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The Very Best of Italian Rock : Heavy Metal Artists

I've been writing about foreign travel and European rock music online for over 12 years.


A land normally noted for passion, romance classical and high Opera in its musical tradition Italy has much to offer the modern Rock scene.

You will be hard pushed to find any violins, accordions, flutes or mandolins beloved of the traditional folk music of this wonderful country.

Not that there is anything untoward about these old-fashioned instruments but you may be hard put to Polka dance to these tunes.

This is Rock music, soft or hard, light or heavy it displays the talented exponents of the electric guitar and the tradition of uncompromising Rock n' Roll of the modern era.

Lacuna Coil

Very popular Soft-Gothic metal band who have enjoyed a great deal of international success.

Singing in English, with the darkly attractive Cristina Scabbia on vocals, Lacuna Coil offer a classy slice of Heavy Rock.

They blend sophisticated melody and beautiful lyrics on songs like 'Cold Heritage' as well as full on powerhouse tunes especially when bassist Andrea Ferro joins in in vocals.

Both styles combine on the track 'When a Dead Man Walks' and other songs to look up are 'Our Truth', 'Spellbound' , 'Heaven's a Lie' the ballad 'Within Me' and 'I Like it'.

Rhapsody of Fire

Fast and furious exponents of classic Power Metal complete with rapid-fire guitars and keyboards underscoring drawn-out vowels that linger on the vocals.

Previously known as Thundercross and then Rhapsody they also indulge in the epic Symphonic Metal style beloved of those who like their music over the top and eloquent.

Check out 'Unholy War Cry' as a prime example which also has a voice-over by Christopher Lee.

Other top songs are 'Sea of Fate', 'Dawn of Victory', 'Emerald Sword' and 'Power of the Dragon Flame'


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Swords and shields epics inspire this band from Varese as they expound on themes from medieval times as well as fantasy and mythology.

Founded in 1997, they were originally a Doom Metal band but have evolved a sound more akin with Heavy Metal.

Comparisons with similar bands like Manowar and Turisas are particularly relevant.

This is apparent when you look at the titles of their most popular tracks which are gloriously entitled 'Into the Battle', 'Steel of My Axe', 'Heathen Assault', 'In the Battlefield' and 'The Siege'


Veterans from the historic city of Florence.

They began way back in 1983 but their first album didn't appear until 1997.

Their music has been described as 'Epic Metal' and they are also from the Manowar school.

They have all the ingredients of Power Metal and lyrics full of ancient stories of legends, war, magic and other heroic adventures. For example they have incorporated excerpts from the Conan the Barbarian soundtrack in their songs.

Some of the best tracks to listen to are 'Tempest Calling', 'The Aquilonia Suite', 'True Believer', 'Ride of the Valkyries' 'The Hurricane Master' and 'Dragonlord'.

The LoveCrave

The lovely singer Francesca Chiara abandoned her solo career to co-form this band with guitarist Tank Palamara.

The result is a high-powered Gothic Rock combo inspired by such disparate influences as Iron Maiden and Depeche Mode.

They recorded an interesting cover version of Michael Jackson's classic 'Thriller' in 2010 but their own back catalogue has much strong material.

Top tracks are 'My Soul', 'Lost', Little Suicide', 'The Angel and the Rain', 'Runaway' and 'Can You Hear Me'.

Seven Gates

Described as a Melodic Power Metal band combining the soft and hard side of the Rock spectrum.

They were formed in Florence in 1999 by ex-members of a Bon Jovi tribute band.

To date they have released two albums 'Unreality' in 2002 and 'The Good and the Evil' in 2008.

Top tunes are 'Forever With Me, 'Message to the Stars', 'The Good and the Evil' and 'Vengeance'


This band can claim the unique honour of having invented a completely new name for a Rock genre.

Vocalist Luana and guitarist Dani came up with the title 'Rock Noir' to describe their music and in particular their storytelling lyrical style.

Singing in English and making the most of Luana's Italian good looks Belladonna are a big attraction.

With songs like 'Black Swan', 'Till Death Do Us Part', 'Mystical Elysian Love' and 'Foreverland' they have stamped their new style on the music business.

Linea 77

An exciting Nu-Metal band with all the right ingredients of a heavy guitar sound overlaid with screaming vocals and interactive Rap between singers Emo and Nitto.

Perhaps their best song so far is 'The Sharp Sound of Blades' which obviously is sung in English.

It also has has a furiously well-made video shot on a roof-top to accompany the music.

But they have also sung in Italian on other top tunes like 'Il Mostro', 'Evoluzione', 'Fantasma' and '66' which was a collaboration with the band Subsonica.


Raintime were formed in 1999 and come from Pordenone.

They are a hard band to easily categorise as they contain various different styles in their music including Thrash, Melodic and Progressive Music.

With the definite influence of Dream Theater in their sound they combine rasping vocals, heavy guitars with keyboards and melodic segments.

Best songs are 'Rolling Chances', 'Moot-Lie', 'Chains of Sadness' a souped-up version of MIchael Jackson's 'Beat It' and the beautiful ballad 'Finally Me'.


Taking their name from the famous Scottish play that canot be mentioned it is no surprise that this band are from the Gothic school of Rock.

Formed in 1995 they interchange male and female vocals to provide light and dark contrast to their sound.

Aggression and romance sit side by side in perfect harmony with the voices of Morena Rozzi and Andreas Cislaghi.

