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20 Most Anticipated Metal Albums of Fall 2020

on August 27, 2020, 3:03pm
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This year has been a gut-punch for the music industry, and the world as a whole. As a global pandemic continues to wreak havoc on our lives, it can be helpful to cling to the things that distract us from the daily grind. One of those things is music, and while the concert industry remains shuttered, we still have new albums to look forward to in the coming months. And in the world of metal, the list of fall releases is impressive and captivating.

The first half the year yielded a number of noteworthy heavy albums, as evidenced by our list of the Top 20 Metal Albums of 2020 So Far. And, for a while, it didn’t look as if the fall would be as fruitful as the spring. However, in the past few weeks, a number of notable acts announced fall albums, including Deftones, Marilyn Manson, Corey Taylor, and more. Extreme metal will be well represented, as well, with veteran acts like Napalm Death, Kataklysm, Enslaved, and others all set to unleash new LPs in the next few months.

While the future is uncertain, one thing is for sure: heavy metal and hard rock will continue to soldier on. Through historical ups and downs, the heaviest music has always endured, and not even a global pandemic can stop the power of the riff.

Below, see our picks for the 20 Most Anticipated Metal Albums of Fall 2020.

— Spencer Kaufman

Managing Editor


En Minor – When the Cold Truth Has Worn Its Miserable Welcome Out

En Minor

Release Date: September 4th via Housecore Records

Why We’re Excited: Philip Anselmo of Pantera fame has long since embraced a slower, doomier brand of heavy metal. His latest project, En Minor, is what Anselmo calls “depression-core” — and it’s not far off. This isn’t “Walk”. If you’re looking to rage, En Minor instead offers the opposite: A brooding, thoughtful comedown. It’s Anselmo’s gothic country record, and a twisted one at that. The singer has been outspoken about his love for horror films and noir over the years. En Minor appears to be the musical realization of those affinities. The single “Blue” is as grim and sincere as anything Anselmo’s written, evoking his inspired yet relatively obscure work under the Southern Isolation moniker. –Jon Hadusek

Preview:

Pick up the album here.


Zakk Sabbath – Vertigo

Zakk Sabbath - Vertigo

Release Date: September 4th via Magnetic Eye Records

Why We’re Excited: It’s no secret that Zakk Wylde loves all things Black Sabbath, and now he’s taking his passion for the metal godfathers to a new heights. He and his bandmates Blasko (bass) and Joey Castillo (drums) in the tribute act Zakk Sabbath have recreated Black Sabbath’s 1970 self-titled debut album in celebration of its 50th anniversary. Dubbed Vertigo, the LP features Zakk and company delivering a faithful re-recording of the landmark album, which pretty much ushered in the heavy metal genre. As an homage to the past, Vertigo will not be available digitally. Instead it will only be released in three formats: digipak CD; CD/DVD hardcover book: and limited-edition yellow vinyl. –Spencer Kaufman

Preview:

Pick up the album here.


Marilyn Manson – We Are Chaos

Marilyn Manson - We Are Chaos

Release Date: September 11th via Loma Vista

Why We’re Excited: Coming off two excellent albums in The Pale Emperor and Heaven Upside Down, Marilyn Manson enjoyed a creative resurgence in the 2010s. Now, with a new decade upon us, the Antichrist Superstar is back with his 11th studio album, We Are Chaos. This time around, Manson has tapped outlaw country artist Shooter Jennings as his producer, with an attention to melody clearly evident on the recently released title track. The song is a mid-tempo ode to ‘70s glam-rock, powered by Manson’s distinct vocal rasp, offering an infectious taste of what’s to come from the ever-evolving shock rocker. –Spencer Kaufman

Preview:

Pick up the album here.


Mastodon – Medium Rarities

Mastodon Medium Rarities

Release Date: September 11th via Reprise Records

Why We’re Excited: Prior to the pandemic, it was expected that Mastodon would release a new album in 2020. However, like so many other things in the world, those plans have been put on hold. Thankfully, the Atlanta metal masters are tiding fans over with a compilation titled Medium Rarities, which collects instrumentals, one-off singles, live tracks, cover tunes, and other obscurities. The highlight, though, is a brand-new song called “Fallen Torches” featuring longtime collaborator Scott Kelly of Neurosis. The track was originally slated to be released in conjunction with Mastodon’s 2019 European tour, but never saw the light of day until now. Add in covers of Feist, The Flaming Lips, and more hard-to-find tracks, and Medium Rarities should be a treat for all Mastodon fans. — Spencer Kaufman

Preview:

Pick up the album here.


