The 5 Worst Albums of 2008

2008 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 came out. There were definitely some bad ones too and I picked up a few of them over the course of the year also. 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 2008:

#1

engelabsolutedesignEngel – Absolute Design

An easy choice for 2008′s worst album. This was supposed to be a combination of Industrial and Melodic Death Metal and all that came out of it was a Nu-Metal sound. Once I heard the trendy down-tuned guitars, the synth and the samples I knew I wouldn’t like it. Think Ozzfest bands like Linkin Park, Papa Roach & Korn minus the raps…..plain awful!

#2

bretmichaelsrockmyworldBret Michaels – Rock My World

This is not a “real” new album. Of the 12 tracks, only three were brand new songs, the rest came from previous Bret solo records. So why does it get inclusion here if it’s not a “real” album? That’s how it was advertised to the fans: a brand new album of new material! I’ll go officially on record saying that I like Poison, and I like Bret Michaels as a frontman, but to fleece the fans with false advertising can’t be forgiven. At least Gene Simmons tells us that he’s fleecing us! Musically, I can only take so much sad sack ‘Something To Believe In’ and ‘Unskinny Bop’ rehashing. If Bret went straight up Country he would be more credible.

#3

Don Dokken - Solitary (2008)Don Dokken – Solitary

The last time Don Dokken released a solo album we got the very good UP FROM THE ASHES (1990). On the eve of a new album by his main band, Dokken, Don decided to release this new solo record at his live solo shows and through his personal website. When you see the name Don Dokken on a CD, you know to expect melodic Hard Rock, this time around a nine song acoustic album that follows the “lost love” and “personal pain” themes. In all honesty, it’s a decent acoustic album. I placed it here for the sheer disappointment with the entire project, definitely not Don Dokken’s best work.

#4

Asia - Phoenix (2008)Asia – Phoenix

The Asia of the early ’80s had big hits with ‘Heat Of The Moment’, ‘Don’t Cry’ and ‘Only Time Will Tell’ because of their uptempo melodic hooks that made each song infectious. The opening track ‘Never Enough’ follows the same path but the band must have thought that was enough because every other song is either a ballad, mid-tempo, or a lengthy progressive number. The musicianship is great but there is no guitar…..well, it’s there somewhere. What could have been a huge Melodic Rock record ended up being a bore.

#5

queen_the_cosmos_rocks_album_coverQueen + Paul Rodgers – The Cosmos Rocks 

This is the first Queen album WITHOUT Freddie Mercury (R.I.P.). That should say it all. I understand that musicians need to play live and stay creative but sometimes releasing an album of new material isn’t the way to go. I saw the Queen + Paul Rodgers tour, it was phenomenal! Rodgers did his best to interpret and celebrate the Queen catalog and it worked…..live. The music on THE COSMOS ROCKS sounds forced, as if Roger Taylor and Brian May tried too hard to create the Queen sound. Or maybe they don’t know any better! An album that shouldn’t have been released, leave the Queen legacy alone. The only winner here was John Deacon.

Engel – Absolute Design (2008)

Engel – Absolute Design (2008, SPV)

  1. In Splendour
  2. Casket Closing
  3. Next Closed Door
  4. The Hurricane Season
  5. Propaganda
  6. The Paraclete
  7. Scyth
  8. Descend
  9. Trial & Error
  10. I’m The One
  11. Calling Out
  12. Seven Ends

Band Lineup:
Niclas Engelin – Guitars
Marcus Sunesson – Guitars
Mangan Klavborn – Vocals
Michael Hakansson – Bass
Mojjo – Drums

Producer: Anders Fridén

Total Time = 46:42

Engel official website
Engel MySpace page
SPV USA

(NOTE — ABSOLUTE DESIGN was released in Europe in late 2007, the U.S. release was May 20, 2008)

Engel is a band from Gothenberg, Sweden that plays Melodic Death Metal with Industrial influences. Usually I can’t get by the growling vocals and overdone blastbeats of Death Metal but I do like some and I find that the Melodic sub-genre of Death is more to my preference when done well. As for Industrial, I don’t like sequencing, sampling, and synth overclogging my Metal, it’s too Nu-Metal (Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit, Papa Roach) for me and I’m more of a traditionalist.

Right away I noticed that the songs have more to do with the Nu-Metal and Metalcore movements than actual Death Metal. There are those trademark growling vocals (sometimes) but most of the vocals are clean and remind me of Linkin Park and the like. Actually, the growls are better than the clean vocals but the screams sound processed and not guttural. The background vocals seem out of place as well. I also don’t like the down-tuned guitars and the lack of speed. Good Death Metal has at least some element of Thrash to it and this sounds more like every other trendy band out there. Nothing really jumps out and makes me take notice, aside from the band members’ pedigrees: In Flames, The Crown, Evergrey.

Bottom Line:
Nothing really impressed me and I really tried to enjoy this album. I must have listened to this CD a couple dozen times over the course of the last few days and all I could picture in my head was some of the bands I’d seen on Ozzfest — Papa Roach, Linkin Park, Static-X, Incubus, Drowning Pool, Limp Bizkit, Korn. Everything sounds the same to my ears and, if I want to hear down-tuned guitars and a light mix of growls, screams, and clean vocals, I can turn on the local Rock stations that specialize in this type of music. I knew I should have known better when I saw pictures of the band with matching outfits!

Favorite songs: none