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25 Most Anticipated Metal Albums of 2020

on January 13, 2020, 11:09pm
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The new year has a tough act to follow, considering that 2019 brought us a bevy of noteworthy and acclaimed metal releases.

Last year, we saw Tool release their first album in 13 years, as well as the arrival of highly anticipated LPs from Slipknot, Rammstein, and more. What’s more, many of the big releases lived up to the hype, earning accolades from fans and critics alike.

Now, attention turns toward a metal godfather (Ozzy Osbourne), alt-metal heroes (Deftones), half of thrash’s Big 4 (Anthrax and Megadeth), and the “Twins of Evil” (Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie) as we anticipate what 2020 has to offer us.

Modern metal favorites like Lamb of God, Mastodon, and Gojira are all due for new albums, too, while recent breakthrough bands like Code Orange and Power Trip are looking to keep their momentum going.

So, as metal enters a new decade, and celebrates 50 years of existence, the future looks bright for headbangers of all ages. Take a look below at the 25 Most Anticipated Metal Albums of 2020.

— Spencer Kaufman

Managing Editor


Sepultura – Quadra

Sepultura - Quadra 2020 Anticipated

Release Date: February 7th

Why We’re Excited: What began as a homespun blackened thrash band by passionate metalhead teenagers grew into a Brazilian heavy metal institution. Sepultura might not look or sound as they once did, but the band has always avoided stagnation by looking ahead. Quadra sees the band embracing the concept album format, exploring the mysticism of the number “4.” The album’s singles “Isolation” and “Last Time” bridge thrash and prog, with drummer Eloy Casagrande dominating the latter track.—Jon Hadusek

Sample:


Kvelertak – Splid

Release Date: February 14th

Kvelertak - Splid

Why We’re Excited: Kvelertak acquired new vocalist Ivar Nikolaisen after original singer Erlend Hjelvik quit in 2018. With Splid, the Norwegian band pick up where they left off with 2016’s Nattesferd, mingling hardcore punk with blackened thrash metal. The freewheeling rollick of FM classic rock also comes across in the album singles “Bråtebrann” and “Crack of Doom” — the latter featuring Mastodon’s Troy Sanders. With Splid being one of the earliest 2020 announces on our radar, the new era of the band appears to be off to a solid start.—Jon Hadusek

Sample:


Ozzy Osbourne – Ordinary Man

Ozzy Osbourne - Ordinary Man

Release Date: February 21st

Why We’re Excited: Ordinary Man is shaping up to be Ozzy Osbourne’s most ambitious album in years. Boasting guest performances from Elton John, Post Malone, Slash, and Tom Morello, as well as a backing band featuring Duff McKagan and Chad Smith, the LP has plenty of star power. Despite a rough 2019 filled with illness and injury, early singles from the LP prove that Ozzy’s voice is as haunting as ever. Arguably metal’s most visible mainstream personality, Ozzy continues to invite new styles into his sound and endear himself to a whole new generation of fans. Some purists might scoff at the singer’s crossover appeal, but above all, Ozzy is a showman and remains metal’s most humble and charming ambassador. —Jon Hadusek

Sample:


Body Count – Carnivore

Body Count - Carnivore

Release Date: March 6th

Why We’re Excited:  After an extended hiatus, Body Count’s returned with a vengeance, as Ice-T’s pioneering rap metal band has released some of the most inspired music of its career over the past several years. Their upcoming seventh album, Carnivore, looks to maintain that standard of quality with precise thrash metal and Ice-T’s blunt lyricism, which is poignant and honest as ever on the lead single and title track. Special guests on the album include Evanescence’s Amy Lee, Power Trip’s Riley Gale, and Hatebreed’s Jamey Jasta, making this Body Count release particularly curious for longtime fans. –Jon Hadusek

Sample:


Code Orange – Underneath

Code Orange - Underneath 2020 Anticipated

Release Date: March 13th

Why We’re Excited: Code Orange turned heads when they arrived at the 2018 Grammy’s wearing futuristic outfits that belied their DIY origins. This came after nearly a decade of grinding — hundreds of shows and crusty moshes — and a wise shortening of their band name. In short, they’d made it. Although they didn’t win the award for Best Metal Performance, the nod was enough to catapult them to maximum visibility in extreme music circles. Further dabblings in industrial rock can be heard on “Let Me In” — the entrance song for WWE wrestler The Fiend — and the title track from Underneath, as Code Orange make another artistic pivot toward new sounds. Both tracks retain the bleak symbolism and imagery of their past work. –Jon Hadusek

