10 times massive metal bands appeared in video games

Covers for Brutal Legend, Guitar Hero: Metallica and Tony Hawk's Underground
(Image credit: Electronic Arts/Activision)

Heavy metal’s never been the best at playing well with other media. Hollywood’s had a hard time getting such an outsider genre right over the years, and TV likes to resort to its metalhead cliches just as often. However, heavy music has enjoyed a close yet unsung relationship with the gaming world. To demonstrate that fact, Hammer’s compiled the times your favourite metal bands showed up in high-profile video games. Press ‘start’ and check out our top 10:

Metal Hammer line break

Metallica, Zakk Wylde, Slash, Tom Morello, etc.: Guitar Hero (2005–present)

We were never going to be able to write this list without mentioning Guitar Hero. Slash, Tom Morello, Kurt Cobain, Zakk Wylde, Metallica – that just scratches the surface of the who’s who you can battle against and/or play as throughout this series. Metalhead gamers never had it so good.

Slipknot: Smite (2014)

Last year, online multiplayer game Smite launched a crossover event that brought all nine members of Slipknot into its lineup – and each one had their own signature weapons, moves and voice lines. Whether you use Mick Thompson’s giant axe or Corey Taylor’s acidic barrels, slaying gods has never sounded so good.

Jack Black, Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy Kilmister and Rob Halford: Brütal Legend (2009)

Arguably the most metal video game ever, Brütal Legend casts you as a guitar-wielding warrior that looks like and is voiced by Jack Black. If that wasn’t enough, a host of heavy metal gods aid you on your adventure, from Ozzy Osbourne to Lemmy Kilmister, forming a truly badass pantheon of pixels.

Fred Durst: WWF Smackdown! Just Bring It (2001) / WWF Raw (2002) / Fight Club (2004)

Fred Durst won’t let you use a Limp Bizkit song in your game without making him a playable character. Thanks to that, he launched himself off the top rope in two WWF simulators and broke jaws in a Fight Club game during the early 2000s. Or you could batter him, if so inclined…

Max Cavalera: Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost And Damned (2009)

You’re driving around Liberty City in your fourth stolen car of the day. You turn up the radio and, as the end of Cro-Mags’ It’s The Limit rings out, you get yelled at by the station’s presenter. Turns out, said presenter is Soulfly and ex-Sepultura mastermind Max Cavalera. Life is good.

Avenged Sevenfold: Call Of Duty: Black Ops (2010–2018)

Where there’s Black Ops, there’s Avenged Sevenfold. The California jock-metal legends penned a bunch of original songs for the four games in the series and appeared in a post-credit concert on Black Ops 2. You can even play as M. Shadows in Black Ops 4’s Blackout mode, too!

Kiss: Tony Hawk’s Underground

Kiss are the kings of multimedia merchandising, so of course Gene Simmons became an unlockable character in Tony Hawk’s Underground. There’s also a secret level where the whole band appear onstage and perform a private concert (flames and all!) while you busy yourself with a bunch of kickflips and manuals. 

Blind Guardian: Sacred 2: Fallen Angel (2008)

You know the score with RPGs: travel to point A, complete the quest at point B, return to point A, receive gold and goods. But, for Sacred 2, one quest rewarded you with an in-game concert from power metal pioneers Blind Guardian, playing the theme song they created for the game. 

Henry Rollins: Def Jam: Fight For NY (2004)

There’s only one man tough enough to help you beat Snoop Dogg and Busta Rhymes to a bloody pulp, and that’s Black Flag and Rollins Band’s ever-intimidating Henry Rollins. In his gym, you’ll learn how to wrestle and throw some nasty haymakers, while he gruffly barks, “Let’s get to work!”

Dee Snider: Jak And Daxter: The Precursor Legacy (2001)

It may be hard to tell on first listen, given he’s buried beneath all kinds of vocal effects, but the baddie of Jak And Daxter: The Precursor Legacy is none other than Dee Snider. The Twisted Sister singer plays Gol Acheron – and apparently also leant the dark wizard his lengthy blond hair.

With contributions from