One may read that title and think me a snide, opinionated asshole; but I have no quarrel with that. I do, however, have a bone to pick with these 10 artists for making truly terrible heavy metal.
I won't mess around with the easy pickins of Alvin Dahn's "You're Driving Me Mad," or "The King That Never Was" by Alternate Reality. Most of my picks were spewed out by a major label, so you'd think there may be a bit of forgiveness for some of these artists, but I call 'em as I hear 'em.
I'll start off with one that is on all the haters' radar. If I were to let one album dominate this list, every song off of Lulu, by the tragic duo of Metallica and Lou Reed, would be below. Instead, here's just one disastrous example...
Another that will have many nodding in agreement is by Twisted Sister. A metal band with their hand in anything Christmas-related has either lost it, or is just being funny. To this day, many can't decide what was on the Twisted crew's mind when they released their 2006 atrocity, A Twisted Christmas.
Speaking of bad comedy, the band Green Jellö formed in the early-'80s, but thanks to a sudden rise toward stardom that defied logic, had to change their name to Green Jellÿ in 1993. The legal troubles they faced made up for the trespass "Three Little Pigs" committed against my ears that year.
Run DMC and Aerosmith were the first to mix rap and rock (1986's "Walk This Way"), but the first to mix rap and metal were not Downset or Rage Against the Machine, but NY's Anthrax. Sadly, "I'm the Man" is a harrowing object lesson in how the genres (as well as comedy) don't really mix. Recorded in 1984 but officially released in 1987, even though it's certified platinum, I'm not laughing.
Sometimes, even some of music's best trip up and fall. We can either help them back up, or point and laugh as they dust themselves off. Celtic Frost fans have largely forgiven them for their Cold Lake fiasco (1988), but some of us are still giggling a bit.
You'd think that members of Rainbow and Iron Maiden along with Yngwie Malmsteen might provide mankind with metal so graceful that your ears would bleed. Well, you'll think differently after hearing Alcatrazz. Their biggest hit, 1983's "Island In the Sun," makes ears bleed for all the wrong reasons.
Canada has given the world kick-ass music via Rush, Lime, and Voïvod, but they have also littered the airwaves with just as much garbage as any other First World nation. Capitol Records helped them do a bit of this in 1984 by releasing Helix's Walkin' the Razor's Edge, a record so blatant in its attempt to hook you that it set cheerleader chants to hard rock kicks.
Everyone knows actors shouldn't try their hands at music. Jared Leto's Thirty Seconds to Mars, Bruce Willis doing R&B, Ryan Gosling in Dead Man's Bones—no one cares. Yet, it's better no one care than everyone hate, and none compare in hating-an-actor-getting-in-on-your-scene more than Jada Pinkett Smith's Wicked Wisdom. This is what happens when Scientology meets heavy metal.
Some albums are said to be ahead of their time for the instruments used, such as early synths or wild guitar pedals. Then there are those that protest something unique, but the gimmick doesn't make a lick of difference in sound—like L.A.'s Nitro proclaiming that guitarist Michael Angelo Batio used a one-of-a-kind quad guitar (four necks!). It doesn't help when Batio is plucking away wildly throughout O.F.R. (1989, Rhino Entertainment), and the singer is trying to out-note him in a high, nasal shriek.
Now, I'm all for grrrl power, but while there are plenty of cases where the music almost outshines the message (Bikini Kill, G.L.O.S.S., etc), there are bands who were wonderful in idea but failed in practice. My last entry is an indie band, Thrash Queen, who released two bizarre LPs. The first was Manslayer, in 1985. It was supposed to be a thrash metal feminist statement, but was recorded and played so poorly that it received nothing but contempt. On an odd side note, Metal Enterprises later thought it profitable to put out a parody of it, piecing together a fake version of Thrash Queen to produce the joke album, Ashes to Ashes.
I hope to have not ruffled too many feathered hairdos, but if you disagree, grow a backbone (or grab a can of hairspray) and write your own worst Top 10.