7 Disappointing 2017 Albums
It's something we've all experienced. A band you love makes an announcement for a new album. You excitedly await release day. And once the album drops you eagerly listen through each track. But the songs don't stick with you. You give it more listens. You try to enjoy it. But alas, the record overall comes off sub par. Whether it be to roster changes, exploration of new sounds, or simply a lack of inspiration, any and every band is susceptible to releasing a dud. Here are a few of the records I found sub-par in the past year. In no particular order:
"Torment" By Six Feet Under
The reason this album is disappointing is no fault of the band's instrumentalists. Six Feet Under has always had strong instrumental performances on their records. The problem here is sadly front man and band leader Chris Barnes who's vocal performance has slowly been deteriorating since their 2015 album Crypt Of The Devil. While Torment has tons of potential in its songwriting and instrumentation it's hampered by Barnes strained performance. It lacks the power and clarity of his earlier Six Feet Under work and sounds less "death growl" and more "death groan". Maybe Barnes' cannabis habit is beginning to take a toll on his voice.
"The Desaturating Seven" By Primus
News of an album of new original Primus material with the full classic line up of Claypool, LaLonde, and Alexander brought excitement to many. Myself included. However the result was a record that is more a glorified EP with song ideas that were seemingly not all the way fleshed out. Les' bass is still prominent but not as unique and technical as what he's known for. And there's a little too much repetition in the songwriting aside from the one stand out track "The Storm". While this could possibly be chalked up to the band simply being experimental, the record didn't stick with me as well as their past releases have.
"Wolves" By Rise Against
Rise Against are known as the kings of melodic hardcore. However with their continued success has come more accessibility. And each subsequent album has shed more and more of their hardcore roots. This hasn't been too big of a problem critically as the band usually has sound songwriting to make up for it. But with their latest album Wolves it sounds as if Tim and company are just going through the motions. Far too comfortable in their style to craft a deep well of ear worm hooks. And devoid of all the bite that makes punk rock engaging. Wolves comes off as an ironic album title as this sounds like Rise Against at their most toothless.
"Villains" By Queens Of The Stone Age
QOTSA are one of the biggest bands in modern rock and are known to be perennial hit makers. Their 2013 album ...Like Clockwork was a critical and commercial powerhouse so expectations were high for their next release Villains. The band has long been experimental with their sound but a record with a dancey, boogie rock focus and a producer more known for pop albums may have been too big of a departure. Villains isn't a horrible album necessarily but when you set the bar as high as Queens have, average equals failure.
"Prophets Of Rage" By Prophets Of Rage
Prophets Of Rage were causing disappointment since their inception. When the vague phrase "Prophets Of Rage" appeared on Rage Against The Machine's website fans assumed it was a pre-cursor to an original line up reunion. Instead it was a tease for a supergroup made of RATM, Public Enemy, and Cypress Hill members. Once fans swallowed that pill the band begun lighting up stages with set lists made up heavily of the member's previous projects. Once a new original album of work was released however reception was lukewarm. The new material, despite its potential, pales in comparison to the legacy the band's members have previously laid. Chuck D and B-Real, while talented rappers, lack the punk aggression that fits with Rage's heavy sound. And the album is lacking in Tom Morello's signature guitar solos and creative riffing. At least the band has their old hits to fall back on for the live sets.
"Synthesis" By Evanescence
Want to know a good way to annoy your fans? Take five years to release just a B-sides compilation since your last fully original album. And then release yet another compilation of old songs but just re-work them and call it a new studio album. Given, Evanescence's Synthesis sounds like an interesting experiment on paper. Re-record your previously released material in orchestral arrangements and blend electronics into the mix. But the record didn't come out as interesting as the songs in their original versions. The tracks all sound far too similar to each other with the same strings and electronic percussion used for every song. And while Amy Lee still has a beautiful voice, it's not a dynamic one which adds to the feeling of sameness and bores the listener only a few tracks in. With no plans of new original Evanescence material on the horizon fans will have to keep holding their breath.
"One More Light" By Linkin Park
Linkin Park has long been a band looking to push their music in new directions ever since their 2007 album Minutes To Midnight deviated from the nu-metal sound that made them famous. The group's sound changes over the years have polarized fans but many pining for the heavier days of Linkin Park got a bone thrown to them with 2014's The Hunting Party. A more punk influenced record that dropped most of the electronics the band had been experimenting with. So it was a bit of a shock when Linkin Park dropped One More Light this past May. A pure pop record that went beyond the already poppy tendencies the band is known for. While The Hunting Party was a conscious statement against current music trends, One More Light fully embraces the alternative of today. Sadly it wasn't executed well. Despite its commercial and chart success the album was critically panned and is a fairly bland and forgettable modern pop affair. Sadly this would be the last Linkin Park album for front man Chester Bennington who took his own life two months after the album's release.