Who is your favorite One-Album Wonder?

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In this very special guest post, our buddy Zeke is asking you a question: Who is your favorite One-Album Wonder?

Evolution is a good thing in music. Bands like Enslaved and Ulver are so widely revered because they’ve been releasing music for decades which shows them constantly reinventing themselves from album to album while maintaining a consistently high quality. Without forward-thinking bands that are constantly looking to break new musical ground, we would have no respite from the Slayers, Hatebreeds, and Meshuggah’s of the world (yeah, I said it; fight me nerds).

But musical evolution can have negative repercussions as well. Sometimes the forward thinking mindset which leads a band to stumble onto a sweet spot will also cause the band to progress past it too quickly, leaving us with just a single album that captures a particularly magical style. Unfortunately, this has seemed to happen with many of my favorite bands.  Some bands are able to evolve into other equally fantastic styles (as much as I would love to have more music that sound like In the Nightside Eclipse, I don’t mind that Emperor evolved into Anthems or Prometheus territory).  However, most musicians aren’t black wizards (plural, not singular)* like Ihsahn; so unlike everyone’s favorite turtleneck sweater wearing Norwegian**, they don’t have it in them to hit multiple musical peaks throughout their career.

Here are a few of my favorite albums that are sadly one-offs:

Amorphis – Tales From the Thousand Lakes

Amorphis started off playing a really great melodic version of old school Swedish-style death metal. But on their second album they added a moog, a little Finnish folk, and lots of 70s prog to create one of the most singular “death metal” albums of all time. Unfortunately, they immediately moved right past this sound with their next album, Elegy, which although decent, never had the same magic for me. I loved Tales so much that I bought Elegy the day it came out and then was so bummed by their change in direction that I sold it a few weeks later. I have only warmed up to it in recent years.

Sentenced – North From Here

Like their Finnish compatriots in Amorphis, Sentenced originally played a melodic version of old school Swedish-style death metal (although not as high level as Amorphis). But with their second album they released an absolute burner. Think of a mix of the speed and ferocity of Legion-era Deicide with the dueling melodic guitars that the Gothenburg crowd would soon make famous. Sadly, Sentenced never released another death metal album after this; instead moving on to the more boring Euro-metal style that they became known for.

Celestial Season – Solar Lovers

Celestial Season started out playing a fairly unextraordinary version of Peaceville-style violin doom. But on their second album they dove deep into the stoner side of the doom world and released my favorite doom album of all time. Solar Lovers combines the mournful dueling guitars that you’d find on early Anathema and My Dying Bride albums with layers and layers of fuzzed out psychedelia. I’ve never heard another album that sounds quite like this.  Unfortunately (albeit somewhat unsurprisingly) after this album Celestial Season totally dropped the doom/death aspect of their sound and went full on stoner rock, much to my dismay.

Necromantia – Scarlet Evil Witching Black

Necromantia’s early work was promising with its crusty bass-driven distortion and hints of orchestration. But with their second album they brought their songwriting and orchestration skills to an entirely different level. Scarlet Evil Witching Black has the orchestration and hook-driven songwriting of old Arcturus or Cradle of Filth, but with a MUCH more ferocious and grinding edge to it. Unfortunately, Necromantia’s subsequent work doesn’t touch this album. Unlike the rest of the bands on my list, I think this is less of a situation of a band progressing into new, less interesting territories, and more of an example of a band that just wasn’t able to recreate their most successful work.


So what does the toilet have to say on this topic? What are your favorite one album wonders? Am I a complete idiot because you like The Karelian Isthmus more than Tales From the Thousand Lakes? Am I a poser for implying that early Cradle of Filth had good songwriting and orchestration? Do you believe that Meshuggah’s act of inventing an interesting musical style 20 years ago should excuse them from subjecting us to the same album over and over again for the rest of eternity?  Sound off below; it’s Sunday and we’re having an open swim.

* Credit Richter with correcting me every time I refer to Ihsahn as just a singular black wizard.

** Ihsahn has also been known to rock this snazzy see-through pants/spiked shoulder pads ensemble from time to time.

ihsahnglam

Big thanks to Zeke for writing this piece! 

