Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance

Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance
Awarded forQuality performances in the heavy metal music genre
CountryUnited States
Presented byThe Recording Academy
First awarded1989
Currently held byHigh on Fire, "Electric Messiah" (

The Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance is an award presented at the Grammy Awards to recording artists for works (songs or albums) containing quality performances in the heavy metal music genre. The Grammy Awards is an annual ceremony, where honors in several categories are presented by The Recording Academy of the United States to "honor artistic achievement, technical proficiency and overall excellence in the recording industry, without regard to album sales or chart position".[1] The ceremony was established in 1958 and originally called the Gramophone Awards.[2]

The Recording Academy recognized heavy metal music artists for the first time at the 31st Annual Grammy Awards (1989). The category was originally presented as Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance Vocal or Instrumental, combining two of the most popular music genres of the 1980s.[3] Jethro Tull won that award for the album Crest of a Knave, beating Metallica, which were expected to win with the album ...And Justice for All. This choice led to widespread criticism of The Recording Academy, as journalists suggested that the music of Jethro Tull did not belong in the hard rock or heavy metal genres.[4][5] In response, The Recording Academy created the categories Best Hard Rock Performance and Best Metal Performance, separating the genres.

The Best Metal Performance category was first presented at the 32nd Annual Grammy Awards in 1990, and was again the subject of controversy when rock musician Chris Cornell (lead vocalist for the band Soundgarden) was perplexed by the organization's nomination of the band Dokken in this category.[6] Metallica won in the first three years. The awards were presented for the song "One", a cover version of Queen's "Stone Cold Crazy", and the album Metallica. During 2012–2013, the award was temporarily discontinued in a major overhaul of Grammy categories; all solo or duo/group performances in the hard rock and metal categories were shifted to the newly formed Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance category. However, in 2014, the Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance category was split, returning the Best Metal Performance category and recognizing quality hard rock performances in the Best Rock Performance category.[7]

As of 2011, Metallica holds the record for the most wins in this category, with a total of six. The bands Black Sabbath, Nine Inch Nails, Slayer, and Tool have each received the award twice. The band Ministry holds the record for the most nominations without a win, with six.


Four men in dark clothing on a stage; the man on the left has his arm raised in the air, while the third man from the left has his arms around the second and fourth.
Members of the six-time award-winning band, Metallica
A man wearing a black shirt singing into a microphone, in front of a drum kit.
Trent Reznor of the two-time award-winning band, Nine Inch Nails
A man with red coloring on his dark hair, wearing sunglasses, necklaces, and a black suit. He is seated on a red chair, and two people are also seated in the background.
1994 award winner, Ozzy Osbourne
A man with his eyes closed and mouth open, holding a microphone; he is wearing dark clothing and wrist bands.
Jonathan Davis of the 2003 award-winning band, Korn
A man wearing a black shirt, looking down and playing a bass guitar.
Lemmy of the 2005 award-winning band, Motörhead
Black and white image of three men wearing jackets and masks over their faces. The one in the forefront is bend over, holding a guitar.
Members of the 2006 award-winning band, Slipknot
Three men on a stage, all holding guitars. All three are wearing black clothing, and audio equipment can be seen both in front of and behind them.
Members of the two-time award-winning band, Slayer
Four men standing next to one another on a stage, three of which are holding guitars. All four men are wearing black clothing, and some of the articles of clothing are studded.
Members of the 2010 award-winning band, Judas Priest
Members of the 2011 award-winning band, Iron Maiden
Members of the two-time award-winning band, Black Sabbath
Year[I] Performing artist(s) Work Nominees Ref.
1990 Metallica "One" [8]
1991 Metallica "Stone Cold Crazy" [9]
1992 Metallica Metallica [10]
1993 Nine Inch Nails "Wish" [11]
1994 Ozzy Osbourne "I Don't Want to Change the World" (live) [12]
1995 Soundgarden "Spoonman" [13]
1996 Nine Inch Nails "Happiness in Slavery" (live) [14]
1997 Rage Against the Machine "Tire Me" [16]
1998 Tool "Ænema" [17]
1999 Metallica "Better Than You" [18]
2000 Black Sabbath "Iron Man" (live) [19]
2001 Deftones "Elite" [20]
2002 Tool "Schism" [21]
2003 Korn "Here to Stay" [22]
2004 Metallica "St. Anger" [23]
2005 Motörhead "Whiplash" [24]
2006 Slipknot "Before I Forget" [25]
2007 Slayer "Eyes of the Insane" [26]
2008 Slayer "Final Six" [27]
2009 Metallica "My Apocalypse" [28]
2010 Judas Priest "Dissident Aggressor" (live) [29]
2011 Iron Maiden "El Dorado" [30]
2014 Black Sabbath "God Is Dead?" [31]
2015 Tenacious D "The Last in Line" [32]
2016 Ghost "Cirice" [33]
2017 Megadeth "Dystopia" [34]
2018 Mastodon "Sultan's Curse" [35]
2019 High on Fire "Electric Messiah" [36]

^[I] Each year is linked to the article about the Grammy Awards held that year.

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