The time has finally come! At Loudwire, we've churned out quite a lot of lists from just about every angle in the rock and metal spectrum, but something we noticed was missing was possibly the most obvious topic: the Top 50 Metal Bands of All Time!

When examining over 45 years of music, it can be difficult to debate the influence and importance of acts who have formed decades apart as the heavy metal landscape is in a constant state of flux. Naturally, a great deal of the bands who came first have left the biggest impact, but there are metal acts from the modern era who have arguably had equal impact as the genre approaches the half century mark.

After much debate across our staff, we narrowed down the finalists based on a few different categories. Influence and impact are two critical factors when ranking these artists, also taking into consideration the depth of the music, skill level of each member of the band, longevity and strength of a band's discography on the whole. Some groups have played a pivotal role in the development of particular factions of metal, but failed to continue to release genre-pushing albums, which caused some big names to fall down the ranks.

Heavy metal places a huge emphasis on the visual component as well, be it artwork, shirt designs, stage outfits or stage setup. Metal concerts are not merely an opportunity to catch your favorite band, but to join together in a community whose whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The live setting is a perfect translation of the energy radiated by these bands and, thus, is another important factor to weigh.

Now that you have some insight as to how we ranked the Top 50 Metal Bands of All Time, click through the gallery above to find out where your favorite acts land on our list.

Top 100 Hard Rock + Metal Albums of the 21st Century

20 Greatest Metal Riffs of All Time

More From Q 105.7