The 10 Best Canadian Metal Bands

Nuclear Blast

Heavy metal is without a doubt a world wide phenomena. We have in the past focused on various countries that export heavy metal music, but we have neglected our neighbors to the north, Canada, where many talented and influential metal bands have emerged from, and continue to do so. Here's our list of the top 10 Canadian Metal bands.

10. 3 Inches of Blood
Formed in 1999, this band proudly represented the sound of traditional British Heavy Metal from the start. With plenty of guitar solos and virtuosic musicianship, the band’s use of high pitch vocals and a retro metal sound gained them many fans who loved the band's newly polished sense of nostalgia. But as time evolved, the band also dabbled with heavier, more extreme sounds only to eventually return to its roots of New Wave of British Heavy Metal worship with a new school version of power metal. This was a contemporary band for fans of classics like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and even the commercial success of Gun N' Roses. The only irony is that 3IOB’s last album was entitled Long Live Heavy Metal (2012), and turned out to be its last. The band broke up in 2015.

9. Skull Fist
Founded in Toronto in 2006, this is an up-and-coming metal band that is part of a scene and generation hell bent on bringing back traditional heavy metal sound back, while adding in doses of extreme metal, speed metal, power metal and punk. The result is an amalgam of heavy metal madness that has ensued with Skull Fist’s two full length records, Head of the Pack (2011) and Chasing the Dream (2014). Fans of the new breed and old school will dig and appreciate this Canadian metal band who have worked their asses off touring all over North and South America and abroad, including Europe.

8. Kittie
From a band of pissed off teenage girls who got into heavy metal in 1996, Kittie has evolved over the decades to change the way that the metal community in Canada and around the world has viewed female bands. Addressing head on issues of sexism but proving that metal is not a male exclusive club, Kittie has stood on its own, and has broken free from the initial categorization of nu metal, to incorporate elements of industrial, alternative, melodic hard rock and extreme metal into its sound, with the Lander sisters Morgan (singer/vocalist) and Mercedes(drummer) still at the helm. Kittie has sold millions of units world wide and earned just as many adorning fans with its heavy touring cycle, and have directly influenced so many talented female musicians to participate in the world of heavy metal and punk either in bands with males or all female bands.

7. Kataklysm
A death metal band from Montreal, Kataklysm's journey as a death metal band began in 1991. The band’s early catalog is very raw and monstrous, with hellish sounds and razor sharp riffs that slice through listener's ears like needles. One thing that has been consistent with the band over the years is the drumming, constantly retaining the precision and speed of a machine gun the blast beats and smashing snare drum patterns have been there since day one. The band’s apocalyptic brand of death metal has progressed over the years to include some hints of melody and thrash and blackened epic darkness, but at the center is a brutal death metal band. The band has released over twelve studio albums, and features in its ranks drummer Oli Beaudoin, bassist Stephane Barbe and original members, singer Maurizio Iacono and guitarist Jean-Francois Dagenais.

6. Cryptopsy
This Canadian death metal band splices hints of grind and horrorfic elements of experimental music using sound clips and samples to create very guttural, avant grade sound. The hard hitting and sped up drumming the band became known for was courtesy of Flo Mounier, who actually joined the band in 1992. The skull smashing power and force of the band shows itself time and time again with albums such as the full length debut, 1994’s Blasphemy Made Flesh, the seminal None So Vile (1996), or 1998’s Whisper Supremacy, and the newer self-titled masterpiece from 2012. The band's image and sound will always evoke eternal and majestic death metal, despite the numerous line up changes over the years.


Perhaps one of the biggest selling of Canadian Metal bands, Annihilator is also known as one of the most influential. Having sold millions of records, mostly outside of Canada, Annihilator combine classic heavy metal and thrashy power metal overtones. Early on in their career, in the mid '80s, Annihilator toured with bands like Onslaught, Testament, Judas Priest and a little known band at the time, Pantera. With 15 full length albums under its belt the band still lashes out musically with a sold serving of retro heavy metal madness. With multiple line up changes, guitarist and backing vocalist Jeff Waters remains the only original member from the band’s history.

4. Razor
With guitarist and founding member Dave Carlo, Razor was born in 1984. A savage attack of uncompromising speed metal in high doses and loud decibels, Razor is a staple in the formative history of Canadian thrash metal. Looked at as veterans of the Canadian, and North American thrash metal movement, the and has accumulated tens of thousands of fans world wide. Of the band’s 11 studio albums, several released from the '90s are being remastered and rereleased through Relapse Records. These include Shotgun Justice (1990) and Open Hostility (1991), both very fast and in your face full of fist pumping rage and violence. Since the early days, Razor have always been about aggression and speed. With Carlo being the only original member, the band battles on to this day and is scheduled to appear at the California Death fest in mid April, in Oakland.

3. Exciter
This band is one of the earliest, if not the earliest heavy metal band to emerge from Canada, which spawned the thrash metal movement in the country. Exciter’s first line up in the early 1980s consisted of vocalist/drummer Dan Beehler, guitarist John Ricci and bass player Allan Johnson. The Ottawa, Ontario band’s second album, Violence & Force is a slab of classic speed metal and sounds of early Metallica and strong hints of virtuosity style songs a la Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. These guys had the breakneck speed and chops to back up their interpretation of thrash metal, and in the mid '80s they shared the stage with everyone from Anthrax and Megadeth to Merciful Fate and Manowar. To date, the band’s career has spawned over three decades and counting. Exciter has created 11 studio albums, and have toured the globe. The original line up is still intact and will destroy audiences in Los Angeles, on April 23, with the contemporary thrash metal bands like Warbringer, Merciless Death, and a swath of others at 333 Live. This show is sure to be an old school retro head banger’s playground.

2. Anvil
As one of the very first heavy metal bands to come out of Canada in the mid' 70s, the story of Anvil is a fractured, demented story of characters, musicians and personalities, all of whom made up an influential band to thrash metal’s Big 4 artists, Anthrax, Megadeth, Slayer and Metallica. With the Toronto band’s early work, the blend of rustic, yet vibrant New Wave of British Heavy Metal guitar work was codified with a solid heavy metal musician attitude. But by 1986, the band’s notoriety in Canada and most other parts of the world faded out and the band fell into obscurity. Yet, through it all, the band fought on and continued to play gigs and record albums that were self released all up into 2007. At one point in the late '90s early 2000s, the band’s only marketwise Germany, where they marketed their albums and tours. But in 2008, the band’s name, brand and nostalgic proto thrash metal was catapulted into the consciousness with the documentary film Anvil: the Story of Anvil, which landed the band some retroactive success and appreciation. The band has been on tour and continues to make records to this day, with original members, singer/guitarist Steve ‘Lips’ Kudlow and drummer Robb Reiner.

1. Voivod
This Canadian band began as a pure thrash metal act in the early 1980s, but has since evolved over the course of three decades, to have carved out its own niche in the metal, punk and hard rock world. Voivod has proved itself to withstand all fads and trends, and is an iconoclast among metal bands. From the early albums and the raw, primitive speed metal sound to a more alternative, progressive and apocalyptic approach to rock music, the band still continues on, despite the death of original guitarist Denis "Piggy" D'Amour in 2005. At one point, in the early 2000s, the band even featured longtime fan and friend, former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted, who performed bass duties on the band’s tenth self-titled album, and the final one with Piggy, in 2003. Many fans and critics also mention that Voivod’s debut 1984 album, War and Pain is similar in style sound and nature to Metallica’s 1983 debut, Kill Em All.

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