2015 saw some great metal album releases, some that we’ve already recounted throughout the year: Slayer's Repentless, Ghost's Meliora, Soulfly's Archangel, Lamb of God's Strum und Drang, Huntress' Static, Thy Art Is Murder's Holy War, Danzig's Skeletons, Black Dahlia Murder's Abysmal, and Butcher Babies' Take It Like a Man among others.
Although we certainly could write another listicle reflecting on the top metal albums of 2015, we also acknowledge that focusing on the past is detrimental to one’s mental health. And does anyone really want to relive memories of Rachel Dolezal, Cecil the Lion or Kim Davis? We didn't think so either. So, in the spirit of sanity and putting a shitty year to bed, let’s look forward to the new year and anticipate the coming metal albums that will make 2016 far more interesting than 2015.
And, while we’re at it, let’s call it now — 2016 will be The Year of Thrash, make no doubt about it. Why? Because style is cyclical and thrash is more diverse than core with its conservative and restrictive offerings of blast beats, predictable breakdowns and the tired formula of growls/singing/growls.
Thank the metal gods for accepting our sacrifices of 2015. We deserve thrash in all of its aggressive, guitar-shredding, double-bass glory. Consider all we lost in 2015: Mayhem Rockstar Festival called it quits after sluggish ticket sales; the death of ex-Stone Temple Pilot front man Scott Weiland; Motorhead's former drummer Philthy Animal Taylor died at age 61; Lemmy passed away last Monday night; and we nearly lost drummer Andrew Tkaczyk of the Ghost Inside after a fatal tour bus crash.
We deserve good, solid American metal now. What else are we to bang our head to whilst our favorite bands all run to Europe for the summer-festival circuit? So, in order of anticipation, here’s some metal albums we’re eagerly awaiting.
ANTHRAX, For All Kings
While we’re not allowed to tell you we’ve already heard a pre-release, we’re also not going to tell you that we put it at the top of the list for obvious reasons. Even the cover art is amazing. We will tell you, whatever you do, see Anthrax with Lamb of God when they visit Houston in February 4 at Revention Center because you know they’ll be playing some of the new tracks and you won’t be able to get your hands on the release until February 26.
If you’re like us, you jumped at the chance to listen to the 15-second Christmas teaser. And, then became super stoked because those 15 seconds sound like solid Metallica and then petrified that these same people have messed up solid Metallica before. Dear sweet god in heaven above don’t fuck this up.
According to Brann Dailor, Mastodon will be writing new material in the spring months, before returning to another blistering schedule of touring. He also hinted at a surprise theme in store for fans (sadly, not including housecats).
VARIOUS ARTISTS, The Doom in Us All
This is a compilation of Black Sabbath covers by members of Living Colour, Nile, King’s X, Skid Row and Judas Priest, among many others. Culminating with the Final Farewell tour this year, expect lots of Sabbath news and coverage. Naturally, this will be an album that will likely find its way on stage, via live impromptu performances during the tour, we’re expecting many surprise guest performances. If that isn’t enough, Black Sabbath will be releasing 2 CD and 2 LP deluxe editions of Black Sabbath, Paranoid and Master of Reality for the first time ever in North America on January 22.
Post guitarist Chris Broderick and drummer Shawn Drover, we’re interested to see how much of a difference the lineup plays out in this new album. Our guess is that this album, like every other Megadeth album, is 100 percent Dave Mustane and you will not even notice a line-up change. We’re most interested in the remaining Big Four’s response to Slayer’s enormously successful Repentless. Who remains on top is yet to be seen, Slayer’s unapologetic and violent return to thrash may have been slammed by critics but reached a career-high number four on the Billboard Chart. What do critics know anyway?
THY ART IS MURDER
With the sudden departure of beloved frontman CJ McMahon and the replacement of Nick Arthur (Molotov Solution), we’re not sure what this means for our favorite Australian underground death-metal band. But, they’ve promised us something very special in the coming months (think: limited-release vinyl) and we can’t wait to hear what it is. Guitarist Andy Marsh told us there were specific tracks that didn’t make the cut of Holy War, we’re guessing this is where they end up.
Guitarist Alex Wade spoke with us and said this new release will be something totally different than we’ve ever heard before, even including the possibility of clean vocals. Such a departure from Whitechapel’s normative musical style and a thematic shift in lyrics promises for something altogether unusual and exciting.
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This will be Tool's first album since 2006 and to say it’s long overdue is obvious and repetitive. We’re crossing our proverbial fanatical fingers that the San Diego shows this weekend will contain our favorite cuts and sneak peaks at the new release.
Testament's promises of a new album this year to follow up 2013's incredible live LP Dark Roots of Thrash will be fulfilled soon. The good news is that they’re kicking off a spring tour with Slayer and Carcass, but don’t get too excited — this tour is not coming anywhere near OC. If you’re the traveling type, the best date on the tour for this Berkeley band will be March 22 in San Francisco at the famed Warfield Theater — a Slayer fan-favorite venue.
DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN
Our favorite mathcore band is due to release new stuff this year. Trying to top their last LP, One of Us Is the Killer, and singles like “Happiness is a Smile” will be hard to do. We’re hoping this new release will also bring some OC show dates, too.
ABBATH, CRADLE OF FILTH & AMON AMARTH
We love European metal and some very good talent is looking to release new material in the coming year. Abbath’s new album should prove to be something of an ironic miracle considering the legal battles still surrounding Immortal and the multiple line-up changes in Abbath. If you’re interested in catching some new Cradle of Filth before you decide to download it, catch them in February 17 at the Mayan. Heavy hitters Amon Amarth’s new release will undoubtedly fulfill all of your Viking folklore and mythology needs in abundance, at least if you should have them anyway.