Symphonic metal is simply the collaboration of classical music and heavy metal music. Most of the time, symphonic metal involves various elements of instrumentals that you would find in a theatre setting. The combination of grunts and growls with a beautiful voice is often portrayed as clear vocals, which is often embraced in this genre.
Symphonic metal bands typically have a female lead who possesses a higher range. Often times somewhat operatic, however; this is not always the case. Some women who front these bands have lower registers and there are many instances where there is a man fronting the band.
There are so many great symphonic metal bands that exist in the world today, as there are quite a few that have separated and new acts being formed everyday. So, what are the top 50 symphonic metal bands of all time?
50. Seraphim. Although they identify as a power metal group, this symphonic metal band is one of the greatest acts to come out of Taiwan. Listen to the song ‘Immortal Silence’ and you will be hooked.
49. Dreamtale. Some of the best music I have ever heard comes from Finland and Dreamtale proves this to be gospel. I heard about this band after hearing the song ‘Heart’s Desire’ when I was 21 years old and have been a fan ever since.
48. Phoenix Rising. This symphonic metal band is one of the best acts to ever come from Spain. This is one of the most exciting genres. And after listening to ‘Agoraphobia’ how can you not love this band?
47. Fairyland. France is known for many things, but I have to be honest, this band proves why the country is known for some of the greatest talents ever. I first heard this band when I was 20 years old and have been a huge fan ever since. In fact, ‘Lake Of Tears’ remains to be a favorite.
46. Krypteria. A lot of the greatest contributions to symphonic metal are those bands that have the strong ability to project their story onto you, while remaining true to their music. After hearing ‘Turn The World Around’ how can you not love this German band?
45. Skyfire. They are easily one of the greatest symphonic metal acts to come from Sweden. When I first heard ‘Nightmares Nevermore’ virtually instantaneously I guess you could say, I became a fan.
44. Indica. I remember being 23 years old and listening to the song ‘Scarlett’ and thinking how talented this band is. As one of the greatest Finnish acts, they are clearly one of the best symphonic metal bands of all time.
43. Forever Slave. Can you believe that Lady Angellyca had the possibility of becoming Nightwish’s front woman after Tarja left? I can, as she is real talent, however; she contributes a lot of good to this band. After hearing ‘Hate’ you will know why they are totally rocking it.
42. Adagio. Some of the greatest symphonic metal bands come from France. When I was 20 years old, I remember hearing the song ‘The Stringless Violin’ and finding myself lost in oblivion. Adagio is clearly one of the greatest symphonic metal bands ever.
41. Dragonland. When it comes to classical and power metal, the two just go so well together and this band really proves this to be true. I will never forget when I first heard this band. I was 20 years old and I heard their cover of Mozart’s ‘Rondo A’la Turca’. This song alone will not only make you love this band, but the symphonic metal genre.
40. Eyes Of Eden. Some of the greatest talent comes from Germany. I remember when I first discovered this symphonic metal band. I heard the song ‘From Heaven Sent’. I am still clueless as to why they only put out one album because it leaves their fans (including myself) wanting more.
39. Lunatica. Located in the heart of Suhr, Switzerland lies one of the greatest symphonic bands of all time, Lunatica. I have been a fan for quite sometime, however; what made me love them was their song ‘Farewell My Love’.
38. Heavenly. I remember being 19 years old and sitting in my dorm room talking about music and discovering this French symphonic power metal band. The song ‘Time Machine’ is what made me so intrigued by their sound. I think it’s safe to say that I Heavenly is heavenly.
37. Dark Moor. Some of the greatest talents come from Spain and this band is one of those special gems. This band embodies what symphonic power metal is all about. And after hearing ‘A Music In My Soul’ you know, you will think the same way.
36. Seventh Wonder. When it comes to symphonic power metal, this band really knows how to deliver some of the best music you will ever hear. I became a huge fan of this Swedish born act after hearing ‘Not An Angel’.
35. Wintersun. This song epitomizes symphonic folk metal at it’s finest. I remember when I was 23 and I first heard the song ‘Sleeping Stars’. How can you not love this band after hearing this tune?
