Wednesday Question: Worst Metal Album Ever?

See if you can pick out the worst metal album of all time for a chance to appear in our top 10 list this Friday.

Ultimate Guitar

We love posing questions the the UG audience, because we get to tap into the knowledge of the most informed rock music community in the world every single week.

But while we normally challenge you to nominate and vote for the best of something, from best guitarists to best metal riffs, we want to flip the format on its head.

This week we're asking you to answer the following question:

What is the worst metal album of all time?

There's no clear cut answer, so we could see some really interesting results. It could be a lot of fun too; you don't have to just pick obviously bad albums like the ill-fated Metallica and Lou Reed album "Lulu" - you could find bands who sound so comically bad that they're actually really good.

Of course, it's worth calling out beloved metal artists on their worst records too - just post your nominations in the comments below, and the voters will decide if it reaches the top 10 on Friday.

You know the drill: post one nomination per comment and upvote answers that you agree with. Ready?

700 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Shark Sandwich by Spinal Tap.
    Personally I think 'Intravenus de Milo' is much worse. After all it was the first record to go "bronze" (after 1 million copies were returned).
    Let's face it... this wins. Course idk if this really should be considered a metal album just because metallica is playing on it, but I upvoted anyway.
    I think it could be considered metal; it's closer to that than pretty much any other genre.
    I believe UG only came up with this poll so they can continue they're never-ending quest to bash "Lulu." Yeah, because that never gets old.
    Don't really think it counts/there's a crater where that dead horse was millions of years ago.
    actually if you take away Reed's god awful vocals, the songs could be really nice, if you could just listen to instrumental versions of the lulu album you would actually enjoy it and not cringe from Reed's vocals and 'avant-garde' lyrics. There are definitely other albums WORSE than LULU Where the music it's self is BAD like they bought their instruments from a toy store and had a mental patient for a metronome, vocals are HORRIBLE like they took a chinpanzee on drugs, and took lyrics from a foreign elementary kid.
    Lulu is definitely not metal. Just because a record has distorted guitar and james hetfield on it, it's not automatically considered as metal... And there are worse albums than Lulu in my opinion. Actually it has some pretty cool moments in it - if you don't look at it as a metal album.
    I'm not a fan of Lulu either, but it's hardly a metal album. The only thing "metal" about it is Mistress Dread, which is, in fact, just a sole guitar string being shagged into oblivion.
    Second Rate
    Agreed, Lulu is not a metal album. No matter how many votes it gets, there is no way the staff at UG should include it on the list.
    Lulu was pretty bad, but I think Iron Maiden's Virtual XI takes this one.
    Actually I find Virtual XI to be pretty good. Granted, The Angel and the Gambler is a bit tiring, but otherwise it has some of their best tracks from the 90s, such as The Clansman and The Educated Fool. Fear of the Dark had its fair share of good tracks as well, but came out as a lot more dull than the other albums from that period.
    St. Anger was pretty bad too
    I actually love that album. Its a completelly different aproach to anything they had done...
    St. Anger may have been bad, but the guitar recordings were bad ass. That was a damn good MIX (bob rock again, genius at making anything metal sound good. he's like a wizard behind that desk) if you can excuse the silly snare idea and listen to how fuking heavy those guitars are. Unlike Death Magnetic where the heavy guitars sounded horribly digital and compressed. WHERE WAS THE CRUNCH?
    Bullshit. I'm 100% certain most people who vote Virtual XI as the worst never even gave it a decent listen. The Educated Fool is one of my all time favorite Maiden songs, and The Clansman, Lightning Strikes Twice, Como Estais Amigos, Futureal are all great songs. Just because Bruce doesn't sing doesn't instantly make it bad. In fact, with Blaze the album worked a lot better than it would've with Bruce IMO.
    I dunno I liked Virtual XI....baring Angel and the Gambler, thats long and bad and they know it
    I agree with you. That is Maiden's worst album. I can actually get into the album released before this one "The X Factor", but "Virtual XI"... NO.
    Total minority opinion, but I ****ing loved Virtual XI. To fly further in the face of that, I cannot stand Maiden's first 2 albums - to this day I refuse to add them to my collection even for the sake of completeness.