Songs to check out are their most well known song 'Without You' as well as 'Forever', H.A.T.E' and 'Moonlight Caress'.


Another Power Metal band from a genre beloved of many European rockers and fans.

Highlord were formed in 1996 with their debut album coming out three years later.

The use of keyboards lends a grace and polish to their otherwise hard-edged sound.

Their best songs are the Anime theme-song 'Pegasus Fantasy' plus 'All I Want', Scarlet Tears', 'Frozen Heaven' and 'We Are Gods'.


Formed in 2008 Mastercastle are another female-fronted band with Giorgia Gueglio on lead vocals.

Singing in English their music is a melodic type of Heavy Metal with a dark Gothic image

They can also produce some effective European-style Power Metal with pounding fiffs and guitar shredding.

However they deliberately try to avoid categorisation and therefore have a varied output influenced by various genres of Rock music.

Check out songs like 'Last Desire', 'Princess of Love', 'Great Heaven's Climb', 'Words are Words' and 'The Phoenix'.

Theatres des Vampires

A French sounding name for this Italian Gothic band who mostly sing in English.

They are influenced musically by the darkside of Metal and lyrically with Vampires particularly and themes of the macabre and horror generally.

The exotically named Sonya Scarlet provides the vocals and the erotic image of dark sexuality and the band have attracted controversy over the satanic touches in their image.

The best tunes are 'La Danse Macabre du Vampires', 'Blood Addiction', 'Lilith Mater Inferorum', 'Lady in Black' the haunting 'Il Vampiro' and the riff-addictive 'Kain'

Secret Sphere

Formed in Alessandria in 1997 by guitarist Aldo Lonobile with 6 albums released to date.

They have a large symphonic sound that is AOR in style with soft guitars and plenty of keyboards.

Although they can play hard ball too on songs like the power-driven 'Gate of Wisdom'.

Other songs to check out are 'Recall of the Valkyrie', More Than Simple Emotions', 'I Won't Say a Word', and the epic ballad 'The Mystery of Love'.

Mandragora Scream

Another Gothic Metal band who were formed in 1997 by the singer Morgan Lacroix.

Their first release in 2001 'Fairy Tales From Hell's Caves' was an old-fashioned concept album.

Their lyrics are replete with fantasy tales, gothic-horror and vampire lustsand the music atmospheric and full of passion.

Best songs from the band are 'Dark Lantern', 'Blight Thrills', 'Frozen Space', 'Child of the Moon' and 'Haunted Heart'.


A Folk Metal band formed in 1997 by founder members Ayden and Jarpen although the latter left the band in 2005.

They have undergone other line-up changes including the temporary loss of their singer Damnagoras for 2 years.

But they are rocking stronger than ever as the excellent 2010 song 'The Cabal' proves.

Other noteworthy songs are the catchy 'Divided Heart', the heavier song 'The Scythe', and also 'The Wanderer'.

White Skull

Power Metal band with fast guitar work and anthemic choruses who have rocked Italy and beyond since the late 1980s.

Their 1999 album 'Tales From the North' was well received in the USA and they are still a force despite several changes in personnel over the years

Best songs in their forceful back catalogue are 'High Treason', 'The Roman Empire', 'Asgard', 'Gods of the Sea' and also 'Tales From the North' which actually includes a nice melodic guitar solo during the speed riffs.


Yet another Power Metal band who have been churning out the riffs since 1994 with a prolific output of albums.

This includes the series of 'Divine Gates' albums of which there have been 4 released to date.

Founded by Eddy Antonini their best tunes are 'The Scream', 'Soul of the Warrior', the eponymous 'Skylark' and 'Last Ride'.

They have enjoyed great success with record sales and extensive tours of the Far East especially in Japan. They also have a strong South American following.

But I'm not too sure about their idea to record a cover version of Mike Oldfield's 'Moonlight Shadow'. I'll let you decide on that.


Faffa on September 09, 2015:

Most of the bands in the list are very mediocre. You forgot to mention the three best italian metal bands ever: Death SS, Sadist, Novembre

TheHeavyReview on March 10, 2012:

Wow, I only knew like three of these bands. Great job, Shinkicker! I've got some work to do. I like Rhapsody of Fire. Voted up!

Shinkicker (author) from Scotland on January 15, 2012:

Hi Marco. I'd checked them out but personally I'm not a big fan. Plus I noticed they haven't had many hits on their Youtube videos so don't know how popular they really are.

But thanks for commenting. I'll listen to more of their music and perhaps update the page to include them.

Cheers :-)

marco on January 14, 2012:

Do you know the most important italian metal band: Death SS?

Shinkicker (author) from Scotland on June 25, 2011:

Cheers hotwebideas

I'm duly following you now. Thanks for contacting. Rock on!!

Bruce Chamoff from New York on June 25, 2011:

Shinkicker, this is great. I am a Lacuna Coil fan (and have Karmacode on my iPod), but did not know about these other Italian groups. Great hub and voted up and Awesome. I also have similar hubs on metal bands.

I am now following you (hope you follow back). Maybe we should link our metal hubs to each other's.

Shinkicker (author) from Scotland on April 24, 2011:

Cheers Tony

Luana is certainly interesting :-)Thanks for reading

tony0724 from san diego calif on April 23, 2011:

Shinkicker this was indeed interesting. I found myself particularly interested in the Belladona video. Nice job here.

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