34. Eternal Tears Of Sorrow. I love absolutely everything about this band. Everything from the incredible romantic lyrics to the message and story they project to the epic instrumentals and more. You have to love ‘Aurora Borealis’. They are what symphonic death metal is all about.
33. Septicflesh. Who knew that one of the greatest bands in this genre comes from Athens, Greece. And I cannot believe this band has been around since 1994. I discovered Septicflesh when I was 30 in 2011. The song ‘Apocalypse’ is what made me a fan.
32. Anorexia Nervosa. Even though they are more symphonic black metal, this band proves they are one of the greatest contributions to the symphonc metal genre. I will never forget when I first heard ‘I’ll Kill You’. What an epic tune.
31. Blind Guardian. Located in the heart of West Germany lies one of the greatest symphonic power metal bands in the world today, Blind Guardian. After hearing ‘Age Of False Innocence’ you cannot help, but love this band. Blind Guardian has been around since the late 80s, making them true pioneers of the symphonic metal genre.
30. Moi dix Mois. Can you believe that one of the greatest symphonic metal bands in the world was created by fashion designer Mana? And although they have been around for over a decade, I have to admit I love ‘Pageant’.
29. Anneke van Giersbergen. I loved her when she was with The Gathering and I love her now. She is clearly one of the greatest singers to ever hit the music scene and this genre. Even though she has quite a few amazing tunes, I have to admit that I really love ‘You Want To Be Free’.
28. Midnattsol. I remember back in 2011, I heard a song called ‘Forlorn’ by this amazing band. Midnattsol is one of my favorite symphonic folk metal bands and proof that some of the best talent ever comes from Germany.
27. Tarja. As for lead singer of Nightwish, this woman has proved to be a force in the symphonic metal genre. And with time, she proves she can take any risk thrown at her. When I heard her sing ‘I Walk Alone’ I knew she was back.
26. Visions Of Atlantis. If Nightwish and Lacuna Coil would ever morph together and create a musical act, the result would be Visions of Atlantis. Not only are they one of the greatest symphonic metal acts to exist in the world, as we know it, but they are one of the best to walk on planet earth. I absolutely love ‘Reflection’. RIP Nicole Bogner.
25. Therion. Some of the best musical talent comes from Sweden. I remember when I was 10 years old and I heard the song ‘Dark Eternity’. Located in the heart of Upplands Vasby, this symphonic death metal proves why they are one of the greatest contributions to this genre.
24. Serenity. Founded in 2001, this Austrian symphonic power metal acts is one of the best bands ever. They are all about the music, however; because this genre is so exciting, it’s entertaining too. Did I mention that ‘Serenade Of Flames’ is one of my favorite songs?
23. Amberian Dawn. Located in the heart of Finland, this musical act is what symphonic metal is all about. I remember when I first heard them. It was the song ‘My Only Star’ and ever since, I have been a fan. I can’t wait for Magic Forest!
22. Symphony X. Can you believe that one of the greatest symphonic metal bands is from the United States? New Jersey to be exact. And guess what? They have been around since 1994. I was only 13 years old when I first heard ‘Shades Of Grey’ and 20 years later, I am still a fan.
21. Nemesea. As a Dutch symphonic metal band, they are one of the most profound acts ever in the genre. After hearing the song ‘The Way I Feel’, I knew I would never get tired of hearing them. They are fantastic.
20. Imperia. The Netherlands produces some of the greatest artists in the world and one of them is this symphonic metal band. Back in 2004, I discovered this band only a few days after I turned 23. The song ‘The Ancient Dance’ remains to be a huge favorite of mine.
19. Hanging Doll. Some of the greatest symphonic metal acts went to school for music and actually know everything about it more than the average person. Located in the heart of Birmingham, UK, this symphonic metal band is as unique as the individuals who love and appreciate their music. You have to love ‘Only In My Reveries’.
18. Virgin Black. As one of the greatest symphonic metal bands to come from Australia, they truly prove why this genre is one of the most underrated ever. And although they have been around since 1996, I discovered them back in 2003, when I was 22. The song ‘The Everlasting’ is what made me become a huge fan.