    Iron maiden's debut is a great album. Okay, it lacks a bit of polish, but there're a lot of good songs on that album. Transylvania, Prowler, Phantom of the Opera, Running Free... I agree with you about Killers though, it has maybe 2 good songs (murders and wrathchild), and has the unfortunate title of being the album that Papa Roach stole from- listen to Genhgis Khan and Last Resort...
    I remember paying nearly 15 for Virtual XI, getting home and thinking "what the F*CK is this!?!"...beyond terrible.
    I don't know if I would say that it's better than Death Magnetic, but I personally didn't think it was any worse, either.
    It's as if the only metal band you guys listen to is Metallica, get a little bit more creative if you can.
    Morbid Angel - Illud Divinum Insanus
    There's not enough of us to even know what you're talking about. But yes, bar maybe 2 songs which were digitally overproduced that album was absolutely FUCKING dire.
    My vote for Frequency Unknown by Tate's-ryche
    Korn's Path of Totality
    Path of Totality was KORN's worst album ever. You could hardly call that experiment a metal album could you. Was more like a day out with Skrillex. Korn definitely are metal though, if you'd care to release your brains from that whole sub-genre thing. They're loud and heavy, ie; it's metal. For the longest time I'd have answered this question with Opeth - Heritage, but now I like it. End of the day there are so many shitty metal bands out there it's impossible to answer the question. (I swear they only post these articles to make us all argue).
    LOL, not even metal, but I upvote XD
    What defines a band as "Metal"?
    Sound maybe?
    What is a "Metal" sound?
    It's the sound similar to the first Metallica albums, Black Sabbath's Paranoid and Megadeth's Rust in Peace.
    So by that, anything that doesn't sound like anything from Kill 'em all to Puppets, Megadeth's RiP and Sabbath's Paranoid isn't "Metal"? So bands like Maiden, Pantera, Opeth, In Flames, Slayer, and etc aren't "Metal"? That sounds rather silly.
    Dude he has a linkin park avatar. The argument should've ended after his first comment.
    If you're talking about Pure metal, it's classical music brought in electrical and high gain sounds. But that's only for pure metal, now there's over a 100 sub-genre which makes it impossible to describe all sub-genre as one specific sound
    Take any word... any word at all... Spoon, for example... put CORE at the end as a suffix and VOILA! a new metal sub-genre that pretty much sounds like the last. Now Im going to go record my new spooncore album.
    You do realise the 'Core' part in certain genres refers to hardcore, a punk genre, right???
    Can I get a copy when it's done? I'm a connoisseur of eatery-based music, such as forkpop and knifegaze.
    A solid material that is typically hard, shiny, malleable, fusible, and ductile, with good electrical and thermal conductivity. Even that definition says "typically." Come on guys, let's not try and do what can't be done.
    Listen to some Sabbath, Priest, Megadeth, etc. You will get the picture.
    Implying that I haven't.....
    Stop acting like an elitist genre prick. Metal is metal. You don't need examples. You'll know it when you hear it.
    I hate when people get caught up in what genre a band is. Does it really matter much if someone says it's metal or if it's hard rock, or nu-metal? To me half of punk bands could be called metal as well... All that matters is if you like it or not. Not the genre.
    I'm not 100% who you're directing that towards.
    If you're directing that at me, I wasn't directing it at anyone. I was speaking in generalization. I'm just saying that people get caught up in what genre a band is or isn't way too ****ing much.
    Nope. I agree with what you're saying tho. However UG needs to make a clear way of directing messages or comments to a specific user rather than stacking it all up in one cluster.
    Le Fantome
    You mean like the reply button? >.> Edit: Wow, nope, nevermind. You are right, this is a shitty way of organizing comments.
    Metalheads are the biggest music snobs, no wonder they are outcasts and loners.
    Because the Ultimate guitar forums can totally generalise the whole Metalhead community. *Logic*
    Guns N' Chains
    solidrevolver19, I refrained from commenting on your "Thrash is irrelevant" comment in the Dave Mustaine article. But not here.... 1. Thrash is NOT irrelevant. The Smashing Pumpkins are irrelevant. 2. I'm proud to be a Metalhead and be an outcast and a "loner" like you generalize. Its always been that way, and always will. So I ask, why are you even on here? I think you're just depressed you listen to the Smashing Pumpkins. Sorry, sensible Smashing Pumpkins fans. I do think they are a good band and I respect their music.
    I know you're just taking the piss out of the other guy, but... "The Smashing Pumpkins are irrelevant" I'm pretty sure "Oceania" got a ton of fellatio from the rock press last year. (Sorry if anything, I'm too much of a SP fanboy)
