12 Strangest Metal Albums Ever Created


Hi-res group image of the metal band Metallica with red lights.

Metallica – Story by Anne Erickson, photo by Tim Saccenti

What are the strangest metal albums of all time? How about the weirdest metal albums? Audio Ink Radio names a dozen

Metal music isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s loud, pulsating and relentlessly heavy. For metal fans, the music is simply beautiful. But, the genre isn’t without some hiccups. In fact, some metal albums weren’t necessarily bad but just came off rather weird. Let’s call them the strangest metal albums ever created.

Even the biggest metal bands in the world have released unusual albums. It happens. Often times, these freaky albums are because of outside pressure to confirm to whatever the trendy sound was at that time. Other times, these records are simply a result of experimentation, which is actually a good reason to have a wacky-sounding record.

Get ready to get weird, as Audio Ink Radio presents its list of the 12 strangest metal albums ever created. Reach out to us with your suggestions via social media here and with the contact information at the end of the story.

12. Fear Factory, “Transgression”

Industrial metal greats Fear Factory have some fantastic albums, but like any great band, a few just didn’t quite fit. They released “Transgression” in 2005, and it just was an odd release. The album was missing original member Dino Cazares, and on top of that, the production is kind of muddy. Cazares’ replacement Christian Olde Wolbers is talented, but he couldn’t save this oddball of a record.

11. Machine Head, “Supercharger”

As with all the bands on this list, it’s difficult for Machine Head to put out a bad record. We’re not saying 2001’s “Supercharger” is a bad album, but it certainly doesn’t fit with Machine Head’s sound. The record was a bit over-the-top, with super down-tuned riffing and rap-rock vocals. It also marked the group’s final release with lead guitarist Ahrue Luster. Machine Head still rocks, but “Supercharger” does not.

10. Dio, “Angry Machines”

Dio had a hit on their hands with “Strange Highways,” and there were big expectations with the follow-up. Perhaps all the hype was inevitably going to lead to a disappointment. Dio released “Angry Machines” in 1996, which left fans, well, angry. Not surprisingly, the grunge movement started working its way into other sounds, and “Angry Machines” has an actual grunge vibe. Grunge-meets-heavy metal wasn’t the best look or sound. That makes it one of the weirdest metal albums out there.

9. Black Sabbath, “Forbidden”

There’s something to be said for the Tony Martin era of Black Sabbath. He really fit well with the band, but his work with Sabbath on “Forbidden” is just an odd fit. Body Count’s Ernie C. produced this record, if that says anything. Ice-T even appeared on the album’s opening track, “Illusion of Power.” Sadly, Ice-T and Black Sabbath didn’t sound quite natural together. Big surprise, right?

8. Slayer, “Diabolus in Musica”

Slayer can do no wrong. Or, can they? The band released “Diabolus in Musica” in 1998, and it’s just not the trash for which Slayer is known and loved. This is really a nu-metal record, which made traditional thrash fans want to plug their ears. If you’re a nu-metal fan, they great. If you want Slayer to sound like Slayer, let’s forget this record ever happened. It’s certainly one of the strangest metal albums of all time.

7. Skid Row, “Revolutions Per Minute”

Skid Row isn’t heavy metal, but they’re glam metal, so we’re including them on this list. Besides, for a list about strange albums, we had to make a spot for the band’s 2006 release with Johnny Solinger, “Revolutions Per Minute.” This album just didn’t flow, and it didn’t sound like Skid Row. It had a peculiar aura about it, and it also had fans missing Sebastian Bach on vocals, even though Solinger is a talented guy. This is certainly Skid Row’s most wacky record.

6. Judas Priest, “Demolition”

Don’t get me wrong. Tim “Ripper” Owens is a talent, and his vocals are great on whatever project he does. That said, his sophomore album with Judas Priest in 2001 on “Demolition” was a tad jarring. What’s contrary is that his debut with Priest, “Jugulator,” was very natural-sounding and organic. But, “Demolition” had an off feel. It’s not the top album in Priest’s catalog, but it’s still part of their story.

5. Iron Maiden, “Virtual XI”

I love Iron Maiden just as much as the next gal or guy. But, “Virtual XI” was a strange moment for the band. When it arrived in 1998, fans didn’t know quite what to expect. The set offered vocals from Blaze Bayley, who had quite a different sound and style than Bruce Dickinson. That made it a bit awkward, not because Bayley wasn’t good, but because his voice was so different. One solid song off this set, though, is “When Two Worlds Collide,” but most of it was out of sorts.

4. Pantera, “Metal Magic”

It’s true that Pantera were a really young band when they released “Metal Magic” in 1983. But, that doesn’t excuse the strangeness of this record. It’s kind of a hair metal record, which is totally not Pantera’s sound. Listening to “Metal Magic,” this record is pure drama and flash, with Terry Glaze at the helm. It actually fit the time very well, but it didn’t fit what was to become Pantera’s true style.

3. Deep Purple, “Bananas”

I’m sorry, but looking at the cover of Deep Purple’s “Bananas,” which features lots of, well, bananas, is enough to tell this this record is just weird. The band released the set in 2003, marking their first record without keyboardist Jon Lord, with Don Airey stepping in. That’s not the problem here, though. “Bananas” was just a pop-heavy album from a band that is anything but pop. We love Deep Purple, but we’re certainly not “Bananas” about this release.

2. Megadeth, “Super Collider”

Megadeth made waves with their “Th1rt3en” album in 2011, so fans were pumped for the follow-up. But, that follow-up was just kind of odd and didn’t fit the Megadeth narrative. “Super Collider” dropped in 2013, and it was disappointing, to say the least. It was a simple, bread-and-butter album from a band known for its incredible technical know-how. So, Dave Mustaine and company basically left out the best of themselves on this album, which thankfully, they didn’t do again.

1. Metallica and Lou Reed, “Lulu”

When “Lulu” came out in 2011, nobody really knew how to take it. There was a lot of excitement around Metallica teaming up with the legendary Lou Reed for a record. But then, when it came out, it just wasn’t that good. Actually, it was just really bizarre. Nobody should be surprised that “Lulu” is No. 1 on our list of the strangest metal albums ever created. It’s just really odd. Oh, and it’s a double album, which was totally not necessary in this case. For its quirkiness and confusion, “Lulu” is top on our tally of the weirdest metal albums. But, it’s Metallica and Reed, so it still rocks.

While these metal albums were weird, some other thrash metal albums were simply stunning. Find Audio Ink Radio’s feature on the best thrash metal albums of all time here.

Have a comment or an idea for a feature? Contact Audio Ink Radio head writer Anne Erickson at anne@audioinkradio.com.

Posted by Anne Erickson | Features, Metal, Music