13 Incredible Bands Similar To Judas Priest

Written by Dan Farrant

Crank up the volume because we’re about to dive into the world of heavy metal that Judas Priest helped shape. This band, known for their dual guitar assaults and Rob Halford’s soaring vocals, has influenced legions of rockers.

Their songs, like “Breaking the Law,” and their iconic leather-and-studs look, have become synonymous with heavy metal. But they’re not the only ones who know how to rock.

Want to discover more bands that bring the same kind of energy? Stick around as we delve into 13 incredible bands like Judas Priest. Let’s get started!

Judas Priest by Aaron Rubin (CC BY-SA 4.0)

1. Iron Maiden

Hailing from the UK and forming their identity in 1975, Iron Maiden emerged and soon became a cornerstone of the heavy metal genre. Much like Judas Priest, they played a significant role in the new wave of British heavy metal movement, championing a unique sound characterized by intricate guitar riffs and captivating vocal melodies.

Their musical mastery is evident throughout their discography. Timeless albums like The Number of the Beast and Piece of Mind boast hits such as “Run to the Hills” and “Hallowed Be Thy Name,” which have become anthems for fans across the globe.

Iron Maiden’s talent hasn’t gone unnoticed. They’ve been honored with the Ivor Novello Award for International Achievement in 2002. They have also been nominated for multiple Grammy Awards, winning in 2011 for Best Metal Performance for the single “El Dorado.”

Known for their high-energy live performances, Iron Maiden’s influence continues to echo throughout the music industry this day. In fact, their latest album, Senjutsu (2021), took the #3 spot on Billboard 200.

2. Black Sabbath

Often hailed as the pioneers of heavy metal music, Black Sabbath was formed in Birmingham, England, in 1968. Much like Judas Priest, Black Sabbath was instrumental in pioneering a distinctive sound that would become synonymous with heavy metal.

Their music, characterized by Tony Iommi’s heavy guitar riffs and Ozzy Osbourne’s distinct vocals, created a blueprint for the genre. The band’s debut album, released on Friday the 13th in 1970, took listeners by storm with its dark themes and powerful sound.

Over time, they have had several line-up changes featuring notable singers from other legendary bands, such as Ronnie James Dio from Rainbow and Ian Gillan from Deep Purple, but these changes did not slow them down.

Black Sabbath’s works have earned them places in both the UK Music Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2019, they were also awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, recognizing their significant contributions to the music industry.

3. Saxon

From Barnsley, England, the rock band Saxon stormed onto the music scene in 1977. As pioneers of the new wave of British heavy metal (NWOBHM), they forged their distinct sound alongside Iron Maiden and Judas Priest.

They debuted in 1979 with an eponymous album, but their breakthrough came with the release of their second studio album in 1980, Wheels of Steel‘. The album, which peaked at #5 in the UK Albums Chart, included hits such as “747 (Strangers in the Night)” and the title track.

Among their many accomplishments and accolades over four decades, Saxon played a crucial role in shaping the early sound of classic rock giants like Metallica and Megadeth.

Saxon’s dedication to complex rock music has made them icons within the industry and earned them a place among fans’ hearts worldwide. People who appreciate Judas Priest’s intense music and powerful vocals—such as those provided by Rob Halford—will find Saxon right up their alley.

4. Dio

In 1982 Cortland, New York, a band burst onto the heavy metal scene with a sound as bold and powerful as its legendary frontman’s voice. This band was Dio, led by the incomparable Ronnie James Dio, whose career had already seen him fronting bands like Rainbow and Black Sabbath.

With hits like “Rainbow in the Dark,” “Holy Diver,” and “The Last In Line,” Dio gained immense popularity among fans of rock music worldwide.

Much like Judas Priest, Dio’s live performances were an essential part of their appeal. Their shows were theatrical spectacles, complete with elaborate stage sets and effects. Ronnie James, with his commanding stage presence and impressive vocal range, was a natural showman who wowed audiences.

