Best Metal Rhythm Guitarists

mrcrowley4h
Best rhythm guitarists in the metal genre. The focus here is on good riffs, rhythm harmonies, picking speed, accuracy, and tightness, and overall rhythm playing. Rhythm/lead switches and dual leads are acceptable as long as their rhythm playing is impeccable.

The Top TenXW

1James Hetfield - MetallicaJames Alan Hetfield was born on August 3, 1963. He is an American musician, singer and songwriter known for being the co-founder, lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist and main songwriter for the American heavy metal band Metallica.

Based on metal? Without a doubt it's James! I STILL can't emulate the speed of his down-picking rythym riffs! How the heck he does if during a live show for a few hours is beyond me... My forearm is sore after one song!

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2Dave Mustaine - MegadethDavid Scott "Dave" Mustaine was born September 13, 1961. He is an American musician, singer, songwriter, actor and author. He is best known as the co-founder, guitarist, and lead singer of the American thrash metal band Megadeth, and well known as the original lead guitarist for the American heavy metal ...read more.
3Jon Schaffer - Iced EarthJon Ryan Schaffer is an American heavy metal musician. He is best known as the guitarist and last remaining original member of the Florida-based heavy metal band Iced Earth, which he formed in 1985 under the name "Purgatory".

I say his speed and technically is above hetfield any day. Look at every song before Dark Saga proves it.

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4Gary Holt - Exodus
5Zacky Vengeance - Avenged SevenfoldZachary James Baker, better known by his stage name Zacky Vengeance, is an American musician, best known as the rhythm guitarist, backing vocalist, and founding member for the American heavy metal band Avenged Sevenfold.

Zacky just has amazing riffs! I love how his melodies and timing coordinates with Synyster Gate's solos! Plus he can also sing, along with Syn. Especially in City Of Evil. His melodies and riffs are just phenomenal!

6Jeff Waters - AnnihilatorJeff Waters (born February 13, 1966) is a Canadian metal musician and founder of the metal band Annihilator . He's best known as the guitarist for Annihilator, appreciated for his fast riffs and solos . Waters is also the primary songwriter in the band . Very often he has taken on the role of lead singer, ...read more.

His Lead / Rhythm switches are awesome. He's one of the riff masters of all time. - Metal_Treasure

7Chuck Schuldiner - DeathCharles Michael "Chuck" Schuldiner was an American singer, songwriter, and guitarist, best known as the founder and vocalist, guitarist and bassist of the American heavy metal band Death. He is considered the most influential figure in Death Metal, with some publications referring to Chuck as the "Godfather ...read more.
8Marten Hagstrom - MeshuggahMårten Hagström, (born 27 April 1971) is the rhythm guitarist for the Swedish experimental metal band Meshuggah. Hagström, along with his bandmate Fredrik Thordendal, was rated #35 by Guitar World as the top 100 greatest heavy metal guitarist of all-time.

The albums obZen and Chaosphere from the technical metal bosses Meshuggah proves that he could do very badass rhythm grooves and deserves to be in this list.

9Bill Kelliher - MastodonBill Kelliher is a musician from Atlanta, Georgia, best known as rhythm guitarist of heavy metal band Mastodon.
10Toni Iommi - Black Sabbath

The Contenders

11Adrian Smith - Iron MaidenAdrian Frederick "H" Smith is an English guitarist, best known as a member of Iron Maiden, for whom he writes songs and performs live backing vocals on some tracks.
12Scott Ian - AnthraxScott Ian is an American musician, best known as the rhythm guitarist, backing and additional lead vocalist, and the only remaining original founding member of the thrash metal band, Anthrax.
13K.K. Downing - Judas Priest
14Eric Peterson - Testament
15Mille Petrozza - KreatorMiland "Mille" Petrozza is a German metal guitarist and singer of Italian descent, who has been the lead vocalist and guitarist for the German thrash metal band Kreator since 1984.
16Sully Erna - Godsmack
17Kirk Hammett - MetallicaKirk Lee Hammett is the lead guitarist and songwriter for the heavy metal band Metallica and has been a member of the band since 1983. Before joining Metallica he formed and named the band Exodus.
18Fredrik Norrman - Katatonia
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List StatsUpdated 9 Dec 2016

100 votes
18 listings
3 years, 179 days old

Top Remixes

1. Jeff Waters - Annihilator
2. Jon Schaffer - Iced Earth
3. James Hetfield - Metallica
Metal_Treasure
1. James Hetfield - Metallica
2. Jon Schaffer - Iced Earth
3. Dave Mustaine - Megadeth
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