We’ve all got our favorite bands that we’ll defend to the ends, and usually no matter how great those bands are – there’s usually at least one stinker in the catalog. The ones that are just so bad, you’d prefer to forget that the CDs are sitting in plain sight on your shelf.
For every "Painkiller" there’s a "Turbo," for every "Number of the Beast" there’s a "Virtual XI." With that in mind, July’s From Hell’s Heart topic is "THE WORST ALBUMS FROM MY FAVORITE BANDS!" What are the albums that are so bad they almost make us want to disown a band?
EvilG – THE WORST ALBUMS FROM (3 of my) MY FAVORITE BANDS
Megadeth – RISK (1999)
This album was so bad I thought all hope was lot for Megadeth. Thankfully megadave gave up the idea of playing pop/rock-metal and becoming a big rock band, and went back to a heavier thrash style. RISK is the only Megadeth album that I do not own. I heard the album once, and thinking back to that I recall it actually made me very angry when I listened to it. I’ll never ever spin this abomination again.
Rhapsody of Fire – Triumph or Agony (2006)
I do not consider this a “Rhapsody” release because it would otherwise tarnish a near perfect gaggle of albums. With name change came a sound change and with a 3 year wait I haven’t been hoping for Triumph or Agony Part 2 by any means. I’d rather Symphony of Enchanted Lands Part 3 then this disaster. I haven’t heard hardly anything about the band in well over a year. Are they even writing new material that will live up to their past? Meh… My original thoughts that I penned on their release haven’t changed, the album has not grown on me at all. With Triumph or Agony there are no thundering drums, no speeding songs, and none of the HEAVY symphonic metal that has made Rhapsody one of my favorite bands. In its individual pieces, most songs on here could be considered just decent…IF they would have been included on an album with heavier songs. However, having a full album of ballad-esque and mid-tempo songs is not why I listen to this band.
Slayer – GOD HATES US ALL (2001)
After the big down-step that was Diabolus In Musica, Slayer did what I thought was impossible…release a crappy album that was trying to win over “nu” fans who had jumped on the Shitnot bandwagon. While the album is “heavy” it’s nowhere near the brilliance of anything else they’ve done. The riffs are unmemorable, Tom’s vocals are all monotone trashcan yelling, the solos are uninspired, the magic was gone. It was a long 5 years until the return of drum-god Dave Lombardo that CHRIST ILLUSION (2006) righted many of the wrongs and brought back the (black) magic.
Aaron Yurkiewicz – WORST ALBUM FROM MY FAVORITE BANDS
Sepultura – ROOTS (1996)
As far as I’m concerned, the all time worst album from one of my favorite bands is ROOTS by Sepultura. Yeah, I know, most folks use ROOTS as the benchmark of all things Sepultura and that this was such a defining moment in the band’s history, blah, blah, blah. To that, I say hogwash – this album is terrible.
Let’s try and erase some of the revisionist history surrounding this album, shall we? The band was coming off of a HUGE album in the form of the still-amazing CHAOS A.D. “Territory,” “Refuse/Resist,” “Amen,” “Nomad,””Slave New World,” I mean c’mon, just about every song on that disc was calculated thrash brilliance. And then Korn hit the scene and fans of heavy music everywhere seemed to simultaneously soil themselves in awe of their first disc. Now, I’ll openly admit that I liked the first Korn disc when it came out. It was something new and in all fairness it was a decent album. It’s just everything they’ve released since that first album that continues to give me stomach cramps…So Max Cavalera hears Korn and all of the sudden says, “Hey, I can down tune my guitar and play really sloppy too!” Max completely aped Korn’s entire shtick for the ROOTS album, hired the same producer (Ross Robinson), and made it abundantly clear in the press for the album how influential Korn was to him during the writing of that album. So not only is ROOTS terrible, it’s plagiarized terrible.
The band promotes the album as being inspired by indigenous heritage of the band and the whole thing is supposed to be all tribal and organic, a claim that I still don’t understand to this day. I think it was more of an excuse for the album being sloppy and down tuned, because I’d imagine that the Native tribes living in the Brazilian rain forests have a hard time finding batteries for their guitar tuners too. Since leaving Sepultura, Max continues to make that same album over and over again with Soulfly, because it’s a lot easier to play sloppy and down tuned than try to come up with something new that might actual be considered creative. I’ve never understood the appeal of this album and can’t comprehend that this was the same band that wrote “Dead Embryonic Cells.”
