Top Ten Metal Bands With the Best Riffs

The Top Ten
1 Pantera Pantera was an American heavy metal band formed in 1981 by guitarist Dimebag Darrell and drummer Vinnie Paul. The band started out as a glam metal act in the 1980s with little success. After discarding their original lead vocalist and enlisting Phil Anselmo, the band signed a major record deal with... read more

I actually think Mouth For War is their best riff.
Annihilator, Pantera, Metallica and Amon Amarth - the best riffs. Runners up - Mastodon, Primal Fear.

Not my favorite band, but you've gotta admit Dime has the best riffs out there. Just listen to songs like I'm Broken and Walk.

2 Metallica Metallica is an American Heavy/Thrash Metal band formed in 1981. The original lineup was James Hetfield (Vocalist and Rhythm guitarist), Dave Mustaine (Lead Guitar), Lars Ulrich (Drums), Ron McGovney (Bassist). The group came into mainstream from their Self-Titled album and the hit single "Enter Sandman"... read more
3 Black Sabbath Black Sabbath were a Heavy Metal band formed in Birmingham, England in 1968 by guitarist and songwriter Tony Iommi, singer John "Ozzy" Osbourne, bassist and main lyricist Geezer Butler and drummer Bill Ward... read more

Tony Iommi wrote the absolute best and most recognizable riffs of all time. No way Sabbath isn't #1

Notable riffs:
Iron Man
Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
War Pigs
Heaven and Hell

We're talking about the King of the killer riff here.. the hand of Doom.. the Godfather of Heavy Metal himself.. Mr. Anthony Frank Iommi!

4 Iron Maiden Iron Maiden are an English Heavy Metal band formed in Leyton, East London, in 1975 by bassist and primary songwriter Steve Harris. The most critically acclaimed period for the band was from 1983-1989. With vocalist Bruce Dickinson, bassist Steve Harris, lead guitarist Dave Murray, rhythm guitarist Adrian... read more

Too many amazing riffs to count; Roughly 65 really good riffs and 20 great riffs

5 Megadeth Megadeth is an American thrash metal band from Los Angeles, California. Megadeth was formed in 1983 by guitarist Dave Mustaine and bassist David Ellefson, shortly after Mustaine was fired from Metallica. They have released 15 studio albums to date, and have gone through many lineup changes, with Dave... read more

Guess I'll vote Megadeth, but where on God's green earth is Opeth?

More quality riffs than any other band by a long shot.

Metallica and Pantera are also good, but when it comes to riffs, Mustaine is the god. Some highlights:
Wake Up Dead
The Conjuring
Peace Sells
In My Darkest Hour
Holy Wars... the Punishment Due
Hangar 18
Five Magics
Poison Was The Cure
Tornado of Souls
Dawn Patrol (Ellefson)
Skin O' My Teeth
Symphony of Destruction
Reckoning Day
A Tout Le Monde
She Wolf
Blackmail the Universe
Kick the Chair
The Scorpion
Back in the Day
Truth Be Told
Dialectic Chaos
This Day We Fight!
Never Dead
New World Order
The Threat Is Real
Fatal Illusion
Poisonous Shadows

So Megadeth are my top 1. Rest of the list is for me:
2. Pantera
3. Metallica
4. Iron Maiden
5. Slayer (I don't like them in general, but their riffs are awesome)
6. Rage Against The Machine
7. Annihilator
8. Black Sabbath
9. Judas Priest
10. Avenged Sevenfold

6 Slayer Slayer was an American thrash metal band from Huntington Park, California, formed in 1981 by guitarists Jeff Hanneman and Kerry King. They rose to fame with their 1986 album Reign in Blood, and is credited as one of the big four of thrash metal bands, the others being Metallica, Megadeth, and Anthrax... read more

@IronSabbathPriest - I agree with you about fills and snare overuse. I adore fills and don't like very much the snare sound (I prefer double bass). But Tom gets repetitive, too. Maybe everybody does at a certain point.

I've never really considered guitars to be Slayer's prime. I think Araya is the most talented.

I agree guitars aren't their prime but maybe Lombardo is the most talented.

7 Mastodon Mastodon is an American heavy metal band from Atlanta, Georgia, formed in early 2000 and composed of bassist Troy Sanders, guitarists Brent Hinds and Bill Kelliher and drummer Brann Dailor.

The entirety of The Wolf Is Loose contains some of the greatest riffs ever known to mankind!

8 Annihilator Annihilator is a Canadian thrash metal band founded in 1984 by vocalist, guitarist, bassist, songwriter, engineer, producer, mixer and mastering engineer Jeff Waters and former vocalist John Bates.

Their songs are riff fests and they are #1 for me (alongside Pantera).

Guitar work is their prime - very fast and technical yet melodic riffs. Jeff Waters writes thrash riffs with lots of progressive elements and I love this.
Schizos (Are Never Alone), Phantasmagoria, The Trend, Alison Hell, Human Insecticide, 21, Imperiled Eyes, Sixes and Sevens, King of the Kill, Ultra-Motion.

