Riff of the Year: 2015


sick guitarist shredding against intense backdrop of fire and water stock photo

It is time. I think it’s safe to say that 2015 has been packed to the brim (years have brims) with killer riffs. Go back through our extensive writer’s/editor’s/guest’s top ten lists and you’ll find so many good goddamn riffs that you won’t even know what to do with yourself. But not yet, because now is the time we let our favorite riffs of the entire year do battle.

But first, before someone throws a fucking tantrum — last week‘s results! Blackbeard and Guacamole tied with 7 votes each. Fight it out between yourselves. I expect much blood and at least one death.

Next week is a new year, so I want riffs from new bands. Submit riffs from bands that have not yet put out a full-length album. Send your riffs to toiletovhellriff@gmail.com. Include your name, a link to the riff, the time of the riff, and an explanation for your riff. If you have any ideas for a future theme, let me know in the comments or via email.

Let’s get started! Vote for your favorite here, then post yours in the comments.



I certainly could have (and probably should have) chosen a riff that would garner me more votes, but I can’t lie to myself — this is my favorite riff of the year. It’s slow and listless wander is simple but far beyond effectively bleak, and once it’s accompanied by Stainthorpe’s pure-concentrated-sorrow-dripping vocal melodies, things get real dark, real fast. This one has me reaching for my Zoloft every time. Start from the beginning.


Though we don’t often share similar taste in music, Link’s pick for song of the year has climbed into my head and refuses to leave. The riff that comes in at 1:01 in “Fugitive” is dummy-stupid-simple but it carries the song and makes me bob my head in an obnoxious manner. Careful, it just might do the same to you. Bonus: the solo is pretty siqqq.



As surely as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, my favorite riff of the year should come off my favorite album of the year. Although, the riff stands alone as something truly spectacular, the preceding riff builds so much tension that when it concludes with the briefest of pauses, it’s effect is magnified beyond comprehension. The interplay between the rhythm guitar and lead guitar is so emotive that as I sit here listening to the song for the umpteenth time, I have goosebumps. Riff at 3:24.



0:21 As I remarked to The Lizard when he introduced this song to me, I could listen to this riff on infinite repeat. Plodding and cyclical like life itself, yet as soothing and addictive as hair dryer ASMR. Doubtless, it will be stuck in my head for at least as long as the keyboard hook to “My Girlfriend’s Girlfriend” was. Which is fine, because if it wasn’t taking up so much space in there I might actually have to think people thoughts, which is an egregious waste of time.


Brock Samson

Akhlys released my favorite album of 2015 so it makes sense that I choose a riff from that release, The Dreaming I. Start the song at 7:45 then sit back for the rest of the song. The eerie, haunting and mesmerizing riff and shrieking vocals instill am unsettling dream like trance that transports the listener to a world of equal parts terror and calming. The ability of this entire album to do just that is why it is my number one. Allow yourself to take the journey as well.


Cøâl Røll

Riff ov the year must be a riff that every locker stuffed nerd would be called a poser for not being dickcrushed by. It must exemplify the almighty riff, performed only by the most vaunted riff-maestro’s of all time. Because they are only banned in Riff ov The Week, and this is the fucking RIFF OV THE YEAR, BRO, play your air guitars loud and bang your heads to 2015’s RoTY at 5:50. Behold! [You’ve got chutzpah. I’ll allow this. — Masterlord



Far be it from me to be repetitive, but…. How could I not go with the best riff from the Album of the Year? American Power Metal is well and truly alive.


Guacamole Jim

The most massive part of the the most massive song released this year is, without any doubt, 7:11 in Tempel’s “Carvings in the Door.” An absolutely breathtaking climax to a song that epitomizes the term “heavy as fuck.


Jack Bauer

Naturally, my ROTY comes from my AOTY. 1:33. All hail our celestial gastropod overlords.


Ted Nü-Djent

I decided to check out Deeper Than The Sky after another toileteer casually name dropped the album in the super secret No Homers Club message group. I’m sure glad I did because it’s been on constant rotation since. I was hooked on this beast from the start but the riff that really sealed the deal was on the albums title track. The riff starts at the 16.00 minute mark on the YouTube link but where it really picks up is at 16.36 where the riff breaks down into “one of the sickest slide guitar riffs in metal history“. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did. Thanks for listening and for sharing all your picks throughout the year.



This was a very difficult decision to make. I haven’t struggled so hard to make a decision since the time I found myself at a charity bake sale my dog’s veterinarian was hosting (I had only three bucks, but I wanted a cookie, a cupcake, a frosted brownie, and a cake ball). I analyzed riffs for days before I decided to just go with my partially functional gut. The riff from 2:04 to 2:30 is the first thing that pops into my head when I contemplate the year’s finest riffs. This riff murders my nuts whenever I hear it. It’s brutal, catchy, and groovy, and it gives me a +10 rage-strength boost when I’m struggling under the bar. This riff is all that is riff, and I think it makes a mighty fine riff of the year.


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