What’s one of the best things about the end of the year for me? Well, first there’s Christmas, where I get gifts and swill Pumpkin Egg Nog. Then there’s New Years Eve where my recently single self might find a lovely lady to smooch my face when the clock strikes twelve. Another awesome part of the end of 2011 is that I can focus on the albums coming out next year. 2012 is looking to be another banner time for heavy music and I must admit I have my favorites.
We should probably get a few things out of the way. The firs thing is the supposed new Tool album dropping in the New Year. I’d love to add Tool to my list of things to get all warm and gushy over in 2012 but reality steps in and slap me down. There is no way in Hell a new Tool album is coming out this year. These guys have been jerking our chain about a new release for years so I must be guarded with my excitement. I’d love to be wrong, I want to be wrong, but I just don’t think I am.
Secondly, I know Metallica has a Rick Rubin produced album coming out in 2012 but since they haven’t done anything worthwhile since And Justice For All I really don’t care. Finally we have the Soundgarden album, which might see the light of day in the 2012. I wasn’t a Soundgarden fan when they were an actual band so I have no interest in their reunion record.
With that out of the way, let me get into six albums I’m looking forward in 2012. These aren’t in any order of importance; I’m pretty much amped on all of them.
I spoke to band’s frontman Mike Williams and he assures me that Eyehategod will have a new album out by the end of 2012. Currently the band are demoing the songs and working on a label. Williams didn’t want to jinx anything so he’s been hushed about what label the band is leaning towards. Regardless, after all the side projects and delays, Eyehategod will set fire to the world in 2012.
Why This Rules: It’s been twelve years since the boys have given us an album of entirely original material. Few things are as moving, crushing or emotionally draining as an Eyehategod album. Since 2000 the band has lived through drug issues, Katrina, the recession and multiple outside music projects. With all of that flowing through their veins it follows that this album will be one of they’re most explosive.
09. Napalm Death
The godfathers of grindcore will return on February 28th with their 14th studio album titled “Utilitarian”. Longtime Napalm Death growler Barney explains that the name has to do with the self-doubt those who try to fight against the status quo or challenge conventions can feel. The idea that maybe what they’re doing isn’t making a difference. The band debuted a new song called “Quarantined” as well as debuting the song “Legacy Was Yesterday” on the monthly Decibel flexi-disc.
Why This Rules:14 albums in and Napalm Death still deliver the goods. So many bands rip off Napalm Death or they at least owe their entire sound to the band. It’ll be nice for the guys who mastered this brutal style of music to slap the competition down with a new record.
08. The Cult
It’s been a weird trip to get to a new Cult record. First the band announced the would not be making any new records, only digital releases and EPs. Then they decided there would be a new Cult album to be produced by Chris Goss of Masters Of Reality. On May 11th 2011 The Cult signed to Cooking Vinyl Records and began work on the new record. On November 29th the talk came down that Bob Rock would be producing the new album. No idea what happened with Chris Goss stuff or if Goss was just helping them write songs. The album is due in April.
Why This Rules:It doesn’t so much rule as it is interesting. The Cult have as many misses in their arsenal as hits but usually they come through with some solid rock. Between the weird announcements and the producer shift, I’m just interested to see what the final product is. Granted I’d be more interested if it was Chris Goss all the way but still, it is The Cult.
07. Saint Vitus
One day before my birthday, March 27th, the band that paved the road by which all doom metal now travels will release a new record. Saint Vitus will unleash Lillie: F-65 on Season Of Mist Records. This will be the first album of original material since 1995’s Die Healing and the first featuring Wino on vocals since 1990’s V. With all of that joyous news there is some sadness. Longtime drummer Armando Acosta passed away on November 25th 2010. Lillie: F-65 will debut drummer Henry Vasquez.
Why This Rules: A new Saint Vitus album with Wino back bringing the vocals and the original band bringing the low end rock destruction? There is no reason at all that this doesn’t rule!
06. Kyuss Lives!
I know people are getting their bitch on about Kyuss Lives not being a legit reunion, but this may be as close as we ever get. Wretch era Kyuss jammers John Garcia (voice), Nick Oliveri (bass) and Brant Bjork (drums) have been touring the globe bringing the Kyuss sound to the masses. Occasionally Scott Reeder has joined Kyuss Lives on stage, the man who gave the band their bass sound through Sky Valley and As The Circus Leaves Town. Oliveri claims the band is called Kyuss Lives because there is no true Kyuss reunion without Josh Homme. He also stated he hopes to work with Homme again in the future.
