Wednesday Question: Band That Never Outdid Its Debut Album

Name a group whose first album is their absolute pinnacle....

Ultimate Guitar

For this week's traditional Wednesday Question, we'd like to kindly ask you folks to focus on bands whose first albums are their absolute musical pinnacles and answer this:

Which band never outdid its first album?

Needless to say, the given group (or artist) needs to have more than one effort in its opus.

THE RULES - post only one suggestion per comment after checking that your favorite wasn't already nominated (Ctrl+F and all).Multiple nominations of one artist create heavy confusion, since on one hand it's unfair to the given act to take into consideration only the most upvoted nomination, but seeing that multiple nominations allow one user to give two or more votes to the same group, it's also unfair to other nominees not to discard it.

Finally, vote up the ideas you support and vote down the ones you dislike. We'll sum up your votes by Friday and bring you another traditional UG top list. Show us what you got now!

863 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Spice Girls
    I'm actually serious when I ask this, is this a joke answer or is the 1st Spice Girl record that good? Hmm...
    "Don't Look Back" was almost as good as their debut album, "Third Stage" was also a really good album, but everything afterwards... ehhhhn.
    Bloc Party - Silent Alarm
    They had so much potential...
    I dunno, A Weekend in the City and Four were pretty great as well, though neither managed to outshine Silent Alarm.
    Yeah, that one is gold, then a couple good albums after it, and the new one is really bad.
    Van Halen. Their catalog is great with a lot of awesome songs, but that first album is perfect and as a whole album, they never got convincingly close to it after.
    Fair Warning is pretty damn close
    I think the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th VH records are all great but I hold Van Halen 1 to a higher standard. It breathes different air.
    You could say the same about Black Sabbath then.
    Paranoid is better than s/t.
    Master of Reality Vol. 4 Sabotage Paranoid Sabbath Bloody Sabbath S/T IMO Sabbath got so much better when Iommi started lowering the tuning, up until when Ozzy was on so much drugs the band couldn't function. I can't rank Dio in there because to me they are two different bands.
    Nah. No disrespect. Credit where credit is due. The first Sabbath record is not only the blue print, but it's great regardless. However, by my own listening habits, I rank Paranoid, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, and Heaven and Hell above it. I love that this Wednesday Question allows us to talk in depth on albums. That's my favorite music discussion topic.
    I'm a dieheard Roth-era VH fan. And that debut changed my life. But Van Halen II is the best for me. I found that it's one of those albums might not even notice how insane it is, until you've played it quite a few times. Debut is killer though, no doubt.
    VH2 is entirely underrated. I do love it as well, just not quite as much.
    The Strokes.
    I cant believe that i didn't think of this, great choice sir, while i think they have some great tunes on other albums, this is a bonified classic that they were never able to capture again
    Yup. I love The Strokes, and (to me, at least) Room On Fire was on par with Is This It. Never outdid it though.
    Black Tide
    i came here to write exactly this!!!! their first album was something divine... makes me sad we don't have more
    Rage Against the Machine
    I honestly have to disagree. Evil Empire is on the same level as their self-titled debut, and Battle of Los Angeles in my opinion is even better.
    For me "The Battle of Los Angeles" is their best, with "Evil Empire" is as good as their debut. But anyway all of their albums are great.
    im not mental
    I was prepared to say RATM too. The rest of the albums were great as well, but they never topped their debut.
    I love RATM, in my humble their every album is fantastic, although their debut is the best. It just seems a little unfair to use term "never outdid" because rest of their work is also top-notch.
    The Darkness
    Rob Zombie, with Hellbilly Deluxe. He's still making solid songs nowadays, but nothing has managed to touch that first solo release post-White Zombie.
    Guns N' Roses
    Even though I think this fits the question, I don't feel like it deserves the medal. Lies and Use Your Illusion are both great (I know Lies is more like a double EP).
    Guns N' Roses case is complicated AFD is the best debut album ever. It's a no contest here. So, it could be easy to say that nothing after that could outdo it and that would be the easy way. But we have to take some things in perspective. They made it big in the USA with AFD. But UYI is definitely what made them gain planetary and HUGE success.
