The most epic metal FAILs of all time

Of all genres of music, metal is unique because the line between “acceptable” and “total failure” is very narrow. Making metal is easy, but making good metal… difficult. Periodically, metal bands either sell out or have personal problems, and they create metal failures.

We’re going to tour some of these today.

These failures have one thing in common: an otherwise promising band made a shining, mucus-sheathed, corn-studded turd of an album, and in most cases didn’t have the decency to shoot themselves in the face. In some cases, they went on to get rich and famous, even though they failed at making quality metal.

10. Slayer – Divine Intervention

There will never be anything cooler than Slayer. Most metalheads agree that this is fact. However, they will be quick to add, “…old Slayer.” What they mean to say is that sometime in 1996 or so, Slayer switched from their mythological, occult, intense music to dumbed-down impersonations of themselves. Maybe they were jealous of Pantera getting all the big bucks. Maybe it was alcoholism. No one knows. But this album is a series of one-noted-removed interpretations of older Slayer riffs, and really simple songs that sound almost like Slayer except they’re boring. It took the band ten years to come back from this with “Christ Illusion.”

9. Cynic – Traced in Air

The first Cynic album was a ripoff of all jazz fusion and prog metal to date, sure, but it was a good ripoff so we don’t care, even if they did use early autotune vocals. But the followup? It’s a disorganized pile of derivative jazz riffs interrupted by banging, dumbed-down, mouth-breathing metal. Fail on both counts.

8. Pestilence – Hold the Mustard

This album is so bad I can’t even remember the title. It’s like they booked an afternoon of studio time and pulled an album out of their asses, then tried to make it extra bang-y just so the dumb kids in the crowd could like it. The result is both boring and annoying at once, which is usually hard to do but Pestilence packed this so full of fail it was effortless for them.

7. Morbid Angel – Domination

More metalheads shouted “what the hell is this?” at their speakers for this album than any previous. After three brilliant studio albums, Morbid Angel decided to sound like Pantera, and came out with this cranky, braindead-simple, bouncy shadow of their former selves. Gone were the brains. Instead we had bounce. This album was so dumbed-down it lost all of the Morbid Angel mystique, and sounded like another third-rate Pantera ripoff. Add to that the goofy cover and you’ve got a cup runnething over with FAIL.

6. Emperor – IX Equilibrium

This Norwegian band used to make the kind of mystical musical experience in album form that made you want to never let go of the CD. “In the Nightside Eclipse” transported more teenagers to midnight forests than Tolkien, almost. And then they came out with this hunk of rubbish, basically a riff salad with singing amongst the black metal vocals. It shocked many people into simply abandoning black metal altogether because Emperor went from “getting it” to “clueless” in thirty seconds of mismatched riffs.

5. Suffocation – Souls to Deny

Basically inventing the style of blasting deathgrind, Suffocation used to make these epic, legendary albums. Then they heard a bunch of deathcore, and formed an equation in their minds: deathcore = how to succeed. So they ripped it off, but tried to make it fit into Suffocation, or vice-versa. The result sounds like Suffocation with a fever, on cheap drugs, and locked in a rape basement with a one-eyed inbred tormentor. The riffs don’t make sense. The songs are bad. But it’s definitely deathcore. Oh how the mighty have fallen.

4. Obituary – Back From the Dead

Their previous album, “World Demise,” was bad, but on this one they had to go hyperspace into pure feces. If the rap/rock remix “Bullitary” didn’t clue you in, the suddenly “streetwise” song titles and cliche cover might have. But if you ignored all the warnings and listened anyway, you were in for a vomit launch of cliche meeting absent-minded riffing that fulfilled every negative stereotype about death metal.

3. Asphyx – God Cries

Asphyx are legends. They dominate completely. Except on this album. Two members left, so the remaining members sought a clue, and one drunken night decided to do a morose, emo tribute to one band member’s dead father. So instead of cavernous booming riffs of doom, you get weepy, slow, melodic chanting choruses and really bad interludes. Most Asphyx fans deny this album exists. To do otherwise might make their heads explode, especially if they sit down with “The Rack” in one hand and this lump of guano in the other.

2. Entombed – Wolverine Blues

“Clandestine” captured the imagination of every death metal fan on earth when it was released. That fuzzy, thick guitar sound! Those song titles promising realms beyond the visible! The powerful rhythm riffing and breathtaking tempo changes! And then… out came this, a bluesy rock album with some death metal riffs and a cartoon character on the cover, sounding like a fifteenth-rate jeer of an Alice in Chains ripoff. We still don’t understand why they chose to give their career a Viking funeral in this manner.

