Think it’s hard to “make it” in rock and roll?

Try doing it in a developing nation where simply laying hands on instruments, let alone gaining access to music education, tends to be a luxury, often taking a back seat to basic life necessities (you know, like food!). Things that developed countries largely take for granted.

Most of the bands cited in this gallery overcame incredible hardships and odds-against in order to become one of the 10 Best Latin American Heavy Metal Bands – not least because heavy metal often faced intense condemnation from their countries’ powerful religious institutions. Why, as late as 1992, Iron Maiden had a concert in Santiago, Chile, abruptly canceled due to pressure from local churches.

Ironically, it was this very persecution that inspired so many Latin American bands to fight back with controversial anti-religious and/or outright satanic messages in their music, with the support of their equally anti-authority-minded local fans. And keep in mind that many of the greatest Latin American heavy metal bands had to wait for the rise of the Internet to achieve true notoriety overseas.

So consider this introductory diatribe just a friendly reminder of the challenges conquered by the bands we are about to celebrate – and know there are literally dozens of worthy bands (Stress, Dorsal Atlantica, Mutilator, Horcas, Hermetica, the Chilean Pentagram, etc.) deserving of further discovery and appreciation, not only in Latin America, but in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

For now, join us as we zero in on the 10 Best Latin American Heavy Metal Bands in the gallery above.