    You bring up an interesting point with AfD and where it ranks among debut records. I'm not convinced it's the greatest debut ever. It's certainly up there, I'd put it ahead of debuts from Zeppelin, Sabbath, and Metallica. However there's some fat that could have been trimmed off of it. Not saying there are bad songs on it because there aren't, but had Appetite been 43-45 minutes long, it would be undoubtedly the greatest debut ever I would still have to put the first Van Halen and Jimi Hendrix Experience records above it. Now, the case of AfD vs the Illusion albums.. You're very right. The Illusion records made them stadium titans globally. But does that make them better albums, or even just as good? I think there is a good amount of filler on both Illusions, of course to go along with the fucking UNBELIEVABLY good tracks like Coma, Estranged, Right Next Door To Hell. You can say the same about Metallica's Black Album
    It was (don't know if it's still is) the best selling debut album ever in the US (not worldwide). Best is subjective, I should have said 'best selling'. If Illusions are better than Appetite or not, well... I can't tell, really. I love those albums so much I wouldn't even try to judge. Now, sales. Should we combine Illusion I & II or not ? Combined, Illusions records sold 35 million units. Appetite sold 30 million units. Appetite outdoes both Illusion albums if we count them as 2 separate albums. Told you so... GNR is a complicated case
    I've heard many times that Destruction is indeed the highest selling debut of all time. A few years ago I heard 15-16 million, not too long ago I heard 20 million, 25 million. etc. Either way, you can't combine sales for both Illusion records. That would be cheating. They put em out as two lol. Oh well, I don't know why we are comparing AfD and UyI when Spaghetti Incident clearly trounces both.
    I-Am-The-Man · Oct 05, 2016 03:31 PM
    goremetal22 · Oct 05, 2016 03:50 PM
    I-Am-The-Man · Oct 05, 2016 03:54 PM
    dewitt · Oct 05, 2016 04:07 PM
    Wrong. Shannon Hoon was on the double albums, and his contribution was the best thing that lame-ass band ever had.
    I strongly agree - every and each song from Appetite sounds awesome and really self-sufficient, and I can't say the same about Illusion album
    Huge GNR fan and I agree. Both UYI are great and even if Lies is only and EP it's good. But they never outdid Appetite. That album captured something that they never could fully harness again.
    Candlebox was the first band I thought of. Great first album everything after was meh to terrible.
    Happy Pills had some pretty good tracks, though. 10,000 Horses is probably my favorite song of theirs.
    Into the Sun was pretty killer. id put that up there with their self titled, imo.
    If you're talking about Straight Outta Compton, then that's not their first album.
    I'm assuming you are referring to N.W.A. and the Posse, which is a record of Dr. Dre produced tracks that was marketed as N.W.W but also had tracks by Fila Fresh and Rappinstine, associated with N.W.A, yes but not N.W.A's debut studio effort.
    Maroon 5
    THIS. Maroon 5's first album was fantastic and a breath of fresh air for the music scene as it stood then. It was unique. Then, almost immediately, they sunk back into the mire of uninspired and indistinguishable pop music.
    Do you mean Disclaimer II or their "real", South Africa-only debut, Fragile?
    I meant Disclaimer. I guess I forgot about Fragile, but they released that under the name Saron Gas, so maybe that can be a technicality.
    Living Colour - Vivid
    I only downloaded that album a few months ago because all I knew was Cult of Personality and damn is it an epic album, too bad I only just decided to listen to it.
    Linkin Park (even though I do have to admit that I like the Hunting Party more than Hybrid Theory, but most on here would probably disagree.)
    Huge fan of Hunting Party here, but yeah. Hybrid Theory is THE Linkin Park album.
    The thing about Hunting Party is that it sounds way heavier and rawer than everything else by Linkin Park. Also, Brad Delson actually plays some legit lead guitar on there. The production was also a bit rawer (Rick Rubin really didn't do a great job with the production on the previous stuff) Hybrid Theory on the other hand, has awesome riffs and some catchy choruses, as well as the blend of Alt Rock and Rap working really well.
    I've listened to Hunting Party, and struggle to get through it, am I missing something?
    Damn beat me to it, Hybrid theory is the album that made me a metalhead and brought me into music! I know people from all genre's but every1 likes Hybrid theorie
    I hated Hunting Party but I still think their 2nd and 3rd albums were better than their 1st.
    Mudvayne "L.D.50" was one of the greatest albums ever to be lumped into the "nu-metal" scene, and nothing they did afterwards really matched it. Edit: That's if you consider that album their "true" debut album, anyway, since they don't really acknowledge "Kill, I Oughtta"
    Also if we're talking about nu-metal, then I think we need to mention the next band: Drowning Pool After the Dave Williams's death the band never topped the "Sinner"'s success.
    Great call!.. Then I try to nominate the next band, while it'll be arguable to someone - but their debut was their most sincere work: Slipknot
    I don't think Slipknot has ever released a bad album, though, and their debut is actually the one I listen to the least. Maybe I'm in the minority though, I dunno
