Top 10 Heavy Metal Guitar Solos

Script written by Christopher Ulaski. These guys certainly make playing metal on the axe look easy. For this list, we’ve limited it to one song per artist. Keep in mind that we’re only focusing on heavy metal so no hard rock acts like Van Halen and Guns N’ Roses will appear. We’re also excluding instrumentals. Be sure to also check out our list of the Top 10 Guitar Solos. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the top 10 heavy metal guitar solos. Special thanks to our users Jose Miguel Alvear Carrion, Jake Tomlin, Philip Folta, DatMan, Asa MachineHead Jones, Slavko Petkovski, CliffPaul07, damissinglynk, Ross Smith, CliffPaul07, blackwaterpark, Shinoaction@icloud.c, James Selway, Richard Bain, Lucius Left-Foot and meneertje25 for submitting the idea on our Suggest Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by Christopher Ulaski.

Top 10 Heavy Metal Guitar Solos


These guys certainly make playing metal on the axe look easy. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 heavy metal guitar solos.

For this list, we’ve limited it to one song per artist. Keep in mind that we’re only focusing on heavy metal so no hard rock acts like Van Halen and Guns N’ Roses will appear. We’re also excluding instrumentals. Be sure to also check out our list of the Top 10 Guitar Solos.

#10: “Powerslave” (1984)
Iron Maiden

What do you do when you have 3 guitarists in your band? Have them take part in an epic three-way solo of course! Janick Gers, Dave Murray and Adrian Smith didn’t all track the original recording, but that doesn’t stop them from bringing down the house together live these days. Starting with a slow melodic melody that builds into an eruption of awesomeness, “Powerslave” has it all.

#9: “Afterlife” (2008)
Avenged Sevenfold

Some guitar solos are all about flash and Avenged Sevenfold’s Synyster Gates has that in spades. Reminiscent of the many bands that influenced them, the “Afterlife” solo is lighting fast and dares anyone to try and keep up. It’s a touch of old school metal mixed with a bit of modern flair. As part of a mainstream band, Gates introduces the art of the heavy metal solo on this Avenged Sevenfold single to those who might not have had as much exposure and helped the band reach the top 20 of Billboard’s rock tracks.

#8: “Seasons in the Abyss” (1990)
Slayer

Slayer. All you need to do is simply utter that one word and every metal fan knows what you’re talking about. One of the best reasons to head bang is this gem from their fifth album Seasons in the Abyss. Blindingly fast and unapologetic, Kerry King and the late Jeff Hanneman bring the pain. This is about as metal as you can get.

#7: “You Don’t Remember, I’ll Never Forget” (1986)
Yngwie Malmsteen

With a name like Yngwie Malmsteen, you just know that we’re in for a rocking good time. Listening to his riffs alone will put hair on your chest. Though Malmsteen's discography is highlighted by epic instrumentals, like the iconic “Black Star,” many of his songs do have lyrics. Case in point: “You Don’t Remember, I’ll Never Forget,” which also features a blistering solo. If there was ever a solo that told you both what he was about and the time period of metal you were in, this is it.

#6: “Floods” (1996)
Pantera

Pantera is considered by many to be one of the best metal bands of all time and for good reason. Aside from clever lyrics and a no BS attitude, late guitarist Dimebag Darrell is respected and viewed as one the greatest guitarists that ever lived. Throughout his career, he gave us many memorable solos like the one from “Cemetery Gates”, but “Floods” is the most unique and different. It may be slower-paced and less flashy, but it never loses the heaviness that was Dimebag’s trademark.

#5: “Painkiller” (1990)
Judas Priest

If there is any band that knows how to make a heavy metal anthem, it’s Judas Priest. Glenn Tipton and KK Downing are masters of their craft. You know what they say: two is always better than one and combining these two made for the perfect combination. “Painkiller” cranks it to eleven, and then to twelve, and then beyond. This is what speed is all about and our necks are still sore from banging our heads to this classic track.

#4: “Children of the Grave” (1971)
Black Sabbath

If you call yourself a metal fan and aren’t into or aware of Black Sabbath, then you better get crackin’. They’re pretty much the originators of all things heavy metal. And one of those reasons for this is guitarist Tony Iommi. Many contemporary guitarists credit Iommi’s ingenuity as their inspiration and consider his work a milestone that laid the groundwork for what was to come. The solo from “Children of the Grave” is truly one of his best and showcases everything that Black Sabbath is about.

#3: “One” (1989)
Metallica

When it comes to Kirk Hammett, it feels like there are way too many solos to weed through to determine his best, for example, there’s the very popular “Fade to Black”. But after much debate, we settled on “One”. The reason is simple. If you had to explain Metallica to someone who’s never heard of them, this is the song you’d play. Fast. Melodic. Beautiful. This thrash and speed metal track is the very essence of a Hammett solo and Metallica riffage.

#2: “Mr. Crowley” (1980)
Ozzy Osbourne

There’s a reason that Randy Rhoads’ solo from “Mr. Crowley” has shown up more than once in our rankings. The song even beats out another of his famous solos as found in “Revelation (Mother Earth)”. It is hands down one of the best guitar solos ever constructed, regardless of genre. It’s exactly what a guitar solo should be, which is an extension of the song, but also not without a personality of its own. Rhoads’ legacy is filled with many incredible solos, and this is inarguably one of them.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- “Through the Fire and the Flames” (2006)
DragonForce
- “The Aftermath (The Guillotine III)” (2010)
Escape the Fate
- “Stargazer” (1976)
Rainbow
- “Mother” (1988)
Danzig
- “The Last Baron” (2009)
Mastodon
- “Scene Three: II. Fatal Tragedy” (1999)
Dream Theater

#1: “Tornado of Souls” (1990)
Megadeth

For those that don’t know, Dave Mustaine used to be in Metallica before abruptly getting kicked out of the band. However, that didn’t stop Mustaine from starting a little band of his own: Megadeth. And while he has quite the number of fine solos in his catalogue, so does his bandmate Marty Friedman, who delivered a masterpiece on “Tornado of Souls”. Lengthy, rip-roaring and with an abundance of shred, it’s just what a heavy metal guitar solo should be.

Do you agree with our list? What’s your favorite heavy metal guitar solo? For more lightning fast top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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