory in 2014. He plays the guitar, piano, bass guitar and double bass and loves teaching music theory.