Uniform – Shame

Uniform - Shame

Release Date: September 11th via Sacred Bones

Why We’re Excited: Hailing from NYC, Uniform are a band firmly entrenched in the times. Their acerbic brand of heavy music once filled the bars and venues of Brooklyn and Manhattan, left vacant after the pandemic hit New York like a cataclysm. Uniform’s music always had a tinge of the city’s sinister side — the nihilism of the sprawl and grime. But now songs like lead single “Delco” and the title track from upcoming LP Shame come off like the soundtrack to the apocalypse. In better times, Uniform would have played a record release show with like-minded acts at Saint Vitus Bar, where they often performed. It probably would have been a good time. Instead, the music is left to speak for itself. It’s strangely fitting, given the passion and vitriol the band puts down on record. Yet, it also serves as a reminder that we must support these bands, buy their albums directly, during times like these. Even the apocalypse needs a soundtrack. –Jon Hadusek

Preview:

Pick up the album here.

Click ahead for more anticipated albums…


Napalm Death – Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism

Napalm Death Throes of Joy in the Hands of Defeatism

Release Date: September 18th via Century Media

Why We’re Excited: As one of the pioneering acts of grindcore and death metal, Napalm Death have enjoyed an admirably long and storied career. The band could easily ride the coattails of their own historical significance, but instead they continue to churn out massive and significant albums. Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism will be the latest, and album tracks like “Backlash Just Because” have us hyped for the UK trio’s upcoming buffet of brutality. Napalm Death’s humor and irreverence are a refreshing blast of anti-pretention. At this point, the band has nothing to prove. It simply continues to make well-executed extreme music at a steady clip. Few have been so efficient for so long — four decades — in any genre.–Jon Hadusek

Preview:

Pick up the album here.


Deftones – Ohms

Deftones Ohms - album artwork

Release Date: September 25th via Reprise

Why We’re Excited: Deftones are that rare veteran band who have yet to release a weak album, despite a recording career spanning a quarter century. While their last LP, Gore, may have been met with more criticism than their previous albums, it was by no means a poor effort. However, the band have returned to their roots with the new album, Ohms. Producer Terry Date, who helmed Deftones’ first four LPs, including White Pony and Around the Fur, is back for the band’s ninth full-length effort, and if the recently released title track is any indication, Deftones are in fine form on the most highly anticipated rock album of the fall. –Spencer Kaufman

Preview:

Pick up the album here.


Kataklysm – Unconquered

Kataklysym Unconquerable

Release Date: September 25th via Nuclear Blast

Why We’re Excited: The steadiest of death metal machines, Kataklysm is always charging ahead with new works of heavy metal extremity. If the rest of their upcoming album Unconquered is anything like lead single “Kill Shot”, we can expect another sonic bombardment from the veteran band. Emphasis on the sonics here — this is as good as Kataklysm has sounded…maybe ever. Thanks to modern recording technology and engineer Colin Richardson — who came out of retirement to mix the record — more of the the band’s bestial musical image has been captured than ever before. Soak it in. When they used to print “PLAY LOUD” on LPs back in the day, it was for music like this. –Jon Hadusek

Preview:

Pick up the album here.


Corey Taylor – CMFT

Corey Taylor - CMFT

Release Date: October 2nd via Roadrunner

Why We’re Excited: Corey Taylor delivered an excellent album (We Are Not Your Kind) with his longtime band Slipknot last year, and now he’s ready to unleash his first-ever solo effort, CMFT. Anyone who has seen Slipknot live knows what the “MF” in CMFT stands for, as it’s Taylor’s favorite profanity to scream onstage. The album contains 13 songs, ranging from newly penned tracks to ones that Taylor first started writing as a teenager. The beloved metal singer has already shown the wide range of material on the album on the first two singles, with “CMFT Must Be Stopped” (featuring Tech N9ne and Kid Bookie), a rap-metal party anthem, and “Black Eyes Blue”, a melodic radio-friendly rocker. — Spencer Kaufman

Preview:

Pick up the album here.