    The debut feels like the ultimate slipknot album. It's dark, heavy, features rap songs and has the creepy samples. None of their later albums (though still great) gave me the same feeling tbe first one does
    For me that's the opposite. I think on the debit and vol.3 they were "too odd". I like the elements that made them odd but there was just too much of it for me. For me .5 is probably the best, closely followed by Iowa.
    Bullet For My Valentine
    paulstfu · Oct 05, 2016 03:23 PM
    I actually prefer SAF to The Poison myself. Still I'd have to say both are near legendary... their other releases not so much.
    Scream Aim Fire was a commercial success, but the first one is the best
    paulstfu · Oct 05, 2016 05:55 PM
    The newest one is a step in the right direction. Still they need to walk about a mile to get back to where they were so here's to hoping.
    sure, it is. But with Matt's vocal problem and some very weak songs it not better than The Poison. The Poison is strong from start to finish, even the EPs they made in that era (Hand of Blood, My Fist, Seven Days)
    The Poison may not have Waking the Demon, Raising Hell and Hearts Burst into Fire, but it has Tears don't Fall, 4 Words to choke upon, All these things, Hit the Floor,... damn you're right
    I did not enjoy the first album as much as Scream Aim Fire. I think they had a more diffrent sound then other bands at that album. I dont want a feel of what I have already heard, I want a feel of something new. I am sorry, but I like Scream Aim Fire by far more.
    This. 'Cries in Vain', 'Spit you out', and 'Suffocating under words of sorrow'. Really some of the best materials they put out. still keep under shuffle in my phone between stuff like Symphony x, Opeth, Augury etc even though my metalcore phase is long gone lol
    Lee Medd
    Venom was pretty close though if not just as good as the poison
    I'd say it ties or slightly edges out Fever for third. The riffs from SAF really do it for me and are the things among a few others that made me want to learn guitar in the first place.
    Came to post this. Debut album was the best. I wish they'd get back to it. More harmonies, more of a Maiden feel.
    Idk, Venom is doing really well and those songs are just as great live as the ones on The Poison
    Yeah. Their other albums except for Temper Temper are solid albums, but The Poison was and still is awesome.
    I love all their albums a great deal, even Temper Temper. Fever, Scream Aim Fire and Venom are amazing 10/10 records. But The Poison was so inspired that it'd be hard for ANY band to outdo it.
    Pearl Jam
    Vicryl 2.0
    VS and Ten are like on same level. well IMO... oh and Vitalogy too. i think Pearl Jam was consistent from Ten to Yield.
    Vs was a solid album, but it's not a classic. Ten is one of the Best Rock records of that generation - Pearl Jam never met that high again, but they went on to do exactly what they wanted, so it's all okay.
    Pearl Jam was the first band that came to my mind. I don't think they've ever topped "Ten".
    Unfortunately for Pearl Jam, Ten was probably one of the most solid albums of all time. None of those tracks are fillers, they're all memorable in their own right. Not to say their other stuff wasn't great, I'm a huge PJ fan but nothing they've put out since had the depth or the impact that Ten did.
    what nonsense...Yield is the best fucking album..all songs are 10/10..
    I fucking hate push me/pull me. Like I understand what he's trying to say with it but my god what an awful song (imo of course). I did a full guitar cover of yield for a youtube video and hated having to learn that song lol
    I personally like other albums more - but I must say that every time I listen to Yield I'm totally and utterly taken with it. Me listening to Yield: "Well, it's not VS, but there is some good uptempo stuff on it... whoa I forgot how good Brain of J is... and another good song. Jesus this next one is a highlight too. Again and again... and... I'M IN HIIIIIDIIIIIAAAAANNNNG"
    You should all try listening to their other albums properly you bandwagon jumping bunch of sheep!!
    imho best debut album of all times... the other albums are great as well, but this one is absolutely stellar...
    Machine Head - Burn My Eyes Perfect first album (only album that reach this awesomeness is The Blackening, but I prefer Burn My Eyes)
    I think The More Things Change tops them both actually, it has a much cooler atmosphere and it's their only straight up Groove Metal album, but still sounds very different from Pantera. Chris Kontos' performance on BME was incredible, but Dave McClain's on TMTC is even better. Listen to the first half of Struck A Nerve, his drums is so tight on that song that it almost rivals Gene Hoglan.
    The Killlers.
    Hot Fuss is easily their most unfocused album. Sam's Town, Day & Age, and Battle Born are all thematically better and the songs stick with you more. Hot Fuss has some catchy singles but I think it's their worst album (which means its still a great album!)
    Although they have released lots of great stuff, I'd say King Crimson.
    Even though I upvoted, I'd say Red is just as good. Also a lot of their discography is comparable to the first one. Mr. Fripp may be a god... may.