Sample:


Me and That Man – New Man, New Songs, Same Shit, Vol. 1

Me and That Man - New Man New Songs

Release Date: March 27th

Why We’re Excited: Behemoth put out two of the best metal albums of the 2010s — The Satanist and I Loved You at Your Darkest — so anything frontman Nergal touches these days seems to turn to gold. With his side project Me and That Man, Nergal embraces blues, gothic folk, outlaw country, and Americana, a far cry from the extreme metal of Behemoth. And on the outfit’s sophomore album, he’s recruited a bevy of guest singers, including Slipknot’s Corey Taylor, Mastodon’s Brent Hinds, Trivium’s Matt Heafy, Emperor’s Ihsahn, and more. That’s a wealth of talent on one album. — Spencer Kaufman

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Static-X – Project Regeneration

Static-X - Project Regeneration

Release Date: May 29th

Why We’re Excited: Following the death of frontman Wayne Static in 2014, it seemed like the final chapter for Static-X had already been told. The recent Wisconsin Death Trip Tour” was controversial for its use of a masked singer that resembled the late vocalist. The band originally planned to use guest singers for Project Regeneration, but a number of vocal demos cut by Wayne Static were uncovered and resurrected for the album, with Wayne Static being the primary vocalist for the LP. With Static-X able to complete songs that went unfinished, Project Regeneration is quite literal in its nomenclature.—Jon Hadusek


AC/DC – TBA

AC/DC 2020 anticipated

AC/DC, photo by Heather Kaplan

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Officially, there has been no news from AC/DC regarding their status as a band or whether they’ve recorded new music, but various reports point to the legendary act’s imminent return and a new album on the way. A couple of years ago, guitarist Angus Young was the lone remaining classic member in the band, following singer Brian Johnson’s departure due to hearing issues and bassist Cliff Williams’ retirement. But it appears that both Johnson and Williams are back in the fold, as is drummer Phil Rudd. If it all turns out to be true, we’re in for one helluva comeback by one of heavy music’s greatest acts. — Spencer Kaufman


Anthrax – TBA

Anthrax 2020 Anticipated

Anthrax, photo by Heather Kaplan

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: The 2010s proved to be a strong decade for veteran thrash masters Anthrax, who released two strong albums following the return of classic singer Joey Belladonna. It’s been four years since the band’s last album, For All Kings, and drummer Charlie Benante has described the next LP as “aggressive”, “weird”, and “pissed off”, adding that it will “span the history of our musical landscape.” Sounds like all signs are pointing to another powerhouse album from one of the Big 4 of thrash. — Spencer Kaufman


Avenged Sevenfold – TBA

Avenged Sevenfold 2020 Anticipated

Avenged Sevenfold, photo by Kameron Pollock

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: One of modern metal’s biggest acts had a bizarre album cycle for 2016’s The Stage, which was met with lukewarm sales. First, Avenged Sevenfold surprise-released the album without any previous notice, and then instead of embarking on a planned elaborate headlining tour, they accepted an offer to support Metallica on a stadium trek. By the time Avenged were ready to properly take The Stage on the road, singer M. Shadows suffered a vocal cord issue, forcing the band to cancel its summer 2018 headlining tour and step away from the spotlight. It feels like A7X now have something to prove, so expect big things when they do return. — Spencer Kaufman


Black Label Society – TBA

Black Label Society 2020 Anticipated

Black Label Society, photo by Amy Harris

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Fans of Zakk Wylde were disappointed to learn that the guitar virtuoso doesn’t play on Ozzy Osbourne’s new album, despite being a key member of the metal icon’s live band. But fear not, Zakk will be back with a new album in 2020, with his own accomplished outfit, Black Label Society. After churning out Grimmest Hits in 2018, and reimagining their 1999 debut Sonic Brew last year, Zakk and the boys will hit us once again with some righteous riffs. — Spencer Kaufman


