20 Best Hard Rock & Heavy Metal Guitar Riffs Of 2016

Megadeth, Revocation, Amon Amarth and more have truly mastered the art of shredding.

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If the abundance of lists I've made about it in the past few weeks hasn't tipped you off yet, 2016 has been an awesome year for metal! Or at least, when it wasn't killing musicians we love...

And what is more important in metal than the supple art that is the guitar riff? Often the most apparent gateway to any heavy song's hook, a well-performed guitar part can sometimes transform a bad song into an enjoyable one.

But what makes a guitar riff "great" is almost entirely subjective, so for the purposes of this list, they are going to be judged based upon four criteria: the technical skill behind the riff, its catchiness, its accessibility and, generally, the excitement and energy that it brings with it.

Furthermore, only one song per artist is allowed. Otherwise, bands like Animals as Leaders and Revocation would make up the entire list by themselves.

So, with that out of the way, let's commemorate the best things to come out of six strings this year:

20. In Flames - "The End"

"The End" is probably the stand-out track from its parent album, 2016's Battles. And, to be honest, let's call a spade a spade and say that Battles is, objectively, a pretty terrible record. Very little about it stands out and it just, basically, hobbles along for 48 minutes, coming across as tired, flat, unmotivated and boring in the process.

But at least In Flames gave us "The End" on the album: probably the best song to be found on the entire thing. Mixing the Swedish act's melodic death metal style of old with more modern, alternative influences, it can thank the guitar-work of shredders Björn Gelotte and Niclas Engelin for its energy and attitude on a record that otherwise supplies neither.

The opening build-up followed by the exciting (albeit short) main riff, as well as the shredding in the pre-chorus, make "The End" more than worthy of being on this list.

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Contributor

Writer for Metal Hammer, WhatCulture, Prog and more. Film student at the University of Winchester. Owner of many, many denim jackets. Follow me on Twitter: @MattallicaMills

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