Top 10 Metal Guitar Riffs

artist: Misc date: 04/12/2013 category: ug news

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Top 10 Metal Guitar Riffs
What is the greatest metal riff of all time? That's what we asked UG readers this week, and it ended up being our most hotly-debated poll of all time. Hundreds of nominations were posted, thousands of votes were registered, and there was some heated debate on what the word "riff" really means. In our opinion, a good metal riff acts like a call-to-arms for metal heads, making you raise a fist and cheer. It's going to be heavy, catchy, and flat-out awesome when you hear it looping. We've been through your votes, and can safely say that you've done a sterling job of picking out a great top 10. Good work, soldiers. But not everyone will agree, and we'd love to hear about your reaction to the list and how you would change it. Let us know what you think in the comments. Meanwhile, here's your top 10 metal riffs of all time. Enjoy!

10. Diamond Head "Am I Evil?"

A dramatic Sabbath-inspired riff which could well be the sound of dark clouds racing at you from the horizon. The song has been a classic in metal circles winces its release in 1980, but it was Metallica's cover on 1998 album "Garage Inc." that brought it to international fame.

9. Judas Priest "Breaking the Law"

K.K. Downing's intro is a classic moment in heavy metal. The band have been playing this song live for so long that it's evolved over time and has additional solos added and taken away - and new guitarist Richie Faulkner has ditched Downing's original solo completely.

8. Ozzy Osbourne "Crazy Train"

Ozzy's debut single from his first solo album had to be really damn good to prove he could have a stand-alone career. It worked, and Randy Rhoads' riffage was essential in getting him to the finish line of success.

7. Pantera "Cowboys from Hell"

Not every anthem needs a sing-along vocal line (though Phil Anselmo does a stellar job at the front). No, this anthem is all about that opening riff which may as well spell out P-A-R-T-Y in morse code to metal heads.

6. Megadeth "Tornado of Souls"

It's not clear exactly what riff the original nomination was referring to, because this song is packed with guitar hooks worth head banging to. Let's pretend the whole song is a riff, then put it on repeat and rock out forever. Who's with us?

5. Slayer "Angel of Death"

Even today, 27 years after its original releasen in 1986, the sheer pace of this intro gets your heart racing and blood boiling. It's on another level, and always will be.

4. Mastodon "Blood and Thunder"

At the time their awesome "Leviathan" album was released, the band said that writing this opening riff was the moment the album was born and guided the sound of the entire record - and perhaps the rest of their career.

3. Metallica "Master of Puppets"

There are so many damn good riffs in this song that we're just going to have to leave it to you to pick your favorite. The only way to solve this is to run a "Best Riff in Master of Puppets" poll - nominations in the comments! (And we're only half joking, because that would actually be rad).

2. Iron Maiden "The Trooper"

One of the few Maiden songs to get lots of airplay on US radio, making it one of their best known songs - and when you put a monster metal riff like this on the airwaves, you get thousands of young minds hooked on metal in an instant.

1. Black Sabbath "Iron Man"

Tony Iommi is, and always will be, the real-life Iron Man for writing this riff (which your poll proves is the greatest metal riff in history). Ozzy Osbourne gets credit for coming up with the name, though; upon hearing it he said "it sounds like a big iron bloke walking about." Good point, Ozzy. You're surprisingly good with words sometimes.
That's the end of your official UG top 10 metal riffs. What do you think of the final list? Share your reaction and improvements in the comments.
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