17. Ayreon. Symphonic metal combines essence of dark and light, making it one of the most exciting genres to exist. I remember when I first heard Ayreon, it was the song ‘Web Of Lies’. After doing research, I was baffled this Ayreon has been around since 1995 and I only discovered them this century.
16. HolyHell. If you don’t believe they are one of the greatest symphonic metal bands of all time, just listen to them sing ‘The Phantom Of The Opera’ with Eric Adams of Manowar as a guest vocalist. Talk about crazy good!
15. Sonata Arctica. As a Finnish symphonic power metal band, they continue to embrace what metal and classical is all about. I just turned 19 when I first heard ‘Letter To Dana’. It was then that I became a huge fan.
14. Lacrimosa. Some of the greatest acts are dynamic duos and this band proves this theory to be true. Located in the heart of Germany, this band has been around since the early 90s. I discovered them when I was 16 years old and heard ‘Stolzes Herz’.
13. Sirenia. One of the best symphonic metal bands to come from Norway. I remember when I first heard ‘In My Darkest Hours’. The collaboration of metal music and classical is really showcased through their music.
12. Tristania. When it comes to symphonic metal, this band embodies the distinction between darkness and innocence. Even though they have been around for decades, I discovered them in 2006 when I heard the song ‘Equilibrium’.
11. Leaves’ Eyes. Located in the heart of Ludwigsburg, Germany and Stavanger, Norway lies one of the best symphonic metal bands you will ever hear. Ever since I heard the song ‘Elegy’ I have to admit, I have been quite a fan.
10. Avantasia. Some of the greatest symphonic acts are the same artists that have a strong ability to take a risk and pull it off immensely. I remember when I heard them cover ‘In My Defence’ and it was then that I became an instant fan.
9. Kamelot. When I was about 16 years old, I heard about this band. Then, years later at the age of 33, I am loving them as if I heard them for the first time. You have to admit, after you hear ‘Where The Wild Roses Grow’ you cannot help, but love this musical act.
8. Apocalyptica. When you hear symphonic metal, you are reminded of how diverse and unique music actually is. I remember being 15 years old when I heard them. They covered Metallica’s ‘The Unforgiven’ and ever since have been a huge fan. As one of the greatest acts to come from Finland, they are truly one of the best bands of this genre.
7. Delain. One of the greatest symphonic metal bands to ever hit the music scene is definitely this band. After hearing ‘Sing To Me’, I have to admit, they are clearly one of the greatest talents to ever walk on planet earth.
6. Lacuna Coil. I remember when I first heard Lacuna Coil. It was back in 2000. I was thinking to myself how incredibly original they were, but one thing that stood out most was the instrumental arrangements and how they went amazing with the vocals. ‘Our Truth’ remains to be one of my favorite songs.
5. Within Temptation. Their music takes you to another place, as if you are going into another dimension every single time you listen to them. After hearing ‘Stand My Ground’ this symphonic band not only proves they are real talent, but one of the best ever. Can you believe they covered Bruno Mars ‘Grenade’?
4. Xandria. Creativity is definitely in their forte. And if you haven’t listened to ‘The Undiscovered Land’, you will know why they are one of the greatest symphonic metal acts of all time.
3. Epica. I remember when I first heard this amazing symphonic metal band. I was in college and packing up my room to leave. The song ‘Cry For The Moon’ came on this local indy rock station. I was mesmerized at the song and how originally epic it was. And ever since, I have been a huge fan.
2. Nightwish. Have you ever heard a band so amazingly talented that you could never imagine the world of music without them? This is exactly how I feel about Nightwish. I discovered this incredibly symphonic metal band when I was 18 years old and I heard the song ‘Swanheart’.
1. Trans-Siberian Orchestra. There is something to be said about a band that not only performs amazingly, but delivers an epic performance every single time they are on stage. Have you ever heard ‘Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24’? This band epitomizes the morphing of classical and metal music, making them the greatest symphonic metal band of all time.