DevilDriver – Dealing With Demons I

DevilDriver - Dealing With Demons I

Release Date: October 2nd via Napalm Records

Why We’re Excited: DevilDriver have been delivering intense groove metal for nearly 20 years, and they’re ready to unleash their ninth LP, Dealing With Demons I, the first of a two-part album being released separately. The two discs will serve as a cathartic release for frontman Dez Fafara, who has tapped into some deeply personal topics for the songs’ lyrics. “Over the course of these last few years we fled from wildfires, my wife battled cancer and now we are going through a pandemic … let’s dump it all on the table and purge,” he said in a press release announcing the albums. — Spencer Kaufman

Preview:

Pick up the album here.

Click ahead for more anticipated albums…


Enslaved – Utgard

 20 Most Anticipated Metal Albums of Fall 2020

Release Date: October 2nd via Nuclear Blast

Why We’re Excited: One the most consistent and workmanlike bands in black metal, Norway’s Enslaved return with their 16th proper full-length album, Utgard, which was delayed to this fall. If that seems like a lot of records, it’s because the band has relentlessly stuck to the grind since 1991. Enslaved’s beginnings harken back to the cold, formative years of atmospheric black metal, the prevailing sound among fellow Norwegian bands such as Emperor, Mayhem, and Darkthrone. From there, Enslaved honed themselves into a global metal institution, expanding their sound into a rare fusion of blackened prog, which is where we find the band today, set to unleash Utgard to isolating fans around the world.–Jon Hadusek

Preview:

Pick up the album here.


Touche Amore – Lament

Touche Amore Lament

Release Date: October 9th via Epitaph

Why We’re Excited: Screamo pioneers Touche Amore kept a low profile following 2016’s Stage Four. The album marked an artistic peak in the band’s career, permeated by the sense that they’d finally found a voice distinctly their own. Genre tags aside, nobody really sounds like Touch Amore, especially on Stage Four. Perhaps that realization has caused their upcoming album, Lament, to gestate for longer than any other prior full-length LP in their discography. After a couple warm up singles, the band finally showed its hand by releasing album tracks “Deflector” and “Limelight”, the latter already a shoe-in for any sensible Touche Amore Top 10 list. As underground bands like Portrayal of Guilt cite Touche Amore as a direct influence, a scene has begun to develop around their idiosyncratic vision of emotional hardcore music. Lament has the potential to be their greatest achievement yet. –Jon Hadusek

Preview:

Pick up the album here.


Spirit Adrift – Enlightened in Eternity

Spirit Adrift

Release Date: October 16th via 20 Buck Spin

Why We’re Excited: Arizona’s Spirit Adrift quietly dropped one of the best heavy metal albums of 2019 with Divided by Darkness. Honing a distinctly modern blend of classic influences — Metallica, Ozzy, Rush — Spirit Adrift went from being the spinoff project of Gatecreeper guitarist Nathan Garrett to a separate, worthy entity in its own right. One gets the hint that Garrett has diverted a lot more time to Spirit Adrift, with Enlightened in Eternity arriving almost like a direct sequel to Divided by Darkness, both in nomenclature and brute sonics. Garrett is in top form vocally on the single “Harmony of the Spheres”, and those who’ve followed the band’s trajectory through the underground can appreciate the confidence and grandeur of the new material. Fans of melodic heavy metal have a new band to champion, and it’s Spirit Adrift. –Jon Hadusek

Preview:

Pick up the album here.


Pallbearer – Forgotten Days

Pallbearer - Forgotten Days

Release Date: October 23rd via Nuclear Blast

Why We’re Excited: Pallbearer decided to kick out the jams for their fourth studio album, Forgotten Days. It’s the band’s first album on new label home Nuclear Blast, and if the singles are any indication, Pallbearer are serving up their most riff-filled doom metal album in years. The title track and “Rite of Passage” veer more on the “riff” side of things, as compared to the prog-leaning Heartless and the heavy romanticism of 2014’s Foundations of Burden. In some ways, it’s a return to the sound of the band’s early demo and debut album, Sorrow and Extinction. It’s less conceptual and more immediate. Pallbearer sound as strong as ever. –Jon Hadusek

Preview:

Pick up the album here.


