Goonzi here from long-haired Scottish riff dealers Bleed From Within, to count down my top 10 groove metal riffs of all time. The best riffs are the ones that make you do THAT face, you know the one where you’re trying to shove your chin as far up your face possible, and all of these riffs certainly do that. There’s pretty much no other criteria than that so let’s dive in and prepare to have yer face riffed clean aff.
Bleed From Within’s new album Fracture is out on May 29
10. Sikth - Bland Street Bloom
Sikth are the masters of groovy tech metal. I’m going for the verse riff on this, I love the fact it’s played with a thrash beat first, then takes on a whole new life when it drops with half-time drums, a technique that I’m not ashamed to admit I’ve stolen a good few times over the years.
9. Psycroptic - As the Kingdom Drowns
The first time I heard the riff at 50 seconds, I was not prepared. I’m pretty sure I’ll never be able to play that. Techy as fuck and oozing with groove at the same time, how do you even think to write something like that?! One of my favourite riffs of the last few years.
8. Ghost - Cirice
Ghost are one of my favourite bands of the last few years, known for their catchy choruses and visual pantomime, big Tobias knows his way around a riff too. I’m full-time into 4-to-the-floor, stompy riffs, and when this kicks in, your stank face will be turned up to 11.
7. Gojira - Flying Whales
You know exactly which riff I’m talking about, the heaviest riff of all time. The one that people bring inflatable whales to Gojira shows to blow up and throw around just for that moment when the riff kicks in. The whole song seems like one big buildup to that riff.
6. Mastodon - Blood And Thunder
Every guitarist’s soundcheck riff. I’ve always wanted to write a riff that's so good that it can be played on its own to open the song. It’s one of those modern-classics that everyone knows and loves.
5. Lamb of God - Ruin
Lamb Of God are a band which couldn't avoid making their way onto this list and one of my all time favourites. As The Palaces Burn was one of the first groove metal albums I ever bought and had a huge effect on me. That riff opens the entire album and just punches you straight in the baws, I love a big simple riff that kicks in with no warning.
4. Pantera - Shedding Skin
Pantera appears more than once on this list, because that’s just how it is, Dimebag is king. I wish I wrote this riff so much, Dime must’ve been chuffed out his box when he whipped this out, just a perfect riff.
3. Meshuggah - Do Not Look Down
One of the best riffs-to-headbang-to of all time, if you can figure out what’s going on. I still have no idea what’s happening with the time signature or how the riff actually kicks in. Answers in the comments.
2. Decapitated - Never
You can’t talk about groove metal without talking about Vogg, who has arguably the best tone in the business and some of the best riffs. If you’re too cool to admit that you like the newer Decapitated albums I feel sorry for you, they’ve got some of the best groove metal riffs in recent times. The middle 8 riff in this song from Anticult will punch your ears right in. When everything else in the song stops for it to play on it’s own, you know something huge is coming.
1. Pantera – 5 Minutes Alone
It was the first Pantera song I ever heard and it probably started a chain of events which would lead me to becoming the massive metalhead I am today, as well as kickstarting my love of groovy riffs. If you’re in a bar and you hear that kick/snare intro you know you’re air guitar-ing as soon as that riff kicks in. The simple ones are always the best.