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100 Best Metal Ballads of the ‘80s, ‘90s and 2000s

Check out a list of the top 100 metal ballads from the '80s through the 2000s.

Check out a list of the top 100 metal ballads from the '80s through the 2000s.

Heavy Metal Love Songs

Ballads are like a musical outburst of emotion. While many believe ballads are associated entirely with love, in truth they go beyond that. Ballads can evoke other feelings and emotional situations, such as grief, guilt, hate, breakups, missing someone, and death.

The list below is an epic showcase of the best metal ballads and metal love songs. If you like heavy metal ballads, you will have something to say about these picks. Feel free to share your views, opinions and song suggestions in the comments section. Stay safe!

Top 10 Best Metal Ballads of the ‘80s, ‘90s and 2000s

  1. “Cemetery Gates”—Pantera
  2. “Nothing Else Matters”—Metallica
  3. “Return to Serenity”—Testament
  4. “Snuff”—Slipknot
  5. “The Bard’s Song (In the Forest)”—Blind Guardian
  6. “Fiddler on the Green”—Demons and Wizards
  7. “The Spirit Carries On”—Dream Theater
  8. “So Far Away”—Avenged Sevenfold
  9. “A Tale That Wasn’t Right”—Helloween
  10. “Is This Love”—Whitesnake

What Are Metal Ballads?

Metal ballads are slow tempo, heavy metal songs which often have lush musical arrangements. Many of these songs have operatic undertones fused with traditional musical structures. The hair metal scene in the ‘80s resurrected power ballads to a new level, thereby broadening the reach of metal ballads globally.

Although these songs do not have a conventional sound, high-pitched vocals have become a distinguishable feature in this form of metal. While it is true that high vocal register gives a unique identity to traditional metal love songs, a number of metal vocalists have also mesmerized fans with their deep baritone.

Many metal ballads are love songs.

Many metal ballads are love songs.


11. “When All Is Lost”—Symphony X

12. “A Tout Le Monde”—Megadeth

13. “Dreaming (Tell Me)”—Yngwie Malmsteen

14. “One”—Metallica

15. “Goodbye to Romance”—Ozzy Osbourne

16. “Silent Lucidity”—Queensryche

17. “Heart of Steel”—Manowar

18. “Your Turn”—Heloween

19. “I Remember You”—Skid Row

20. “The Unforgiven”—Metallica

The Ballad Years in Rock Music

While there is no clarity in regards to the origin of the term “metal ballad,” heavy metal purists believe the term came into prominence in the ‘80s when bands in various subgenres of metal experimented with slow tempo songs that featured operatic vocals. This experimental structure paved new beginnings for love songs in the realms of heavy metal. The power metal genre in the ‘80s is considered by heavy metal purists as the genre that paved the way for metal ballads.

Electric guitars are a common instrument in power ballads.

Electric guitars are a common instrument in power ballads.


21. “Another Day”—Dream Theater

22. “Ghost of Freedom”—Iced Earth

23. “More than Words”—Extreme

24. “My Last Sunrise”—Demons and Wizards

25. “Communion and the Oracle”—Symphony X

26. “Forever and One”—Heloween

27. “Lake of Tears”—Gamma Ray

28. “Princess Aurora”—Luca Turilli

29. “Still Loving You”—Scorpions

30. “Mama, I’m Coming Home”—Ozzy Osbourne

31. “Wasting Love”—Iron Maiden

32. “Last Drop Falls”—Sonata Arctica

33. “Sleep”—Savatage

34. “Fade To Black”—Metallica

35. “Miles Away”—Winger

36. “Sleeping (In The Fire)”—W.A.S.P.

37. “Runaway”—Riot

38. “Love of A Lifetime”—Firehouse

39. “Greater Darkness”—Moonspell

40. “Into The Unknown”—Avantasia

Instrumentation in Rock Ballads

The instrumentation of rock ballads comprises of acoustic guitars, keyboards, electric guitars, drums, bass, piano, and drums. Melodic guitar solos are a notable feature of many songs. High pitch vocals are exceedingly popular in these ballads. Singers of certain metal bands are known for their display of wide-range vocals on ballads. Certain bands feature symphonic orchestras on metal ballads. A number of power metal bands and symphonic metal bands incorporate a strings section in their brand of ballads.

