7 Disappointing Albums From 2018
It’s something every music fan has experienced at one point or another. The new album from one of your favorite artists finally arrives. You go out and buy (or these days stream) the new record. And the songs just don’t stick. You want to enjoy it after all the hype and anticipation but you’re left bored and disappointed no matter how hard you try to enjoy it. And know that it’ll be at least a two year or more wait until the next record.
Compiled here are albums from the past year that had some hype and hope behind them but missed the mark. Not all of these albums may be considered “terrible”, but definitely don’t hit the high marks each of these bands have hit in the past. Now in no particular order….
“Catharsis” By Machine Head (Groove Metal/Nu Metal)
When promo for a metal album includes the lead singer stating, “Lower your expectations for the heaviness. Lower your expectations for the speed”, that’s a red flag. Machine Head has had an exceptional run of great albums ever since 2003’s Through The Ashes Of Empires reminded the metal world why there was so much hype around the band in the first place. The Blackening, Unto The Locusts, and Bloodstone & Diamonds further cemented the band’s place in metal history. But with Catharsis the band returned to exploring the nu metal sounds of The Burning Red and Supercharger. While the album has it’s high moments on opener “Volatile” and the title track, the album runs way too long with throwaway tracks like “Hope Begets Hope”. And the more experimental tracks like the folk punky “Bastards” and rap infused “Triple Beam” also miss the mark.
“Infinite Games” By The Black Queen (Synthwave)
A silver lining in the break up of The Dillinger Escape Plan is that front man Greg Puciato would have more time to put into his other highly praised projects Killer Be Killed and The Black Queen. The latter of those is an electronic project with Nine Inch Nails alums Joshua Eustis and Steven Alexander. The trio’s 2016 debut album Fever Daydream was an exceptional display of catchy and atmospheric new wave, synthwave and electro-pop that played out like an 80’s nostalgia trip. Follow up Infinite Games however went more niche. Dropping the pop hooks and new wave elements of its predecessor and holding a less diverse and restrained sound. More hardcore synthwave fans may be able to enjoy the album better, but the record lacks the wider appeal Fever Daydream held. And not necessarily for the better.
“Evolution” By Disturbed (Hard Rock)
After a five year gap in between albums Disturbed returned stronger than ever with sixth studio album Immortalized in 2015. The third single from that album was a cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sound Of Silence” which became a crossover hit and even surpassed the success of the band’s signature debut song “Down With The Sickness”. This success obviously influenced Disturbed’s following album Evolution which held multiple ballads. These ballads however are marred by weak lyricism and composition. And even the harder tracks lack the energy and bite Disturbed normally brings with “No More” and “Are You Ready” being the only enjoyable songs. And “Are You Ready” was a holdover from the Ten Thousand Fists album era.
“Choosing Mental Illness As A Virtue” By Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals (Blackened Death Metal)
Phil Anselmo of Pantera and Down fame is a man of a million projects. Happy working in the underground, Anselmo’s recent projects explore his most extreme music tastes to mixed results usually. His solo project with backing band The Illegals blend black and death metal in a raw and aggressive package. Latest effort Choosing Mental Illness As A Virtue isn’t terrible and has some nice moments with Anselmo’s unique swagger played out over black and death metal. But gets blander in the latter half suffering from riff salad and lack of diversity in sound. Keeping the record from reaching the heights of quality he’s been known for in the past.
“Dictator” By Daron Malakian & Scars On Broadway (Alternative Metal)
While everyone has been waiting for a new System Of A Down album since 2005, there’s also been a wait for a new Scars On Broadway album since 2008. SOAD guitarist Daron Malakian originally recorded this album back in 2012 but held off on releasing it to possibly use the material for System. Tired of waiting for the band to get on the same page, Dictator was released with Malakian performing all instruments. The album has received positive reviews but to me, the album is lacking. And could’ve used some outside help to strengthen the melodies and not rely so hard on repetition to be catchy. If it were released as SOAD material, it would be their weakest collection of songs to date.
“When Legends Rise” By Godsmack (Hard Rock)
Godsmack is a band that gets a lot of hate. But has been one of the most consistent in quality of the radio rock crowd. Having their own distinct brand of heavy metal/heavy rock that delivers riffs and aggression while maintaining mass appeal. On their latest effort the band wanted to branch out into a different style and switch things up. Understandable for a band at this stage of their career, but as with many bands trying something new this first stab at change is a misstep. The record is definitely more melodic but Sully Erna seems to be having trouble writing interesting lyrics outside of his comfort zone of anger and aggression. The songwriting is a complete cheesefest with overdone song titles like “Unforgettable” and “Someday” and the riffs and song progressions are pretty basic and bland. Making When Legends Rise a very forgettable affair of plodding radio fodder.
“Kult 45” By Otep (Nu Metal)
After a long streak of bland and at times cringeworthy material, Otep finally put out a solid album in 2016’s Generation Doom. Embracing more of the band’s early death metal infused groove the record was one of the band’s most polished in years. So hopes were high for follow up Kult 45 with heavy lead single “To The Gallows” showing promise. However upon full release the album misses the mark with the band’s eponymous frontwoman focusing on her weak rapping vocal style instead of her stronger singing and screaming abilities. Wasting some of the solid riffs of the early part of the record. And lyrically the album’s politically charged message is clear but is not delivered in a clever or unique way apart from other protest music.