Missing links: 12 rock and metal albums that never were
The music business can be an unpredictable beast. Sometimes an amazing album arises out of the most unlikely of situations, while at others entire projects are abandoned, scrapped or lost. It might be down to tragedy, a collaboration that didn’t work out, an artist deciding to strike out in a different direction, or even the theft of the work in progress. Whatever the reason, there are plenty of wholly and partially completed albums that sadly never saw the light of day.
Here are a dozen records that we’d love to get our hands on…
Green Day – Cigarettes And Valentines
This should have been the follow-up to 2000 album Warning and was pretty much in the bag when the master tapes were mysteriously stolen from the studio. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise, though, as Green Day went on to create the hugely ambitious and career-defining masterpiece American Idiot. However, they have played title-track Cigarettes And Valentines live, while another song, Too Much Too Soon, made an appearance as a B‑side.
Deftones – Eros
2006’s Saturday Night Wrist was a difficult album for Deftones, and saw them on the verge of splitting up. They decided to carry on, but before the follow-up was finished, bassist Chi Cheng was involved in a serious car accident that left him in a coma and ultimately led to his death. The band shelved the album – which had a working title of Eros – and eventually went on to release Diamond Eyes in 2010. At various times different members have addressed the possibility of finishing and releasing Eros, but at the time of writing there are no firm plans to do so.
Lemmy – unreleased solo album
As well as Motörhead’s final album Bad Magic, mainman Lemmy completed a star-studded solo album before he passed away at the end of 2015. Producer and Skew Siskin guitarist Jim Voxx told Metal Talk in 2017 that he’d been working with Lemmy on the project since 2003. He added: “Lemmy also recorded some tracks in America with Dave Grohl or Reverend Horton Heat and in London he was working with The Damned. All these tracks came to me in Berlin.” This is one that’s likely to surface one day and, frankly, we can’t wait.
Slipknot – Look Outside Your Window
Like most Slipknot ventures, the recording of All Hope Is Gone was a turbulent one. It’s generally seen as one of their patchier efforts and during the process a splinter group formed, led by Clown and also including Corey Taylor, Jim Root and Sid Wilson. They created an alternative album’s worth of material that was reportedly more arty and experimental than anything that made it onto All Hope Is Gone. Recently, Corey said the album (titled Look Outside Your Window) would see the light of day very soon, and has “more of a Radiohead vibe.”
Misfits – 12 From Hell
The Misfits’ recording history is a convoluted one, with the third album they recorded (Walk Among Us) being the first to be released. Static Age came out posthumously, and 12 Hits From Hell was never officially released. Caroline Records did attempt to release the 1980 sessions some 21 years later, but Glenn Danzig and Jerry Only reportedly objected, considering the whole package to be sub-par. Some promotional copies did leak out, though, and various tracks have appeared on compilations since.
Tapeworm – abandoned Nine Inch Nails side-project
We all know that Trent Reznor is Nine Inch Nails. This can be frustrating for the others involved, and Tapeworm was conceived as a creative outlet for live members Danny Lohner and Charlie Clouser, but evolved into a sort of supergroup involving the likes of Maynard James Keenan and post-industrial composer Atticus Ross. In 2002, Trent told MTV News, “It has been an interesting experiment for Maynard and I to peek around in each other’s heads, shining flashlights in some shadowy corners.” Sadly, a completed album never emerged.
Metallica – The Presidio Sessions
St. Anger is, of course, an album that divides opinion. Maligned by many (but embraced by some), it could have been a different body of work if Metallica had stuck with the initial batch of songs they came up with. Known as the Presidio sessions – as they were recorded in a deserted barracks at the U.S. Army’s Presidio base in San Francisco – they’ve bobbled around a bit online, but have yet to see an official release. Producer Bob Rock told Sound On Sound: “Overall the whole thing was very makeshift, very guerilla-style, and it was kind of interesting, providing the start to how the album ended up: very raw, very garagey.”
Judas Priest – collaboration with Stock Aitken Waterman
Back in the late-’80s, metal gods Judas Priest entered into an unlikely and quite possibly unholy alliance with pop hitmakers Stock Aitken Waterman, the team behind the likes of Rick Astley, Kylie Minogue and Bananarama. It never resulted in a full album, but they did complete three tracks – two SAW originals titled Runaround and I Will Return, as well as a cover of the Stylistics’ You Are Everything. “We signed a piece of paper that says when we’re all dead, they can release them,” Rob Halford joked to The Aquarian before adding: “I personally love those songs. They’re fucking great.”
Velvet Revolver – recording with Corey Taylor
When Scott Weiland departed in 2008, Velvet Revolver began an ultimately ill-fated quest for a replacement. A number of high-profile singers were either rumoured or confirmed to have been considered, including Myles Kennedy, Lenny Kravitz, Chester Bennington and Sebastian Bach. Corey Taylor definitely did and even recorded an album’s worth of material with the band – some written together and some rearrangements of songs that Velvet Revolver already had kicking around. Whether they will ever be disinterred remains to be seen, but at this point it seems unlikely.
Shirley Manson – unreleased solo album
Garbage were huge in the late-’90s, but when singer Shirley Manson tried to present her solo album to her label Geffen, they promptly ditched her. “They told me they were too dark,” she told Vanity Fair. “They wanted me to have international radio hits and ‘be the Annie Lennox of my generation’. I kid you not: I am quoting directly. I just thought, ‘Fuck this.’” A few demos made it online, but the bulk of the material from this period – including a collaboration with Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo – remains unheard.
Gojira – Sea Shepherd
It’s debatable whether Gojira’s Sea Shepherd EP is lost or just incredibly late. The French metallers are known as committed environmentalists and started work on an EP in support of marine conservation charity Sea Shepherd as far back as 2010. One song, Of Blood And Salt featuring Devin Townsend and Fredrik Thordendal from Meshuggah, was released in 2011. Frontman Joe Duplantier told college radio station WMSC in 2017: “There’s three other songs that were on a hard drive that crashed at the time, and it was a huge pain in the butt to retrack all of this.” He added that they had been completed but that there was no firm timetable for the EP’s release.
Korn – Korn Kovers
Reports of a Korn covers album first started to circulate back in 2004. Possible candidates for the project include Head Like A Hole by Nine Inch Nails, Black Sabbath’s Paranoid, Shout At The Devil by Mötley Crüe and Fight The Power by Public Enemy (which actually surfaced on the XXX2: State Of The Union soundtrack back in 2005 with a guest appearance from Xzibit). Mentions of the album will occasionally crop up in interviews, but there’s still no positive word on a possible release date.
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