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11 Heavy Metal Gods Back From the Grave

In honor of Heavy Metal Day we are bringing some of the metal gods back to life for one day — although we honor these gods on a daily basis. Of the years we have lost some of the greatest contributors to the heavy metal genre. From the creator of 'metal horns' Ronnie James Dio to the squealing solos of Dimebag Darrell here are our picks of the top 11 metal gods of all time.



Chuck ‘Evil Chuck’ Schuldiner



May 13, 1967 – December 13, 2001

Chuck Schuldiner, also known as 'The Father of Death Metal' was the singer, rhythym and lead guitarist for the band Death. According to Wikipedia, his obituary in in the January 5th, 2002 issue of Kerrang! magazine stated that “Chuck Schuldiner was one of the most significant figures in the history of metal.”

Schuldiner died of brain cancer December 13, 2001.


Chris Farina, Getty Images
Chris Farina, Getty Images


Kevin DuBrow

Quiet Riot


October 29, 1955 – November 25, 2007

Kevin DuBrow is best known as the lead singer for Quiet Riot — he was recruited by Randy Rhoads and original bass player Kelly Garni in 1975. In 1987 DuBrow parted ways with Quiet Riot and formed the band Pretty Women — in 1991 DuBrow rejoined Quiet Riot member Carlos Cavazo in a new band called Heat, by 1993 Heat changed their name to Quiet Riot and was joined by Frankie Banali on drums.

DuBrow was pronounced dead on the afternoon of November 25, 2007, and that the cause of death was cocaine overdose.




Cory ‘Flattus Maximus’ Smoot



Died November 3, 2011

In 2002, Cory Smoot joined Gwar as 'Flattus Maximus' — he had auditioned to join the band in 1999 and was recruited after a new 'Flattus Maximus' was needed. Smoot was a talented director and help co-produce and mix with Devin Townsend on the album 'War Party.' Cory Smoot died November 3, 2011 on the bands tour bus while trying to cross the border into Canada.




Dave Williams

Drowning Pool


February 29, 1972 – August 14, 2002

Dave Williams is best know as the original lead singer for Drowning Pool. He joined the band in 1999 and they released the album 'Sinners.' Dave passed away on August 14, 2002, Williams was found dead while on the band's tour bus in Manassas, Virginia. The 30-year-old singer died from a heart disease.




Randy Rhoads

Quiet Riot/Ozzy Osbourne


December 6, 1956 – March 19, 1982

Randy Rhoads was one of the original members of Quiet Riot, in 1973 when he was only 16. Randy left Quiet Riot in 1979 to play for Ozzy Osbourne — in 1980 Rhoads was lead guitar on Ozzy's first solo album 'Blizzard of Oz' Randy Rhoads died in 1982 from an airplane crash while taking a recreational flight with the tour bus driver Andrew Aycock.


Jo Hale, Getty Images
Jo Hale, Getty Images


Paul Gray



April 8, 1972 – May 24, 2010

Paul Gray, bass player for Slipknot, known as The Pig or by his number #2 , he was the primary songwriter and one of the founding members of the band.

Gray passed away May 24, 2010 in room 431 at the Towneplace Suites hotel in Urbandale, Iowa. The autopsy based the death on an accidental overdose of morphine and fentanyl, and had also shown signs of “significant heart disease”.




Peter Steele

Type O Negative


January 4, 1962 – April 14, 2010

Peter Steele — born Peter Thomas Ratajczyk — was best known for being the frontman for the group Type O Negative. As the frontman for Type O Negative, Steele was known for his vampiric looks, towering height, rich bass-baritone vocals, and a dark, often self-deprecating sense of humor. His lyrics were often intensely personal, dealing with subjects including love, loss, and addiction.

Peter Steele died of heart failure on April 14, 2010 at the age of 48.




Cliff Burton



February 10, 1962 – September 27, 1986

Cliff Burton is best know for being Metallica's bassist — Cliff joined Metallica in 1982 after original bass player Ron McGovney left the band.  

During Metallica's 'Master of Puppets' tour the band complained about the sleeping cubicles on their tour bus, to choose who got to sleep in the bunks Kirk Hammett and Cliff drew cards, on the evening of September 26, 1986, Burton won the game with an Ace of Spades, thereby getting the first choice of bunk and pointed at Hammett and exclaimed “I want your bunk!” Hammett replied “Fine, take my bunk, I'll sleep up front, it's probably better up there anyway.” The morning of September 27th the bus flipped onto the grass on the side of the road and threw Burton out of the bus window killing him.




Jimmie ‘The Rev’ Sullivan

Avenged Sevenfold


February 9, 1981 – December 28, 2009

Jimmy 'The Rev' Sullivan is best known as the drummer for Avenged Sevenfold, he was also their vocalist, songwriter, and pianist.

At the second annual Revolver Golden God Awards, The Rev won the award for Best Drummer. His family members and Avenged Sevenfold received the honor on his behalf.

Sullivan's body was found in his home on December 28, 2009 at the age of 28. The cause of death was revealed to have been an acute polydrug intoxication due to combined effects of oxycodone, oxymorphone, Valium,  and alcohol.


Getty Images
Getty Images


Ronnie James Dio

Black Sabbath/Dio


July 10, 1942 – May 16, 2010

Ronnie James Dio is best know as the frontman of Dio and Black Sabbath, as well as Elf and Rainbow. He is credited with popularizing the “metal horns” hand gesture in metal culture — this is one reason he is a metal god. Dio passed away May 16, 2010 from stomach cancer.


Scott Gries, Getty Images
Scott Gries, Getty Images


‘Dimebag’ Darrell Abbott

Pantera/Damage Plan


August 20, 1966 – December 8, 2004

If you not familiar with our No. 1 metal god, then you must not be a metal fan. 'Dimebag' Darrell Abbott was best know for being the lead guitar player for Pantera and then later for Damage Plan — in both bands he played with his brother Vinnie Paul Abbot on drums. Dimebag was tragically killed December 8, 2004 by Nathan Gale in Columbus, Ohio at the Alrosa Villa where Damage Plan was playing a show. Gale rushed the stage with a 9mm handgun and shot Dimebag three times in the head.


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