At Worship Metal we love to celebrate great music….but what about the terrible albums, those disappointing acts of subterfuge that most great bands seem to have at least one of in their back catalogue? Where’s their moment in the spotlight we ask?
Well here it is, consider this feature a celebration of the bland, the uninspired and the downright disappointing…..
KISS – Music From The Elder (1981)
We all know what we expect from living legends KISS; nothing but hard rock/heavy metal theatrical stompers designed to make men lose their sh*t and women lose their knickers!
So what the hell were Gene, Paul, Ace and Eric thinking when they decided to ditch their trademarked sound to record a progressive concept album?
Fan reaction to 1981’s Music From “The Elder” was understandably one of confusion and resentment. The tale of a young hero, recruited and trained by the Council of Elders to combat evil, was not what the KISS Army wanted and the album, although not completely without merit, was quickly regarded as a prog rock flop.
Not that this departure should have come as surprise. KISS had already dabbled with disco on Dynasty, so the signs of further change were writ large. Poor sales of Music From “The Elder”, led to an immediate re-think and just 1 year later Creatures Of The Night heralded the return of the hard rock/heavy metal style that had made their name.
Proof that they really shouldn’t have messed with a winning formula in the first place!
What you should be listening to: Anything released prior to this (well, maybe not Dynasty and Unmasked).
Celtic Frost – Cold Lake (1988)
Celtic Frost are a metal institution – responsible for some of the finest albums of the 80’s and long revered as godfathers of extremity – and their penchant for progression was always evident. For instance, 1987’s avant-garde masterclass, Into The Pandemonium, bears little resemblance to the blackened thrash found on 1985’s To Mega Therion but these albums never strayed from the heavy metal path and their underground and pioneering thrash/death/black metal aesthetic.
And then came Cold Lake.
Cold Lake is glam metal and Celtic Frost and glam metal do not go together.
An unparalleled disaster – even the band hate it – the album is an acquired taste to say the least and the fact that Celtic Frost omitted Cold Lake when they re-issued the rest of their back catalogue in 1999 speaks volumes. Still, at least it’s the heaviest glam metal album in existence….that’s one thing Cold Lake has got going for it!
What you should be listening to: Take your pick from absolutely anything else Celtic Frost ever released.
Iron Maiden – No Prayer For The Dying (1990)
Coming off the back of the classic Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son, the smart money would have been on Iron Maiden to release another humdinger but instead they foisted this turd of an album upon us.
Until now, Maiden could always be counted upon to deliver a barnstorming opening number but not so with the flaccid “Tailgunner”, with its weak production and predictability indicating a band left bored and uninspired by their own formula.
Just a glance at the track list confirms what a dull mess this album truly is; from the tired, lumpen songwriting of”Fates Warning”, “Hooks In You” and “Run Silent, Run Deep” to the absolute cack handedness of the unintentionally hilarious “Mother Russia” none of these can be considered ‘prime’ Maiden. That said though, the title track, and despite its poor name “Public Enema Number One”, are signs that Maiden still had it in them to write good songs…..as Fear Of The Dark and, ultimately, Brave New World would eventually go on to prove!
What you should be listening to: Take your pick from anything from Maiden’s debut to Seventh Son of a Seventh Son…..but you knew that already.
Sabbat – Mourning Has Broken (1991)
A critical and commercial failure – and virtually unrecognisable from the two world class thrash albums that preceded it (History Of A Time To Come & Dreamweaver) – Sabbat‘s Mourning Has Broken was complex and challenging (too challenging if its lukewarm reception was anything to go by), and sounded like the work of a different band entirely.
It didn’t help that Richie Desmond’s dry, often-mournful, traditional doom metal-esque vocal style was the complete opposite of Martin Walkyier’s influential, rapid-fire shriek and disappointment was inevitable.
Each track was like a marathon, almost as if the band were too intent on challenging themselves to match the glories of the past, and even Sabbat themselves have decided to deny the album’s legitimacy (indicated by its exclusion from their official discography and also its exclusion from the 2007 remastered CD re-issue of the band’s other two albums).
