Prepare for an onslaught of great new metal music anticipated for 2021
What a total and utter bastard of a year 2020 was. Yet, let’s try and focus on whatever positives we can squeeze out of the pandemic days. Sure, the majority of the world has lost its arts. Live music has taken a massive hit and if we’re honest – of all us music junkies out there are secretly terrified for our venues, promoters and the artists themselves. Whether or not live music will return in 2021 is still unknown. When it does, what impact this pandemic will leave in its wake is also an unknown commodity. Scary times. Unpredictability and many of us are surely feeling an overwhelming sense of loss with the parting of our social endeavors and nightlife. Certainly not what we all had anticipated.
But wait – I did say we were going to focus on the positives here, now did I not? Riddle me this, folks. If musicians are not on the road, burning up the highways and tearing up stages, then, what are they doing? I’ll tell you, shall I. It’s obvious. Sitting in their homes, jam locals and studios, writing up fresh new tunes! Oh yes! I am, right here, right now, predicting that we will be hit with a tsunami of great new music in all genres in this calendar year! That, friends, is my not-so-bold prediction.
Several artists have announced new records or works in progress. Others have dropped hints and more still are fodder for the grind of the rumor mill. Thus I have come up with a list of ten artists that should be dropping hot new albums in the coming months. Some, I have omitted. Bands like Guns N’ Roses that seemingly enjoying teasing that new material could be en route. Lets be frank – there is no guarantee as to what the reformed Gunners could offer up. It could be great as easily as it could be dreck. Currently, the gangs main song writer, Izzy Stradlin, hasn’t returned to the fold and it would seem that he hasn’t any interest in doing so in the near future. Maybe that changes. Maybe not. Time will tell.
As the year is still young, and details for most of the following releases are tightly guarded and as of yet not common knowledge, this list should shortly require some attention. Until then, and in no particular order, here are my picks for the most eagerly anticipated metal releases for 2021. The potential for more rumors and announcements is so phenomenally large and that it is, in fact, and very naturally – completely certain, that many more surprises will soon be announced.
Yesterday, the follow-up to Gojira‘s 2016 album, Magma, was announced. The highly anticipated new record will be named Fortitude, and will release through Roadrunner Records on April 30th of this year. It’s hard to believe, that nearly five years have already passed since Gojira last graced us with new music. Pre-orders are currently available and a new song, Born For One Thing, was unleashed by way on a new music video earlier in the week. Although the group has been around for a while now, it was 2012’s L’Enfant Sauvage that propelled the group to the top of the metal world. 2016’s Magma furthered them along and if the new song is anything to go on, Fortitude should serve as solid continuation of what has become one of the more interesting acts in the genre.
Anybody that is a regular listener of Dave Mustaine’s show on Gimme Metal, knows that Mustaine and Megadeth are nearing the end of recording their next record. A working title was recently unveiled for the album, The Sick, The Dying And The Dead. A pretty slick eponym. Although, there is still a chance that might change. “We may change that, because there’s some other titles, and I usually change the titles four or five times before I settle on anything” said Mustaine. Whatever it ends up being, Megadeth’s sixteenth album is surely one of the most anticipated of the year. Fifteen songs and several covers have been written for the collection. Mustaine has constantly given subtly hints and cryptic tips as to what to expect, and has gone as far as to call the music as amongst the five best albums the group has made thus far.
Last year, the former Black Sabbath frontman released his most recent record , Ordinary Man. According the record’s producer, Andrew Watt, he and Ozzy Osbourne are already at work on a new album. One that will see the return of Robert Trujillo as well several guests including Taylor Hawkins and Chad Smith. Lips are tightly sealed on who else will be involved, for the time being. “It’s what gets me up in the morning”, said Ozzy. “It’s what I’m here to do. It saved my life, doing that last album. It’s better than sitting on my ass all day waiting for the fucking pandemic to be over. And then you go, ‘Oh, yeah, I am a rock and roller. I’d better do an album.’ You’ve got all the fucking time in the world to make the best album possible.” After all, where would fans of heavy music if is wasn’t for the likes of Ozzy Osbourne and the mighty Black Sabbath.
Some may be loosing faith with Ghost as the group edges closer and closer to a more accessible sound, however, the truth is that the band is only just growing into their sound. 2018’s Prequelle was the eerie soundtrack to the apocalyptical pandemic that swept the globe. It was almost as if Tobis Forge had peeked into the future and offered a warning that went unheard. An album about a plague merely a year before an actual plague hit. What are the chances. Forge has said that a new album should be finished “sometime in March” but won’t be released until after summer. With each new record, Forge has re-imagined his Papa Emeritus alter-ego as well as the appearance of the Nameless Ghouls. Regardless what you may feel about the band, there is no denying that Ghost are perhaps the most entreating live act if the metal world today, and a new metamorphosis should be most interesting.