Greg Puciato – Child Soldier: Creator of God

Greg Puciato Child Soldier

Release Date: October 23rd via Federal Prisoner

Why We’re Excited: After The Dillinger Escape Plan played their final shows in late 2017, it left a void in the metal world, as one of heavy music’s most dynamic acts had called it a day. Now, the band’s frontman, Greg Puciato, is set to help fill that void with his debut solo album, Child Soldier: Creator of God. The singer and multi-instrumentalist has already offered a hefty taste of what’s to come via four singles — “Fire for Water”, “Deep Set”, “Do You Need Me to Remind You?”, and “Roach Hiss” — delivering an experimental yet heavy sound that echoes Puciato’s versatility as an artist. Here’s hoping one of metal’s most dangerous live performers can get back onstage to showcase his latest project. — Spencer Kaufman

Preview:

Pick up the album here.

Click ahead for more anticipated albums…


Sevendust – Blood & Stone

Sevendust Blood & Stone

Release Date: October 23rd via Rise Records

Why We’re Excited: Sevendust are a quarter-century into their career, and they released one of their best albums to date in 2018’s All I See Is War. Now, they’re set to return two years later with their 13th album, Blood & Stone. Over the years, Sevendust have crafted an alt-metal sound that’s both aggressive and infectious, winning over metal purists while also remaining mainstays on rock radio. For the LP’s first single, frontman Lajon Witherspoon and company turned to one of their influences, covering Soundgarden’s “The Day I Tried to Live”. Blood & Stone sees Sevendust once again working with All I See Is War producer Michael “Elvis” Baskette, which should make for another strong effort from the veteran rockers. — Spencer Kaufman

Preview:

Pick up the album here.


Thou & Emma Ruth Rundle – May Our Chambers Be Full

sba007 thouemma LP r0 20 Most Anticipated Metal Albums of Fall 2020

Release Date: October 30th via Sacred Bones

Why We’re Excited: Thou and Emma Ruth Rundle’s upcoming collaborative album, May Our Chambers Be Full, is a match made in doom. Thou’s crushing sludge metal intertwines with Rundle’s own stylistic guitar playing and singing, and they trade off on vocals on the lead single “Ancestral Recall”. The results are something new and adventurous for both parties. Thou have previously collaborated with fellow harshers The Body, but here they’re forced to mesh with the considerably more melodic material from Rundle. Meanwhile, it’s the latter’s most overtly metal pivot yet, adding another notch to a prolific and blossoming solo career. –Jon Hadusek

Preview:

Pick up the album here.


Mr. Bungle – The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo

mr bungle easter bunny 20 Most Anticipated Metal Albums of Fall 2020

Release Date: October 30th via Ipecac

Why We’re Excited: As we’ve followed Mr. Bungle’s progress on the re-imagined Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo, we can only describe our anticipation as that of a giddy child waiting to open a long-promised gift. We need it. In an effort to give their notoriously lo-fi first demo the sonic treatment it’s long deserved, the founding members of Mr. Bungle — Mike Patton, Trevor Dunn, and Trey Spruance — enlisted a pair of thrash metal A-listers: Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian and ex-Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo, who’s often credited with popularizing the double-kick blast beat in heavy metal. We are forever grateful for whatever music-industry hoop jumping that allowed this collaboration to happen. Come October 30th, the Easter Bunny’s raging wrath will be felt once again. Bring it on. –Jon Hadusek

Preview:

Pick up the album here.


Fates Warning – Long Day Good Night

Fates Warning Long Day Good Night

Release Date: November 6th via Metal Blade

Why We’re Excited: Progressive-metal pioneers Fates Warning’s storied career spans over three decades, and they keep delivering albums that push the band in new musical directions. The band is set to return with their 13th studio album, Long Day Good Night, and as first single “Scars” proves, Fates Warning can still lay down something heavy and atmospheric. Longtime fans will have plenty to soak in, as Long Day Good Night will be the veteran band’s longest album to date, clocking in at over 72 minutes. —Jon Hadusek

Preview:

Pick up the album here.


Evanescence – The Bitter Truth

Evanescence - The Bitter Truth

Release Date: TBA via BMG

Why We’re Excited: Anytime Amy Lee and company come out with new music, Evanescence fans rejoice, but it’s been nine years since the band released a full-length studio album of original material, adding even more anticipation than usual. Instead of a traditional album release, Evanescence are offering up The Bitter Truth in bits and pieces, releasing singles throughout the year, without announcing a tracklist or release date. So far, the three singles released — “Wasted on You”, “The Game Is Over”, and “Use My Voice” — have showcased the full spectrum of Evanescence’s sound, from beautiful balladry to guitar-driven alternative metal to anthemic rock, all powered by Lee’s unmistakable ethereal vocals. — Spencer Kaufman

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