Wednesday Question: Heaviest Riff of All Time?

Stretch your music knowledge with your heaviest music tips ever - this could be the greatest playlist we ever create.

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Okay guys. It's time to get back to guitars. We've done some truly massive riff posts in the past, but it's time to smash past all that and go right down to the best kind of riffs: the heavy ones. This week, Metallica hinted that they might ebay all their spare riffs - that's how prolific those mofos are. But there are plenty of other metal acts who take heavy music even further, and we want you to help root them out. This week's question is:

What is the heaviest riff of all time?

We want you to set the bar pretty high - readers ought to be terrified to play the final playlist on Friday. It should be so darn heavy that your neighbours will move house when they hear it. Post one nomination per comment, and we'll post the results on Friday in a skull-crushing top 10 list.

925 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    EvilAlienSquid
    Pantera - Walk
    Armagedn
    I would actually say "Revolution is my Name" is the heaviest Pantera riff I can think of.
    smittyanthrax
    The heaviest pantera riff i know is the breakdown riff in suicide note part 2.I think it start about 1 minute 30ish.
    reversegenesis
    Drag The Waters?
    chrisvasco23
    verse riff for five minutes alone is probably the heaviest riff i heard when i was a kid.. i went to listen to it and it still amazes me how violent the riff with that guitar tone is
    evanfurillo
    i love the heavy riff that comes in at the end of 25 years off far beyond driven (were f@#kin you back!) its so badass
    cbabb7
    Living through me intro by Pantera is my vote for the heaviest lick.
    omgdessert
    Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath
    MoonGoingDown
    Electric Wizard - Funeralopolis
    Engel22
    This is my choice, too. It'd be nice to see the Wizard win, just for the sake of good PR, but no doubt a bigger-name band will get the win.
    PRSTremontiSE
    Yes Electric Wizard, but The Barbarian came to mind first for me. Once Funeralopolis picks up it does get pretty damn heavy, though.
    AngelEyesRipper
    Sad But True - Metallica
    Badass UltraMan
    I agree with this. After scrolling down the list it would appear a lot of people think the lower you can tune your guitars, the heavier it is but I disagree. Even riffs in E or D standard can be heavy as hell. For me 'heavy' is a feel, a groove that just makes you uncontrollably peck your head and pull that stupid, snarling face with a half grin when it comes on. Sad But True just nails it
    JMZ08
    I think Sad But True is tuned to C#... Anyway, heaviest riff is Bleed by Meshuggah. It's a no contest.
    nincompoop
    I'm not really into Metallica anymore, but I saw them in '08 and Jesus mother**** Sad But True was ****ing explosive.
    6-String_Madman
    Wall Of Sound... In Your Face approach... It is designed to blast your ears once you listen to it in your headphones on full volume. You can't be wrong with Sad But True!
    zombr0ski
    The Thing That Should Not Be
    calzy666
    Try HALO-Machine head
    N-D
    Sorry for posting this at the top - I just want to introduce people to this music... Neurosis - "Times Of Grace" - for me it's not just "heavy" - it is really apocalyptic.
    0:45
    Hungryformore21
    Yeah Neurosis is awesome. This could easily become a list filled with sludge/doom metal bands which I don't mind at all.
    Metalisnotmusic
    I wasn't expecting this. I was thinking Gojira - Backbone, but Neurosis beats any and all music in history
    shawnkenneth
    Dream Theater- The Dark Eternal Night (Outro Riff).. Not the heaviest, but definitely worth a mention...
    DisarmGoliath
    If you like the technical aspect of Dream Theater, you'll probably like this. First 0:35 of this vid is pretty damn heavy!
    shawnkenneth
    Um, that DT riff is kinda the least technical part of the song imo.. And that's why I like it.. Pure emotion and groove..
    LeftyGuitar77
