Monday, April 6, 2009
Above: Yeah, so the picture is completely unrelated to the subject at hand. So what?
You know the deal. I pick out 5 albums from previously-awesome Metal bands that totally sucked. Then I make fun of them. Then you guys all agree, disagree, or point out your own candidates in the 'Comments' section. Let's get on with it.
5) SEPULTURA - ROOTS (1996)
I will always have Sepultura's back. They ruled, once upon a time, and for that, they have my respect. But they've made (and continue to make) some really bad calls in their day. You can't fuck with Morbid Visions, Bestial Devastation, Schizophrenia, Beneath The Remains, Dead Embryonic Cells, or Arise, obviously, but once Chaos AD came out, things started getting a little suspicious. Sure, Chaos was a pretty good album (I still rock "Propaganda" in the ol' iPod, and it's only the 8 GIG MODEL!), but something about it didn't quite smell right. What was all this "experimental" shit? WHOLE SONGS played on acoustic guitars? Where did the fuckin' THRASH go? Guardedly optimistic, Sep fans awaited their next release...
Which was total crap. Roots, released in the heyday of nu-metal, found these Brazilian freaks exploring some sort of self-proclaimed "tribalism meets technology" angle, which to me spells one thing: B-U-R-N-I-N-G M-A-N. Vague hints of hip-hop and techno popped up all over this abomination, which we all know have no place anywhere near METAL. It's been a slow downhill ride ever since. A-Lex? The Cavalera Conspiracy? Sorry, dudes, you lost me.
Above: Sepultura, circa 1985/86. Below: A mere decade later, a clean-shaven Max Cavalera and some dude with bad shades and dyed red hair were all that remained. So sad.
4) CRYPTOPSY - THE UNSPOKEN KING (2008)
I remember way back in the mid-90's, when Cryptopsy first reared their ugly, brutal, blasting, tech-death head. It seemed like they were the craziest, weirdest, and fastest Metal band on the planet, and it was inconceivable (to me, at least) that anyone would ever outdo them. Blasphemy Made Flesh and None So Vile were nothing short of EPIC, simultaneously blowing my mind and filling my pants with humungous amounts of shit.
In 1998, my buddy Jesse (aka "Machine Tool") informed me that Cryptopsy's upcoming album, Whisper Supremacy, was a total sellout, full of nu-metal grooves and general crappiness. Well, it turns out old Machine Tool was wrong, because Whisper actually turned out to be a pretty decent release, despite the departure of original vocalist Lord Worm. OK. Cool.
Fast forward to 2008. Mr. Tool's prophecy finally came true. The dreaded Cryptopsy sellout album finally landed, in the form of the metalcore/deathcore shitfest The Unspoken King. Clean singing? A keyboard player? Why, Cryptopsy, WHY?!
Above: Cryptopsy, 1994. Below: Cryptopsy, 2008. Faux-hawks? Hot Topic clothing? Say it ain't so, you bastards! Side note: Check out the look on original bassist Eric Langlois' face (far left). He is not happy about what happened to his band.
3) CARCASS - SWANSONG (1996)
There's no question about it. 1996 was a bad year for Metal. Not only did Sepultura phone it in with Roots, but even the mighty Carcass blew it with their inappropriately-titled Swansong. The cover itself is a dead giveaway. Gone were the gory, medical/meat themed images that graced the covers of Symphonies of Sickness and Reek of Putrefaction. Instead we got... Well, exactly WHAT THE HELL is going on there? Some people watching TV, a kid standing in the corner... BO-RING!
A tip to the guys in Carcass circa 1996. Human organs = METAL. Kid being punished by standing in the corner = NOT METAL. It's pretty easy, really. And what the Hell is going on with that head-with-wings-collage thing? Did Jeff Walker's kid put that together or what?
But that's beside the point. With Swansong, Carcass began playing a style of music they dubbed "rot and roll" (cringe), an apparent attempt at selling out that didn't land far enough on either side of the fence for anyone to like it. Gone were the weird changes and odd structures of Necroticism and Heartwork, replaced instead by the verse-chorus-verse-chorus-solo-chorus form practiced by inferior bands the world over. Weak.
Instead of "getting huge" like Metallica (their apparent inspiration for this pile of crap), Carcass actually did the right thing and just fucking BROKE UP. Before long, half of the band was playing in the bogus Arch Enemy, while Bill Steer ended up playing half-assed Dad Rock with Firebird (below). Ugh.
2) CELTIC FROST - COLD LAKE (1988)
Always known as a band that never hesitated to push the Heavy Metal envelope, Celtic Frost had a great run over the course of their first 4 LP's, culminating in some really cool experimental stuff on 1987's Into The Pandemonium. So what happened in 1988? Cold Lake found Celtic Frost in full glam-metal mode, a confusing turn of events considering their previous output. In addition to its, uh, minimalist cover, the music on Cold Lake was utter bubblegum SHIT, but even THAT isn't the worst part... Warning: What you are about to see will shock and/or disturb you.
Above: Celtic Frost, 1985. Below: Photo from the back cover of Cold Lake.
I'll just point out the obvious. WHAT THE FUCK IS UP WITH THE EXPOSED PUBES, CURT VICTOR BRYANT?! NOT COOL, MAN. NOT FUCKING COOL.
1) METALLICA - "THE BLACK ALBUM" (1990)...DUH.
Above: James Hetfield is forced to listen to his own music.
I know, I know. You guys all saw this coming, and making fun of Metallica is as easy is taking candy from a baby or, uh, making fun of black metal. But it needs to be acknowledged that these fuckers perpetrated the biggest sellout in Heavy Metal history, possibly the biggest in the history of MUSIC. Sorry, Metallica. But this is Real Talk. Face it. You're whack. Call it quits already.
Below: Metallica, knowing that The Black Album was utter shit, even placed a hidden message on the cover of the album. Ever noticed it?
Dishonorable Mention: PANTERA - COWBOYS FROM HELL (1990)
Special mention must be given to the disappointing 1990 release from Pantera, Cowboys From Hell, which saw the band transformed from a fun-loving party/glam unit into a knuckle-dragging group of meatheads hell-bent on kicking everyone's ass. Previous efforts such as Metal Magic, Projects In The Jungle, and Power Metal were quite literally thrown under the bus, as Pantera morphed from headband-and-denim clad Metal warriors into douchey jock-metal icons. What the fuck, Phil?
Although the change brought them great fame and success, I have to call these fuckers out. Yeah, it sucks that Dimebag got shot and stuff, but guess what? If Pantera had stayed true to their original vision, none of that shit would have ever happened. R.I.P. Dimebag, but also R.I.P. the earlier, cooler version of Pantera. You guys were rad. Way to totally blow it.
I guess you could say Pantera... "Jumped the Shark"? (I guess that picture up top was related to the issue at hand after all.)
Sorry, Gavin. But it's true.
Posted by Shelby Cobras at 2:06 PM