HONORABLE MENTION: Anthrax – VOLUME 8: THE THREAT IS REAL (1998)
I love me some John Bush era Anthrax (or “Bushthrax”), but man, VOLUME 8 was a real stinker. The music scene was in a weird place when this came out and the band was having a tough time staying afloat. They were on a crappy label that went belly up after this album came out and it just felt like everything that was going wrong with the band came out in the songwriting. Save for a couple of tunes, like “Inside Out,” “Catharsis,” and the delightfully catchy “Giving the Horns” (the B-side to the “Inside Out” single), there’s absolutely nothing redeeming about this album. Nada, zip, zilch. But coming off an album this bad made WE’VE COME FOR YOU ALL even that much better than it already was, so I guess in that respect maybe it did have a little value. Nah, it still sucks.
Munkwunk – The Worst Bands From Your Favorite Artists
We’ve all had the painful experience of waiting years for a new release from our favorite band, only to eventually have the excitement and anticipation fall flat when the album arrives and turns out to be a major disappointment. The albums listed below are prime examples of major let-downs. Whether it’s due to a line-up change, turbulence between the band’s existing members, or just plain lack of inspiration, these albums are among the biggest disappointments from some of my all-time favorite bands.
CHARACTER by Dark Tranquillity
A lot of people would point their finger at PROJECTOR when discussing Dark Tranquillity’s biggest let-down, but I humbly disagree. In my mind, CHARACTER stands out as the worst album in the band’s extensive catalogue. After waiting three years since DAMAGE DONE, one of my favorite DT albums, CHARACTER felt like a lot more of the same, without any tracks that really stood out to me. Stanne’s clean vocals were lacking for the second album in a row and were sorely missed, and there just didn’t seem to be as much variation in the sound; very little experimentation, which we’ve come to expect from the band. I wouldn’t call it a bad album, but 2007’s FICTION was the follow-up to DAMAGE DONE that I was really looking for.
STRATOVARIUS by Stratovarius
Is this any surprise? After reading about all of the drama surrounding Kotipelto’s ejection and subsequent re-inclusion in the band, along with Tolkki’s psychotic episodes, I was as thrilled as any long-time Stratofan when I heard that the band was going to be releasing another album – and without the female lead vocals. Unfortunately, this mid-tempo, hum-drum album was not even remotely worth the wait. I was sad when I heard that Tolkki wouldn’t be doing guitars for the band anymore, but 2009’s POLARIS turned out to be a vastly superior album.
THE GLORIOUS BURDEN by Iced Earth
Iced Earth is the band that originally turned me on to aggressive power metal, and without them I probably wouldn’t be half as interested in metal as I am today. I was disappointed when my favorite vocalist of all time – Matt Barlow – decided to leave the band after 9/11 to become a cop, but even worse was when Tim Owens was announced as his replacement. It may be an unpopular opinion, but I’ve always been bothered by Owens’ vocal style and was thus disappointed when THE GLORIOUS BURDEN was released and he didn’t prove me wrong. Not only did his performance not interest me, but the rest of the album didn’t seem quite up to par with the rest of Iced Earth’s work either, and even FRAMING ARMAGGEDON didn’t do anything to help my opinion of where the band was headed. Thankfully, Barlow has since rejoined the band and they came back strong with THE CRUSIBLE OF MAN, restoring my hope in Iced Earth’s future.
Rick – THE WORST ALBUMS FROM MY FAVORITE BANDS
Twisted Sister – Love is for Suckers
What can I say, I am a big Twisted Sister fan. It was Stay Hungry that got me interested in the band way back in 1984 but what endeared me about TS was the fact that, even though they had the masses worshiping their garish makeup and over teased hair, there was an actual metal band underneath all the hype. As I discovered YOU CAN’T STOP ROCK N ROLL and then UNDER THE BLADE, I grew to love the band even more. Then the SMFs hit a small bump with COME OUT AND PLAY. I am sure that they were being pulled in a million different directions and the pressure was on to top STAY HUNGRY but trying to please the commercial masses looked like it was taking its toll on the group. The final nail in the coffin was LOVE IS FOR SUCKERS. That steaming pile of lifeless fluff makes me cringe even to this day. I don’t care if it was supposed to be a Dee Snider solo album, it was full of paint by numbers songs that were safe for all the PMRC parents out there. It was such a low point for me with the band that its only now with the 25th Anniversary of STAY HUNGRY looming that I can even bring myself to utter the words. LOVE IS FOR SUCKERS.