    Lol SP irrelevant? Yeah that's why their latest album sold well than the majority of thrash bands.
    most of us are married and live happy outgoing lives mate. dunno where youve got that from? maybe youre referring to a 14 year old confused "goth" going through puberty, too shy to talk. cus you haven't described any of us. you just made yourself look like a tit.
    says the loser who's on a metal post
    I actually enjoy metal but I don't label myself a "metalhead" because labels are stupid and those who label themselves "metalheads" are the most ignorant *****s who would put you down for your music, I'm not saying all of them are but the majority of metalheads are close mind douchebags.
    Haha. Sooo true. I don't care what comment actually wins the medal on this thread. Your. Moment is winner in my eyes.
    If you're gonna go further down to see what's being voted don't bother. Every nominee is either Megadeth, Metallica, Iron Maiden or Black Sabbath's worst album showing the UG community as a whole has heard 4 metal bands.
    It's probably an album by a band you've never heard of, because they are so terrible, that they never stood a chance at becoming widely known. You probably mean 'Biggest disappointment'.
    Poison (Hair Metal) could fill this entire list with their discography...Look What the Cat Dragged In is my vote tho.
    Hair metal in general could fill this list.
    Way Cool JR.
    LOL...Not even close.
    You spelled n-metal and modern metal wrong, although, to be fair, a lot of modern metal isn't especially bad - it's just bland as hell and incredibly generic.
    Woah. Poison are awesome, but even so I don't think they should be brought into this. They're hardly metal. It's like saying G'n'R are metal. As for the guy who doesn't like Cinderella, well that's more blues rock, and they're incredible. Go listen to Long Cold Winter and then say they suck.
    They suck.
    Say what you will about 80s glam metal, or whatever genre they're shunted into, but at least bands like Poison, Crue and Skid Row etc could and still can string together memorable songs, harmonies and play a f'kin' guitar solo. Bleed From Within won an award for best new band, and I'm gutted that metal has lowered itself to recognising bands like them in such high regard.
    The shit-core most of the people on this website like.
    All the hair metal haters (thrash fans, no doubt) probably never heard of the hair metal bands beyond Bon Jovi, Motely Crue, Poison and possibly Ratt. They've probably also never heard of Whitesnake, Steve Vai, Vandenberg etc. In the late 80s and early 90s though, the bands got heavier, production values increased and there was a ton of under-rated bands. When Saigon Kick wasn't doing ballads, they were basically thrash metal. Check out "Body Bags" and "Peppermint tribe." Skid Row's Slave To The Grind was killer. Hericane Alice, Bangalore Choir, Slam Alley, Roxy Blue, Beau Nasty, Giant, Slik Toxik, and many other short lived bands rocked harder than hell. and XYZ's Face Down In The Gutter was easily the most badass single from one of the most under-rated albums of '91. Bad hair metal would definitely include early Faster Pussycat, Odin, Roxx Gang, and White Lion.
    Virtual XI
    are you high man??? it was medicore at worst and possibly Maiden's weakest record but certainly not the worst metal album of all time. still, the clansman is probably their most underrated song, really ****ing killer. futureal is pretty good also.
    Iron Maiden hasn't done a bad album yet, so they cannot be included on the list of worst albums. All are good, some are great, not a single one can be considered bad.
    Besides futureal and the clansman this album songs are really boring. But I wouldn't put a maiden album in this list, I think there is a lot of stuff worse than this.
    Might get some crap for this, but I would go with Never Say Die - Black Sabbath.
    technical ecstasy is far worse at least Never say die has the title track.
    It doesn't really sound like Black Sabbath, but I've always kind of liked It's Alright from Technical Ecstasy. You're right, though; the rest of the album is pretty awful.
    How about "You Cant Change Me", ive always loved that song its so nice and dark, havent heard the rest of the album though.
    Sammy Mantis
    I thought Dirty Women was a great song from Technical Ecstasy. Never say Die had the title track. One good track a piece. They're both pretty shitty, but I think Never Say Die is a little worse.
    Ozzy and Tony admitted that album was a mess. Too much cocaine and booze and band in-fighting derailed that album.
    I legitimately liked Never Say Die. Same with Technical Ecstasy. Now Born Again on the other hand....thats a steaming pile of shit in album form.
    I liked Never Say Die. Not their best effort, to be sure but it beats the shit out of 13.
    Personally I loved 13. Its got the whole Planet Caravan, doomy Black Sabbath feel to it. I mean it's no Paranoid or Black Sabbath, or Master of Reality, but I found it to be awesome!
