While the realm of music is home to numerous great masterpieces and timeless classics, it is also filled with a fair share of terrible, cringe-worthy records. Whether it may be in terms of music or the lyrics, these albums have failed to impress both the crowd and the critics, accumulating a pile of negative reviews.
As an aspiring musician, the best thing that you can do is to learn from these missteps and know what NOT to do when making your own music.
Here’s our list of the worst heavy metal albums of all time.
1. “St. Anger” by Metallica
Released in 2003, “St. Anger” was Metallica’s first album in five years, and it was unfortunately not worth the wait. The album was plagued by technical problems, poor songwriting, and an overall feeling of mediocrity. It is widely considered one of the worst albums in Metallica’s storied career and is definitely one of the worst heavy metal albums of all time.
2. “Load” by Metallica
Continuing with the theme of disappointing comebacks, 1996’s “Load” was Metallica’s follow-up to the massively successful “Black Album.” “Load” saw the band moving away from their metal roots and exploring a more alternative rock sound, which did not sit well with fans or critics. The album was met with mixed reviews and is considered by many to be one of the worst albums in Metallica’s catalog.
3. “Reign in Blood” by Slayer
While Slayer’s 1986 classic “Reign in Blood” is often cited as one of the best metal albums of all time, its follow-up, 1988’s “South of Heaven,” is decidedly not. “South of Heaven” was a marked change in direction for the band, as they slowed down the tempo and incorporated more clean singing into their music. The album was heavily critiqued and, to date, is used as an example of bad metal music.
4. “Life Is Peachy” by Korn
Korn’s 1996 follow-up to their debut album was, unfortunately, a huge step backward for the band. “Life Is Peachy” saw the band experimenting with nu metal trends of the time, such as rap-metal and industrial elements, which did not sit well with fans or critics.
The album was panned upon release and viewed as juvenile and immature by the majority of their fan following. It has been argued that the band lost its way somewhat on this album, straying too far from their original sound and exploring new territory that didn’t really work for them
5. “Lulu” by Metallica & Lou Reed
Metallica released this album as a collaboration with Lou Reed, and many felt that Reed’s avant-garde style did not mesh well with Metallica’s more traditional heavy metal sound. Secondly, the lyrics on the album were often seen as nonsensical and incoherent, which led to much confusion and frustration among listeners. The overall quality of the album was seen as subpar compared to previous releases by Metallica, resulting in disappointment from fans who had been eagerly anticipating its release.
6. “Cryptic Writings” by Megadeth
Megadeth’s 1997 album “Cryptic Writings” saw the band moving away from their thrash metal roots and exploring a more alternative metal sound. Some have argued that the production values are poor and that the album sounds “muddy” or “unclear.”
Others have criticized the songwriting, saying that the lyrics are either nonsensical or uninspired. Additionally, some have simply found the album to be too dark and depressing in tone. Overall, there seems to be a general consensus among detractors that Cryptic Wings is not a good album.
The above-mentioned are some of the most critiqued albums in all of heavy metal history, and we can understand why. As an aspiring musician, you can go through these songs to get a better idea of what mistakes to avoid in your own career.
Summary: From Megadeth’s “Cryptic Writings” to Metallica’s “Load”, this article summarizes some of the worst heavy metal albums of all time.
Eric Dalius is The Executive Chairman of MuzicSwipe, a music and content discovery platform designed to maximize artist discovery and optimize fan relationships. Alongside this, Eric hosts the weekly podcast “FULLSPEED,” discussing entrepreneurship with industry leaders. Eric also founded the “Eric Dalius Foundation” to award four scholarships to deserving US students. Follow Eric’s activities on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Entrepreneur.com.