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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Ultimate Guitar
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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

    omgdessert
    Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath
    iommi600
    Hellhammer - Triumph of Death
    Jazz1992
    Good one, but lmao @ the "vocals"
    tavocamper
    sure it may be considered the riff that started it all, but the heaviest of all time? I have to disagree on that. :/
    Lightning_Ray
    I still think that Electric Funeral has the heaviest riff by Sabbath... which is nearly saying that it's the heaviest ever.
    zilosgodie
    It doesn't get any heavier than this...
    PS: Its a joke but still ****ing heavy!!!
    shoegazer'
    I am so glad this was mentioned. It is THE RIFF that started heavy metal. Good to see UG voters getting it right!
    Jazz1992
    The chorus riff in Bible Black by Heaven & Hell.
    Jimjambanx
    I think we all knew this was going to win.
    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
    jonathan.keeler
    This is more, 'my favorite heavy riff' and not 'the heaviest riff'
    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.
    daniel.95.gray
    For Sabbath I'd probs go for Children of The Grave
    a drummer
    for sure. This riff is actually Heavy. I just can't really agree with the riff from Black Sabbath Being "Heavy."
    daniel.95.gray
    Or even Age Of Reason
    GeriatricNinja
    I would've gone with Iron Man but both are pretty awesome
    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.
    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..
    AngelEyesRipper
    Sad But True - Metallica
    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!
    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.
    zombr0ski
    The Thing That Should Not Be
    calzy666
    Try HALO-Machine head
    wormgus2003
    The thing that should not be - Metallica
    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.
    BlackLabel5150
    Absolutely that riff is killer. I would also like to throw in the Heaven Turns to Hell riff in Sabbath Bloody Sabbath.
    Mrguitare555
    Beat me to it
    goremetal22
    Very nice! Personally i think the riff near the end of Sabbath Bloody Sabbath is the heaviest, but just my opinion.
    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.
    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
    KerNeL_KLuTcH
    You're gonna need good speakers to get the full power of this.
    shawnkenneth
    Dream Theater- The Dark Eternal Night (Outro Riff).. Not the heaviest, but definitely worth a mention...
    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...
    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..
    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.
    RitchieRamone
    Heideck
    Death left to Die Assassin Junk food Possessed Eye of horror
    JENIK182
    For me, It's definitely "The Thing That Should Not Be" or "Harvester of Sorrow" from Metallica
    TwisterAce
    Soundgarden - 4th of July
    RJDfan666
    I may take some heat for this since everyone seems to hate 'Disturbed'. But I've always thought the main riff in "The Night" was ****ing awesome!
    Denounced
    Cannibal Corpse- Death Walking Terror
    MotleyCrue13
    Audioslave-Gasoline
    Wishort
    The intro riff to Recreant by Chelsea Grin *DISCLAIMER* I AM NOT A FAN, BUT THE INTRO RIFF IS HEAVY AS FUCK
    Baia
    Sad but true for me is one of the heaviest ever
    Jabels225
    Inna godda davida
    NateCochrane93
    sad but true, metallica
    peter_lindgren
    Gojira - The Heaviest Matter of the Universe.
    cfhdomination
    Black Sabbath-Into The Void.
    third(-)eye
    Opeth - The Funeral Portrait
    bigalpringle
    Cathedral - Hopkins (Witchfinder General) Heard it.... blew my mind.
    DaliLama
    The Small Hours - Metallica's cover of the Holocaust tune from the 5.98 EP is pretty punishing
    lefty_138
    New Orleans is a Dying Whore by Down.
    AwesomeOne3
    Black Sabbath-Black Sabbath
    Powerslave1412
    Pantera - Walk I hope this is in the top 10.
    ZeppelinruleZ
    Soundgarden - 4th of July
    ZeppelinruleZ
    Soundgarden - 4th of July
    TobyJames
    Eyeless
    cfhdomination
    Black Sabbath-Into The Void.
    JBL-Project
    Sad but true, 'tallica...
    ZOSO <(")
    Pantera's '5 minutes alone', or diamond head's 'am I evil?' would be good choices.
    seanlang01
    No Botch? Botch - Micaragua at 29
    joecobhcmaggot
    Iron Man -Black Sabbath Aces High- Iron Maiden Crazy Train- Ozzy Osbourne Painkiller- Judas Priest Master Of Puppets- Metallica Cowboys From Hell-Pantera raining blodd- slayer
    rcanders
    Millenium...Killing Joke...
    bongburn3r666
    Sleep - Dragonaut Quicksand - Dine Alone Sick of It All - It's Clobberin' Time Crown of Thornz - Juggernaut The Melvins - Honey Bucket Most hardcore has sweet breakdown riffs
    BrewCrew08
    Walk-Pantera
    meoff118
    Charge of the Brown Recluse by Torche
    Drohva
    Bleed-Meshuggah
    robo37
    Bet no one expected to see Nirvana on here.
    Rockeagle540
    Master Of Puppets
    StrauS
    Melvins - A History of Bad Men
    FingerFud
    Damn, it took me ages to get to the comment box haha. Lamb of God = Walk With Me in Hell
    furryatp
    Iron Swan - The Sword
    TooMintyFresh
    Type O Negative - Black No. 1
    rkdodz
    Dopesmoker is like the bible of the riff
    _lonewulf_
    RATM - Bombtrack or Bulls on Parade
    wolf333
    funny... no whitechapel or slipknot...
    l0ld4v3
    Not really heavy. They loud, and obnoxious at times (whitechapelol), but not really heavy. Slipknot has some great riffs yes.
    wolf333
    I, dementia by whitechapel pulse of the maggots by slipknot
    GeekInThePink
    The outro riff from "David de la Hoz" by The Chariot yo.
    Icky101
    Probably not gonna get a ton of votes, but imo Soundgarden-Mailman
    godin_force
    sabbath bloody sabbath
    CliffBurton
    Fight Fire With Fire
    SmurfGenocide
    I'm broken - Pantera
    rkdodz
    DOPESMOKER
    Sewn Up
    Omerta-Lamb Of God Definitely one of the heaviest riffs I've heard