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2016's most anticipated metal albums


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2015 was a great year for heavy metal. 2016 threatens to be even better.

Already the world of rock has promised a wide array of excitement for fans of every sub-genre, from thrash to progressive and everything in between.

These are the most anticipated metal albums for the next 12 months....

Dream Theater – The Astonishing (29th January)

Three years after the release of their self-titled studio album, progressive metal band Dream Theater will return at the end of the first month of 2016 in a big way.

Not only is the band’s upcoming thirteenth LP a concept album, but also a double album, set to feature two CD’s of lengthy instrumental suites, iconic, melodic vocals from James LaBrie and – of course – solo after solo after solo.

As of yet, only one of the album’s 34 tracks has been released, that being “The Gift of Music”: an uplifting progressive rock piece that celebrates the spirit of music in a manner reminiscent of Rush’s immaculate “2112”.

As the track goes, it only gets heavier and heavier, and more and more encapsulating. Dream Theater will truly be a force to be reckoned with in 2016.

Megadeth – Dystopia (22nd January)

The recent history of Megadeth has been mixed at best. To call their last album – 2013’s Super Collider – lacklustre is probably a massive understatement.

Furthermore, the band’s guitarist and drummer – Chris Broderick and Shawn Drover – both left in 2014 to form the thrash supergroup Act of Defiance (to whom I strongly apologise for not giving Birth and the Burial a slot on my “Best metal albums of 2015” list. Consider it an honorary runner-up).

But once we heard that they were to be replaced by Angra’s Kiko Loureiro and Lamb of God’s Chris Adler, things began to look up again. And they only got better with the release of the band’s first new material in three years, “Fatal Illusion”.

Finally, we received the fast, heavy, merciless Megadeth of old: a heaviness fans greatly missed after Super Collider’s attempt at radio rock. Dave Mustaine and co. waste no time in showing off the band’s new blood, as Kiko blasts out ear-splitting solos and Adler does nothing short of pummelling his kit.

2016 could be the year of redemption for Megadeth, who seem to be going back to what they do best: being heavy as hell.

Holy Grail – Times of Pride and Peril (12th February)

The third album by Los Angeles power/thrash metal five-piece Holy Grail has a lot to live up to.

Its predecessors – 2010’s Crisis in Utopia and 2013’s Ride the Void – are both stellar releases that prove that the band deserves to share its name with the most sacred item in the Christian religion.

The pressure is on for Holy Grail to pull off the trifecta, and by the sound of their very recently released new single, 'No More Heroes', they are going to do so in glorious fashion.

The song wastes no time in showing off what brought the group to the dance: catchy hooks, melodic choruses and the soaring NWOBHM-esque vocals of James Paul Luna.

This is a release that will see the underground Holy Grail progress to much bigger and better things this year.

Anthrax – For All Kings (26th February)

It’s been five years since the last Anthrax album – Worship Music – so the hype behind the band’s eleventh venture has had a long time to brew.

As of yet, no singles from For All Kings have been released to whet our appetites, but the Anthrax logo at the top of that album cover is all the whetting most of us need.

Vektor – Terminal Redux (11th March)

Vektor is probably the heaviest band in the world right now. I am not exaggerating in any way. Listen to 'Tetrastructural Minds' or 'Ultimate Artificer' – the lead single from their upcoming third album Terminal Redux – and I guarantee you will agree.

The band’s last two albums – Black Future and Outer Isolation – have delivered nothing short of a sci-fi-themed, progressive thrashing, mercilessly assaulting any and all listeners.

And Terminal Redux promises to do just the same if its single is anything to go by. Vocalist/guitarist David DiSanto screams at the top of his lungs over the fast drums and even faster shredding, delivering a sonic onslaught that demonstrates that, out of all the albums on this list, Terminal Redux will not be suited for the unadventurous.

Metallica – Untitled tenth studio album (TBA)

MetallicaNot much is known about Metallica’s upcoming tenth studio release, but what we do know is that it is coming. Soon. Very soon.

Throughout many an interview over the past few months, Metallica has confirmed that 2016 is the year to expect new music. And it better be: we’ve been waiting eight years for it.

Over the holidays, James Hetfield released a quick vlog onto the Metallica website, teasing eager fans with twelve whole seconds of new material. That’s all we’ve heard up to this point: but that’s all we need to hear. When you’re a band as massive as Metallica and it’s been almost a decade since your last album, you know the new one is going to sell, no matter what.

Metallica’s upcoming album deserves a slot on this list, but there is so little to say about it since its production is so shrouded in mystery and secrecy. But one thing is for certain: the record will either make or break 2016 for almost every metalhead on the face of the earth.

No pressure guys.

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