By Brandon Ringo
One thing I love about the never-ending cycle of music journalism is the time of year when everyone switches into list mode. As much as I love reading about the top 10 pizza hoagies and the top 85 polka albums of the year, my favorite lists are the “most anticipated albums of the year lists”. The one time a year when music journalists turn their back on cold hard facts in favor of good ole’ speculatin’!
As a fellow January prognosticator, I have my own personal most anticipated metal albums of the year list. However, the depressing fact about this list is that there are some albums on that list that I truly am not that psyched about other than the fact that they have a big name. I could have made this list way funnier and easier by attacking schlubs like Breaking Benjamin, Halestorm and Five Finger Dong Punch. Instead, I want to discuss actual albums that I know I’ll be listening to and covering if they come out this year. By the way, the 5-1 ranking goes in order from least least anticipating to most least anticipating.
5. Black Sabbath
Before you go all judgey about Black Sabbath being on this list, just know this: I’m a fan and am totally rooting for em. The thing is, when the announcement was made that the band would be trying to get a new record out this year, it made me worry that they are trying to rush things a bit, rather than focusing on creating (more) truly crushing, bad ass jams. Plus, don’t act like you’re not sort of worried about Tony Iommi’s health, Ozzy’s senility, the stupid Bill Ward drama and Geezer’s…actually, Geezer is totally chill. I don’t even know if Sabbath will release a new one this year, but if they do and it sucks, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
By the way, I realize that this is a very odd inclusion on this list. The thing is, I’m not really even certain that they have a new album coming out, but it has been anticipated that a new one would be coming soon. My concerns about the potential new record is whether or not John Baizley still has enough left in the tank to top an album as truly wonderful as Yellow & Green? Can new drummer Nick Jost and new bassist Sebastian Thomson suitably replace their predecessors? Will the album continue the trend away from heavy riffs into even softer territory? I have faith that Baizley is still a great songwriter and can create great music, but when a band goes through what Baroness has been through in the last 2 years, You can’t blame em for a little downswing.
Like your normal thrash fan, I’m a HUGE fan of Anthrax. Well, classic Anthrax anyways. Unfortunately, they are a band that hasn’t really put out a truly great record in like two decades. When news came out that they are currently writing for a new album that’ll probably come out this year, I was pretty excited at first, until I remembered how much I hated their last album Worship Music. Here’s hoping that Scotty and the boys are able to come out with a super legit album, but I won’t be holding my breathe.
Two years ago, Deafheaven completely took the world of heavy metal and all the fancy hipster publications in between completely by storm. Their album Sunbather earned more 10/10’s than John Burkett with bumpers in his lane. Seriously. Everyone from Rolling Stone and Spin to 16 year old wannabe journalists and people that could give two shits about black metal thought it was the greatest thing since free beer. Personally, I thought the record was kind of boring and bland and a bit of an insult to a genre already full of em. Now that word has come out that the band is supposed to be doing a new album this year, journalists for everyone from Cat Fancy and ESPN The Magazine to In-Fisherman and Revolver are breaking out their copy of Shoegaze for Dummies and their thesaurus to figure out how to describe it. Honestly, if I wanted boring, generic black metal, I’d go back to listening to my stack of Ov Forest Fyrez & Winter Pyrez demos.
Fun fact: the last time Tool put out an album, you didn’t want to violently attack people for quoting Talladega Nights or saying “my name is borrrattt!”. The band is notoriously slow with putting out new records, so it’s always dangerous to assume that this is the year a new one will come out. However, evidence has been released that the band are in fact hard at work on the new album, so it could still happen. Why am I most least anticipating it, you ask? Because of two reasons. A: 10,000 Days wasn’t really THAT great of a record. It had some cool parts at times, but overall it was kind of boring. B: I don’t wanna get myself all psyched up that a new record will be coming and will be rad only to have to literally wait 10,000 days for a new record to come.