Cannibal Corpse – TBA

Cannibal Corpse

Cannibal Corpse, via Metal Blade

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: As one of the longest running bands in the history of death metal, Cannibal Corpse have released a new album every few years, and it’s always a major event for extreme metal. After touring heavily in support of 2017’s Red Before Black, the band has officially concluded that album cycle and begun work on a follow-up. It’s undetermined if troubled guitarist Pat O’Brien will return to the band after his arrest in late 2018, when military flamethrowers and over 80 firearms were discovered in his house. However, vocalist Corpsegrinder has said the Cannibal Corpse “want him back.”—Jon Hadusek


Deftones – TBA

Deftones 2020 Anticipated

Deftones, photo by Debi Del Grande

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Deftones romantic vision of heavy music has become even more focused as their career progresses. Koi No Yokan and Gore saw the band smooth off the rough edges, expressing moods and fleeting emotions with slower, more atmospheric songs. There’s still plenty of heavy riffs and soaring screams from Chino Moreno, who last year excited fans by comparing the upcoming LP to the classic White Pony. And while there was hope the LP would surface in 2019, Moreno has promised that the album will “definitely” be out in 2020. —Jon Hadusek


Every Time I Die – TBA

Every Time I Die

Every Time I Die, via Epitaph Records

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Every Time I Die have kept things interesting since their last album, 2016’s Low Teens. Guitarist Jordan Buckley saved a fan’s life by accidentally spitting in her eye; singer Jordan Buckley released a stellar album with the supergroup The Damned Things; and guitarist Andy Williams made his television debut as professional wrestler The Butcher as part of the new AEW organization. Twenty-plus years into their career, Every Time I Die are heading into the studio with producer Will Putney to bring the hardcore once more. — Spencer Kaufman


Gojira – TBA

Gojira 2020 Anticipated

Gojira, photo by Raymond Ahner

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Although polarizing for fans, 2016’s Magma marked a satisfying evolution for Gojira. Their songs were suddenly catchier, compact, and more immediately accessible compared to the progressive post-metal of past albums. The French metal act posted a shot of faders on a mixing console back in September, insinuating that they are in the studio working on their next LP, which has been in-progress for the past couple years. “Work is in progress,” drummer Mario Duplantier said in 2018, “… We can’t wait to share it with you.” Hopefully, they can in 2020. —Jon Hadusek


Iron Maiden – TBA

Iron Maiden 2020 Anticipated

Iron Maiden, photo by Kevin RC Wilson

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: To see what the heavy metal legends will think of next. Each new Iron Maiden album introduces another chapter in their ever expansive lore. Singer Bruce Dickinson acts as the narrator of lengthy epics and fantastic tales, weaving literary themes and motifs across densely composed metal of the classic strand. While we pretty much know what we’re getting with a new Iron Maiden album, that’s not necessarily a bad thing when the band is so capable at their craft. They only helped invent the craft itself. Though there’s no timeline for a release, recent reports suggest that the band quietly recorded the album last year. This year marks five years since 2015’s The Book of Souls , so the world is due for another opus from Maiden following their massive “Legacy of the Beast Tour”. —Jon Hadusek


King Diamond – The Institute

King Diamond 2020 Anticipated

King Diamond, photo by Kevin RC Wilson

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: The single “Masquerade of Madness” was one of the best metal songs of 2019 and an absolute treat for purists. Per King Diamond himself, the song was recorded without compression and sounds like the pristine analog of heavy metal’s storied past. Leave it to the King: The band hadn’t released new music in over a decade and they drop a banger out of the darkness of a long hiatus. That’s about to be over, as King Diamond has two albums planned for The Institute saga, which tells the horror story of a institutionalized girl’s psychological torments. —Jon Hadusek


Lamb of God – TBA

Lamb of God 2020 Anticipated

Lamb of God, photo by Amy Harris

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: This summer will mark five years since we’ve gotten some original pure American metal from Virginia heavyweights Lamb of God. Randy Blythe and company have been road dogs, in recent years, supporting a number of the legs on Slayer’s farewell tour. While they did release a covers album under their original band name, Burn the Priest, new music from Lamb of God is always a major moment in metal. Now, with longtime drummer Chris Adler out of the lineup, and Art Cruz behind the kit, it will be interesting to see what kind of groove the band comes up with for their latest LP. — Spencer Kaufman