Since the ‘80s, ballads have evolved a great deal. However, the epic sound in metal ballads hasn’t changed in all these years. The ‘90s witnessed a number of Scandinavian heavy metal bands breathe new life in ballads with their melodic approach through lyrical tales of gallantry. Many metal bands broke away from traditional metal roots, and chased an experimental sound, bringing to life new subgenres in metal. As the metal soundscape started to evolve, metal love songs started gaining momentum in the ‘90s.

Guitar solos are a key part of metal ballads.

Guitar solos are a key part of metal ballads.


41. “Summer’s Rain”—Savatage

42. “When the Children Cry”—White Lion

43. “Love Song”—Tesla

44. “Forever”—Edugy

45. “In A Darkened Room”—Skid Row

46. “Master of the Wind”—Manowar

47. “Carrie”—Europe

48. “Strange Without You”—Zihard

49. “When I See You Smile”—Bad English

50. “Forever More”—Dionysus

51. “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn”—Poison

52. “My Eternal Flame”—Iron Mask

53. “Tears”—X Japan

54. “Solitary Ground”—Epica

55. “The Sound of the Blade”—Dark Moor

56. “Fly To The Angels”—Slaughter

57. “El Retraro Oval”—Opera Magna

58. “Son of Pain”—Rhapsody of Fire

59. “Undiscovered Dreams”—Pathfinder

60. “Tears of a Dragon”—Bruce Dickinson

Popularity of Heavy Metal Ballads

Heavy metal ballads have been exceedingly popular in US, Europe, Japan and Russia. While the majority of American metal bands are rooted in traditional metal, a number of metal bands from Norway, Denmark, Finland and Sweden have incorporated mellow musical arrangements, making their music accessible to non-metal audiences globally.


61. “I’ll Be There For You”—Bon Jovi

62. “Nana”—Warcry

63. “Heaven”—Warrant

64. “Farewell”—Gamma Ray

65. “November Rain”—Guns N’ Roses

66. “The Swan Song”—Within Temptation

67. “Love’s Tragedy”—Demons & Wizards

68. “The Siren of the Woods”—Therion

69. “I’ll Never Let You Go”—Steelheart

70. “Dreamer”—Ozzy Osbourne

71. “Always”—Bon Jovi

72. “Hold Me in Your Arms”—Heloween

73. “The Flame”—Cheap Trick

74. “All This Time”—Rage

75. “I Can’t Stop Loving You”—Van Halen

76. “High Enough”—Damn Yankees

77. “Season of Faith’s Perfection”—Stratovarius

78. “Rain Forest”—Concerto Moon

79. “Princess of the Night”—At Vance

80. “Alone Again”—Dokken

Heavy Metal Love Songs Post-2000

Since the year 2000, heavy metal love songs have come alive in a new avatar bringing back old school tonalities with fresh new sounds. The heart and soul of a metal ballad lie in composition, which is why there is no singular aspect that defines balladry in songs.

While the debate on traditional metal and non-traditional metal continues, the best of both worlds have been aesthetically encompassed through rock ballads. The sounds of ballads in the realms of metal will only get bigger in the near future.