    I think almost every King Crimson album is exceptional, so it's hard to say that one is better than the others, they're all great, just different, so for me it wolud be a matter of personal taste ( my favorite for example is Red ).
    it was almost a different band every album. I dont have a favorite but i think its Red because its from my favorite lineup - wetton led era was the best and technical
    For me Diary Of A Madman is just as good... It's like if people said metallica, when the first 4 albums are all perfect, and it's not really the purpose of the list...
    He almost outdid it with No More Tears, but him and Randy's magic was undeniable on Blizzard.
    Counting Crows, "August and everything after" - classic example
    Gravity Kills
    This. They were billed as "the next Nine Inch Nails" but faded into obscurity after their subsequent albums failed to deliver.
    Totally. I love the debut album. It rocks from start to finish, but the followup albums missed the mark and the band faded away.
    Certainly debatable. I would say Pinkerton is on the same level. I often flip flop on which album I think is better.
    I'm surprised this is at +2. I agree with this completely, but it seems like most people think Pinkerton is the best.
    bang on. Pinkterton was good, but it was no Blue album. Nothing since (maaaaybe maladroit) has even come close
    I think that all depends on how much you like Pinkerton... Commercially speaking though they never outdid it, and I think a lot of people put Blue above Pinkerton. The later albums don't often come close to the first two, apart from Green and the latest offerings.
    No one will ever agree with me but, Maladroit is the one I listen to the most (have ya'll listened to Rivers' guitar work on that one?), honestly they were all solid until the Red album.
    IMO Pinkerton is slightly better, it may be less successful and less polished than the blue album but it still seems better than it to me
    Very true. De Mysteriis Don Sathanas is fantastic. Nothing else has been as ground breaking or influential
    Deathcrush was their first album, but Live In Leipzig was better then De Mysteriis Don Sathanas. The only reason I have is because Dead was by far better.
    The guys in the band consider Deathcrush to be a mini album not an EP. Anyway Live In Leipzig is better b/c Attila's vocal style was never suited to Mayhem. They really should have followed up Deathcrush with a mini EP of the few songs that would later be on Dom Mysteriis that have studio versions with Dead on vocals.
    The Shins
    I've actually progressively liked each release better than the previous as released, but the 1st is a classic, and caused "indie pop rock" to just freakin sky rocket!
    A Perfect Circle. I love all their albums but Mer de Noms is still their best.
    I disagree, Thirteenth Step has more standout songs. I mean, it has The Package, Gravity, The Noose, Pet & The Outsider. Mer De Noms only has two songs that reach that same level; Judith and The Hollow.
    looks like we have an Unpopular opinion haha as much as I love Orestes and Tres Libras I prefer Pet, Outsider and Noose
    Puddle of Mudd
    Bush Surprised no one mentioned them. Their first album was 6x platinum and had at least 5 major hits on it.
    Meat Loaf maybe too. Even if BOOH2 was quite badass.
    Watchtower Honorable mentions: R.E.M. Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force
    Could argue Guns N Roses. Use Your Illusions were amazing, but did they outdo Appetite?
    I'm a huge GNR fan and I completely ageee. UYIs were good but a complete different direction from AFD, don't think they could outdo AFD if they tried at the time. Axl even said when making the Illusions that he had to bury Appetite because they couldn't recreate that
    Can't agree with R.E.M.. Fables of Reconstruction, Monster, Green are a lot more solid than Murmur IMO.
    As not to mention Automatic For the People, which many consider their magnum opus
    I love that you mentioned Monster, nobody talks about that fantastic piece of work anymore, its such a unique album in their catalog, and I really enjoy the crunchy guitar sound on it. In my opinion it is so much stronger than the more popular Out of Time album
    Next Wednesday question : Band that outdid its magnum opus REM has got a couple of great albums, way better than Automatic for the People actually. On a side note, I love Adventures in HiFi, and yeah, Monster is a unique album.
    Watchtower's Control & Resistance is better than Energetic Disassembly on all fronts (production, songwriting, performance etc.) R.E.M put out a string of equally impressive albums up until 'Monster', some may even be better than 'Murmur'.
    Late to the party but how about ghost?
    Smokey McPot
    this was the first band that came to my mind when seeing this article. the first record was sick, but the ones that followed were just a collection of songs that were trying to sound similar to the most successful tracks from the debut.
    No... Just no. Each Ghost album has its very own identity. And they just seem to get better and better.
    I have to disagree. I think Life On Display was even better, and Famous was their last good album.