    I would say Honor Thy Father tops both in terms of heaviness- that part after "Don't cross the crooked step" gives me the chills...
    Krieger91
    Classic. A lot of the classics have been said, but I'd like to see some early nu-metal as well. I'd say Blind by Korn. That riff after the build up is insane. Live, even more so.
    GeriatricNinja
    I would've gone with Iron Man but both are pretty awesome
    Joeseye
    Black Sabbath in general are a good choice. I would rate Black Sabbath or Under the Sun as some of the heaviest riffs I know. Although it depends on what people consider heavy. Mode? Rhythm/groove? Tuning? Tempo? A mix?
    Random.3000
    My definition of heavy resides somewhere around Bleed by Meshuggah, or maybe Spasm..
    guitarist5477
    Yea I agree. I've always found the riff to Black Sabbath to be more creepy and doomish than heavy. Iron Man is heavier imo.
    Lightning_Ray
    I still think that Electric Funeral has the heaviest riff by Sabbath... which is nearly saying that it's the heaviest ever.
    goremetal22
    Very nice! Personally i think the riff near the end of Sabbath Bloody Sabbath is the heaviest, but just my opinion.
    BlackLabel5150
    Absolutely that riff is killer. I would also like to throw in the Heaven Turns to Hell riff in Sabbath Bloody Sabbath.
    Jazz1992
    The chorus riff in Bible Black by Heaven & Hell.
    sewoo55
    That riff starting at 0:17 is chunky as hell.....
    Satrianifan281
    Bad Horsie-Steve Vai
    J.Millzzzz
    Architects- Early Grave. I go nuts everytime
    rockfreak611
    Dazed and Confused - Led Zeppelin!
    plbrynt
    The heaviest metal riff is still the first one...
    Mrguitare555
    Beat me to it
    jonathan.keeler
    Not trying to steal the top comment, but surely in terms of heaviness, either death metal or avant garde metal hold that title. I would put something like spawn of possession - scortched or cannibal corpse - hammer smashed face. There are a lot of good riffs here, but I would not call any of them the heaviest.
    N-D
    Agree with Cannibal Corpse - "Hammer Smashed Face"
    Wininacan
    c\m/ cannibal. Most of UG knows nothing about heavy.
    EpsilonX
    I think people are going for a more slow, hard feel than intense, which is what i'd call Cannibal Corpse. The riff in Scourge of Iron from Torture is pretty heavy though
    Metalxorxdie
    idiots downvoting you DONT know what heavy music even is...any death metal band or even Meshuggah are far more heavier and have more groove than freakin Metllica, I mean really? smh
    axld
    I don't agree. Doom/stoner metal is way heavier in my opinion. Sleep-Dopesmoker, that's one heavy mother****er
    SpencerJacobs
    Dopesmoker is insanely heavy, the obviously biased part of me wants to vote the Dragonaut riff though
    daniel.95.gray
    Or even Age Of Reason
    TJWhonley
    In waves by trivium.
    N3WW4V3N1NJ4
    Amon Amarth - twilight of the thunder god
    iommi600
    Hellhammer - Triumph of Death
    Jazz1992
    Good one, but lmao @ the "vocals"
    Jimjambanx
    I think we all knew this was going to win.
    regnemer
    Nice omg, this is the winner and you got it right off the bat...Considering the year and era they wrote is song, this riff is the champ.
    Kevan80
    Decapitated - Spheres of Madness
    wormgus2003
    Smoke on the water
    Dynamight
    That's not a riff, it's a track.
    K33nbl4d3
    There's about two riffs in the song and it's not hard to work out which one he means.
    tavocamper
    sure it may be considered the riff that started it all, but the heaviest of all time? I have to disagree on that. :/
    N3WW4V3N1NJ4
    First thing that comes to mind Metallica - Whiplash, also Slayer - Raining Blood
    apartzero
    Amen.
    EpsilonX
    My first thought was Heaven and Hell
    shoegazer'
    I am so glad this was mentioned. It is THE RIFF that started heavy metal. Good to see UG voters getting it right!
    zilosgodie
    It doesn't get any heavier than this...
    PS: Its a joke but still ****ing heavy!!!
    s7peterson
    That's a good choice! I personally would go with (sic) by Slipknot.
    thatnewguy103
    yeah, gotta go with you on that one