Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Some bands are so bad they're horrible

Needless to say, things that are so bad they're good are a staple of the Metal Inquisition playbook. That said, sometimes it can be too much of an, uh, bad thing. That's when something is so bad it's horrible:
An ordinarily awful work can be So Bad Its Good, becoming popular and genuinely liked because of its unintentional comedy value. Others are far worse. These don't attract proper fandoms and aren't enjoyed, as such, but draw some attention out of a perverse sense of fascination. Prolonged exposure can cause wooziness and weakening of the grasp on reality.
Here are some our favorite examples of metal that's so bad it's just bad...

Gang Green
If you were a teenager who liked metal in the late 80s or early 90s, it is very likely you spent a lot of time digging through the bargain bin at your local music retailer, hoping to find some $2 tape that had somehow been undiscovered by the masses and, like junk bonds in the late 70s, was undervalued by the market. And if you're like me, you probably saw the same familiar faces again and again: RDP, Dead Brain Cells, and Gang Green's "Older... Budweiser." It is perhaps the epitome of "so bad it's horrible" in that it combines excruciatingly dull, derivative thrash metal riffs with the tiresome, juvenile rebelliousness of punk and tops it off with a generous helping of moronic 80s beer humor that wouldn't even make the cut for a Tankard b-side. Basically it's the crossover equivalent for those singing bass things. It's not charmingly offensive like, say The Mentors. You don't love to hate it like Mordred. It's not so retarded it's awesome, it's just fucking stupid, and when you press "play" on this tape, you will immediately be looking for "stop."

This song is seriously called "Solitary Solitude." Really!

Meliah Rage
Somebody mentioned Meliah Rage in the comments the other day, and what better occasion to bring them up than in a post about bands that are so bad they're horrible? Because Meliah Rage aren't just bad, they're fucking awful, and not in any kind of endearing, fun way like, say Nitro, Def Leppard or Accept. Listening to their records is about as much fun as taking a standardized test, except unlike the GMAT there's no reward for suffering through it. The riffs drag on for what seems like forever. They're never heavy enough to be heavy or melodic enough to melodic. Never fast, never slow, just plodding and dull to the point where you want to stab yourself in the brain with a machete. It's like that feeling of rage, disgust, and irritation you get when you're trying to explain to a woman how to use a piece of electronic equipment: "It's not on. Press the big green button that says 'POWER' on it. No, that's the remote for the DVD player. Here, I'll just do it for you." As many people will point out, Sully from Godsmack played drums in this band for a while. It shouldn't surprise you, though, that I love Godsmack, so I don't hold it against them. You probably will, though.

I wrote quite extensively about Annihilator in my February post entitled "I have disliked Annihilator for 18 years." There is no need for me to repeat it here, but if you are interested in things that I don't like (and who isn't??), give it a read! They still suck, so the post is as relevant today as it ever was.

Uncle Slam
You would think that I would love a band with "slam" in their name, but you couldn't be more wrong. Much like the recent US financial crisis showed that the financial system had run amok and needed oversight, Uncle Slam showed that the thrash metal scene was in dire need of quality control. This band was most generic of generic thrash; they ripped off the rip offs and copied the copycats. The only interesting thing I can say about this band is that there is absolutely nothing remarkable or unique about them relative to the incredible flood of awful thrash bands in the late 80s. Punny name? Check. Chopaholic riffs? Check. Shallow sociopolitical lyrics? Check. I could go on forever- there's even an Ed Repka oil painting on the cover like so, so many other 80s thrash records that are completely indistinguishable from each other. Like Mortal Sin, Beowulf, Agony Column, Hirax, Acrophet, Laaz Rockit and Holy Terror, there is absolutely no reason to ever listen to this band again for the rest of eternity, unless you love misery.

