8 Underrated Guitar Riffs in Heavy Metal

They’re outstanding. They’re overlooked. They’re needing you to lend an ear. Here’s to eight underrated guitar riffs in heavy metal:

1. “Where the Slime Live” – Morbid Angel

Sure you may not want to even think about Morbid Angel after that industrial stint. Sure Domination may not be as widely celebrated as Altars of Madness, but you can’t deny that the sticky, grimy tones gurgling in “Where the Slime Live” are unforgettably awesome.

2. “Havenless” – Enslaved

“Havenless” is arguably the most popular song from Enslaved’s versatile catalog, and it’s a cinch to figure out why. Just listen to that storming riff, complemented by those poisonous vocals.

3. “Dethroned Emperor” – Celtic Frost

A flea could be blasting Celtic Frost from its teeny, tiny headphones, and you’d be able to identify the band. It’s all thanks to the groundbreaking riffs that were incorporated.

A bunch of Celtic Frost’s songs could’ve made this cut, but “Dethroned Emperor” from Morbid Tales is noted because of how well that bitter, no nonsense guitar-playing locks in with the drumming.

4. “A Dangerous Meeting” – Mercyful Fate

Mercyful Fate’s signature ghastly atmosphere is laden with a catchy guitar riff on “A Dangerous Meeting,” giving and taking with abrupt solos. It has a way of easing that creepy realm into your reality.

5. “Rumors of War” – High On Fire

Within a few moments of “Rumors of War,” the snarling riff declares that it’s about to go down. Add that riff to the violent drumming and raspy vocals, and the song suddenly leaves you in a frenzy.

6. “Caravans to Ur” – Melechesh

I know. I know. How can anything top the fierceness of Melechesh’s “Rebirth of Nemesis,” right? Even though the instrumental “Caravans to Ur” may parade less energy, the song still chimes with Middle Eastern feel and invites you to journey with it.

7. “Henchmen Ride” – Testament

You can always count on Chuck Billy to sing you through just about any hardship; when topped with busy, melodious, vicious guitar-work, “Henchmen Ride” is fit for venting.

8. “Ólavur Riddararós” – Týr

This song’s main riff is the epitome of Týr’s progressive side. With complex rhythms and dancing notes, it leaves a nearly indescribable impression.


4 thoughts on “8 Underrated Guitar Riffs in Heavy Metal

  1. great choices! nice list for sure… for me “the riff” is more at the heart of heavy metal than the singing style, the drumming prowess or imagry. Give me RIFF. Me happy.


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