And the #1 metal FAIL of all time is…

1. Metallica – The Black Album

You knew it was going to be this. The bringer of grimaces to the faces of metal fans, this was the album when “we’ll never stop, we’ll never quit, ’cause we’re Metallica” became a curse. Cliff Burton spun so fast in his grave he got vertigo and barfed all over his own ashes. It’s sappy, sentimental, slow, goofy and really panders to the dumbest, geekiest, most clueless among us. Yet it launched their mainstream career, proving again that most people are complete idiots with no musical taste.

From looking over these, there are some warning signs that metal bands are about to fail. First, they get sensitive. Next, they start writing songs about being themselves. Finally, they get bitter that the Pantera guys don’t have to work day jobs. Put together one part sell-out, two parts disorganization and fifteen parts clueless, and you have a METAL FALL on a grand scale.

We had a buttload of runner-ups. In fact, since most metal bands start falling apart when their members are given the choice of “sell more albums, or it’s back to your day jobs,” no shortage of material can be found. But ordinary sell-outs are nothing compared to these epic turds. If you ever want proof of Newton’s idea that every action creates an equal and opposite reaction, you have it here: the bands that started out the best went just as fast in the other direction when the time came. We can’t change that, but if you see these albums waiting to pounce on a used CD rack somewhere, don’t walk but run in the opposite direction.

0 thoughts on “The most epic metal FAILs of all time”

  1. Hemorrhoid on Crack says:

    “There will never be anything cooler than Slayer.”


  2. Eric says:

    “Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk” I think was a bigger disappointment after hearing ItNE. Early Emperor is the combination of musicianship and artistry we don’t see in any musical genre very often — and so they fuck it up straight afterwards. Unbelievable.

    Oh well, back to “Engram” for another spin.

  3. Monzaemonnmon says:

    Whoever made that list, should really GTFO. Traced in Air is not even metal, so why is it here?

  4. wEEman33 says:

    “Bullitary” is one of the worst songs in the history of metal.

    It’s hard to believe that Obituary thought it would be OK to sneak that song onto the end of the album, but I guess all they were interested in at that point was selling albums.

  5. Aurelius says:

    Monzaemonnmon: Traced in Air IS metal. Awful, boring, watered-down ass-metal that is incapable of living up to Focus, hence why it’s on this list.

    And the rest of the list is pretty much spot on. I though Amorphis might apply, but their descent into mediocrity was fairly gradual. Same for Therion and quite a few others.

  6. Cynical says:

    Where’s “Cold Lake”?

  7. Anzalone says:

    Ahh Cold Lake is fish in a barrel. Everyone agrees it was a failure. Plenty of people defend the shit listed above (except God Cries).

  8. Cynical says:

    There are people who defend Wolverine Blues?

    You learn something new every day…

  9. Alan says:

    Come on, Domination has Where The Slime Live and St. Anger is WAAAY worse than the Black Album! There are so many far worse fails than these.

  10. ben says:

    Glad summer break is almost done, So the retarded highschool kids running this site can go back to school

  11. a different person named ben says:

    slaughter of the soul i think is worse than wolverine blue

  12. Soul Rape says:

    Anzalone: Simply type “Entombed – Wolverine Blues reviews” on google… hold on tight to your chair…

  13. mandrake says:

    maybe by judging the (lack of) quality of these albums one would get this list, and no other, but considering the distance between these fails and the greats of the bands past, slayer should be second, morbid angel third, then emperor etc

    “pantera” name comes on so often, it makes you wonder :))

  14. TranniesAreFriendlyAndSociallyAcceptableCreatures says:

    It’s a good and funny article but the list misses eighties albums. Some of the entries are not surprising at all since they’ve been criticized by anus for many years now (such as Domination) I can’t disagree with any of the entries although Traced In Air isn’t such a huge disappointment considering Cynic was never a great band to begin with. Adding D.R.I. – Crossover to the list would have been more interesting. D.R.I. started to play the music they inspired but couldn’t add anything to it, they started imitating the imitators.

  15. cascade says:

    Some (dis)honorable mentions worth adding:

    Celtic Frost – Cold Lake
    Atrocity – Blut
    Sepultura – Roots
    Carcass – Swan Song
    Bathory – Octagon

  16. Greg says:

    I don’t understand why everybody thinks The Black Album is so bad. It’s just not thrashy like Metallica’s earlier stuff and more heavy metal like Judas Priest. If anything, Risk should definitely be on this list.

  17. Skourge says:

    for someone to knock on a band because they are making money is a bit selfish. I dont know about you, but I hate working a 9-5 job EVERYDAY of my life. If I had the opportunity to drop my shit and leave on a tour, make some money, play alot of gigs, play music that I created, I would do it in less than a heartbeat. Some old people who are “true to their roots” may not see it as that, because it might now be “easy” since they have their life to live already, its too late for them and they are hating on others that do it, or they are just hardheaded. If I were playing someone else’s music, it would be a problem. But as long as I know its something I created myself, I could care less if I get $10 or $10,000 for playing it. Do whatever works, do deny a better life is idiotic.

  18. good,Thank you for you post.

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