2009 was another banner year for new albums. Bands from all different genres of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal released good albums this year and I was on the frontlines buying them up as they were released. Of course there were some bad albums too. I acquired more new releases in 2009 than I have any other year that Heavy Metal Addiction has been active so there were bound to be some bad ones in the pile. Last year I got a lot of email about my decision to call this the “Worst” albums, some people thought that was too negative. My feeling is that no matter if the album is a major disappointment because you were looking forward to it so much, or the album is just plain awful from the packaging to the production to the performance, then it qualifies under the heading of “Worst”. Of all the albums I picked up some releases were just plain bad, some were huge disappointments, some I just couldn’t stand…..so here is my list of The 5 Worst Albums of 2009:
Lita Ford – Wicked Wonderland (2009): This had to be the easiest pick for the absolute worst album of 2009! Just one listen was all it took for me but I made the mistake of listening to it twice, even three times. WICKED WONDERLAND was supposed to be Lita’s big comeback but it turned out to be the worst album I have ever heard her release. Gone is the Melodic Metal sound that made her career and now we have this down-tuned Industrial drone full of sexually specific lyrics about her marriage to former Nitro singer Jim Gillette. I’m all for changing styles, for trying to be current, but WICKED WONDERLAND is a complete opposite of everything that Lita Ford has released previously. Of all the albums I have heard in the last four years of this website, this is by far the worst of them all. A wasted comeback.
As Cities Burn – Hell Or High Water (2009): If Lita Ford didn’t release WICKED WONDERLAND then As Cities Burn would be the winners of the worst album of the year. Actually, I almost moved Lita to #2 and this album up because at least Lita attempted something Metal. The press releases for HELL OR HIGH WATER billed the album as an Christian Indie Progressive Rock album so I figured that there would be something worth listening to, I like Prog Rock & Metal and Christian Rock & Metal. Unfortunately, there was nothing really “Rock” about this album. This was like bad, whining, mellow Smashing Pumpkins and that’s being kind. I listened to this album exactly 10 times to find anything redeeming and I fell asleep 2 or 3 times…..probably the most boring album of my 2009!
The Gathering – The West Pole (2009): My hopes were high for a band that I have been following since 1997 and I figured a change at the lead vocalist position would add some spark. Unfortunately there wasn’t much spark after all. New singer Silje Wergeland is excellent vocally, and the band still performs well, but the material is monotonous and boring…..all the songs started to sound the same. This technically wasn’t a bad album I guess, more of a major disappointment and there were definitely a ton of better albums out there this year.
Lacuna Coil – Shallow Life (2009): I wasn’t going to put Lacuna Coil on this list but I gave this a fresh listen the other day and I remembered why I had them on my initial draft. I’ve been into Lacuna Coil since 1998 when they released their first E.P. so I like to think that I have an idea of how they sound. Over the years the band has progressed in their sound and songwriting but SHALLOW LIFE didn’t have that progression I had hoped for, it all sounded the same and just like their last few albums. Lacuna Coil were the leaders of the Gothic Metal movement but there are other bands experimenting with their sound and doing it better. This was a major disappointment for me because I was really looking forward to it.
Sepultura – A-Lex (2009): The last spot on my Worst of 2009 list had a lot of contention and I narrowed it down to 3 candidates: Sepultura, Bon Jovi and Chickenfoot. I went back and listened to all three albums and tried to find any tracks that would gain my attention and, unfortunately for Sepultura, A-LEX bored me to tears. Now I know that there are a lot of people out there who disagreed with my review back in March (I had a lot of email!) but I have to go with my gut response and I was just bored. The album is based on the novel A Clockwork Orange and that didn’t help me out either, it was just another boring concept album to me with all the songs sounding the same. I like a lot of the bands earlier work and I gave A-LEX a lot of stereo time to make sure that I was paying attention but I was just disappointed that nothing really stood out. At least Bon Jovi & Chickenfoot had a few songs that stood out even though both releases were disappointing too.