I will end this post with something a little more controversial. I loved the Origin's self-titled debut when it came out. It was totally fresh and unique, mostly because of the unpredictable, distinctive drumming. I still listen to it pretty often, and it still sounds great to me. So, you can imagine how upset I was when I heard their second album and they decided to change things up a bit and become a bland, reptitive, brutal death metal band that was nearly as dull as Hate Eternal, Nile and Vital Remains. OK, that was a little harsh- Vital Remains have the distinction of being the single least interesting death metal band to ever play a note of music. But you get the point. I think they could save themselves a lot of time by just setting a drum machine to play a blast beat at 250bpm for 35 minutes while someone plays random, tremolo-picked notes at the same time. Scratch that, just have a computer play the guitar part too. It would pretty much sound the same as their actual records but they wouldn't have to go to all the hassle of "writing songs." Because I still love their first album, though, I included a video above of one of their good songs- but don't be fooled! This band is now awful!!


  1. I still love the Ed Repka artwork, he's one of my favorite artists along with Kent Mathieu and Seagrave...

    Speaking of horrible CDs...can't avoid to enlist the 2nd Nocturnus, and Mourning Sign.
    I think you can find all Mourning Sign records for 2€ at each music discount of the planet.
    According to Metal Archives they play "death metal/jazz"...they're right if death/jazz is a boring, mid-tempo, death metallish supper.
    Italy's Metal Shock rated them 5/5.

  2. ratos de porao are great. at least, "crucificados pelo sistema" is.

    and accept are good because they're good.

  3. You just love to hate, don't you?

  4. Sergeant D-
    While your love of really shitty music is well-documented, I feel compelled to point out my disdain for the band Godsmack. Why do you like these untalented fucking Boston morons? I've taken shits that possess way more talent than this group of cumshots collectively have. Just listen to "Voodoo" and tell me how these guys are better than any of the other horrible bands you've posted about today. Come on, man!

  5. true story:

    about five years ago I was home for the holidays, and the phone at my parents house rang. I answered it, and it was one of the guys from GangGreen. You see, many years before that my brother and I had booked shows in that general part of the country...maybe a grand total of six shows over two summers. As a result, our phone number had been passed around as a person who booked shows. Now keep in mind that the type of shows we usually "booked" were in basements, or YMCA's at best. Anyway, the guy from Gangreen was calling around to get some "feelers" as he put it to see if they should go on tour again. As such, he asked me what kind of venue I would book him into, and how many people I thought would show up. I told him the last show we had done was many many years ago, I no longer lived in that city,and at best they could perhaps play a basement show. He was a bit angry, and the conversation quickly came to a close. True story.

  6. Wow. You have no fucking clue what you're talking about in this post. There's a first time for everything, I guess. None of these bands are great, but none of them are terrible either.

    I actually own two - not one, but TWO - Uncle Slam CD's. (The LATER two, no less, ha! But only because the first one is impossible to find.)

    And I've been listening to the "rock" SSD albums - and loving every minute of 'em (well, almost, "Break it Up" does get mildly painful in a couple of instances) - all morning!

  7. i used to like "How We Rock" a lot in high school. i haven't listened to it in a million years, but i thought "break it up" was good!

  8. Well, I think we can add Benediction (sorry Frank) and Broken Hope. Ah, also Crematory, from Germany. What an awful band! I remember a guy from a record store used to try to sell me their albums all the time, telling me: "Did you hear Crematory? They are great". I'm sure if I keep thinking, more will come to my mind, but these are some of those that I never found interesting. And what about bands that could be good but there's something that make them unbearable? This happens to me with some bands because of the vocals, like Metal Church, Toxik and Exodus. I know some people will start complaining, but I hate the vocals on all these bands, ergo, I don't like them (though the music is good). Also, I think if you are into metal, you love to hate, and that's good.

    PS: Ian is right. Why Godsmack? Very derivative music, with that though guy image... it's like liking Disturbed.

  9. Sweet Jesus.. are you for real?

    Godsmack = So bad it makes you want to take smack.