    -insert glam metal record-
    Way Cool JR.
    @ N7Crazy -insert your head in your butt-
    ...Because delivering a pre-school insult is the best way to clarify how "wrong" my opinion is...
    Well, your original comment was on a similar level, so...
    No, since the difference between Way Cool JR.'s and my comment is that JR. targeted me specifically in his statement, because of my opinion that hair metal in general is awfull. My statement however didn't target anyone personally, and if anyone took that statement personally, they are taking themselves, and their opinions way too seriously.
    Way Cool JR.
    Sorry...I was just making a post that was on your level. Most people just hate on that type of music because they think it's the cool thing to do. That music did once rule the Metal world and it did for a reason. It surely wasn't because it sucked.
    Face R1pper
    Warren DeMartini and George Lynch have more talent than the entirety of Metallica. And I Am the Night and Power Metal are better albums than anything Pantera did in the 90s.
    Limp Bizkit - The chocolate starfish and the hot dog flavored water.
    Chocolate Starfish And The Hotdog Flavoured Water is one of the greatest albums ever created and all their music is awesome
    And thats even their best album! I might stick with the one that made: "this is the durst thing ever" a common frase in music reviews, Results May Vary.
    how about Falling in Reverse's new album? it isnt the worst ever but sure is getting the required amount of hate to be amongst the worst, plus it truly does utterly suck in new level of crapiness
    Anything by Inverti in Darkness
    Bahahahahahahaha, I laughed the whole way through that. Love the girl sitting in background, don't think she is too impressed lol
    I could manage to sit and listen to this whole thing. The same thing can't be said about Lulu.
    Every metalcore album that is just breakdowns.
    Everybody says this, and nobody actually knows of any albums to bring up. So here you go - Slave to the Game by Emmure -
    St. Anger
    You really need to listen to more metal if you think St. Anger is the worst metal album of all time.
    Killen's debut album is probably the worst metal album ever, at least one of them -
    Ah, at that beautiful time when football shoulder pads made you more metal. God bless you, people who saw a KISS concert once when they were eleven.
    That might just be the strangest 'advice' I've ever heard: "You need to listen to more bad music because what you think is bad isn't really that bad."
    But if you're trying to decide which is the worst metal album of all time, you need to listen a lot of bad music
    Not THE worst, but still pretty damn awful. Some riffs are ok, but listening to 6-8 minutes of ok riffs and "meh" lyrics per song? No thank you.
    The songs are ok, but the drums sound really bad. IMO a metal album should have a great drum presence or sound to make the songs stand out that much more.
    Still pretty ****ing bad though, and deserving of the list.
    No it's not. I think it's pretty good. Should the snare sound the way it does? No, but that aside, St Anger has some solid riffs.
    Thank you. Sweet Amber is a kick ass song.
    Okay, here's my thing with Stanger. Shit production and terrible, god awful snare tone that literally makes it unbearable for me to listen aside, it had the potential to be a classic Metallica album. There are a couple songs (namely the title track and Sweet Amber) that I love but aside from that I think Metallica's lifestyle back then (which was WELL documented) got in the way of writing an overall killer album. Plus it's Hetfield's worst album vocally.
    I actually thought St. Anger was one of their best in some aspects. Had they trimmed the fat of some of the songs, it had great potential, even with Lars' snare tone and the lack of solos. It's too bad they left it sounding like a demo, because there were some really good ideas on the album, they just weren't fleshed out properly.
    St. Anger with normal snare? nah, it wouldn't sound right.. I love it for what it is.
    It seems popular here that the worst metal albums all have contributions from metallica. Come on, I think we can be a bit more creative.
    Darth Crow
    St. Anger is not really that bad. There are some amazing song ideas there. Granted it sounds weird, but that's really more of a sound issue than songwriting one...
    If you think St. Anger is shit, I bet Metallica is the only metal band you know. My vote will be on Diabolus in Musica (Slayer Album)
    The reason why St. Anger is the worst metal album of all time is because of the major hype and production the band put on in support of the album.
    I might get some shit for this, I don't know if the goodwill following the documentary still exists, but Hope in Hell the new Anvil album is ****ing embarrassing. Not only are they poorly written songs but they also are so clich and really play into the negative stereotype of metal being big dumb music.