What you should be listening to: You cannot go ring with the aforementioned thrash classics that are History Of A Time To Come (1988) & Dreamweaver (1989).
Kreator – Renewal (1992)
After the solid thrashing of 1990’s Coma of Souls, 1992’s Renewal was a complete u-turn for Kreator; an industrial metal flavoured racket which all but jettisoned thrash entirely, and settled on clanking, clattering grooves and Mille Petrozza’s harsher sounding vocals.
Harsher? Yep, with Mille’s rasp reaching a pitch that should be considered hazardous to health, Kreator were now achieving heightened levels of sonic devastation!
Unfortunately, Renewal‘s new noise lacked the creative spark delivered just two years prior on Coma of Souls, and fans were left confused and, ultimately, disappointed.
While time has been kind to Renewal (the punchy one-two of “Zero to None” and “Europe After the Rain” sound better than ever), it can hardly be considered an essential Kreator release.
What you should be listening to: You know what you should be listening to – Pleasure To Kill (1986) / Terrible Certainty (1987) / Extreme Aggression (1989) for starters!
Danzig – 5 Blackacidevil (1996)
Without doubt, the first four Danzig releases are imperious bluesy doom-driven heavy metal albums that have stood the test of time. However, by 1996, not only had ‘Fonzig’s band mates changed but so too had his sound.
Now he was pedalling some sort of second rate NIN style industrial twaddle and the use of effects over his vocals, for most of the songs, completely robbed them of all their power.
Credit where credit is due though, Danzig have rarely raged as hard as they did on “7th House” while “Come To Silver” was a doomy ballad that proved they still had it in ’em to write a cracking tune. The rest of the songs though, have our hero trying to reinvent himself as some sort of sexy, goth imp……and failing badly. Disappointing!
What you should be listening to: Like we said, the first four Danzig albums (Danzig, Danzig II: Lucifuge, Danzig III: How the Gods Kill, Danzig 4) are imperial.
Slayer – Diabolus In Musica (1998)
Slayer are a band that could usually be counted on to deliver a massive dose of thrash metal goodness, so needless to say, when Diabolus In Musica dropped into our laps our flabber was well and truly gasted!
Was that hints of alternative metal we could hear? Why, yes it was. Nu metal? Sadly, yes.
For the most part the songwriting – fundamentally the work of the late genius that was Jeff Hanneman – was uncharacteristically tired and hardly to the high standard Slayer usually delivered. Even worse, the band sounded as if they’d gone from being pioneers to mere copyists.
It’s not all bad news though as “Bitter Peace”, “Deaths Head” and “In The Name Of God” are worth a blast every now and again but, for the most part, Slayer’s 8th album was more ‘Boredom In Musica’.
What you should be listening to: Reign In Blood, Hell Awaits, Seasons in the Abyss, South of Heaven….pretty much every other album Slayer ever released!
Megadeth – Risk (1999)
Megadeth’s 8th studio outing has genuinely been lumped in with Cryptic Writings and Super Collider (more on that shitehawk of an album later) in the ‘woefully inept mainstream Megadeth albums we like to forget exist category’….and for good reason!
It was a disappointment of epic proportions, and hardly ‘crushed’ us with its technical thrash supremacy. Speaking of ‘crushing’, “Crush ‘Em” may very well be the worst Megadeth song in existence. With an opening bass line that seems a little too similar to Jackass’s ‘Party-Boy’ theme tune, this soggy biscuit of a song is wimpy soft rock commercialism at it’s most saccharine (an accusation that could be aimed at the whole album). A Megadeth song entitled “Crush ‘Em” should rip your head clean off with technicality, snarling vitriol and enough time changes to give the speaking clock dementia. Instead, we get a song that’s tantamount to picking a fight with a kitten. A blatant attempt to court mass media consumption, Megadeth’s ambition can’t be faulted but the only thing being crushed was the spirit of true Megadeth fans around the world.
We’re prepared to cut “Insomnia”, “Prince Of Darkness”, “Wanderlust” (just) and “Time: The End” a little slack, as they’re reaonably solid tunes, but “Crush ‘Em” is still complete shite. DISAPPOINTING!