81. “Hopes and Dreams”—Masterplan

82. “Don’t Leave Me”—Axxis

83. “Endless Rain”—X Japan

84. “Tides of Time”—Epica

85. “Starfire”—Dragonforce

86. “The Crown and the Ring”—Manowar

87. “Sister Christian”—Night Ranger

88. “Don’t Know What You Got (Till’ It’s Gone)”—Cinderella

89. “River Of Love”—Stormwind

90. “When It’s Love”—Van Halen

91. “The Land Of Ice and Snow”—Stratovarius

92. “This Isn’t What We Meant”—Savatage

93. “Never Ending Nightmare”—MSG

94. “Bed of Roses”—Bon Jovi

95. “Lonely”—After Forever

96. “The Message”—Power Quest

97. “Child of Desolation”—Virgin Steele

98. “I’ll See You in My Dreams”—Giant

99. “Reason to Be”—Throne of Chaos

100. “I’ll Be Waiting for You”—Rob Rock

Other Notable Metal Ballads of the ‘80s, ‘90s and 2000s

  • “Angel of Light”—Iron Fire
  • “Wings of Destiny”—Rhapsody
  • “Don’t Close Your Eyes”—Kix
  • “Always Will Be”—HammerFall
  • “Serenade”—Versailles
  • “The Power of Love”—Lunatica
  • “Close My Eyes Forever”—Ozzy Osbourne and Lita Ford
  • “Sleep”—Meduza
  • “18 Years”—Gamma Ray
  • “Keeper of My Heart”—Kapel Maister
  • “Where You Goin’ Now”—Damn Yankees
  • “Fly High Michelle”—Enuff Z’ Nuff
  • “The Sacrifice”—Highland Glory
  • “In Memory”—Ravenheart
  • “Oceans of Time”—Axel Rudi Pell
  • “Love Bites”—Def Leppard
  • “Birth of the Harp”—Amberian Dawn
  • “Winter Dreams”—Accept
  • “The Ballad of Jayne”—L.A. Guns
  • “A Little Too Far”—Soulspell
  • “The Golden Stream Of Lapland”—Sentenced
  • “Why”—Derdian
  • “25 Days from Home”—Loudness
  • “Another Sun”—Magic Kingdom
  • “The Day That I Met You”—Lillian Axe
  • “Without You”—Motley Crue
  • “Forever Shine On”—Edenbridge
  • “She’s Gone”—Steelheart
  • “Heaven in Your Eyes”—Loverboy
  • “Into The Blue”—Cain’s Offering
  • “What Love Can Be”—Kingdom Come
  • “Freedom Heart”—Majesty
  • “Angelheart”—Gwyllion
  • “Tuonela”—Amorphis
  • “Headed For a Heartbreak”—Winger
  • “Not Every Pain Hurts”—Lacrimosa
  • “Approaching the Storm”—Majestic
  • “I Still Think About You”—Danger Danger
  • “Windmill”—Heloween
  • “Goodbye My Friend”—Kaledon
  • “Time Has Gone By”—Ancestral
  • “When I Look Into Your Eyes”—Firehouse
  • “Beauty Has Come”—Kotipelto
  • “Never Say Goodbye”—Bon Jovi
  • “The Price”—Twisted Sister
  • “Seren”—Secret Sphere
  • “Ballad of Susan”—Savage Circus
  • “House of Pain”—Faster Pussycat
  • “Save Your Love”—Great White
  • “Where Are You Now”—Dawn of Destiny
  • “Reason To Live”—Kiss
  • “The Light of Your Eyes”—Delirion
  • “Heartbreak Station”—Cinderella
  • “She Who Summoned Me”—Pyramaze
  • “Love against the Power of Evil”—Holy Knights
  • “When I Find Love”—XYZ
  • “More Than a Feeling”—Boston
  • “One More Promise”—Supreme Majesty
  • “Portals of Light”—Falconer
  • “Waiting for the Princess”—Skylark
  • “I Died For You”—Iced Earth
  • “Standing Alone”—Tyketto
  • “Why is it Never Enough”—Bonfire
  • “Emerald Eye”—Altaria
  • “Falling Rain”—Labyrinth
  • “Anytime”—MSG
  • “Calling the Rain”—Atrocity
  • “Wind of Change”—Scorpions
  • “Dawn over a New World”—Dragonforce
  • “Called Up”—Karelia
  • “Right By Your Side”—Enuff Z’ Nuff
  • “Keep the Flame Alive”—Revolution Renaissance
  • “Cassandra”—Theatre of Tragedy
  • “Tears”—Enisferum
  • “After The End”—Rage
  • “Just Take My Heart”—Mr. Big
  • “Rain”—Nemesis
  • “Can’t Stop Falling Into Love”—Cheap Trick
  • “Love Kills”—Vinnie Vincent Invasion
  • “Tears of Fire”—Keel
  • “Mirror”—Dreamtale
  • “Love Is on The Way”—Saigon Kick
  • “A Sailorman’s Hymn”—Kamelot
  • “Nobody Knows”—Lillian Axe
  • “You’re All I Need”—Motley Crue
  • “Losing You”—Dream Evil
  • “Slippin Away”—Dokken
  • “One Cold Winter Night”—Silent Fall
  • “Honestly”—Stryper
  • “Take Away My Pain”—Dream Theater
  • “Rainy Nights”—Angra
  • “Winterlight”—Visions of Atlantis
  • “You’ll Never Be Lonely”—Highlord
  • “Long Live the King”—Narnia
  • “Only Time Will Tell”—Nelson
  • “Burning Heart”—Vandenberg
  • “More Than Words Can Say”—Alias
  • “Baby You’re The Greatest”—Enuff Z’ Nuff
  • “Forever Walking Alone”—Dragonland
  • “Like a Paradise”—Kenziner

© 2017 Ansel Pereira