Top 10 Heaviest Guitar Riffs Ever

What happens when the world's biggest guitar community votes for the heaviest guitar riffs? You get the loudest top 10 list all year, that’s what.

Top 10 Heaviest Guitar Riffs Ever
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What are the heaviest guitar riffs of all time? That's what we asked Ultimate Guitar readers on Wednesday, and given that they're the biggest guitar community in the world, it's pretty safe to say the results are as authoritative as they come. So which band is responsible for the greatest riff ever? Wherever you are, find a way to turn up the volume and experience the noise. You won't regret it.

10. Machine Head "Halo"

Machine Head get to kick off our list with their "Halo" track - a very sturdy, precise groove and one of the band's definite classics. Robb Flynn and co definitely let it rip on this one, earning them a rightful spot on the list.

9. Sepultura "Refuse/Resist"

Boiling with pure anger, "Refuse/Resist" is not only one of staple Sepultura tracks, but an epitome of a guitar heavy riff. It also earned Brazilian fury a No. 9 spot in UG readers' book.

8. Electric Wizard "Funeralopolis"

As one of the underdogs, Electric Wizard earned enough kudos from the members of UG community for a No. 8 spot. Utterly gloomy and ominous, their "Funeralopolis" track riff is nothing short of heavy.

7. Meshuggah "obZen"

Swedish metal masters Meshuggah have enough riffs in their arsenal to melt your face off and "obZen" tune is a fine representative. The distinctive sound and through-the-roof distortion, what more could anyone need?

6. Rage Against the Machine "Bulls on Parade"

The track features plenty of Tom Morello's signature guitar tricks, but it's the bone-crushing riff that primarily made "Bulls on Parade" one of Rage Against the Machine's signature hits. Add Zack De La Rocha's furious vocal delivery and one of the tightest rhythm sections of all time and you've got yourself a definite classic.

5. Queens of the Stone Age "You Think I Ain't Worth a Dollar, But I Feel Like a Millionaire"

UG favorite Josh Homme and co. crack the list in half with their "You Think I Ain't Worth a Dollar, But I Feel Like a Millionaire" tune. High pace groove and frantic vocals fit in in a perfectly unexpected manner here, along with a basic, yet effective riff bound to keep your head bopping throughout the entire song.

4. Gojira "Backbone"

If you're looking to break stuff, the riff of Gojira's "Backbone" is the soundtrack you've been looking for. The band is known for delivering some of the heaviest sounds in history, so UG readers' affection shouldn't come as a big surprise.

3. Metallica "Sad But True"

We've reached the big three and in all fairness, the list's top three tracks are what should stand next to the "heaviest riff" term in the dictionary, so kudos to you UG community. Cracking open the big three, Metallica's "Sad But True" riff is bound to make you feel as if there's a steam roller coming to run you down, rightfully earning the band a No. 3 spot.

2. Pantera "Walk"

Basic, effective and lethal - Pantera's "Walk" riff gets the silver medal this week as one of the ultimate testaments of late Dimebag Darrell's guitar mastery. The way guitar, bass and drums lock in together could also earn "Walk" the title of one of the tightest performances ever.

1. Black Sabbath "Black Sabbath"

Finally, the masters, the forefathers, the Gods of metal - Black Sabbath band, "Black Sabbath" track off the "Black Sabbath" album. The vibe that arguably started the heavy metal genre and a satanic tritone prove that you don't need speed to be the heaviest of the heavy. Therefore, master Iommi is still at the throne of the heavy domain, just as he should be.
That's the end of our roundup of the top 10 heaviest guitar riffs of all time. What do you think of the results? Did Ultimate Guitar readers miss out on anything? Post your comments and personal favorite riffs in the comments.

302 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    Phill-Rock
    Silly UG, you can't weigh music.
    alfie9000
    Sorry Wormgus, but your the most hated person on UG I've ever seen.
    Metalisnotmusic
    he makes it look so easy...
    Validischofe
    Yeah, you've now reached that special place where you could say something everyone completely agrees with, and you would still be downvoted to death just because it's you.
    NoMoreNoMore66
    It's interesting to see what people think of when it comes to "heavy." Like the QOTSA riff is not really heavy to me at all, but other people apparently thought it was. Could also just be the obligatory Josh Homme lovefest on this site!
    N-D
    Hah, despite I also like QOTSA, I absolutely agree with you) People votes not for the heaviest riffs, but for the songs they like.
    Jazz1992
    Yeah, I agree. That song has more of a heavy guitar sound, so to speak, than a heavy guitar riff.
    ibanez124
    I think they like it because it is "cool" to like QotSA. I will agree that they are good, but I have never seen anyone say anything negative about them.
    DDVazquez
    YO DAWG, the band black sabbath...playing black sabbath, of their album black sabbath...
    Punk-Goth-Angel
    I miss the breakdown-Riff from Angel of Death!!!
    arabmetallion
    Reaaaaally surprised that wasn't on there. I mean how the hell did QOTSA make it on there but not Slayer?
    axeinurface
    I wouldn't really say that riff is so much heavy as it is thrashy. Slayer didn't really start having really heavy sound until Diabolus in Musica ("Bitter Peace" is a head smasher). I would even say "Bloodline" is a heavier track than AoD. I love old Slayer, but in terms of being heavy sounding , the later stuff is much more fitting.
    anguskilminster
    THIS should be on this list!!!
    Toadvine
    I always thought that ending section of Rusty Cage was one of the heaviest riffs ever. You know the one with the strange time signature.
    biff022
    Harvester of Sorrow is exactly 666 times heavier than Sad But True.
    third(-)eye
    I still think Leper Messiah is their heaviest.
    GS LEAD 5
    How on earth is QOTSA heavier than Meshuggah? Same with RATM? Granted both are great bands, but heavy? And how come there's no Cannibal Corpse here?
    KidZero
    Wow this list is disgraceful.... or maybe my idea of heavy is out of wack, qotsa makes the list with that? A fine band, but countless bands are heavier.
    rkdodz
    No Dopesmoker? this sucks. Dopesmoker is the bible of the riff.
    ryancide
    this list is invalid, due to the lack of Matt Pike. Sleep and High On Fire are heavier than 65% of this list.