News: The 10 Best NWOBHM Bands


Geoff Barton is the man that coined the phrase NWOBHM at the end of the 70s. He recently created a list with what he deems to be the ten greatest New Wave Of British Heavy Metal bands. He also includes what he feels to be the definitive lineups for each of these bands. Some of the bands are obvious, like Iron Maiden, Saxon and Def Leppard. But others, unless you’re a die-hard, you may not know or recall because they haven’t been as active, case in point, Vardis.

It is hard to argue with Maiden, Saxon and Def Leppard being the forerunners of this sub-genre. I realize that Def Leppard doesn’t like being grouped in with these bands, because they don’t feel like they’re a heavy metal, or hard rock band for that matter. But those first three albums, On Through The Night, High N Dry and Pyromania where huge hard rock albums. They influenced a ton of bands. But no other band has shifted as much albums as these three out of this list.

And that isn’t to diminish what any of these bands have done over the years. For example, Tygers Of Pan Tang’s last two releases, the 2016 self-titled Tygers Of Pan Tang, and last year’s Ritual have both been great.

There is one guy that does make the list twice, and that’s Bruce Dickinson. He’s listed both for Iron Maiden, pretty obvious, and Samson, the band he was in before Maiden. I remember getting the NWOBHM 79 Revisited compilation that Lars Ulrich from Metallica put together. I knew Bruce had been in another band, but growing up in the states I had never heard him in Samson. This compilation opened my eyes, and ears to pre-Maiden Bruce. As well as a lot of other bands that made this list.

At the time we got our hands on the compilation, it made us search out everything we (my friends and I) could on Samson. We were all rabid Maiden fans, and needed to track down anything related to Bruce. Sure enough, this prompted reissues of his work with the band. Namely Head On, Shock Tactics and Live At Reading ’81. It wasn’t Maiden, but it was definitely still Bruce!

Here’s Bruce Dickinson from his first NWOBHM band Samson:

Here are the bands that make up Geoff Barton’s NWOBHM list:

  • Saxon
  • Iron Maiden
  • Vardis
  • Raven
  • Diamond Head
  • Praying Mantis
  • Def Leppard
  • Tygers Of Pan Tang
  • Samson
  • Venom

Let us know if you agree with his list or not.

Check out Geoff’s entire article for Classic Rock here.

Article by Victor M. Ruiz of Mars Attacks Radio & Podcast, and Galaxy Of Geeks Podcast.  Connect with him on Twitter:  @vmr907