The 5 Worst Albums of 2010

2010 was another great 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 bought more new releases, and had more new albums submitted for review, in 2010 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. In previous years, I’ve received a lot of email about my decision to call this the “Worst” albums of the year, some people have thought that it is 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 2010:

#1

Methods Of Mayhem – A Public Disservice Announcement (2010): Without a doubt, this is the WORST album I heard in 2010. I tried, I really did, but it was so hard to try and sit through the entire album and I tried at least a half dozen times. I’m all for solo projects, I’m all for experimenting with different styles but when you advertise and market a new album in Hard Rock and Heavy Metal circles then it better have some Hard Rock or Heavy Metal in it! This is Alternative, Nu-Metal and Rap beats all thrown together, with outside contributions from guest musicians and fans, to create a wall of sound that is so just a bunch of noise. This album is 10 years too late and even then that’s a stretch. I never bought this album and I am so glad I didn’t waste my $13, I just feel bad for the guy I borrowed this from because there’s no way this album was worth 13 cents rather than $13. I would even go as far as saying that this album might even be worse than last year’s Worst Album of the Year.

#2

Bret Michaels – Custom Built (2010): Big bad Bret is no stranger to the Worst of the Year list because he made the list in 2008 with his last “new album” ROCK MY WORLD (2008). The problem the last time was that Bret advertised ROCK MY WORLD as a “new studio album” and only three songs were actually new with the rest coming from previous Bret solo records. Fast forward two years and Bret is at it again with CUSTOM BUILT! He advertised this album as a “new studio album” but only four songs were actually new with the balance coming from the out of print FREEDOM OF SOUND (2005) and LETTERS FROM DEATH ROW (1998). Add in a cover and a couple alternate mixes/demos and you’ve got a 1/3 of a new album. Is it right to rip-off fans like this? Why not re-release the three real studio albums Bret has done outside of Poison? I understand you want to promote your reality television career but what about the fans? If it wasn’t for Tommy Lee, Bret Michaels would take the top honors this year.

#3

Dark Age – Acedia (2010): This is one of those albums that got released everywhere else in the world in late 2009 but got a North American release in early 2010. Dark Age is a Melodic Death Metal from Germany and one of my goals this year was to open myself up to more of the extreme forms of Metal. The problem with ACEDIA is that it’s very light on the Death Metal and very heavy on the Nu-Metal and Alternative Metal. The comparison I made in my review was Linkin Park…..I’m not and never have been a fan of Linkin Park and their style of whining Rap infused music. This album is ten or eleven years too late to the party, I’m not sure if Dark Age’s previous albums were a lot heavier and more Death Metal but there really isn’t a lot of Metal here to enjoy. I may not be an expert in the Death Metal, or Melodic Death Metal, scenes but I’ve heard enough to know that there is still Heavy Metal in it!

#4

Slash – s/t (2010): This new album from Slash was highly anticipated and highly disappointing, making it a leader for “Worst Album of 2010″ since it’s release. There’s no doubt that Slash is a guitar icon and that he has had a hand in some excellent Hard Rock & Heavy Metal albums with Guns ‘N Roses, Velvet Revolver and Slash’s Snakepit but not everything can turn to gold or platinum. There’s an all-star cast on this album and some of the names are well known in Metal circles: Lemmy, Ozzy, Duff, Izzy and Dave Grohl. Then there are the names well known in Pop circles: Adam Levine from Maroon 5, Kid Rock and Fergie. Fergie? Are you serious? I’m all for Slash experimenting with different musicians and different styles but, when you advertise an new album heavily in Metal magazines and Metal television shows, shouldn’t you put some extra Metal in it? I really wanted to like this album because I really like Slash, especially in GNR and Snakepit, but Fergie? The guy from Maroon 5? I would have rathered Slash make an entire rock record with one singer handling most of the album and adding in the Lemmy, Ozzy and Ian Astbury tunes, I’m sure Myles Kennedy could have done some Rock songs instead of the mid-tempo/ballad types he did here. But Fergie? Really?

#5

Vince Neil – Tattoos & Tequila (2010): I really debated adding this album in because I did hear some other albums that could have qualified but TATTOOS & TEQUILA was a major disappointment. Vince had all the cards lined up: a summer tour coming with Motley Crue on Ozzfest, the album was being released on Nikki Sixx’s label, solid producers and a great backing band. This had the potential to be a really good album on par with the latest albums from Vince’s main band Motley Crue. The problem is that there was no effort. Vince has “Bret Michaels Syndrome” (BMS): let’s hype a new record as a “new studio album” and then give the fans only a couple new originals. Granted, Vince didn’t re-release previously recorded material like big Bret but how hard is it to go in and sing some well known cover tunes? I read all the press and hype and it went from “a brand new studio album” to “an album of songs that influenced me”…..let’s call it what it is, a quick cash grab! I bought it, I listened to it, I was fully disappointed especially when the two originals were really good. Then again, Vince didn’t have a hand in the writing so where’s the effort?

