The 11 most amazing onstage team-ups in heavy metal history

Members of the Big Four posing together in 2010
(Image credit: Kevin Nixon/Metal Hammer/Future via Getty Images)

What elevates a heavy metal concert above just listening to the album at home? Well – apart from the sheer, skull-crushing noise – it’s the fact that anything can happen. And few things prove this to be true more consistently than the impromptu guest appearance. At a live show, you can see your favourite band collaborate with one of their (and/or your) idols, or an up-and-comer prove their worth with stars of their genre. So, Hammer’s compiled the best live team-ups in heavy metal history, from all of the Big Four in one place to Killswitch Engage re-embracing a former frontman…

Metal Hammer line break

The Big Four (Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Anthrax) – Am I Evil? (2010)

In 2010, the stars aligned and the Big Four of US thrash metal united for one of the biggest tours of all time. The all-star lineup celebrated the milestone at the Sofia, Bulgaria, date by getting members of every band onstage for a massive cover of Diamond Head’s NWOBHM classic, Am I Evil?.

All the other Metallica team-ups (Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy, Joey Jordison, etc.)

Metal’s biggest band have never shied away from using their stature to collaborate with their idols. Over the years, Metallica have jammed Black Sabbath songs with Ozzy Osbourne, covered Motörhead alongside Lemmy and been co-fronted by King Diamond. Joey Jordison and Dave Lombardo filling in for Lars Ulrich at Download 2004’s become equally legendary.

Disturbed feat. Myles Kennedy – The Sound Of Silence (2016)

While touring the US with Alter Bridge, Disturbed tapped AB frontman Myles Kennedy to co-lead their iconic cover of Simon And Garfunkel’s Sound Of Silence. Myles’ high-pitched voice was the perfect complement to David Draiman’s bassy baritone, and together the two vocalists turned an already adored reinterpretation into something even greater.

Trivium feat. Corey Taylor and Robb Flynn – Creeping Death (2012)

Given that they gathered the genre’s best under one roof, heavy metal award shows were prime territory for onstage team-ups back in the day. Among the most star-studded was when Trivium roped Slipknot’s Corey Taylor and Machine Head’s Robb Flynn into a cover of Metallica’s Creeping Death. Unsurprisingly, it turned out brutal as fuck.

Megadeth feat. Jason Newsted – Phantom Lord (2013)

One of the most surprising heavy metal tag teams in recent memory was when Megadeth united with ex-Metallica member Jason Newsted. Not only has Dave Mustaine’s relationship with his former band been acrimonious over the years, but the performance signalled that Jason can be one hell of a mobile frontman when not behind his bass.

In This Moment feat. Rob Halford – Black Wedding (2017)

From Tool to Ghost, Rob Halford has always championed metal’s next generation. Judas Priest’s Metal God then proved the full extent of his commitment in the late 2010s: not only did he sing Black Wedding with In This Moment on record – he also played it with them live at an awards ceremony.

Bullet For My Valentine feat. Matt Heafy – Tears Don’t Fall (2023)

If you were a metalhead in 2005, this performance likely blew your mind. Earlier this year, two of their generation’s greatest names, Bullet For My Valentine and Trivium singer/guitarist Matt Heafy, performed the immortally adored Tears Don’t Fall live in Orlando. Matt’s screams made this version even more impactful and nostalgic than the original.

Killswitch Engage feat. Howard Jones – The Signal Fire (2022)

In 2019, Howard Jones symbolically passed the torch to his Killswitch Engage replacement (and predecessor) Jesse Leach, guesting on the metalcore icons’ song The Signal Fire. The classic Killswitch frontman then doubled down on his endorsement at live shows, playing the track, plus other fan favourites, with his ex-bandmates and Jesse.

All the Korn team-ups (Sepultura, Joey Jordison, Brian “Head” Welch)

Korn are underrated for all the massive guests they’ve welcomed to their stages. In 2013, the band covered Roots Bloody Roots with Sepultura, and they also got Slipknot’s Joey Jordison on the kit in 2007. It’s a 2012 tandem with Brian Welch that was their most important, though, as it essentially welcomed the ex-guitarist back to the band.

Suicide Silence feat. Robb Flynn, Max Cavalera, Randy Blythe, etc. – Mitch Lucker tribute concert (2012)

After the death of beloved vocalist Mitch Lucker, Suicide Silence hosted a tribute concert and got a who’s who of peers and influences to play onstage. Whitechapel’s Phil Bozeman and Anthony Notarmaso of After The Burial honoured their fallen friend, before legends Robb Flynn, Max Cavalera and Randy Blythe closed the gig.

Gojira feat. Randy Blythe – Adoration For None (2021)

Randy Blythe was an early champion of Gojira, getting them onto his band Lamb Of God’s tours and then appearing on the song Adoration For None in 2008. 13 years later, in Randy’s home state of Virginia, Gojira acknowledged their relationship by getting the singer to play Adoration… with them live for the first time.

Matt Mills
Contributing Editor, Metal Hammer

Louder’s resident Gojira obsessive was still at uni when he joined the team in 2017. Since then, Matt’s become a regular in Prog and Metal Hammer, at his happiest when interviewing the most forward-thinking artists heavy music can muster. He’s got bylines in The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Guitar and many others, too. When he’s not writing, you’ll probably find him skydiving, scuba diving or coasteering.