WASP – Kill Fuck Die
WASP enthralled me from their inception. The first shrieks of “I Wanna Be Somebody” are indelibly etched on my psyche. I remember teachers looking at me like some kind of leper when, in grade 7, my buddies and I would blast “School Daze” from our Woolworths boom boxes. WASP, while always a favourite of mine, lost me completely with KILL FUCK DIE. Blackie was lost under an industrial wave of static and uninspired songs that have so little of his artistic flair. I think that I could take every pot and pan in my kitchen, throw them down my stairs and create a sound that is more inspired than Kill Fuck Die. What a waste..
Dio – Angry Machines
Oh, woe is Me. Tracey G. Why were you put on this earth to torment me so? Anyone who knows me knows that I worship at the altar of Dio but I think that the Tracey G era is one of Dio’s weakest. I don’t know what it was/is about this cd but to me it feels so lifeless. The songs have no hooks, no melody and Dio’s incredible voice just does not have anywhere to turn. There are a few moments that have potential but for the most part, they go nowhere. I find this CD just painful to listen to.
Lord of the Wasteland – THE WORST ALBUMS FROM MY FAVORITE BANDS
Black Sabbath ~ Forbidden
Forbidden saw the wheezing, Tony Iommi-led Sabbath hitting an all-time low before hooking up with Ozzy Osbourne again for a career revival and a decade-long run through Ozzfest. Even with Cozy Powell and the horribly unappreciated Tony Martin in the fold, the already forgettable songs were overshadowed by a ridiculous guest vocal from Ice-T on one track that proved just how desperate and off-track the band had become.
Judas Priest ~ Demolition
Jugulator, Priest’s first studio outing without The Metal God behind the mike, was quite promising but whatever mindset Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing were in when penning this abomination still puzzles a decade later. Trying to forge a new identity is one thing, but Demolition made Priest seem out of touch with its fans and unsure in its own direction. Fortunately, the core members of Priest and Rob Halford mended fences and got the heavy metal machine back on track two years later.
Fear Factory ~ Digimortal
The sound of a band on the fringe of destruction. By this point, Fear Factory’s members had splintered into different camps with finger-pointing and politics getting in the way of the music. A few good tunes can be found but the end was near and it could be felt in the songs.
Machine Head ~ Supercharger
After giving up on the groovy thrash of its first two records for an unwelcome foray into mallcore on The Burning Red, Machine Head drifted even further into the abyss on Supercharger. Tepid riffs, uninspired vocals and writing that diminished any shred of what Machine Head had done up that point ultimately cost the band its record contract, credibility with its fans and almost its career.
Megadeth ~ Risk
The steady decline of Megadeth began with the Cryptic Writings album but it was on 1999’s Risk that things really hit the skids. The prophetically-titled album saw the once mighty thrash metal titans reduced to cranking out simplistic pop-metal/hard rock tunes that were so desperately crying for radio airplay that, ironically, never happened anyway.
Mötley Crüe ~ Generation Swine
Many people dismiss the self-titled, Vince Neil-less 1994 release but it was 1997’s Generation Swine that was the final nail in the Crüe coffin for this writer. Weak, over-produced songs and a glam-rock image that didn’t do the band any favors combined to embarrass the legacy of the Hollywood bad boys who once lived for hard drugs, strippers, Harley Davidsons and leather.
Van Halen ~ III
This album sucked on a stratospheric level upon its release in 1997 but even revisiting it today, it’s hard to piece together just how identifiable Sammy Hagar and David Lee Roth had become to the Van Halen sound. Extreme’s Gary Cherone bore the brunt of the blame for III’s failure but the songs just don’t measure up to the standards of Van Halen’s otherwise almost flawless material up to that point.
W.A.S.P. ~ Helldorado
In 2000, Blackie Lawless attempt at making a “party” album in the vein of early W.A.S.P. didn’t bring in any new fans, nor did it warm the cockles of the die-hard followers of the Winged Assassins. Instead, it seemed forced, juvenile and was quickly buried by both the band and its fans.