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  • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

    Too easy. Only album wonder….
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kaEfldcoEnw

    • RJA

      I almost bought a copy of the 2LP version the other night – didn’t want to spend 50 dollars at the time, but now thinking maybe I should – great album.

      • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

        Yeah, I saw some on discogs. Really tempted.

    • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

      Yep.

  • R.M.T.

    You can either love ‘Shadows of the Past’ and ‘The Karelian Isthmus’ or you can be a poseur. There is nothing in between.

    • Zeke

      I love Karelian isthmus and enjoy shadows of the past, but I REALLY love the follow ups and wish they wrote more in those styles

  • Elegant Gazing Globe

    Appetite for Destruction

  • Black Crown Initiate: crippled bull Ep or whatever it’s called.

    • Joaquin Stick

      So salty. You’re not wrong, but I like the LPs too.

    • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

      I do agree heartily.

  • Señor Jefe El Rosa

    Sex Pistols for me.

  • ME GORAK™✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    NAILBOMB!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Señor Jefe El Rosa

    Nice write up Zeke! I’ll have to rack my brain for some real answers though because I usually like multiple albums from artists.

    • ME GORAK™✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

      SAME!!! MOSTLY COMING UP BANDS THAT ONLY HAVE 1 ALBUM!!!

      • Señor Jefe El Rosa

        Or ones that I’ve only listened to one album from.

  • RustyShackleford

    I feel like I’m gonna be called a poser BUT I fucking love that Snot album Get Some. The singer died and then they did a tribute with some nu metal dudes and I think they actually reformed with someone else but nah doesn’t count. Only studio release with this lineup and it just rips. YEP!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DC5r92nBR14&list=PL904D3B22524DF35C

    • Señor Jefe El Rosa

      Paging Maik.

    • Paging Dubya

      • Space Monster W.

        My balls

        • ME GORAK™✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

          OW, MY BALLS

      • Space Monster W.

        Your chin

  • Howard Dean

    Probably wouldn’t have been a “One-Album Wonder” had they stayed together, but these dudes fit the bill. This album absolutely rips, of corpse…er… course:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_m__5LbSUo

  • Kevin Nash’s Jackknife

    My pick is Legacy Of The Ancients by Pathology. For what it is it’s their best album hands down. They never equalled it.

    • …wat

      • Kevin Nash’s Jackknife

        I like Pathology. They’re not bad. Same with a lot of ignorant deathcore.

  • I’ll go with Subrosa’s No Help for the Mighty Ones. Before this album they were making very clunky barely-metal music. They hit their stride here, but after this album they became ever more ambitious in their songwriting, straying farther and farther from the simplicity that made them great on No Help.

    As for Ulver, I do love most of their output but I’m still butthurt we never got a Bergtatt ii so I’ll add it to the list.

    • Upvoting purely for No Help for the Mighty Ones awareness

  • Simon PhoenixKing Rising

    This one is easy. One album, but goddamn is it a banger.

    https://youtu.be/OWYsoXXuipo

  • MAJOR LOL at Amorphis being a one album wonder

    • ELEGY WAS GOD-TIER

      • R.M.T.

        The Karelian Isthmus and Privilege of Evil were their best work by a wide margin.

    • Scrimm

      Two album wonder

  • TheGranulatingDarkSatanicMilfs
    • I agree, the albums that followed do not even touch this greatness.

      • Not even in the same area code.

      • TheGranulatingDarkSatanicMilfs

        Darker Days Ahead gets a few sympathy listens every now and then from me because it was the last thing Jesse Pintado (R.I.P.) recorded, but indeed both DDA and the other one (I can’t even remember its name) are vastly inferior to this grind masterpiece

        • I’m sure I listened when that one came out and it wasn’t at all memorable.

    • Max

      I agree. Wholeheartedly.

    • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

      I do actually enjoy some choice cuts from DDA and HoZ, as well asam lookinh forward to the new record with an all-new, Sandoval-led line-up. But I don’t disagree.

    • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

      YES! [3]

  • Howard Dean

    One of my favorite thrash albums ever. These dudes emerged out of and then faded back into the nesting doll of the Bolshevik Iron Curtain faster than you can say perestroika, leaving but one hit album of Soviet thrash for us all to enjoy:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WlitksyuOd8

    • Simon PhoenixKing Rising

      The re-release of this was much faster. I don’t know what happened, but it’s special in its own way.

      • Howard Dean

        This band and album has always really intrigued me. I mean, they basically came out of nowhere and released this fucking colossal and technically proficient thrash album: no demos, no rehearsal tapes, nothing. Just BOOM! fully mature and awesome thrash album out of the Soviet Union. And then they are never heard from again. Blows my mind.

        • Dark Spirit of Cold Ural Mount

          Also, I think that it was released after the dismantle of USSR (92 or 94).
          However, speaking of Soviet thrash, Beware by Shah is fckn boss! And it also was re-released recently.

      • Dark Spirit of Cold Ural Mount

        It was re-released last year again but with correct speed https://metalrace.bandcamp.com/album/extravasation

    • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

      YES!

    • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

      OT: A new Nokturnal Mortum song. A cover with proceedings going towards a liver transplant. But I like it.
      https://nokturnalmortum1.bandcamp.com/track/lira

      • Howard Dean

        I saw/heard that! Can’t wait for the new album. Wish I knew when it was going to drop.

        • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

          Me too. But they said this winter, so at least it’s early year.

  • Simon PhoenixKing Rising

    There’s also this power/thrash classic. Bathe in the riffs.

    https://youtu.be/G9Lj6khJoH4

  • Space Monster W.

    This one’s for Spear. Spanish band Hybrid released a pretty cool Decapitated-style album called The 8th plague, then just completely whiffed it after a lineup change.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8eCSdCvrBM

    • Spear

      I will definitely look into this. (Dang ol’ weird waking hours)

  • The Tetrachord of Archytas

    I’d say As I Lay Dying but they were less of a one hit wonder and more of a one hitman wonder

  • Any Canadians remember Sven Gali? Fucking SWEET Skid Row/Slave to the Grind era ripoff band, had a bunch of MuchMusic hits in the early 90s, moved to Seattle for album #2 and put out a 4th rate piece of alternative horseshit, then called it a day.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6da7927195bdb7fd92681d0a12ed96e61a803339d68880e1ae284a3999f1f74b.jpg
    https://youtu.be/b31HkdMDHa4

  • Nice write-up Zeke, pretty sure I had those Sentenced and Amorphis albums during my death metal phase. This Embodyment album is some good one and done death metalish hardcore with Carcass-y vocals. The album that followed was some wannabe Incubus garbage.
    https://youtu.be/OipVTE6DT4A

  • Jom Pootersan

    No Samael album will touch Ceremony of Opposites in terms of sheer quality. Much like Amorphis, I was saddened to discover they never even attempted to expand on this great sound

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVzlSYXMLvA

    • Zeke

      the rebellion EP was in a similar style. But I agree they never put out a full length that touched it

  • Dave Vincent’s Perm
    • Zeke

      Right on! I was going to include this album, but the post was getting too long

      • Al Bundy

        Quality article Zeke.
        Your favorite turtleneck sweater wearing Norwegian also released a very decent one off folk electronic black metal with Grimen by Hardingrock.

        • Zeke

          A true black wizards!

    • Jack Rabbit

      WRONG
      But I respect your opinion

  • Dave Vincent’s Perm

    Kinda low hanging fruit and also kinda a lie because I also really like Esoteric Warfare, but whatever
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcS0CVJ1KPg

  • Freedom Jew

    Bonham’s The Disregard of Timekeeping.

  • I didn’t want to have be the one to post this but
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGU9M5rTX_I

  • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

    I dunno what I expected to find here.
    Also dunno if I agree with any of the picks. That’s Necromantia’s high point for sure, but a one-off?
    And while the two first are easily Sentenced’s best records, their best songs came afterwards – though I always dug the bands born of their demise more.

  • So is this bands that only released one album that you like or one album, period?

    • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

      Judging by the article, one album you like. Not just one album.

      • Ah, then my delete was fortuitous.

  • Also Meshuggah sounded quite a bit different 20 years ago than they do today.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PoHa48lqsqE

    • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

      Still best Meshuggah, though I dig their later work as well.

