The 10 Greatest Final Heavy Metal Albums of All Time

13: Nick Dart and Neil Bowen of Zip Design, Spencer Jenkins (sculptor), Jonathan Knowles (photographer), Vertigo / The Sound of Perseverance: Travis Smith, Nuclear Blast / Those Once Loyal: Jan Meininghaus, Metal Blade
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Many amazing metal bands have come and gone from the genre; some of those bands lasted a couple of years, some a decade plus, and others for roughly half a century.

But on their way out, some of those bands put out one final amazing record. Considering some of the amazing metal bands who have since retired, here are 10 amazing albums that bands concluded their career on.

13Black Sabbath

As the band to birth heavy metal, it was bittersweet to find out that Black Sabbath was retiring. In total, 13 marks the band’s 19th studio album, and after decades of performing, the record captures the epic doom-y quality of early Sabbath. While fans may hold the likes of Black Sabbath and Master of Reality more closely to heart, 13 not only stands as an incredible record but also an amazing conclusion to heavy metal’s originators.

Wavering RadiantIsis

While Aaron Turner and company have gone on to take part in various other projects, Isis remains one of the most fascinating creative forces to ever work in metal. The band wrote several excellent releases, with their final studio release being 2009’s Wavering Radiant. Much like their past albums, the record offers a brilliant display of thought-provoking technicality and creative flair that all comes together to immerse audiences in a surreal and mesmerizing experience.

One Wing – The Chariot

The Chariot brought a sense of chaos into both their music and performances that felt dangerous. Ecstatic speed, abrasive technical and vocal performances, and a desire to create unconventional compositions helped to elevate this band in the metalcore scene; and when it came time for the band to call it a wrap, they released the thrilling and wickedly awesome One Wing. Up until the very end, The Chariot went off with all of its musical cylinders firing.


Slayer calling it quits sucked. This is one of the Big 4 for crying out loud. But, just before Slayer came to an end, they released an album called Repentless, which goes *checks notes* HARD AS FUCK. Really, what a truly intense and ferocious display of thrash metal. Given the incredible legacy Slayer already has attached to their name, Repentless just made for more icing on top of a glorious thrash cake.

DissociationThe Dillinger Escape Plan

Similar to The Chariot, The Dillinger Escape Plan was known for creating absurdly intense, math-y metalcore. The band’s music packed boatloads of technical extremity, and over time, they cemented themselves as one of metal’s wildest bands to see live. Which is why it was wild to hear that they were retiring after 20 years. In closing out their career with Dissociation, The Dillinger Escape Plan not only released an album that captures that awesome energy they are known for, but ironically, they also showed off even more depths to their unique artistry.

Those Once Loyal – Bolt Thrower

Bolt Thrower is one of the most iconic acts in all of death metal history, and after unleashing a great number of killer releases, the band went out on a high note with 2005’s Those Once Loyal. Much like their previous releases, Bolt Thrower goes full force throughout this record and delivers a sonically blistering presentation. The guttural vocal presentation and pummeling death metal instrumentation are so awesome, that it’s somewhat of a sad experience listening to Those Once Loyal, given how amazingly talented Bolt Thrower is.

The Sound of PerseveranceDeath

Another one of death metal’s greatest bands, Death concluded their run on an astonishing high note with 1998’s The Sound of Perseverance. Featuring the band’s captivating display of creative flavor and technical finesse, the record is a brilliant work of thrilling and epic-sounding death metal. What makes this record extra melancholic along with being the last record from Death is that it’s also one of the last releases to feature the late and great Chuck Schuldiner.

Used FutureThe Sword

When it comes to rockin’ doom, The Sword was one of the best around. From stoner metal to rock, the band knew how to write compelling songs that offered tremendous mood, adventurous lyrics, and catchy melodies. After almost 20 years of being a band, The Sword called it quits, but before then, they released Used Future in 2018. The band’s incredible artistry is on full display throughout Used Future, capturing what made The Sword so special.

Bad MagicMotörhead

Motörhead is one of the most important bands to ever grace heavy metal, so getting hit with the news of Lemmy‘s passing and the band retiring afterward was nothing short of devastating. Prior to Lemmy’s death, the band released their 22nd album Bad Magic, and just like all the music they had created over the decades, this record rocks fucking hard. It isn’t just an amazing album though, but a profound testament to the thrills and professionalism that Motörhead brought to all their performances.

Dead AgainType O Negative

As the final record to come from goth metal rockers Type O Negative, Dead Again is an extraordinary work of mood. The album includes a gripping array of technical performances; from slow burn build-ups welling with emotion, to vibrant, melancholic melodies that ride forth, Dead Again is astonishing in how much it provides stylistically. And given that this makes for Peter Steele‘s last Type O Negative recording prior to his death, Dead Again makes for an extra emotionally moving work.