Since Mike and I were chatting about it, I figured I'd start a thread for bands that take a complete left turn into uncharted territory, and the result is actually cool. An album where the bold experiment actually worked, when the press release makes you think, "Uh oh..." before you ever hear it. So, I'll start...
This isn't just a left turn for Sabbath, but a left turn for the already know and established Dio/Iommi/Butler/Apice lineup. It's dark and angular, with some of the oddest songwriting any of those guys have ever done. The Dead (After All) is a lurching, evil number. Time Machine is almost thrash from a band known for plodding doom and mid tempo rockers. I is angular chug and the most pissed off lyrics Dio ever penned. Master of Insanity has that completely screwy riff that is abandons until the end of the song. When this album came out, it shocked everyone who was expecting the follow up to Mob Rules to sound, well, more like Mob Rules or Heaven and Hell. Instead, the world got this experimental, depressing album that hides some of their best songs under horrible production.
Talk about coming out of nowhere. Even though they only had one full-length and an EP to their name, Queensryche pulled one completely out of left field. Only (maybe) "Surgical Strike" would have fit on "The Warning", and the one leftover from that album was recorded ("Prophecy") but left off because it completely didn't fit - yet it's recognizably the same band. The material here is weird, warped, and slightly unsettling in some ways (especially upon the initial listen is you were expecting a rational followup to their previous work), but brilliant, dark, and other-worldly sounding - and strangely mature for a band on it's second full-length. It left a lot of people scratching their heads. The only downside was listening to the image consultants.