  • This sure is a perfectly serviceable, ordinary death metal album from a band that descended into mediocrity pretty quick.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYXWR9fK4D8

    • TheGranulatingDarkSatanicMilfs

      Retribution was pretty good as well. By the way, anyone knows what became of Fasciana’s crime fighting career? Did the chocolate milk run out?

      • I genuinely hope that story is the one thing anyone remembers about him.

      • Howard Dean

        He turned into vigilante and is slated to star in the Watchmen sequel. True story.

        Also: I think Retribution and Eternal are good albums, as well.

        https://cdn.meme.am/cache/instances/folder338/68342338.jpg

        • Óðinn
          • Howard Dean

            “Breeeeeeaast milk… you make my daaaaaaaay. I drink only the finest breast milks.”

          • GoatForest

            Snoop Dogg sucked after Doggy Style.

        • I like both of those as well. The N-bomb on that one song off Eternal was a dumb move though.

      • Retribution is my favorite MC album, easily.

      • I think he scared all the crime away from his neighborhood where he totally Stood His Ground.

  • Max

    I’m sure I can think of some more pertinent examples if I wrack my brain for long enough, because this is actually an occupational hazard of mine. But off the top of my head, I must say that nothing else Edge of Sanity have done comes close to Crimson 1 for me. (Even if Crimson 2 has its moments.)

    • Óðinn

      Tool? 😉

    • Scrimm

      Have to disagree here. Wouldn’t even rank Crimson in the top 3 albums from them.

      • Max

        Really? What would you put first? (I found Unorthodox and Purgatory Afterglow to be underwhelming, personally.)

        • Scrimm

          Those two and The Spectral Sorrows. I still love Crimson though.

  • Dave Vincent’s Perm
  • Óðinn
  • FrankWhiteKingOfNY
    • Howard Dean

      Bam! All good examples right here.

  • R.M.T.

    One of the best albums ever. Nothing else they did came close to measuring up.

  • Waynecro

    I actually really like Sentenced’s later, mopey shit. I probably listen to The Funeral Album more than I listen to any other Sentenced album.

    • nbm02ss

      I dig Amok quite a bit.

      • Waynecro

        Amok is pretty sweet, but I have several sentimental attachments to The Funeral Album. That’s probably why I like it so much.

  • R.M.T.

    One of the best albums ever. Nothing else they did came close.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dprzmypptbs

    • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

      YES! [4]

    • RustyShackleford

      Oh fuck good call… puttin this shit on now!

      • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

        I’ve seen some describe Lackey as one of the best metal singers ever. And I’m actually tempted to agree with that statement.

        • R.M.T.

          He’s up there. It’s weird that he doesn’t just go by Devon Graves full time, though.

          • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

            He does strike me as a weird guy overall.

          • R.M.T.

            all great metal singers should have equally great stage names.

            Nobody would respect Rob Halford if he went by his real name, Hedgewick Bumbershoot.

  • RustyShackleford

    OH hey what about Possessed’s Seven Churches?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWsa0y04btQ

    • Howard Dean

      Beyond the Gates is a pretty good album, too, though.

      • RustyShackleford

        hmmmm i guess i need to revisit it then lol

        • R.M.T.

          nah, Beyond the Gates is lame. But Eyes of Horror and the 1993 demo are stellar.

          • NDG

            Eyes Of Horror is superior to everything they did. I rate it higher than Seven Churches.

  • nbm02ss
    • Señor Jefe El Rosa

      Bold statement.

      • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

        I think he means it’s a one off because it’s their only album in DM style (well maybe except for Goatlord). Their BM classics are unfuckwithable though.

  • sweetooth0

    Repulsion, Siege, Disrupt, Slaughter(CAN), Infest all only have one (or two in the case of Infest) full lengths to my knowledge, and I think it’s definitely a case of “we can’t top this, nor can we progress from this and be the same band, so fuck it”.

    • Señor Jefe El Rosa

      HORRIFIED>>>>>>>

  • R.M.T.
  • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

    How the fuck could I forget this one.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTXEpS0eemw

    • R.M.T.

      because it sucks?

      • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

        REPORTED

  • Rob M
  • Rob M
    • Óðinn

      Good one. I like that album.

  • atchdav

    The Red Chord’s Fused Together in Revolving Doors was one of the quintessential albums of my youth. I listened to this album daily for years. I can remember the wave of disappointment that swept over me when I spun their followup Clients for the first time. Unfortunately The Red Chord would never again capture the greatness of that first album.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aocz0p5DSmo&list=PL7F579BCB30D085B0

  • Scrimm

    PSYCROPTIC

  • Hotdog Clifford

    The point at which Metallica reached their full potential:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMT3ltwbd5s&ab_channel=xMetallicSoul

    • Pierre Generic

      HAIL THE DANISH PROPHET AND HIS TRASH CAN DRUMS!

  • Tom Warriors Beanie

    Three quarters of SYL plus Zetro on vocals and the lead guitarist from Forbidden playing pretty savage death/thrash. Such a shame this band will not likely ever put anything out again.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JewlNO-xhpU

  • NDG

    Doomriders are yet to come close to replicating this one:

    https://www.youtube.com/embed/KYdb7cxsak8

  • NDG

    Despite changing their name and becoming a “supergroup” of sorts, I think Beastmilk/Grave Pleasures will struggle to come close to the greatness of this album:

    https://www.youtube.com/embed/wk7TbYPycrk

    • Major Zim

      Ouch. Why did you have to remind me of this? That we only got one Beastmilk record is one of the greatest tragedies of our time.

      • NDG

        Did you check out the Grave Pleasures album? I thought it was ok but doesn’t even get close to this.

  • Dark Spirit of Cold Ural Mount

    I’d say that 2nd releases from Heathen and Uncle Slam is way more superior to anything else both bands had ever released.

  • GoatForest

    As much as I hate to say it, I’m going to, anyway: Mayhem. DMDS is one of the best black metal albums of all time, but nothing after it comes even close to capturing that same magic.

  • NDG

    Not metal but this is one of my favourite albums of all time. The Dirtys released this album only and that was it. One of the members passed away but I’m not sure if that was before or after the band had called it quits.

    https://www.youtube.com/embed/13K0o7Exi0g

  • James

    Queen.

  • NDG

    Did someone say Traveling Wilburys?

    https://www.youtube.com/embed/JiVBmAhiUYI

  • WasteOvTime

    Absolutely disagree about Amorphis and Sentenced. The fact that Amorphis just finished one US tour and is about to do another one in a couple month kind of proves this is more about what albums you liked, not what was actually a one hit wonder in the world of metal.

    Lilitu-Delores Lesion, Dawn-Slaughtersun, and Snowblood-Being and Becoming would all be on the list for me.

    • Zeke

      this article was totally about what I liked; I love the karelian isthmus, but I wish they did more with the tales sound. maybe one album wonder wasn’t the best way to phrase it

      • WasteOvTime

        Totally. What you like. Not what was an actual one hit wonder in the metal world. Stay on topic next time.

  • Major Zim

    Two perfectly fine LP’s later, it is with great sadness that I think we can say relatively conclusively that Black Crown Initiate will never again reach the levels of greatness they did on their debut EP https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhY8-iJnZ-M

  • Major Zim

    Last Chance to Reason had a good follow-up record that has admittedly grown on me a lot over time, but it in no way matched the perfection of Level 2. A concept album about a video game character who gains sentience and the understanding not only of his world, but of it’s place and meaning (or lack thereof) within our world that does a marvelous job expressing the existential severity and human emotion of something like that, AND was accompanied BY a video game that was synced to the album. That alone makes it legendary, but the music itself is some of my favorite tech of all time. It’s groovy and catchy in a way that hides just how technical and complex the pieces are, its production is full in a way where after ten listens, you’ll still be noticing new synth layers or errant bass runs, and was the world’s real introduction to Michael Lessard, the pterodactyl-screeching, angel voiced vocal genius that managed to make The Contortionist a good band after LCTR went on “Indefinite Hiatus.” Gone but not forgotten LCTR. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CfYqnVvaXVg

  • Guppusmaximus

    Keep the Satan in Santa Claus m/ m/