In 2009, Ronnie James was diagnosed with stomach cancer. Despite this, he continued to make music and perform, showing his unwavering passion for his craft. Sadly, on May 16, 2010, he lost his battle with cancer. His death marked the end of an era for the band Dio.

5. Accept

Formed in 1976 in the town of Solingen, the German band Accept initially consisted of guitarist Wolf Hoffmann, vocalist Udo Dirkschneider, and bassist Peter Baltes. Their early days were filled with finding their sound, building a fan base, and landing that elusive record deal.

They gradually developed a sound characterized by powerful, simple riffs and aggressive tempos. This sound, much like Judas Priest, blended traditional heavy metal elements with their own unique twists, setting the stage for their rise to fame.

Accept’s breakthrough came in 1983 with the release of their fifth studio album, Balls to the Wall. The title track quickly became a fan favorite and remains one of their most popular songs to this day. Accept went on to produce albums that spanned the spectrum of heavy metal, from speed metal to power ballads.

While members have come and gone over the years, the spirit of Accept remains strong. They continue to produce new music and perform live, thrilling audiences worldwide with their electrifying performances.

6. Manowar

New York heavy metal band Manowar is known for their glorious and epic sound that combines mythology with Judas Priest-like rage. Their music draws influences from traditional heavy metal bands, showing that the old school still has a place in today’s music scene.

Since their inception in 1980, they’ve created an extensive discography, with standout tracks like “Warriors of the World United” and “Kings of Metal” exemplifying their signature sound.

Manowar has also made their mark in the Guinness Book of Records, not once but twice, for being the loudest band in the world. Their 1984 performance in Hanover, Germany, measured at a staggering 129.5 decibels, overtaking the previous record held by The Who.

Over the years, they’ve amassed a significant following, with over 1.3 million likes on their official Facebook page and more than a million monthly listeners on Spotify. And despite having some lineup changes, Manowar has remained active, touring across multiple countries and continuing to release new music.

7. Motörhead

When speaking of hard rock and speed metal, Motörhead will come to mind. Formed in London in 1975, the band was the brainchild of the one and only Lemmy Kilmister, who joined forces with Larry Wallis on guitar and Lucas Fox on drums.

Their aggressive lyrics and high-energy performances make them a natural choice for fans of Judas Priest. Their discography is a testament to their relentless drive. With over 20 studio albums, they’ve given us anthems like “Ace of Spades” and “Overkill,” songs that hit you like a shot of adrenaline and leave your ears ringing for days.

The band went through numerous lineup changes, but Kilmister remained the steadfast captain, steering the ship through the stormy seas of the music industry. Sadly, the world said goodbye to this rock-and-roll icon in 2015, marking the end of the Motörhead era.

8. Scorpions

Next up is the German rock band Scorpions. They are known for their heavy metal sound, just like Judas Priest, and have captivated audiences with their music since 1965.

Throughout their career, Scorpions has blessed us with hit songs that have become the soundtrack of generations. Notable among these are “Still Loving You,” “Wind of Change,” and “Rock You Like a Hurricane.”

However, every rock-and-roll journey has its bumps. The band’s lineup experienced several changes, but like true rock stars, Scorpions took it in stride. Their passion for music remained unwavering, and they have continued to churn out hits that reverberated in arenas across the globe.

Today, Scorpions is celebrated as one of the most successful rock bands ever to take the stage. With millions of records sold worldwide and a career spanning over half a century, they’ve proven that age is just a number when you’re born to rock.

9. Rainbow

After Deep Purple disbanded in the mid-1970s, guitarist Ritchie Blackmore went on to form the heavy metal group Rainbow in 1975. As part of the evolution of heavy metal music in the late ’70s and early ’80s, Rainbow played an essential role in the genre alongside Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, and Iron Maiden.

