For over a decade, thrash metal fans have had a definitive – if debatable – list of the top four bands in the field: Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax. (There has been some recent speculation, though, about expanding the group to include Exodus, so we’ll have to wait and see.)

But what about the rest of the genre? After all, rock and metal have become immeasurably varied and vital over the last 50-plus years, with many other superb styles emerging thanks to the efforts of numerous awesome artists.

So, which of those subsections also deserve the spotlight, and who’s truly responsible for shaping them into what they became?

That’s where the following catalog comes in. Basically, we’ve broken down over two dozen other rock and metal subgenres to explore why they’re significant and which four artists (each) have done the most to make them stand out. Without them, rock as a whole simply wouldn’t be the same.

From the seminal days of British rock and classic rock to the heights of black metal and metalcore, each of the following artists deserves acclaim for their contributions. After all, they formed the musical, political, social and aesthetic backdrops of our lives.

As usual, our picks won’t always align with your picks, so we invite you to contribute to the discourse by telling us what we got right, what we got wrong, and what we missed entirely!

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