So, with 2011 out of the way and the music industry slowly coming back online after the annual holiday shutdown, it’s time to look forward to what’s coming up this year in the world of rock and metal. And oh boy, is there a lot to look forward to! Some of the albums coming out this year have been in the works for quite a long time, while others just have high expectations attached to them. Either way, 2012 looks to be very exciting for the metal world!
Which albums are fans looking forward to the most, though? Which ones have generated or will generate the most buzz? Which ones are going to make believers out of naysayers? Here are some of my choices for those designations:
Lamb of God, Resolution (Epic) – out 1/24/12
Resolution has been available for pre-sale on Amazon for over three weeks now, and it has spent nearly all of that time in the top 100 best-sellers in the “Hard Rock & Metal” category. In fact, at the time of writing this article, it sits at #1 on the list. Yes, that’s correct – an album that’s not even out yet is the best-selling metal album for one of the biggest music retailers in the country. Why is that? Because even though it’s only been three years since the release of Wrath, it probably feels like closer to a decade for Lamb of God fans anxious to hear the group’s newest assault on the corrupt and weak society that surrounds them. Lamb of God fans are always ready to hear what the band can do to top they’ve already done, and since Lamb of God is one of the most popular metal bands in the world, that’s a lot of fans with high expectations. Expect to see Resolution debut in the top 10 when it comes out in two weeks.
Meshuggah, TBA (Nuclear Blast) – out 3/27/12
Technical metal fans the world over are already losing their minds with excitement over this album. It’s been four years since obZen stunned the metal community with its sheer genius, and after several delays, many will agree that it’s high time Meshuggah gave us something new to gush about. This teaser image that came with the release date announcement on Facebook reveals only one other thing about the album – Meshuggah are still on the snake theme that they’ve managed to subtly include in almost all of their releases. Once the album is out, hopefully fans will stop inundating YouTube with videos of them trying to cover the drum section of “Bleed”.
Killswitch Engage, TBA (Roadrunner) – out TBA
Some of you might be asking why Killswitch Engage appears here, considering that the band has no vocalist at this time (although a replacement may be in the works already) and updates as to their progress in writing their new album have been few and far between. But that’s just it – because of Howard’s departure, all of the band’s fans, both old and new, will want to hear how they sound with a new voice. It’s possible their style could continue without any changes. They could go back to their style from the Jesse Leach days, or they could take a whole new direction. It will depend entirely on who they get. One thing is certain, though – whether or not the band cancels their headlining appearance on the New England Metal and Hardcore Festival in April will be a big indicator about the band’s future and if they will stick together for long after this new album.
Lacuna Coil, Dark Adrenaline (Century Media) – out 1/24/12
After 2008’s tepid Shallow Life, Lacuna Coil had only two options: either fully transition themselves into a style totally separate from their older material, or else do what the fans have asked them to do for years and go back to the sound that made them famous in the first place. On Dark Adrenaline, all indications point to the group responding to the wishes of their fans. This album looks to be a return to form for a group that has been dealing with an identity crisis for nearly six years. However, most fans will likely remain skeptical until they can hear the entire album. Even with positive responses to the first two songs “Trip the Darkness” and “Kill the Light”, it’s too soon to call this a full resurgence. We’ll be able to say for certain in a few weeks.
Slayer, TBA (Sony) – out TBA
Jeff Hanneman’s health was Slayer’s primary concern throughout 2011, as the band utilized Gary Holt (Exodus) and Pat O’Brien (Cannibal Corpse) to get through the majority of their shows while Hanneman recovered from necrotizing fasciitis. Hanneman did rejoin the band for the last two songs of the Big 4 show in California in April, but Tom Araya continued to state that Hanneman needed more time to recover. No definitive announcement was made about when the guitarist was considered healthy enough to perform, but an update from Dave Lombardo in November made it pretty clear that Hanneman was better and the band was writing. With any luck, we’ll hear new material from Slayer in the summer or fall.
Tool, TBA (tba) – out TBA
This is wishful thinking on our part, in that Tool hasn’t announced much of anything yet. Apparently, they’re working on some stuff, and perhaps when Maynard Keenan gets off the road with Puscifer, they’ll knock out their much-anticipated fifth full-length. Or maybe not. The band definitely hides behind a veil of secrecy much better than just about any other band. Their tour that kicks off later this month might bring some new clues. But since 19966’s Aenima, 2011 was the first time the band missed their ‘one album every five years’ deadline. Talk with an insider suggested that the album’s definitely progressing slower than most Tool fans would like, but we can always hope.
Van Halen, A Different Kind of Truth (Interscope) – out 2/7/12
Okay, this isn’t technically a “metal” album by any stretch of the imagination, but just about anyone in any rock or metal band that was alive between 1978 and 1984 probably claims the band as an influence. From Eddie Van Halen’s finger-tapping on “Eruption” to David Lee Roth’s animated, samurai sword-swinging, high kicking toastmaster general of a frontman, the band’s first six albums are built into many artists’ DNA. With Diamond Dave back in the driver’s seat for hte first time since 1984, and a “new” song actually coming from the band’s 1976 Gene Simmons-financed demo, this reunion and album is hands down the most exciting rock story of the year, and metalheads will be waiting patiently hoping the three (bassist Michael Anthony was replaced by Eddie’s 20 year-old son Wolfgang), rekindles some of the magic of yore.
Those are the biggest new releases to look forward to so far in 2012, but there are plenty of others that will make waves over the next twelve months. With intended new material from Nightwish, Gojira, Soulfly, Napalm Death, Shadows Fall, Demon Hunter, Bleeding Through, The Agonist, Caliban, Every Time I Die, Torche, High On Fire, Thy Will Be Done, Corrosion of Conformity, Orange Goblin, Clutch and many others on the horizon, Tuesdays look to be exciting for metal fans throughout the year. Mark your calendars and prepare to rock!