Looking Ahead To 2012: Fantastic New Albums & Tours In The Offing

By Andrew Bansal

2011 has been a great year for heavy music, and was largely full of killer albums and brutal touring line-ups. As amazing as 2011 was, I’m already looking ahead at what 2012 has to offer, and it promises to be an even better year for our favorite kind of music, which is a very exciting prospect, to say the least.

Albums: Some of my favorite bands are set to release new albums in 2012, and of course, I’m expecting great things from each and every one of them. Thrash heroes Slayer, Death Angel, Forbidden and Testament will release their 12th, 7th, 6th and 10th studio albums respectively. Death Angel’s latest album “Relentless Retribution” was absolutely mind-blowing, and to see them top that effort would be something special, if they indeed succeed at it. Forbidden’s “Omega Wave” wasn’t far behind by any means, and the band should deliver the goods on the new album as well. As for Testament, the album, titled “Dark Roots Of Earth”, has been in the making for a while now, and I’m just glad to finally see a release date for it. Slayer is always Slayer, and from them I expect nothing more, nothing less.

Motorhead is also slated to release their 21st studio album, and just like Slayer, I know what to expect from these rock ‘n roll Gods. The bands I mentioned so far are quite well known, and besides these, there are a lot of “lesser known” bands set to put out new music that I’m equally excited for. The one I’m most looking forward to is Holy Grail’s second album. Their debut full-length “Crisis In Utopia” was hands down my favorite release of 2010 and I’ve been waiting for its follow-up album ever since. 3 Inches Of Blood, Christian Mistress and Periphery will also release new albums, and I hope for kickass music from all three of them.

A new Lamb Of God release is always a huge event for me, because that band simply never fails to deliver. Despite the fact that their latest album “Wrath” got mixed reactions from fans and critics, I really loved it, and can’t wait for the January 24th release of the follow-up, their 7th studio album “Resolution”.

I’m perfectly aware that Black Sabbath, KISS and Van Halen will also release new albums in 2012, but quite honestly, I’m not expecting anything great from any of those albums, and I would be pleasantly surprised if they are any good. I am super-excited to see them touring though. More on that later.

Perhaps the most anticipated album of 2012, in my humble opinion, is Saint Vitus’ comeback album “Lillie: F-65”. Set to release on March 27th, this is the band’s 8th studio album and the first after a gap of 17 years. Not only that, it’s also the first to feature Wino on vocals since 1990’s “V”. They have been playing one song from this album, “Blessed Night” in most of the shows they did in 2011, and if that song is anything to go by, the new Vitus offering should bring delight to all metal fans across the globe.

But of course, there are lots and lots of other bands that will probably release new albums in 2012, and although I can’t list them all, simply because there are too many, I am excited for each and every one of them.

Tours: It’s great to have good new music to listen to at home, but live music is really what gets me going, and I’m sure that’s the case with most of you as well. The image above should be sufficient indication to you that the tour I’m most looking forward to is Black Sabbath’s reunion tour, scheduled for the fall of 2012. Having never seen the original lineup, this excites me more than anything else, and quite simply, the 11-11-11 announcement of this tour was the single best piece of news I’ve heard in 2011. The resurrection of Ozzfest with Sabbath as the headliner is a strong possibility, but I would honestly prefer a Black Sabbath headline tour, with other legends like Iron Maiden and Motorhead in support. Now that would be an EPIC tour.

Iron Maiden, Van Halen, KISS and Roger Waters will also be embarking on high-profile headline tours of their own, and should be worth the wait.

I’m also extremely glad to see the Gigantour festival finally being resurrected. The last Gigantour was in 2008, which I saw in Long Beach. It was a really unforgettable experience, because even 450 shows later, I still remember everything from it. And I’m equally glad to see that Motorhead has been picked as main support to Megadeth. Other than that, the tour featuring Iced Earth and Symphony X as co-headliners should be a great show. Then there’s the second leg of the Anthrax-Testament-Death Angel tour in January/February, which should be as amazing as it was on the first leg. And last but certainly not the least, Machine Head is confirmed to do their first US headline tour in five years.

So all in all, 2012 promises to be an epic year of album releases and tours, and even if it lives up to 50 per cent of its expectations, fans are in for a massive treat.