Erich – THE WORST ALBUMS FROM MY FAVORITE BANDS
Anthrax – State of Euphoria
For me, this was the beginning of the end until a new beginning with “Sound of White Noise”. This album leans heavily towards the punk/hardcore side of things while somehow managing to mimic “Among The Living’s” tightness and economy of riff without any of the catchiness. I dunno, the band citing France’s Trust as a seminal and influential metal band towards explaining the origins of covering the song “Anti-Social” rings hollow to me.
Kiss – Crazy Nights
Kiss has phoned in a number of albums, but “Crazy Nights” might stand as the biggest offence. After the unexpected quality of Asylum, “Crazy Nights” was a joke of an album, the result of Gene letting Paul basically run the show and the limp wristed lack of fire is the result. Easily the worst of the catalog and in the running for worst pop metal album of the decade. Avoid.
Don Dokken- Up From The Ashes
Went a long way towards proving that Dokken as a band was really the sum of its parts, and individually, they were nothing special. Don and the hired hands put together a compilation of mediocre balladry, technically and sonically perfect, but lacking any soul, substance, or hooks. Granted, not many albums from this era have stood the test of time, but this particular effort is guilty of being dated in the worst possible degree.
Alan Gilkeson – The Worst Albums from my favorite bands
Manowar – Into Glory Ride
Metallica – And Justice For All
Slayer – Diabolus in Musica
Iron Maiden – No Prayer For The Dying
Manowar – Into Glory Ride
I’ve hated this album from the first time I ever listened to it. First off, it’s got to be the gayest album cover ever. Halford laughed at it when he saw it. Loin clothes, furry boots, swords and mace, it reminds me of the comical Saturday Night Live cartoon called the Ambiguously Gay Duo. They don’t know what they’re doing has gay over tones, and neither does Manowar. Even WARRIORS OF THE WORLD has a song on it called ‘Swords in the Wind’. Come on guys!
But that’s not why the album sucks. For starters, they’re not even playing in time, Eric Adams is missing the pockets, and the production is ridiculously bad. It sounds like it was recorded in my basement on a micro cassette recorder. My Lord it’s painful. If I listen to this I never get past the first two songs, ‘Warlord’ and ‘Gloves of Metal’. They’re the only songs that are okay, but there’s some live versions floating around that sound a lot better, and played in time.
Iron Maiden – No Prayer for The Dying
This album has two really good songs on it, seven filler tunes, and one song that is so ridiculously awful it makes the album horrible and un-listenable. What song you ask? Why surely you must know?…’Bring Your Daughter…To The Slaughter’. Did Bruce Dickinson say to himself, "I need a word that rhymes with slaughter,… I got it!"
This song was Maiden’s first attempt at a top 40 single, and ‘Bring Your Daughter…’ went number one in the UK, but it’s just not Maiden. They don’t do songs about getting laid. They’re bigger than that. And the chorus has nothing to do with what he’s talking about in the verse. It’s retarded. Besides ‘Hooks in You’ and ‘Holy Smoke’, all the songs on the disc are average at best and NO PRAYER FOR THE DYING is definitely their worst album.
Slayer – Diabolus in Musica
The album is not as horrible as some of the others listed here, but Slayer gets held to a higher standard. And compared to the Nu-Metal around at the time, it still was top of the heap, yet it wasn’t Slayer. They devolved into chugga-chugga and tuned down, sounding more like Slipknot than Slayer. Then there was Tom’s vocal, much more yelling than usual, and no emotion, just a bark.
Normally I don’t mind a band experimenting a bit, but a band like Slayer doesn’t need to experiment. What they’ve done is definitive. They have their own sound which no one can truly emulate. They didn’t need to Nu-Metal it up.
Metallica – And Justice For All
I’ll probably get the most shit for this choice, so let me clarify. ‘Load’ and ‘Re-Load’ are definitely worse… that goes without saying. However, AND JUSTICE FOR ALL is their most over-rated album. Hetfield creates some monster riffs on this disc, but Metallica somehow manage to get so repetitive that they bored me to death. Songs go on and on, relentlessly. Everything’s sort of slowed down and chunky, except for a few spots. Those spots are shorter faster songs and the highlights of the album, ‘Blackened’ and ‘Dyer’s Eve’.
Also, don’t forget that this was the beginning of the big Metallica sell out, where they started to do everything they said they wouldn’t do, like make a video for that crappy ballad ‘One’. That was the beginning of the end for me as far as Metallica goes.