  10. i like disturbed, too! it can't possibly be a surprise that i like a lot of nu metal and douche-rock bands. they're catchy songs, i don't give a fuck.

  11. wtf are gang green doing on this list? they are most definitely so bad that they are brilliant! while most of the music i liked as a teenager really was rubbish, i still love gang green. there is nothing better for preparing for a night out drinking with my mates than "bartender", "let´s drink some beer", "alcohol", "lost chapter" etc. while sipping back the first brewskies. too bad for a tankard b-side my ass, tankard even did a cover of "alcohol"! but well, the sarge disqualified himself so often with his musical confessions that i guess his opinion doesn´t really count(all i say is pantera...). right on about finding GG tapes in the cheapo bin, though, that was were i found all mine...and right on about uncle slam, too. i remember looking really forward to "will work for food" when it came out, since thrash was on the decline already at that time, and in the end i was so disappointed by it. actually i stole it from the dj booth at my local rock club, and not even for free i wanted to keep it...and ed repka still rules, he is the king of thrash metal artwork.

  12. Fuck you - Holy Terror and DBC rule.

  13. I think one of the guys from Meliah Rage was originally in GangGreen. GangGreen's metal albums probably suck something awful, I'd stopped listening to them by then, but "Another Wasted Night" is a punk classic, hands down. I will also confess a fondness for some nu-metal, but at least I'm properly ashamed of most of it.

    My Lifetime Achievement Award for shitty metal goes to Grim Reaper. They started off mediocre and stupid, and got worse from there. I stopped keeping track of shitty thrash and shitty hardcore bands years ago - there's no fun to articulating badness when you can't even tell them apart.

  14. I loved "You Got It" when it came out. I used to want to cover "Born To Rock" in all bands I've ever been in (even my current one). I think wrong call with Gang Green being on this list.

  15. honestly i'm surprised to see people defending this awful, awful gang green record! their hardcore stuff is great, but the metal records are fucking awful- just as bad as anything disturbed or godsmack ever did, just in a different way.

  16. Where's Six Feet Under?

  17. i actually prefer Origin's later records compared to the first one. now, we must fight!

  18. ooh, Six Feet Under- good addition! i'm kicking myself for missing it. i do like the song "bringer of blood," though.

  19. I really dislike Meshuggah and Strapping Young Lad. A lot of people praise their records, but I simply can't stand this hyper compressed, hyper technical music.

  20. I agree with everything here save the pronouncement of Origin as bad; their latest album is actually fairly creative. Try listening to Brain Drill, and then ask me about boring, monotonous technical death metal...

    You do have a point with Meliah Rage, though; that level of stupidity is inexcusable.

  21. Meliah Rage's Kill to Survive has some damn good speed/thrash songs on it. They got weaker and weaker as they went on, but that first album is pretty damn good. Same goes for Holy Terror, whose first two albums are great speed/thrash fests.

    Totally agree with Origin and pretty much any band that gets labeled "brutal death metal." Never has there been a more boring, useless and just plain horrible metal subgenre.

  22. Let's get something straight: Holy Terror's "Mind Wars" is (in period vernacular) Wicked Bad. End of story.

  23. Thanks for the memories once again!

    Gang Green's "Drunk & Disorderly Boston 1986" was the first record I learned how to play on guitar in it's entirety. I should have held on to that thing, it was fantastic! My infinitly-more-cool-than-me brother said that it was the best record to drink to aside from D.O.A.'s "War On 45".
    I never heard Gang Green's later, more metal stuff before. Guess I didn't miss much...

    I regreted my purchase of both the Uncle Slam and Beowulf cassettes. Who knew thrash, or, in Beowulf's case, third rate Motorhead re-hash, could be so dull?

    I love Hate Eternal's first two albums but I have yet to discover anything enjoyable about Origin. Very, very uninspiring riffs.

