It’s nearly impossible to think of a band that hasn’t made some kind of misstep, either with a shitty song or the kind of album cover the Right wants to defund Planned Parenthood to prevent from ever happening again. You could think about bands like Pyogenesis or Celestial Season or fuck, even Samael, who over time really did their best to make you forget they recorded great music early on. Or bands like My Dying Bride who maybe overextended their experimentation a bit but eventually recovered. But then there are some bands that skipped from minor boner (it’s a legit term for mistake! You all disgust me.) to tragic bed shitting. These are the records that cannot be justified and only a few bands would shake them off like they had tripped going up the escalator in front of their date. And then loudly farted. You get the idea.
In the spirit of making any positive things I’ve said about records in previous Justify Your Shitty Tastes columns into a lump of soul sucking coal I figured I’d make bad jokes at even worse records.
Desultory – Swallow the Snake
This record is the equivalent of getting socks for Christmas and finding out somebody already came in them. Desultory had just come off two of the finest (and most unsung) records in Swedish death metal so it would stand to reason that this should have been at least on par. But everything about this record sucks, from the generic type font on the generic cover to the shitty puns about having a penis in someone’s mouth to the music being the equivalent of that penis belonging to Ted Cruz and the mouth is yours. Sure, the death n roll thing took a lot of the Scandinavian bands at the time, with some success (Convulse) and some failure (Entombed up until Morning Star). To put it bluntly this currently has a 10% on Metal Archives and that’s 11% too generous. I don’t even care that they’re back together, my curiosity is so nil that I didn’t even look at Youtube once while rambling about this dreck.
Morgoth – Feel Sorry for the Fanatic
Quick aside: from late 94 to sometime in 96, I had a zine. It was about as good as a finished coloring book by a color blind child having a seizure. But I’m telling you this because I used to get promos in the mail and it got me ready to be disappointed by my adult mail being mostly bills and dog porn people have signed me up for. One day I got promos by The Gathering, Moonspell and Morgoth. I really loved the previous records by all these bands (I didn’t hear Almost a Dance so I still actually liked the Gathering at this point in time) so I was pretty excited. The Gathering was a jarring change but I eventually grew to dig it. I think Moonspell’s Irreligious is a festering pile of shit but since it seems I’m alone in that opinion that’s as far as I’ll go with it. But the one I couldn’t even make it through the halfway mark was Morgoth’s Fear Sorry for the Fanatic. The industrial thing I guess was sort of working its way through the intestines of the metal world and this was the sign that it was crowning. If you haven’t followed this analogy then I don’t know what I can do for you. Anyway this record is like getting hit in the face with a yellow snowball that has a rock in it. Which is oddly the color of the cover. Whoever was doing design for Century Media around that time must have really hated their job and it shows.
Xysma – Lotto
I’m conflicted because I really do like this record but besides me and I guess a friend of the band who gave it a 92% on Metal Archives I don’t think anyone else does. Xysma has some great records, essential to anyone who’s into Finnish death metal and I can even put Deluxe up as one of those great early death n roll records but Lotto is inexplicable. It’s lounge music mixed with fifties rock with all the sock hop and soda jerk trimmings beating out that new Queens of the Stone Age by two decades. I remember journalists trying like hell to bait them in interviews trying to compare the vocals to Danzig or Ian Astbury but Xysma stuck to their guns and proclaimed Elvis and really expressed their boredom with metal. And it basically sacked their legacy for a few years until their early stuff got reissued. One fun and interesting trivia fact you can share with your friends about this record is I got a longsleeve of it off Ebay for a penny.
Destruction – The Least Successful Human Cannon Ball
If ever a record cover summed up the feeling the listener has when realizing they paid money for it or a visual aid to what the band just did to themselves it’s this one. I had no idea how awful this was or how low they’d sunk until I was at Milwaukee Metalfest in 1998, completely stoked to see them. I loved Destruction records up to and including Cracked Brain (I also like the post-Prime Evil Venom records, fuck off) so even though I knew it wasn’t all original members I didn’t care. I have a friend who tells the story about how his (at the time) girlfriend thought giving him a handjob with Icy Hot was a good idea. That’s kind of a good description of how my first live experience with Destruction went. I thought I was going to get something rad but instead I spent all night cleaning my dick in the sink. Even worse was I bought this record from a vendor before they went on so I was stuck with it. I hated most late 90’s thrash, everything seemed to be riding the retro thing that I blame Osmose and Necropolis for or they wanted to be Machine Head which eventually gave birth to nu-metal which reads like a list of who begat whom in the Bible if the Bible was a doctor’s textbook of sexually transmitted diseases. This record is a poor man’s Machine Head which is like being stabbed by a kitchen knife instead of one of those ones with the camo on the grip. It takes longer to die and probably sucks worse. (Don’t you fucking correct me in the comments, it’s a goddamned story device).
Belial – 3
Out of anything on this list, 3 is the most perplexing. The preceding record, Never Again, is one of the greatest black/death records not only from Finland but ever. And what do you do after crafting near perfection? You flush every single aspect, from your logo, your themes and your dignity down the shitter like the cops are at the door. 3 is a punk record mostly, and a very poppy one at that. It has no traces of the band who, just a fucking year prior, crafted a forward thinking monster. I guess they decided on a number for the title because of Led Zeppelin but I don’t remember Robert Plant ever pontificating on the merits of throwing your band away to try to, I guess, appeal to a completely opposite audience than the one you’ve cultivated for years? How bad is 3? It’s so bad you can only find the instrumental on Youtube. It’s so bad S.O.D gave it 0 Fucking Skulls and they handed out 7s like they were the admissions department at the University of Phoenix. From Day of Darkness festival to being treated like a bleedy dick in under 5 years is impressive. At least from this absolute disaster sprang Mythos (as long as you stop at Dark Material).
I don’t honestly see anything wrong with bands trying to evolve or expand. Surely far more interesting than whatever the fuck Six Feet Under is doing. But these are examples of just egregious piles of dog shit on the sidewalk that no one wants to admit came out of their dog and they certainly aren’t going to pick it up.