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Some of the most frustrating albums I've heard

Albums I want to like, or like more, but have something (or multiple things) holding them back. No particular order

Has some great ideas in place and even makes use of them on occasion, but it feels like the album isn't committed to its vision. It feels like the album wants to enchant us and make us feel like we're inside a snow globe, and while there are some beautiful sights, the glass is cracked and makes the illusion come out fragmented.
Endless Forms Most Beautiful

This album almost has the opposite problem; the vision and direction are clear but the standout moments are a blur. Even the epic finale falls short. The band feel like they're on autopilot, especially Floor, whose potential is wasted in an album that feels utterly blase.
Dead Heart In A Dead World

Coming off the heels of Dreaming Neon Black was a tall order, and while I do technically enjoy this album, it failed to leave a lasting impression on me other than being a so-so follow-up to its drastically superior predecessor. While it holds up well enough from an objective standpoint, I get the impression the band were trying to streamline things a bit, which leads to a less ambitious album than they were capable of.
4Dream Theater
The Astonishing

My review does a well enough job explaining why this album was such an astonishing frustration (hey, I avoided those when I wrote the review, I think I'm allowed one); the short version is that in Dream Theater's desire to do whatever they want, they choose something that is equal parts over-the-top, comical and boring. It frustrates me because I tend to be a defender of these guys, right down to James LaBrie's vocals, but this album is impossible for me to defend. What's more is I got into Dream Theater at the worst time possible, because they were coming to Florida but were going to perform this album in its entirety. I wanted to see them live just to experience it, but this album was bad enough to make me forgo the chance.
5Sonata Arctica
The Days of Grays

Just from a thematic standpoint, The Days of Grays should've been right up my alley. Sonata Arctica were continuing from Unia but smoothing things out, not to mention I'm rather fond of the artwork, which is typically a good sign that I'll enjoy an album. However, this album barely left a mark on my mind. The direction was technically there, but the execution was MIA.
The Last Stand

This is half of a Sabaton album in my books, because they took half of what makes them such a fun band (the powerful, chant-inducing music) and stripped it down to make them sound feeble. I blame the thin, insipid production, but there was also a sense of disinterest to the entire album as well. For me to say a Sabaton album wasn't fun or entertaining is, in my opinion, a cardinal sin.
7Keep of Kalessin

Given that I enjoyed Reptilian and was curious about the idea of a likely over-the-top sci-fi approach for its follow-up, I had some genuine excitement for Epistemology. And while the first couple tracks were enjoyable, the gimmick quickly wore thin. I'm a sucker for albums like this, but its flashy nature turned into oversaturation.
Time I

The time (not intended, I swear) away from both Wintersun albums has made me wonder if maybe their debut wasn't just a fluke, but is overhyped. I'm almost afraid to go back and listen to the Wintersun album now. In any case, Time I lost much of what made its predecessor stand out, part of which had to do with its spine, its sense of bite. The softer, more symphonic nature of Time I just made it feel so bland after an album that tickled many of the subgenres I tend to enjoy.
9Symphony X

I wasn't a big fan of Iconoclast. I found it to be a dull listen that couldn't even begin to justify its dual-album length. Underworld, despite being more concise, is just more of the same from Iconoclast and did nothing to help Symphony X progress as a band. There are the faintest traces of a memorable album here, but I find it all to sound less impassioned than it probably is. I'm ready to blame this on the production again, except unlike The Last Stand, which was devoid of power, Underworld technically has the capability but is muted just enough to make me lose interest, which is even more frustrating in its own way. That and the fact that Symphony X are superior band.
The Art of Loss

I had half the mind to put Blackwater Park on here, since I see people shower it with praise but couldn't understand loving it THAT much. However, Blackwater Park is still an enjoyable album for me, and I wouldn't say I find myself thinking "it's held back by so much." I mention Blackwater Park because I had a similar experience with The Art of Loss, where it seems everyone "got" something about this album that I clearly didn't. However, I give Redemption the mention here because it was difficult for me to say I enjoyed this album. I know this band are capable of engaging material, but this left me feeling an overwhelming indifference. And on the occasion it would seem to go somewhere more interesting, it pulls back and finds whatever track hinted at progression stuck in the same rut.
Hardwired... to Self-Destruct

Maybe Metallica feel the time they take between albums is reason enough to give us an overabundance of material. However, they're still heavy/thrash metal, a genre that hardly needs to be carried out longer than even most power metal albums will indulge in. The runtime kills what charm this album has going for it, which is being the most straightforward and traditional Metallica album since their self-titled. The title track and "Moth into Flame" had me truly excited, but before disc one was even done, my mind had checked out.
12Demons and Wizards
Demons & Wizards

I really like Iced Earth (well, up to The Glorious Burden) and I really like Blind Guardian, so the two meshing forces should've been awesome. Unfortunately, there are too many slow moments here that make me feel as if the two power metal giants wasted their potential. Sometimes it shines, like "Heaven Denies," "Fiddler on the Green" and "Blood on My Hands," but the rest of the time it feels like a clouded sky at night.
13Circus Maximus

It feels like Circus Maximus have been trying to make their music more approachable with every subsequent release. I don't mind as long as the music remains enjoyable, and I even found myself liking Nine more than most seem to. So after four years I was interested to see where they'd take their sound, and the result was a plain, minimalist helping of clean production and borderline-embarrassing mesh of pop-rock and prog, a mix that to this day leaves me scratching my head. I know Circus Maximus aren't going for a heavier sound, but the least they could do is keep things interesting. Album is such a whimper.

I feel like Amorphis were trying to be a bit more progressive on this album, maybe in an attempt to freshen the wonderful formula they had on Silent Waters. In many ways it succeeds, because it remains a catchy and enjoyable atmospheric album, but the second half of the album (one or two tracks aside) felt messy and uncertain, which killed the chance they had for another excellent offering. Instead, this album teeters between good and great with fleeting glimpses of something terrific, but never quite achieving that sensation.
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