Marilyn Manson – TBA

Marilyn Manson 2020 Anticipated

Marilyn Manson, photo by Melinda Oswandel

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: The unpredictable Marilyn Manson was actually one of the most consistent artists of the 2010s, releasing some of his best work in his career, particularly his most recent albums The Pale Emperor and Heaven Upside Down. The Antichrist Superstar has been talking up his new album, produced by country outlaw Shooter Jennings, and has teased us with covers of the traditional folk song “God’s Gonna Cut You Down” and The Doors classic “The End”. With Manson set to support Ozzy Osbourne on an early summer North American tour, 2020 should mark another big year for the shock rocker. — Spencer Kaufman


Mastodon – TBA

Mastodon 2020 Anticipated

Mastodon, photo by Jimmy Hubbard

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Mastodon’s follow-up to 2017’s Emperor of Sand has been brewing for a while. Back in 2018, Brann Dailor told Heavy Consequence that the band would start working on a new album in early 2019, but those change plans, and a 2020 release became more realistic. It would fit the pattern of their last couple releases, both three years apart. “I’m hoping for continuation of what’s been going on the past 10 years,” he recently told Rolling Stone. Lately, Mastodon have embraced shorter, hook-based songs over the prog epics of their past. If we’re to take Dallor’s word, the new album won’t stray far from that approach and will “probably come out” this year. —Jon Hadusek


Megadeth – TBA

Megadeth 2020 Anticipated

Megadeth, photo by David Brendan Hall

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Megadeth were on this same list last year, with most fans expecting a new album in 2019. But plans changed when frontman Dave Mustaine was diagnosed with throat cancer back in June. After successful treatments, Mustaine is doing well and the band recently declared that they are officially back. The band’s wasting no time, going on tour in Europe this month and then continuing work on the follow-up to 2016’s Dystopia. Mustaine mentioned “crushing” new songs could be released to coincide with the European tour, but so far, nothing has surfaced. Bassist David Ellefson is hopeful that the record could come out in 2020 now that Mustaine has completed his treatments.—Jon Hadusek


Ministry – TBA

Ministry 2020 Anticipated

Ministry, photo by Kevin RC Wilson

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: When we spoke with Al Jourgensen in fall of 2018, he told us he was going to begin work on a new Ministry album on January 1st, 2019. It’s been a year since then, and we’re excited for what the industrial mastermind has to offer. On Ministry’s previous album, 2018’s AmeriKKKant, Jourgensen offered a scathing take down of Trump’s America, and he’s hoping to get one more full-length in while Trump is still in office. Ministry ended up spending a good deal of 2019 on the road, including a support slot on Slayer’s final tour, so we’ll see if Uncle Al and company can come through before year’s end. — Spencer Kaufman


Pallbearer – TBA

Pallbearer 25 Most Anticipated Metal Albums of 2020

Pallbearer

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Pallbearer’s fourth studio album will be their debut on prestigious metal label Nuclear Blast. If last year’s one-off single “Atlantis” was any indication, the band will be delivering more epic doom metal on the recently recorded new album. The Arkansas quartet emerged during the last decade, growing from humble origins to become one the most beloved modern doom acts. After three strong albums and a slight shift toward more pop-oriented song structures, Pallbearer are primed to increase their growing fanbase once again with their first release on the high profile metal imprint.—Jon Hadusek


Power Trip – TBA

Power Trip 2020 Anticipated

Power Trip, photo by Jon Hadusek

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Did Nightmare Logic really come out in 2017? It feels like so long ago, and fans are jonesing for the next album from the Texan thrashers. After touring relentlessly for the past couple years, the band sounds airtight these days — as we can attest from catching Power Trip on their recent  co-headlining tour with High on Fire, and soaking in their cover of Outburst’s “When Things Go Wrong”. It’s a prime time for Power Trip to head back to the studio. “In the lab working on a bunch of new material this week,” the band tweeted in August of last year. “LP #3 coming in hot.”—Jon Hadusek


Rob Zombie – TBA

Rob Zombie 2020 Anticipated

Rob Zombie, photo by Raymond Ahner

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Rob Zombie has been dividing his time between music and movies, and with his Firefly trilogy finally completed last year with 3 From Hell, attention can now turn to his next album. The music has been in the can for a while, with guitarist John 5 touting the new LP as “by far the best Zombie record that he’s ever done”, including anything he did with White Zombie. No word on a title or release date yet, but if John 5 is to be believed, we’re in for one helluva ride. — Spencer Kaufman

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