10 Controversial Albums That Killed Bands’ Careers

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In music, you’re only as good as your last album.

No matter how popular some bands were able to get, these albums sent them on a downward spiral, often times to full-on breakup. 

After years of delivering the goods, these albums are where everything went wrong, with fans and the band both not liking the results. 

Although these albums are far from bad, they are responsible for killing the band’s career, with their fans jumping ship and never coming back.

These bands were far from equipped for these records. Apart from the fans leaving, these acts never fully recovered, either breaking up or entering the evergreen period of life.

Even though some of these bands remain active, they aren’t eager to remember the days when these albums slid off the charts. 

Here are the 10 albums that destroyed bands’ careers. 

Use Your Illusion – Guns N Roses

The hype of Guns N Roses was growing out of control in the early ‘90s. 

Once the band got back in the studio, Axl Rose was convinced they should make a double album of all new material. While Use Your Illusion has some of their greatest songs, the band was in shambles throughout the recording and tour. 

Rose fired Steven Adler halfway through the sessions, and Izzy Stradlin left the tour after one too many of Rose’s antics. By the time the band finished crisscrossing the globe on tour, time was up. 

Despite the covers album “The Spaghetti Incident?”, Slash and Duff McKagan filed out, leaving Rose as the only original member left. 

Rose might have gotten his epic piano ballad on “November Rain,” but it came at the cost of his bandmates. 

Via ‘Slash’

Mezmerize/Hypnotize – System of a Down

System of a Down going on hiatus in the mid-’00s made no sense to fans.

While they seemed to be in their prime, Serj Tankian wished to break up long before their double album came out. Although the Mezmerize/Hypnotize albums have their biggest hits, Tankian didn’t feel comfortable making them, not being able to have a voice in the music. 

Although Daron Malakian took on a prominent role, Tankian mentioned feeling at arm’s length and eventually went in a more avant-garde direction in his solo career. 

Since Malakian hasn’t stopped making music after System’s breakup, these albums are a warm-up for Scars on Broadway. 

Via Revolver Magazine 

Van Halen III – Van Halen

Van Halen is one of the few bands that can overcome a lead singer leaving. 

After Sammy Hagar left them in the dust, the hard rock legends were not prepared for the Cherone era. While Van Halen III might have been meant as a course correction, Cherone’s voice didn’t match the rest of the band. 

For all the great guitar licks, Cherone tries to sound like Hagar and ends up sounding closer to a broken air conditioner. Though Van Halen had dealt with rough albums before, fans rejecting this record led to Eddie Van Halen not writing any new music for over a decade. 

While their reunion with David Lee Roth A Different Kind of Truth was far from perfect, it’s a far better conclusion to the band than III.

Via Rolling Stone 

Generation Swine – Motley Crue

Motley Crue always thrived in their world of hair metal. 

The world looked a lot different in the late ‘90s, with nu-metal and industrial taking center stage. After trying to transition to new sounds on Generation Swine, no one was happy, from Vince Neil wanting to quit to Mick Mars complaining that everything he did was wrong. 

Although Nikki Sixx and Tommy Lee look back on this record fondly, the dismal reception couldn’t cover up the band’s conflicts. After going through personal struggles, this was the last album with Lee for a while, having a fallout with the rest of the guys and going on to make music with Methods of Mayhem. 

While they may have come back together for Saints of Los Angeles, it looked like the last we would hear of the hair metal legends was “Motley Inch Nails.”

Via The Dirt 

The Battle of Los Angeles – Rage Against the Machine

Nothing Rage Against the Machine did was half-assed. 

Rage was always willing to push themselves, but The Battle of Los Angeles marked their final push of creativity. While the album eventually won a Grammy and would be one of Rage’s finest, the members began to fall out on tour, never seeing eye to eye on non musical activities.

After falling out over what Tom Morello called a “lack of emotional maturity,” Zack de la Rocha announced his departure after the covers album Renegades of Funk. 

While the rest of the guys would go on to form Audioslave, Los Angeles is the last time they joined together to write music. 

Native Tongue – Poison

Somehow, Poison survived grunge’s initial wave, though maybe they shouldn’t have.

Without the help of guitarist CC DeVille, Native Tongue didn’t feel like a Poison album at all, with Richie Kotzen taking over on leads. While Kotzen is technically impressive, he didn’t fit the band’s vibe, especially when they go for more exotic sounds on something like ‘Stand.’

It wasn’t long before Poison saw the problem either, ditching Kotzen after a nasty fallout and getting DeVille back in the band. 

Although the band still go out and play the hits, even drummer Rikki Rockett admits that the band is a nostalgic act at this point. 


Slang – Def Leppard

Part of Def Leppard’s appeal is how well-produced their record sound. 

Despite Mutt Lange’s ear for production, that wasn’t going to fly in the age of Nirvana. 

Although Slang was more in tune with the Pearl Jams of the world, Leppard wasn’t ready to make that leap. Every song on here feels like a new creative decision, but other than a few tunes, nothing goes anywhere. 

The rest of the band wasn’t even fully onboard, with Vivan Campbell thinking that no one was going to buy the record after it came out. There’s still the core Leppard somewhere in here, but it’s buried underneath a flannel shirt makeover.


Music From the Elder – KISS

KISS is party rock, pure and simple. 

So when the party stopped after the 70s, the band thought the solution was to make a concept album. While critics never liked KISS, the fans were not kind to Music from the Elder, which followed a flimsy story about a chosen one looking to play rock and roll.

While it didn’t spell the end of KISS, it brought an end to the most iconic incarnation of the band, with Ace Frehley throwing the album against the wall once he heard the final mixes. 

Since their next album was Creatures of the Night, KISS’s solution to their prog-rock phase was to pretend that it never happened. 

And the Circus Leaves Town – Kyuss

When bands fall out, it’s usually over business or some creative tension. 

When Kyuss made And the Circus Leaves Town, it was about being realistic. Although this is the kind of stoner rock that Kyuss thrives on, the band members mentioned this album feeling like the end of the line. 

There was no desire for the band to toy around with new styles, and they never wanted to compromise their vision for what they wanted the band to be. While they left on this album, the future was wide open for Joshua Homme, who made his first Queens of the Stone Age songs as a joint single with his former bandmates. 

For Kyuss, working in a new band was better than selling out with your old one. 

Via MTV 

13 – Black Sabbath

After years of mayhem, metal’s pioneers Black Sabbath brought back Ozzy Osbourne for one more record.

Although Rick Rubin delivered on the production, the fallout of 13 left the band in shambles. Ozzy Osbourne delayed the album’s release in 2004, and Bill Ward didn’t even appear on the album. Once on the road, Ward didn’t turn up either, knowing that he was getting paid less than the rest of the band.  

Any future Sabbath project is not in the cards either, with the band playing their final tour and officially retiring. Although they had served up metal mayhem, the kings of all things heavy went out on a melodramatic note.

 Via Spin

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