Currently once again in deep, boiling holy water with the Polish authorities, Behemoth seem primed to drop a new album sometime in the fall. The follow-up to 2018’s fantastic I Loved You At Your Darkest album and 2014’s The Satanist – which was their magnum opus; the album that almost never was, and now a potential jail sentence could possibly play a similar roll again. Nergal has once more earned the ire of the Polish church and state by posting a photograph of himself stomping on a picture of the Virgin Mary. However, as this is an article based on positivity and considering that Nergal and Behemoth have consistently beaten the odds and forged ahead, let us believe that the next Behemoth album with be monumental …and probably irk the Polish government again, no doubt.
Even if their most recent release came just a few months ago, it was a live record and didn’t include any new music on it. Despite the mixed reaction to Iron Maiden‘s Night Of The Dead, which was recorded live in Mexico, Maiden remains one of the most celebrated bands in the history of metal. Musically, the recording was great, but the recording itself and how the audience was recorded left some with a sour taste in their mouths. However, it was recently announced by singer Bruce Dickinson that the writing process for a new studio album is underway. “Well, we’re doing bits of writing”, said Dickinson. “I’m talking to Steve Harris. We’ve been working together a little bit in the studio. On what, I can’t tell you, ’cause they’d have to kill me.” The Irons last studio visit, netted the highly regarding Books Of Souls record, which was released back in 2015. The time since then represents the longest silence in the band’s storied history.
The nineteenth studio album from the mighty Scorpions is reportedly well under way, despite the set-backs that the pandemic has placed in the way. That hurdle seems to have little effect on slowing down these seasoned veterans. “Our plan for this year was to concentrate on recording the new album. We were supposed to be in Los Angeles with producer Greg Fidelman working on this during May and June” said Klaus Meine. “Then, we’d have gone to Las Vegas for our residency at the Zappos Theater, before going back LA in August to finish the album. But the pandemic put paid to all of that.” In April of 2020, the Scorpions released a surprise new single titled Sign Of Hope, with the band checking in to say “We are working on lot’s of hard n’ heavy rockers for our new album these days.”
At The Gates
At The Gates confirmed they have written the follow-up to 2018’s To Drink From The Night Itself, and were due to head into the studio in November on 2020. That could mean that the seventh offering from Sweden’s melodic death metal masters could be finding its way to fans in the very near future. If the new material is anything like To Drink From The Night Itself, then we should all be in for a grand treat. The forefathers of the Gothenburg Sound, At The Gates have been firing on all cylinders since returning from a lengthy hiatus in 2011. They released At War With Reality, their first album in 19 years, in late 2014. Best known for their masterpiece, 1995’s Slaughter Of The Soul, At The Gates forever changed the face of death metal with that record, and helped create an entire new genre in the process. To say new material from At The Gates is highly anticipated in a massive understatement.
The wait for the return of the King has been a lengthy one, but good things come to those that wait. With that said, King Diamond fans could be in for a seriously good year. The forth-coming King Diamond album will be titled The Institute, and will be the first new music since 2007. If that isn’t something to get excited about, well I don’t know what is. And if that isn’t enough to get your blood boiling, the iconic frontman recently revealed that work had also begun for an eighth record from his flagship band Mercyful Fate. A double dose of the King for the disciples. Late in 2019, King Diamond gave us a new single, Masquerade of Madness, with the promise that the new record would soon follow. Naturally, 2020 screwed us on that too. Yet here we are, set for not one but two new albums from the King! Can you dig it!
With the end of the mighty Slayer now a page for the history books, guitarist Gary Holt is back to riffing for Exodus full-time. Exodus haven’t released any new material since back in 2014. Although it has been recorded for some time now, we still have a wait ahead of us before we get to hear what Gary Holt calls “a monster”. Persona Non Grata is the title of this long-awaited new album, not due until the summer of 2021 via Nuclear Blast Records. “As for Gary Holt, him being the major songwriter and the main songwriter, I feel that he’s written an absolute masterpiece — an absolute thrash metal masterpiece,” said vocalist Steve Souza. “It’s got all of the elements that an Exodus record should have. It’s not even done yet, and I’m really already proud of it.” It will be very interesting to see if Holt’s time as a member of Slayer will follow him on this new Exodus record.
There are so many more bands with rumored new records on the horizon. 2021 is shaping up to be a monumental year for heavy music. Given all that we’ve been through – I believe we all deserve this year to yield the more crisp of fruits. With a little luck, we’ll all soon be back drinking with friends while watching every band that comes to town on tour. Here’s hoping that we things mend themselves and soon – before we all go innsssaaaannnneee!