What you should be listening to: Anything but this!
Fear Factory – Digimortal (2001)
Fear Factory had spent the 90’s in imperious form, embodying the perfect amalgamation of futuristic brains and brawn and becoming pioneers in their field but then came the 21st century and everybody’s favourite bunch of cyber-metallers decided nu metal was the way to go.
Aside from the bouncy “What Will Become”, and singles “Lynchpin” and “Invisible Wounds (Dark Bodies)”, this is not an album that warrants repeat listens. Featuring tired song writing and lacking the potency that made them so good in the first place, Digimortal remains a risible, wet fart of an album and would have seen the band rechristened as Fecal Factory if they’d continued down this path.
Special mention must go to the rap metal idiocy of “Back The Fuck Up” (feat. Cypress Hill’s B-Real). Sweet holy shit, it’s easily the worst thing Fear Factory ever recorded.
What you should be listening to: Demanufacture (1995) and Obsolete (1998); 90’s classics, the pair of ’em
Metallica – St. Anger (2003)
There’s no way we could have a list of terrible albums without including this god-awful shit attack of a release.
The question is, where do you start with this fucking abomination?
Is it Lars’ biscuit tin drums?
Can blame be laid at the fact there’s no solos to break up the sheer monotony of most of the music?
Or was it the terrible, self help lyrics that seem to have been penned by a teenager who’s been grounded over the weekend by his parents? Frantic, tick, tick, tock indeed.
Who fucking knows? But the results were abysmal.
In their haste to stay relevant, and by swaying towards the popular trends in metal at the time, this is probably the Metallica album that has aged the worst and to listen to St Anger, from beginning to end, is an endurance test to be attempted by only the strongest or the most idiotic.
The likes of “Dirty Window”, “Purify”, “Some Kind of Monster” etc are easily amongst the worst things Metallica have ever penned and the fact that this utter pish sold several million copies just goes to show that Metallica could probably record their bowel movements and muppets would still buy it (they did, it was called Lulu)!
What you should be listening to: Kill ‘Em All, Ride The Lightning, Master Of Puppets & …And Justice for All, of course.
Morbid Angel – llud Divinum Insanus (2011)
When Morbid Angel released Illud Divinum Insanus, reuniting lynchpin Trey Azagthoth with seminal frontman David Vincent, they found themselves on the receiving end of a fanbase-administered kicking the like of which no other extreme metal band has ever seen!
People expected a lack of convention, certainly, but when the long awaited ‘I’ album turned out to be a techno-industrial stab at mainstream appeal, the sound of spat-out cornflakes and toys being thrown could be heard worldwide.
By the time the record had been given a critical mauling and the ensuing tour started to unravel, Azagthoth virtually needed a proctologist to retrieve that Dean guitar he hoped would become his signature model from his arse, while Vincent was banished from earth to planet Destructos for crimes against fashion.
The band held a dignified silence, even protested that the new material was going over well live and that they could do whatever they wanted, but we knew the truth. They were hurting….bad. The regroup was signposted sharpish, with Azagthoth ejecting everyone from the band – including David Vincent – as this release sank virtually without a trace.
What you should be listening to: Every Morbid Angel album ever released bar this one.
Megadeth – Super Collider (2013)
Yep, Megadeth again. It’s a well know fact that Megadeth are shite at doing cover versions (“Anarchy In The UK” is balls, end of story), so when a cover of the Thin Lizzy track “Cold Sweat” is one of the best songs on an album…..you know you’re in trouble!
It’s fair to say that nothing found on Super Collider is as terrible as the aural diarrhoea that was “Crush Em” but at least 1999’s Risk was interesting in parts, unlike the vast majority of uninspired, made for radio, commercialised drivel that makes up this stink-fest of an album.
“Built for War” and “Kingmaker” are tolerable. The remainder is lowest common denominator stuff that would piss off even the most ardent Megadeth fan.
Super Collider, more like Pooper Collider!
What you should be listening to: Rust In Peace, Peace Sells… but Who’s Buying?, Endgame, Dystopia….anything but Super Collider (but not Risk, never Risk).