20 Best Metal Albums of 2016

Vintage thrashers, modern mathletes and more: The year in heavy

Black Sabbath, 'The End' EP
20
20/20

20. Black Sabbath, 'The End' EP

Everything about The End is an anomaly. It's a CD-only collection of four previously unreleased castaways from the sessions for Black Sabbath's stellar comeback LP, 2013's 13, along with a handful of live recordings; and it was only available to concertgoers who attended their farewell tour. Most surprising, though, is that it's excellent: Any of these songs could have – and should have – come out years ago. Opener "Season of the Dead" contains one of Tony Iommi's doomiest riffs in decades, and its middle section fuses the fantastical grooves of the band's late Seventies recordings with the locomotive riffing of their Eighties Dio years. The grim "Cry All Night" contains a brilliant, bluesy guitar solo; "Take Me Home" pairs Flamenco guitar with guttural, distorted riffing; and "Isolated Man" approximates Beatles psychedelia through the band's dark filter. It's Black Sabbath saying goodbye while twisting the knife – from the sound of these songs, they ought to record more. K.G.