It's time to pay tribute to the greatest metal guitarists ever! There are countless shredders out there who captivate millions simply with strings and a pick, but who is the best metal axeman of all time? This is where the fans come in. We want to know who you think deserves that very distinction.

Just in case you find yourself wondering why legendary guitarists such as Dave Mustaine, Alexi Laiho or Mikael Akerfeldt are not featured as choices in this competition, don't stress. We'll be following up our Greatest Metal Guitarist contest later in the year with our Greatest Metal Frontman tournament, which will feature some of your favorite guitar virtuosos who also act as lead vocalists. We'll also be cooking up a Greatest Metal Drummer and Greatest Metal Bassist competition, eventually creating the ultimate metal supergroup using your votes.

But first, we have 32 axe-slingers competing for the title of Greatest Metal Guitarists. Vote in all 16 first-round matchups by clicking the red button below: