10 Best Metal Guitar Solos of All Time


Kirk Hammett of the metal band Metallica performing live.

Kirk Hammett of Metallica has one of Audio Ink Radio’s best metal guitar solos of all time – Story by Anne Erickson, photo by Ken Settle

Audio Ink Radio presents its list of the 10 best metal guitar solos of all time

The electric guitar is a powerful instrument, and nowhere does it shine more than during a raging guitar solo. Heavy metal music is known for its sky-high guitar solos and incredible players. From Randy Rhoads to Dimebag Darrell to Eddie Van Halen, the heavy metal genre has a long list of talented metal guitarists. But, what are some of the best metal guitar solos of all time?

While hundreds of stunning metal guitar solos could have made this list, we’ve narrowed it down to a selection of the greatest metal guitars solos of all time. Read on for Audio Ink Radio’s 10 best metal guitar solos of all time. Also, reach out to us with your picks on social media here and here.

10. Ozzy Osbourne, “Mr. Crowley” – Randy Rhoads

Don’t worry. Randy Rhoads appears lower on this list, too. Of course, we couldn’t help but put him on here twice, because he’s really that good. “Mr. Crowley” is a dark, detached song, and Rhoads’ solo fits the bill. Moreover, it features incredible precision and complexity, plus a touch of his own signature guitar technique and style.

9. Iron Maiden, “Powerslave” – Dave Murray

Iron Maiden is one of those bands where every single member has their own particular voice and style. Dave Murray is a behemoth on guitar. His solo on Iron Maiden’s famed “Powerslave” is the stuff of which legends are made. It shows off his fluid playing, flexibility, rhythm and, of course, melody.

8. Pantera, “Floods” – Dimebag Darrell

Any of Dimebag Darrell’s solos could have made this list, but “Floods” is a unique one. On it, Dimebag servers up interesting guitar licks, tapping, unique vibratos and more, all in a scorching guitar solo that demands attention. What’s more, it’s solos that like that make Dimebag one of the greatest.

7. Ozzy Osbourne, “No More Tears” — Zakk Wylde

Randy Rhoads will always hold a singular place in metal history when it comes to his time with Ozzy Osbourne, but Zakk Wyle is also a shining star. Wylde really shines in Osbourne’s “No More Tears.” The solo sees him playing a super melodic line that explodes into a lightning-fast section of guitar notes and harmonics. Further, this guitar solo is truly mesmerizing.

6. Megadeth, “Tornado of Souls” – Marty Friedman

Marty Friedman is one of the best metal guitarists of all time. That’s really apparent when digging into his body of work with Megadeth. One of his standout solos during his tenure with the band was on “Tornado of Souls.” Here, Friedman performs a blistering guitar solo with skill, style and power. Further, the song builds up to his time in the spotlight, making this a very dramatic guitar solo.

5. Judas Priest, “Painkiller” – Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing of Judas Priest

Judas Priest are known for their duel guitar lines, and that makes the band’s music some of the greatest in metal. Judas Priest simply helped create the sound of the metal guitar. Of course, the fantastic solo featuring Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing in “Painkiller” is a shining example of that.

4. Van Halen, “Eruption” — Eddie Van Halen

Eddie Van Halen really popularized the electric guitar. He was a guitar hero before the video game took on the name. His solo in Van Halen’s “Eruption” displays, note-for-note, the sheer talent and technical know-how of Eddie. In addition, it shows that he could play with intense emotion.

3. Ozzy Osbourne, “Crazy Train” — Randy Rhoads

Randy Rhoads was an exceptional guitarist, and his guitar solos always brought something special to Ozzy Osbourne and Quiet Riot’s songs. His tapping solo in Osbourne’s “Crazy Train” is legendary. It keeps the listener engaged for the entire run. This solo is simply iconic and instantly recognizable, and it deserves to be high on this list.

2. Guns N’ Roses, “Sweet Child O’ Mine” — Slash

Some may consider this more of a rock solo than metal, but it shreds so much that we’re calling it metal. Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child O’ Mine” beings with Slash’s legendary guitar lines. Then, later in the track, Slash really rips and tears it up with a melodic but uber-heavy solo. It’s a fast, fun solo that gets people on their feet.

1. Metallica, “One” – Kirk Hammett

We know Metallica often top these best-of metal lists, and it’s for a good reason. After all, they’re one of the biggest metal bands in the world. To this day, they sell out arenas faster than many pop stars. When it comes to guitar solos, Kirk Hammett’s guitar solo in “One” is incredible. It’s a hair-raising moment, with his classic down-picking approach to playing. Moreover, you can feel the intense emotion in his solo. That makes “One” No. 1 on our list of the 10 best metal guitar solos of all time.

Check out Audio Ink Radio’s feature on the best heavy metal guitarists of all time here.

Anne Erickson
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Posted by Anne Erickson | Features, Metal, Music