Pantera's Dimebag Darrell was and will always be revered as one of metal's greatest guitar players. You know it. We know it. Code Orange's Reba Meyers knows it. But what was his single finest riff? It's a hard question, so we turned to the experts: you. "Primal Concrete Sledge," "I'm Broken," "Mouth for War" and "This Love" got plenty of votes, but fell just short of the top five. Below, see what came in on top.
It's something of a deep cut by Pantera standards, and yet it's hard to deny the massive, pummeling, start-stop awesomeness of the main riff to Vulgar Display of Power's second-to-last track. Props, too, to Vinnie Paul for his machine-gun drumming behind it, which bolsters its demonic power.
Dimebag was a relentless shredder whose chops were near-unmatched in the metal realm, and "Domination"'s whip-fast front end leading into his signature staccato, muted aggression is a shining example of why the group is still so beloved in the community. But the part that steals the show on this Cowboys From Hell classic is Dime's finishing move — and arguably the greatest and heaviest breakdown riff of all time.
Pantera's "Walk" is an eternal heavy-metal staple, all built on the thick, syrupy riffs Dimebag laid down so everyone else could deliver their best sing-along performance on top of it. Never trust anyone who doesn't immediately bang their head when those introductory chugs come rolling in.
The Great Southern Trendkill's grim, soulful, nihilistic power ballad, "Floods" features one of Dime's greatest solos. It also features a dynamic hard-stomping riff that works perfectly in the song, surging much like an apocalyptic tide, punctuating the tune's acoustic verses and Philip Anselmo's mostly clean-sung call for the end.
"Cemetery Gates" is the reason air-guitaring exists — maybe not literally, but it certainly deserves that title. Perhaps nothing has ever sounded so deeply brutal while also contained so much emotional depth, standing in stark contrast with the normally raucous picking and shredding Dime showed off onstage. His stuttering, squealing main riff on the song takes Pantera's greatest power ballad and gives it just enough balls to avoid the pitfalls of corny love songs.