9 Dio Dio was an American heavy metal band formed in 1982 and led by vocalist Ronnie James Dio, after he left Black Sabbath with intentions to form a new band with fellow former Black Sabbath member, drummer Vinny Appice.
10 Amon Amarth Amon Amarth is a Swedish melodic death metal band from Tumba, formed in 1992. The band takes its name from the Sindarin name of Mount Doom.

I listen to these guys namely for their riffs.
The Pursuit Of Vikings, Tattered Banners and Bloody Flags, Guardians Of Asgaard

The Contenders
11 Lamb of God Lamb of God is an American heavy metal band from Richmond, Virginia. Formed in 1994, the group consists of vocalist Randy Blythe, guitarists Mark Morton and Willie Adler, bassist John Campbell, and drummer Chris Adler.

Not any other band makes me headbang like LOG, maybe Slipknot but they are not as much as focused on riffs like LOG. Not to mention that they one of the best drummers so his presence increases the quality of the riffs since the guitarists must stand up to him.

These guys should be way higher. Not comparing metal styles, riffing styles, but music as a whole. This guys craft riffs better than most band solos

12 Death Death was an American death metal band formed in 1983 by Chuck Schuldiner. Death is considered to be one of the most influential bands in heavy metal and a pioneering force in death metal. Its debut album, Scream Bloody Gore, has been widely regarded as the first death metal record, while the band's... read more
13 Opeth Opeth is a Swedish progressive death metal band from Stockholm, formed in 1990 by David Isberg, who invited Mikael Akerfeldt into the band as a bassist. Isberg ended up leaving the band, which lead to Mikael becoming the band's vocalist, guitarist, principal songwriter, and driving force. Along with... read more

Definitely these guys. Their riffs can be extremely nasty and at the same can be very mellow and tranquillizing.

14 Anthrax Anthrax is an American thrash metal band from New York City, formed in 1981 by guitarist Scott Ian and bassist Dan Lilker.
15 Cannibal Corpse Cannibal Corpse is a American death metal band from Buffalo, New York, formed in 1988. The band is known for their graphic album covers, explicitly violent lyrics and song titles like "I C** Blood" The group got into mainstream after performing the song "Hammer Smashed Face" in the 1994 film Ace Ventura:... read more

I'm sorry, but really low guitar messes don't count as riffs.

16 Children of Bodom Children Of Bodom was a melodic death metal band from Espoo, Finland. Formed in 1993, the final lineup consisted of Alexi Laiho, Janne Wirman, Henkka Seppälä, Jaska Raatikainen and Daniel Freyberg.
17 Savatage Savatage is an American heavy metal band founded by the brothers Jon and Criss Oliva in 1978 at Astro Skate in Tarpon Springs, Florida.
18 Judas Priest Judas Priest are a British heavy metal band that formed in Birmingham, England, in 1969. They are often referred to as one of the greatest metal bands of all time, and are even commonly called “The Metal Gods”, after one of the songs on their 1980 album “British Steel”... read more
19 Corrosion of Conformity Corrosion of Conformity is an American heavy metal band from Raleigh, North Carolina formed in 1982. For almost the majority of its existence, the band has consisted of guitarist Woody Weatherman, bassist Mike Dean, drummer Reed Mullin and vocalist and rhythm guitarist Pepper Keenan.
20 Exodus Exodus is an American thrash metal band formed in 1979 in Richmond, California. Spanning a career of 37 years, Exodus has gone through numerous lineup changes, two extended hiatuses, and the deaths of two former band members.
21 Gojira Gojira is a progressive metal band from Bayonne, France. The band was known as Godzilla until 2001. Gojira is composed of Joe Duplantier on vocals and rhythm guitar, his brother Mario Duplantier on drums, Christian Andreu on lead guitar, and Jean-Michel Labadie on bass.
22 The Sword

They play that old school stoner metal, and just like other old school bands, they have awesome riffs

23 Immolation

Some of the tracks can contain unusual melodic riffs, but their characteristic riffing is sick, twisted, and atonal - not very accessible. Rob Vigna is a very creative guitarist but goes unnoticed, just like the band itself.

24 Primal Fear Primal Fear are a German metal band formed in 1997 by Ralf Scheepers and Mat Sinner. They play heavy metal, power metal and speed metal. Primal Fear remind of Judas Priest but Primal Fear are faster and heavier. They use twin (dual) lead guitars. Ralf Scheepers voice reminds of Rob Halford.

They have different types of riffs and I love the variety they offer.
All For One, Road to Asylum, Strike, Diabolus, Blood on your hands.

25 Bolt Thrower Bolt Thrower are a British death metal band from Coventry, England. They formed in 1986 and released their first album with Vinyl Solution in 1988. The band then shifted to a new record label, Earache Records, soon becoming one of the best selling bands on that label.

Bolt Thrower could repeat one riff for whole song and still be best death metal band ever. For examle listen to anything from Those Once Loyal or For Victory, just great, catchy, memobrable, groovy riffs.

8Load More
PSearch List