    Face R1pper
    Well this is a really stupid question because the worst metal album is obviously going to be something very few people have heard of. And its just a lame attempt to start a bunch of arguments. But I'll go ahead and mention Sad Iron's "The Antichrist". I can't imagine who thought it was a good idea to publish this record.
    von gelb
    Okay, I get your message but I think the vocals on the Sad Iron record are better than the vocals on the Future Tense record. So, I'll say Future Tense still takes the cake.
    I guessed I would hear a lot of St. Anger or Load/Reload, but in my opinion Load/Reload weren't bad albums, they just weren't as good as the Black Album. And with St. Anger, I love that album. It has a unique sound and I really enjoy listening to it. And I think we can all agree that any album by one of these post-hardcore, metalcore, whatever you wanna call them bands (Falling in Reverse, Black Veil Brides, Asking Alexandria, bullshit like that) is a total waist of time, money, and I would say talent, but with those bands, there is no talent whatsoever.
    So true. Those kinds of bands make me gag.
    Yah totally. People only listen to them because their pretty boys.
    not completely true, August Burns Red is metalcore so is As I Lay Dying and both bands have released albums recently with some intricate instrumentals that cause them to stand out in their genres. but as for the other bands you listed, i completely agree with you that there is no talent to them and listening to them is a waste of time.
    tuh hah miss
    I think the difference is that ABR and AILD focus on their music, whereas FIR, BVB, and AA focus on their image.
    Actual bad albums aren't going to make this list, just dead horse beaten albums that people have continuously moaned about
    Yah like St. Anger. I mean it definitely isn't the best metal album, but I loved it. It was all riff, and sure it had some bad songs on it, but overall I really enjoyed it. I actually prefer that over Load or Reload.
    Listen to Falling In Reverse's lead guitar player, and the guitar work of BVB...they actually have some skill there. AA just sucks though *chug chug chug open strings*
    tuh hah miss
    Agreed, except AA does have some cool guitar parts. And they're easy enough where a fan just picking up a guitar can start playing those riffs right away. I dunno, in a way, I kinda like that.
    Megadeth - Risk
    Super Collider
    come on. it's not a bad album at all. it sure is no Rust in peace. but not bad at all
    We're talking about Megadeth, the album is completely horrible.
    Listen to it for the music, not for it being Megadeth. Poorly written guitar. Poorly written lyrics. Predictable transitions. It's a bad album, and sadly, worse than Risk.
    This list is gonna suck so much, SC is not even CLOSE to being a worst album ever
    Did people listen to this album? or do they just hate it because it isnt metal? Personally i thought songs like Seven, Wanderlust, Prince of Darkness and Time: The End were awesome. Still one of my favourite Megadeth albums
    Not exactly everybody's cup of tea (including me), but All That Remains' new album is awful. A War You Cannot Win, or whatever. I used to love that band, but damn. I guess it's hard to release a second This Darkened Heart or Fall of Ideals.
    Seriously!? 'St Anger'? 'Risk'? These albums aren't the worst metal albums ever. There's only one album I'm truly afraid to listen to, too ashamed to admit to owning, DEPRESSED that it even exists... and that is Spells of Fear by Belladonna. I love Anthrax and I was super happy Joey came back for the awesome Worship Music, but jeeeeezus christ. If anything was ever 'recorded with a potato/toaster/microwave', it was Spells of Fear. It's a recording so poor it makes my very first college recordings sound like Benny and Bjorn. The worst part is that the music is almost entirely irredeemable too! Maybe it was in reaction to being fired or the direction Anthrax took after he left, but I'm just not convinced as to what really led Joey to not only write music totally unsuitable for his voice, but to think he should produce it too!!?
    But they arent thrash, they are different. And fans dont like things that are different, especially if it isnt thrash :p.
    Since so many have mentioned "non-metal" albums by "metal" artists... I simply have to add:
    All opinion based stuff here, ANYTHING by Blood On The Dancefloor or Millionaires, seriously they are AWFUL. Not much for 13 by Sabbath, same for the new Drowning Pool album, not doing it for me.
    tuh hah miss
    Please don't ever put Blood on the Dance Floor and Black Sabbath that close together ever again.
    I accidentally saw Millionaires live, they kinda just showed up at Rockin' Roots/All Stars tour 2012 in Fresno even though they weren't on the ticket and they were so bad it was hilarious.