Wednesday Question: Best Metal Riff?

What is the best metal riff of all time? Place your votes here and see if your nomination makes it into our epic top 10 list this Friday.

Ultimate Guitar

Put your helmets on, this could get messy.

This week we're challenging you to nominate the best metal riffs in history. It's going to be a close race, because great metal songs almost always rest upon a heavy, bone-crushing riff or two. There's so much choice out there that it's going to be tough to decide.

Of course, democracy rules around here, and the UG voting system should help the best metal riffs rise above and end in a top 10 list to die for.

This week's Wednesday question is:

What is the best metal guitar riff of all time?

We're going to paste a definition of what a riff is to help guide the debate. If you can offer a better definition of the word "riff", go ahead in the comments.

Riff: a short repeated phrase, frequently played over changing chords or used as a background to a solo improvisation.

As usual, post one nomination per comment, then upvote other comments that you agree with. Stick to the metal genre for this post - we'll be back with "best riff" polls for other genres in the future. Good luck!

894 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    Master Of Puppets riff defines Trash Metal.
    Fight Fire With Fire or Disposable Heroes, that crazy Hetfield speed picking, Disposable Heroes has the most creative use of open notes ever.
    Iron Maiden - The Trooper
    Yes, for sure. How has it taken this far down the comments page to get to maiden?
    I wouldn't go with he trooper for Maiden. I honestly prefer maybe Hallowed Be Thy Name.
    There's a ton of Iron Maiden riffs that are absolutely killer (Powerslave, Rime of the Ancient Mariner, The Clairvoyant, etc) but I personally find the first distorted riff in "These Colours Don't Run" to be one of their best.
    I'm gunna have to say Crazy Train. That riff has been cool since it was written and it's still cool now and has been played by millions, maybe not as much as say Enter Sandman, but I think Enter Sandman is just played out anyway.
    Iron Man - Black Sabbath
    My vote is for Black Sabbath "Paranoid"
    So hard to choose one riff from sabbath by i choose children of the grave
    This list is going to be almost all Black Sabbath by the looks of things
    National Acrobat
    You guys just named all of the riffs that I had in my head, hah. Tony "Iron Man" Iommi have made too many good riffs to be listed here. But if I REALLY had to choose one of them, I would probably go with Supernaut.
    it should be no disrespect to other bands but I've never heard a bad Iommi riff from the first album to Sabotage.
    Pantera- I'm Broken
    Superjoint Ritual - "Fuck Your Enemy"
    if we're gonna do Phil side projects, the riffs in Lifer by Down are amazing, but then again this list could become all sludge and stoner metal quick, best metal riffs hands down are ones with the slow bluesy groove.
    i dont really like down that much, then again i dont really like a lot of stoner rock. however superjoint ritual have a few really awesome songs and riffs. dont get me wrong i like clutch's less jammy songs and i love the melvins but stoner rock just doesnt do it for me.
    I think it is so funny that no one here has mentioned "Black Sabbath", the riff that started it all. I believe that if it wasn't for that riff, than we would not be here talking about this.