Best Metal Riffmasters

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The Top Ten

1 Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath) Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath) Anthony Frank "Tony" Iommi is an English guitarist, songwriter and producer. Best known as lead guitarist and founding member of the pioneering heavy metal band Black Sabbath, he has been the band's sole continual member and primary composer. At age 17, he accidentally lost the fingertips of his middle ...read more.

I have a soft spot for this guy - he's not the fastest or most technical guitarist but I like his riffs.
It's really sad that Ozzy always gets more credits than Tony, provided that Tony is the master musician in this band. Ozzy is more of a showman than musician after all. - Metal_Treasure

2 Jeff Hanneman (Slayer) Jeff Hanneman (Slayer) Jeffrey John "Jeff" Hanneman was an American musician, best known as a founding member of the American thrash metal band Slayer.
3 Dimebag Darrell (Pantera) Dimebag Darrell (Pantera) Darrell Lance Abbott, also known as Diamond Darrell and Dimebag Darrell, was an American guitarist and songwriter best known as a founding member of two bands, Pantera and Damageplan, alongside his brother, Vinnie Paul. Abbott died in 2004 after he was shot by a mentally unstable fan.
4 James Hetfield (Metallica) James Hetfield (Metallica) James 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.

Metallica would be nothing without his riffs. - Metal_Treasure

5 Dave Mustaine (Megadeth) Dave Mustaine (Megadeth) ...read more.
6 Jeff Waters (Annihilator) Jeff Waters (Annihilator) Jeff 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.

Very talented - can listen to his riffs any time. - Metal_Treasure

Complex, fast and melodic riffs. He's very accurate, including live. Flawless switches rhythm / lead.
Alison Hell is their most popular song and the riffs are awesome.
Schizos (Are Never Alone) Part I & II is a riff fest - an almost instrumental piece composed of crazy fast riffs.
I also love the riffs of: Human Insecticide, Phantasmagoria, Imperiled Eyes, Ultra-Motion, Sixes and Sevens, The Trend, King of the Kill.

YouTube this live version, performed 20 years after its studio version and you will get everything:
Annihilator | Phantasmagoria | Live At Masters Of Rock DVD anniafan - Metal_Treasure

7 Randy Rhoads (Ozzy Osbourne, Quiet Riot) Randy Rhoads (Ozzy Osbourne, Quiet Riot) Randall William "Randy" Rhoads was an American heavy metal guitarist who played with Ozzy Osbourne and Quiet Riot.
8 Glenn Tipton (Judas Priest) Glenn Tipton (Judas Priest)
9 Ritchie Blackmore (Deep Purple, Rainbow) Ritchie Blackmore (Deep Purple, Rainbow) Richard Hugh "Ritchie" Blackmore is an English guitarist and songwriter, best known for his work in the hard rock/metal bands Deep Purple and Rainbow. He was ranked number 16 on Guitar World's "100 Greatest Metal Guitarists of All Time" in 2004, and number 50 in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the ...read more.

Not necessarily the heaviest riffs (no thrash, death metal) but the most unique ones. His riffs are also written with incredible inspiration and performed with unmatched passion.

He always finds the best way to communicate the mood of the song - he even used Arabic scales for the songs Stargazer (a song about Egypt) and Gates of Babylon to create that mystic oriental feel.

Youtube this to see who came to play one of his riffs:
Smoke on the Water: Featuring Deep Purple, Queen, Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd, Yes, Rush etc

Guitars: Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath), Brian May (Queen), David Gilmour (Pink Floyd), Alex Lifeson (Rush)
Bass: Chris Squire (Yes). - Metal_Treasure

Guys, do you realize that 5 awesome guitars are playing this awesome legendary riff!
And these are not random guitars - these are very special guitars. Eargasm! - Metal_Treasure

10 Jon Schaffer (Iced Earth) Jon Schaffer (Iced Earth) Jon 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".

The King Of Gallops.
I do love his tight, galloping, thrashy and thundering riffs, yet melodic.
He's probably the most accurate rhythm G player out there, even live. Terribly underrated. I would compare him with James Hetfield. - Metal_Treasure

The Contenders

11 Zakk Wylde (Black Label Society, Ozzy Osbourne) Zakk Wylde (Black Label Society, Ozzy Osbourne) Zakk Wylde is an American musician, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and occasional actor who is best known as the former guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne, and founder of the heavy metal band Black Label Society.
12 Dave Murray (Iron Maiden) Dave Murray (Iron Maiden) David Michael Murray is an English guitarist and songwriter best known as one of the earliest members of the British heavy metal band Iron Maiden.
13 Chuck Schuldiner Chuck Schuldiner Charles 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.
14 Terrance Hobbs
15 Scott Ian (Anthrax) Scott Ian (Anthrax) Scott 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.
16 Gary Holt (Exodus, Slayer) Gary Holt (Exodus, Slayer)
17 Karl Sanders Karl Sanders Karl Sanders is an American musician, most widely known as the founding member of the American ancient Egyptian-themed technical death metal band Nile.
18 Trey Azagthoth
19 Kai Hansen (Gamma Ray, ex-Helloween) Kai Hansen (Gamma Ray, ex-Helloween)
20 Michael Amott (Arch Enemy, Spiritual Beggars, Carcass) Michael Amott (Arch Enemy, Spiritual Beggars, Carcass) Michael Amott is a British-born Swedish guitarist, songwriter, founding member of the bands Arch Enemy, Spiritual Beggars, and Carnage, as well as a former member of the grindcore band Carcass.
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List StatsUpdated 18 Oct 2017

28 listings
2 years, 294 days old

Top Remixes

1. Jeff Waters (Annihilator)
2. James Hetfield (Metallica)
3. Dimebag Darrell (Pantera)
Metal_Treasure
1. Chuck Schuldiner
2. Jeff Hanneman (Slayer)
3. Terrance Hobbs
asdsees
1. Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath)
2. Jeff Hanneman (Slayer)
3. Dimebag Darrell (Pantera)
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