Why This Rules: Having seen Kyuss in their heyday, anything even approaching a reunion is awesome. Now the band is looking to do a new album, hopefully with both Oliveri and Reeder involved. My hope is that Josh Homme will drop the pretention and get on board to record some new jams. If not, maybe QOTSA and Kyuss Lives will tour and Homme might stumble on stage to rock. Regardless of Homme, I’m amped for this record.
05. Queens Of The Stone Age
And while we’re in a Homme state of mind!
It’s been five years since Era Vulgaris and the rumor mill floods with the notion that QOTSA is all done. Between Josh Homme’s supergroup Them Crooked Vultures, Troy Van Leeuwen’s Sweethead and the band’s work with Eagles Of Death Metal, plans for a new Queens record kept getting delayed. Now it seems Josh and crew are heading back into the studio to finish up the next offering. Homme was quoted as saying the new album is a “Trancey, broken thing” and that “The robots are back”.
Why This Rules: For the most part fuzzed out giant rock is a dying breed. Bands either spend too much time trying to sound like Sabbath or Kyuss or they try to be some cutesy hipster piss-take. Queens Of The Stone Age not only bring quality grooves to the arena, they also toss in enough experimentation to keep the gumbo tasty. I wasn’t a huge fan of Era Vulgaris so I’m hoping this is a great return to form.
04. Lamb Of God
A four-year absence from metal can be a death sentence for some bands. The ever-fickle sensibilities of the head banging community can take today’s rock star and make them tomorrow’s nu-music cast off. Thrash/speed metal stalwarts Lamb Of God seems to have sidestepped that problem. The anticipation around their newest opus Resolution, due out January 24th, is high and the expectations are equally staggering. The metal world embraced Lamb Of God and they expect to be rewarded. The band will release the single “Ghost Walking” in December before unleashing all of Resolution.
Why This Rules:This is another chance for Lamb Of God to take their rightful place amongst the newer metal icons like Primordial and Mastodon. The band has had as many misses as they’ve had hits, and I really haven’t been a fan since As The Palaces Burn. That being said, I still think there is greatness in Lamb Of God waiting to be released. I have no idea if Resolution will be that gift, but the fact Lamb Of God has a new record coming out gives all their fans and even the naysayers, something to look forward to.
03. Black Sabbath
Earlier this year Ozzy Osbourne claimed that the idea of a full Sabbath reunion was unlikely. Now, as we close in on the end of 2011, the announcement comes that the godfathers of Heavy Metal will not only reunite; they’ll be stepping into the studio with Rick Rubin. Guitar legend Tony Iommi says the new material is more like the old Black Sabbath sound.
Why This Rules: Black Sabbath haven’t released an album in sixteen years. They haven’t released a good album in twenty-eight. Even with the multiple reunion tours and Ozzfests, we haven’t seen the power of Black Sabbath in a long time. Hopefully working with Rick Rubin will draw out some last bits of genius from Tony, Ozzy, Geezer and Bill before they shuffle off this mortal coil. If Rubin is smart he’ll get the band to draw on the influences of Sabbath Bloody Sabbath as much as Paranoid or Vol 4. If Sabbath bring their A game, 2012 could be a killer year for metal.
One of the most incredible, most talented, most prolific and most underrated bands in heavy music will be releasing a collection that will crush skulls. A 2 CD or 2 LP event, the volume one release will feature all of the out-of-print split 7” and EP material up to the release of Summit.
Why This Rules: Because Thou are fucking amazing, that’s why. There isn’t one stitch of music this band has dropped that wasn’t soul crushing. Being as prolific as they are, most of their work has gone out of print. Now it will all be collected together, let the rejoicing begin! If you don’t know about Thou this is collection will be a great way to discover them.
01. Killing Joke
The instant Jaz Coleman announced that a new Killing Joke album would be released in 2012; it instantly became my most anticipated album of the year. The band retired to Spain all year to record the new studio offering. Thematically it’s centered on these cataclysmic events that Coleman is convinced are coming in the New Year. These events will change human history and the new Killing Joke album is trying to reflect those events. Currently the band is fighting over which of the 26 new songs will make it to the final product.
Why This rules: Killing Joke has never released a bad album. 2010’s Absolute Dissent was one of the best of their career and with the band drawing inspiration off the ills of the world, 2012’s new joint could be their best ever. The second kick ass part of this equation is that the new year will see the release of the long awaited Killing Joke documentary The Death And Resurrection Show. Between a new album and the film, 2012 could be the year the world burned while Killing Joke sings proudly.
So that’s it, the six albums I’m really excited about in 2012. There’s a lot more happening in music this year, including new stuff from Eyehategod, Converge, and Corrosion Of Conformity, though the details about those records are sketchy at best. Whatever your taste, heavy music or not, 2012 is shaping up to be a killer year.