10 Terrible Metal Albums By 10 Brilliant Metal Bands
Even great artists are capable of producing tripe.
Consistency in music is one of the most difficult things to maintain. Line-up alterations, inner band turmoil, or just a lack of imagination can cause things to stagnate from time to time – a stagnation that even the greatest acts in the world can come across.
Heavy metal is no different. For all the great stuff that’s been produced over the decades, there also lurks some regrettable recordings in the genre’s history. This even goes for some of the style’s best groups, many of which have slipped up at some point in their timeline.
No band can get it right every time, and that’s what this list can attest to. It features ten poor albums by ten of metal’s heaviest hitters – most of which go completely against what their creators’ work was all about prior to their release.
10. Korn – The Path of Totality
Gloomy metal icons Korn certainly lost their way in the latter half of the noughties, with directionless records like their Untitled album, but they hit an ultimate bum note in 2011 with their electronic-infused tenth studio album The Path of Totality. Besides the vicious stylistic mashup “Get Up!,” there’s really not much to praise on this LP. Even dubstep masters Noisia can’t save this one from its own doomed fate. It’s great when bands evolve and mutate their sound, but when it’s as ham-fisted as The Path of Totality is, it’d be better if they just stuck with what brought them to the dance in the first place.
9. Fear Factory – Transgression
Even industrial metal titans Fear Factory can’t sport a faultless discography. Despite releasing phenomenal albums like Demanufacture and Obsolete, their foot was well and truly off the gas on 2005’s Transgression. With founding member Dino Cazares out of the mix, Transgression just doesn’t sound fully formed at all. His replacement Christian Olde Wolbers – who’s a great guitarist in his own right – does his best, but the insanely claustrophobic production and surprisingly sloppy songwriting can’t be overcome. It was allegedly rushed, and judging by the finished product, it sounds that way.
8. Judas Priest – Jugulator
Some might say that 2001’s Demolition was the worst Judas Priest album, but to my ears, it was marginally better than 1997’s Jugulator. It was the follow-up to the band’s classic 1990 LP Painkiller, and the first to feature Tim “Ripper” Owens on vocals. Owens actually does a good job here, but it’s the songs themselves that are the problem. The surprisingly brilliant epic “Cathedral Spires” aside, the rest of Jugulator falls into a rehashed slumber, searching for that special something that made classics like “Breaking the Law” and “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming” such enthralling pieces of music. Sadly, they fail to recreate it on this forgettable endeavor.
7. Pantera – Metal Magic
Remember when Pantera were a glam metal band? Before they were crushing skulls and taking names later, the no-nonsense four-piece began life as a Van Halen-esque hair band. It’s certainly a far cry from what they evolved into, and debut album Metal Magic is a perfect example of changing for the better. Because despite the members being in their teens at the time, it’s such a radically different sound, that it warrants assessment. Sadly, the results aren’t good. With Terry Glaze on vocal duties and not Phil Anselmo, Pantera sound more like a cheap knock-off rather than the genuine article. Dimebag Darrell’s supreme guitar work comes through (incredibly impressive for his age at the time too), but the songs are so cookie-cutter that even he can’t undo the damage.
6. Machine Head – Supercharger
The cringeworthy hollers at the beginning of “American High” are enough to have you thinking: “Is this really same band who made Burn My Eyes and The More Things Change?” Sadly, it is. Yes, Machine Head altered their trademark brutalizing sound in the late ‘90s, opting instead for a more nu-metal-inspired sound template. While 1999’s The Burning Red was by no means a great record, it wasn’t completely reliant on the divisive genre. Well meet Supercharger – an album which dives headfirst into nu-metal’s worst traits. Besides the very aptly titled “Bulldozer,” the rest of the LP shamelessly goes for rap-centric vocals, dreary downtuned riffs, and cliched themes – the complete opposite of what made them so great to begin with.
The Top 5 terrible albums by brilliant bands are on the next page…