Dark Age – Acedia (2010)

Dark Age – Acedia (2010, AFM Records)

  1. Kingdom Nevercome
  2. Devote Yourself To Nothing
  3. Neon Gardens
  4. Snake Of June
  5. Zeitgeist (Ghost In A Machine)
  6. 10 Steps To Nausea
  7. Halo Meridian
  8. Underneath These Burdens
  9. All The Unfulfilled
  10. Babylon Riots
  11. Myself Heretic

Band Lineup:
Eike Freese – Vocals & Guitars
Jörn Schubert – Guitars
Alex Henke – Bass
André Schumann – Drums
Martin Reichert – Keyboards

Producer: Eike Freese

Country: Germany

Total Time = 44:03

Dark Age
Dark Age MySpace page
AFM Records

Dark Age is a Melodic Death Metal band from Germany that I never heard of until ACEDIA dropped into my inbox. I thought they were a new band but Dark Age has been around since 1996 releasing 3 demos, 6 studio albums, and E.P. and a live DVD…..that’s not a bad career so far. ACEDIA is album number six, their first for AFM Records, and was released in November 2009 everywhere but North America. I received my North American copy at the beginning of the 2010 so I am counting it as a 2010 album…..whatever the back of the CD says!

Melodic Death Metal in it’s most basic form is a combination of the crushing thrash and guttural vocals with melodic rhythms of more traditional forms of Heavy Metal. As with any genre, over the course of time there are going to be added elements, embellishments and enhancements to the overall sound and that can include orchestration, keyboards, clean vocals and acoustics. In my quest for exploring more extreme forms of Metal this year, Melodic Death Metal makes the transition for Heavy Metal and Hard Rock to Death & Black Metal a little easier. I’ve been listening to some Melodic Death Metal bands all along and didn’t realize they fit that genre…..Amon Amarth, In Flames, At The Gates, Dark Tranquility. (We can debate the merits of each genre and where each band fits but that is always a matter of opinion.) What I can say about other Melodic Death Metal bands with my growing exposure is that I personally prefer their more aggressive songs and the harsher vocals…..and that is where I am conflicted by Dark Age and ACEDIA.

Overall ACEDIA has more of a modern Rock, Nu-Metal and Alternative Metal (Alt-Metal) sound to it than traditional Death Metal. There are a few songs where the music is heavy, thrashing in some spots, and the vocals are growling harsh but the overall balance of the album is clean vocals, electronica, keyboards and rhythms & riffs I heard 10-11 years ago when the Alt-Metal and Nu-Metal scenes exploded to FM radio. I have listened to this album over and over again and all I hear are the similarities to Linkin Park, Blink 182, Drowning Pool and the like. If you like that kind of music then this album by Dark Age will satisfy but if you want more Death in your Metal then I would look elsewhere. It’s almost as if each song has a promising riff and some solid growls but then it turns to an atmospheric sound with that whining drone of Linkin Park. I was actually waiting for the raps to show up in the middle of a few songs especially in the songs where their are no harsh vocals and the music is more akin to aggressive dance rock (if there is such a thing). This is music tailor made for today’s brain dead radio playlists and even then it sounds like something I heard on Ozzfest in the late ’90s/early 2000s. On the good side, the production is excellent, the album sounds good but it still isn’t my kind of music.

Bottom Line:
Definitely not an album for me! Maybe Dark Age has a harder and heavier side on previous albums but I doubt that I will be checking them out anytime soon…..and that’s what sucks about an album like ACEDIA, it can turn you off from checking out some previously good albums. I was never a fan of the Alt-Metal, Nu-Metal and modern Rock scenes so the overall sound this album has just turns me right off. I gave this album way too many spins because I felt like I was missing something but that feeling wore off mid-album because then I felt like I was wasting my time, I can’t find anything I like here except for maybe a few guitar parts and a few vocal lines. When you get down to it, all the songs sound the same! AFM Records has promoted Dark Age as a Melodic Death Metal band but I just don’t hear it, maybe in some parts of some songs…..I just feel like I have been a victim of false advertising. For me, one of the worst albums of the year so far.

Favorite Songs:
(none)