Rainbow’s discography is a treasure trove of rock anthems. They debuted with Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, introducing the world to their incredible talent. Successful in its release, it landed at #11 on UK’s chart.

However, it was their sophomore album, Rising, that truly captured their innovative sound. The album’s opening track, “Tarot Woman,” with its haunting keyboard intro, and the epic “Stargazer” are prime examples of Rainbow’s musical prowess.

Though Rainbow has had several breaks and lineup changes since their start, they continue to tour and remain a symbol in the rock music landscape.

10. Megadeth

After singer-songwriter Dave Mustaine parted ways with Metallica, he formed Megadeth in 1983. Wanting to create music that was faster and heavier than his former band, they became one of the big four of thrash metal, alongside Metallica, Slayer, and Anthrax.

Their debut album, Killing Is My Business… and Business Is Good!, set the tone for their aggressive sound, but it was their fifth album, Countdown to Extinction, that solidified their status as thrash metal legends. This album contains Megadeth’s most popular song, “Symphony of Destruction.”

Throughout their career, the band’s lineup changed several times, with Mustaine being the only constant member. However, the band’s most iconic lineup included Mustaine, Ellefson, guitarist Marty Friedman, and drummer Nick Menza. This lineup was responsible for some of Megadeth’s most successful works, including the abovementioned Countdown album.

11. Slayer

One of history’s most influential thrash metal bands, Slayer was formed in Southern California in 1981. The band members were heavily influenced by traditional heavy metal bands like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden and punk rock bands like Bad Brains.

Slayer’s music is characterized by fast tempos, aggressive guitar riffs, and dark lyrics that often touch on controversial topics like religion and politics. Their intense live shows have earned them a reputation as one of the heaviest and loudest bands.

Over the years, Slayer has released multiple albums that are considered classics within the thrash metal community, including Reign in Blood, South of Heaven, and Seasons in the Abyss. Tracks like “Angel of Death” and “Raining Blood” became instant classics.

Despite facing their fair share of trials, including founder Jeff Hanneman’s untimely death in 2013, Slayer continued to deliver electrifying performances and produce hard-hitting music until their retirement in 2019.

12. Anthrax

One of the big four of thrash metal, Anthrax has rocked audiences worldwide for over 40 years. Formed in New York City in 1981, they’re also among the first thrash metal groups hailing from the East Coast.

Anthrax’s breakthrough came with their third album, Among the Living, released in 1987. Songs like “I Am the Law” and “Indians” showed off their great potential and skill in creating aggressively fast music.

Following this, Anthrax continued to release critically acclaimed albums, including their highest-charting hit Sound of White Noise. Their discography is a testament to their evolution as musicians and their commitment to pushing the boundaries of thrash metal.

13. Metallica

Discussing heavy metal bands like Judas Priest is not complete without mentioning the legendary Metallica. The Los Angeles, California, the band was formed in 1981 by vocalist/guitarist James Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich.

Metallica’s sound has evolved over the years from thrash to a more mainstream hard rock style, demonstrating their dynamic musical prowess.

Their discography has many notable albums. After the release of Metallica in 1991, often referred to as the Black Album, they enjoyed a series of chart-topping releases until this day, including Load, Reload, and Death Magnetic.

One of their most popular songs, “Enter Sandman,” from the Black Album, is a fan favorite, as well as “Master of Puppets” and “Nothing Else Matters.”

Recently, Metallica has been touring for their latest release, 72 Seasons, offering fans an exciting opportunity to see them perform live. The band’s future plans are eagerly anticipated by fans and critics alike.

Summing Up Our List Of Bands Like Judas Priest

In wrapping up, the influence of Judas Priest continues to resound in the music of these bands, with each one adding their unique twist to the classic Priest blueprint.

We hope that this exploration has not only deepened your appreciation for Judas Priest’s enduring impact but also introduced you to some potential new favorites.

With many heavy metal bands out there, we might have missed some deserving to be on this list. Let us know who, and we’ll 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.