    Thanks for mentioning Strapping Young Lad, Frank. I figured I was the only one who found them as boring as The Lead's "Burn This Record" (which is no "The Past Behind", that's for sure!)

  24. I'm not sure I've ever actually heard Origin...they have fallen through the cracks amongst the multitude of other indistinguishable DM that Relapse endlessly cranks out...Nile,Dying Fetus, Skinless (Rumplestilskin Grinder??? Seriously???) etc...I couldn't tell any of these bands apart if I had a gun to my head.
    Side note- I bought a Beowulf album as a youngster cuz I saw them in Thrasher Magazine. It was on the same one-sheet as Dogtown Skateboards and Suicidal Tendencies' "Join the Army"...I'm sure you can imagine my disappointment when I got it home and popped it into the cassette deck.

  25. Awesome post. Murphy's Law comes to mind as well. Dropkick Murphy's do that Alcohol song also.
    You need a tag for 'Mentors mention' or something.
    DOA's 'War on 45' was an awesome album to drink to. 'I Hate You' rocked!

  26. I am glad my mention of Meliah Rage gave you guys some inspiration! What fucking garbage, I remember buying that CD back in 89' or so and after one listen thinking to myself "that was a waste of $15" and feeling like I had been molested! HA HA!
    Wasnt that band Mourning Sign on some Italian label called Godhead records or something? I used to write a for a zine with a friend and this label sent me all these promos of these awful fucking bands...
    How about that awful band Panic that was once signed to Metal Blade? Along with the goddawful Intruder?

    Better yet how about a "Where Are They Now" post about members of mediocre bands like Terry Carter from Wrathchild America (total dick when I met him as a teen!) who have moved on to raping other forms of music like country under the alias of "T Bone Carter"! What a fucking joke!


    Its amazing the things you can find on myspace when following the bad metal paper trail! -LEE

  27. I'm sure you can imagine my disappointment when I got it home and popped it into the cassette deck.

    yes, because it's probably exactly how i felt when i did the same.

  28. Gang Green was at least good enough for a Tankard album track, they covered that same song on Chemical Invasion.

  29. "Wasnt that band Mourning Sign on some Italian label called Godhead records or something? I used to write for a zine with a friend and this label sent me all these promos of these awful fucking bands..."

    Thanx BloodOfChrisLee...that explain why those shitty Mourning Sign CDs got praised on the shitty italian Metal Shock magazine (WORST WORST MAGAZINE OF THE PLANET).

    Once there was a faida between italian and british magazines...the latter gave bad reviews to BULLDOZER, SCHIZO, NECRODEATH, the first responded reducing to ashes NAPALM DEATH, CARCASS, BOLT THROWER...and even OBITUARY.
    Metal Shock rated the classic Obituary's debut 0ne half/5...what a bunch of losers!

  30. ACCEPT are completely beyond reproach. .. and DBC and HOLY TERROR both ruled. Fuck! Where's helm when you need him?

  31. I don't remember Uncle Slam being that bad, but I remember some horrible thrash-funk crossover slap-bass action. Say Uncle... or die!

  32. The Rods-the answer to the question, "if Motorhead was far less talented & way more ugly what would they look & sound like?"

    Malice- too gay to be taken seriously, not gay enough to be "glam", so what do you have left? Exactly.


  33. Origin's latest album is quite good actually,im with what someone said above...u should check out brain drill its the most horrible excuse for music ever...the most hurtful thing about vital remains is that they have the capability to make awesome dm except they chose to make generic dm songs that are always twice as long as they should be

  34. While Gang Green does make a pretty awful metal band, they were a most excellent punk band circa early 1980s. Listen to Another Wasted Night and their tracks on Boston Not LA.

  35. you should do a post about bands that you thought sucked only to realize that they actually were good.

  36. The Origin drummer is VERY annoying, I would never thought I would be annoyed like that after just listening and seeing a drummer for 1 (one) minute only!