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2019 Anticipated
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20 Albums To Be Excited About In 2020

2019 might have disappeared into the rearview, but the rock don’t stop. Here are the records that’ll make 2020 bang even harder…

2019 was mega, wasn’t it? From legends like Rammstein, Tool and Slipknot via underground heroes Baroness, Chelsea Wolfe and Alcest to young guns Knocked Loose, LINGUA IGNOTA and Dream State, killer albums were dropping thick and fast like asteroids ready to set our world ablaze. The festive break provided a little respite but it’s not the bottom line, just the eye of the storm, and now we’re back into the maelstrom!

So forget those New Year blues, because with some serious heavyweights out to prove they’ve still got what it takes and a whole new roster of upstarts ready to stake their claim, there are more reasons than ever for rockers to get rowdy in 2020. Hell, we might even get a surprise or two along the way!

Here are the 20 upcoming albums already warming up our wish lists…

Ozzy Osbourne – Ordinary Man

There’s nothing ordinary about Ozzy Osbourne. We’ll forgive any factual inaccuracies, however, around Ordinary Man: the 71-year-old’s first solo LP since 2010’s Scream. “This album was a gift from my higher power,” Ozzy said in a press release. “It is proof to me that you should never give up. It all started when [daughter] Kelly comes in and says, ‘Do you want to work on a Post Malone song? My first thing was, ‘Who the fuck is Post Malone?’”

Conscripting Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith – alongside guitarist/producer Andrew Watt, the Prince Of Darkness has already whet out appetites with that Post-collab Take What You Want and lead-single Under The Graveyard. Who knows what dark delights lie beyond.

Higher Power – 27 Miles Underwater

Leeds hardcore collective Higher Power might already be one of the hottest bands on the planet, but things are about to pick up with their scintillating second LP. Having signed with Roadrunner Records, they’re out to better 2017’s Soul Structure, doubling down on the fresh reinvention of ’90s hardcore that’s become their calling card.

“It’s based on the seven year cycle theory that says every seven years we essentially become new people,” frontman Jimmy Wizard explained to Kerrang!, “because in that time, every cell in your body has been replaced by a new cell.” We can’t wait to hear this next stage in their evolution.

Sylosis – Cycle Of Suffering

Taking over the late Tom Searle’s spot as guitarist for Architects, Sylosis mainman Josh Middleton wasn’t exactly chilling out over the course of his main band’s three year sojourn. Regardless, having parted ways with bassist Carl Parnell and bringing Conjurer’s Conor Marshall on board, album five sounds like its going to be an outlet for all sorts of pent up unhinged heaviosity, with cutting lead single I Sever leading the way.

After three long years, Sylosis are back! I want to thank all of our fans for their patience and support over these last few years,” Josh announced. “Cycle Of Suffering is dedicated to them.”

AC/DC – TBC

Okay, this is a speculative one. Having broken hearts with the announcement that they would be letting long-term vocalist Brian Johnson go due to his hearing difficulties in 2016 – and having laid to rest founding guitarist Malcolm Young the following year – most felt that AC/DC’s Rock’N’Roll Train had finally ground to a halt. When it was rumoured earlier in 2019 that Brian had gotten his condition under control and would be re-joining the legendary Aussie rockers, hope was kindled. With whispers that bassist Cliff Williams had also come back into the fold and that the band have been in the studio, we can dare to hope for the 2020s to be the sixth decade graced with Acca-Dacca recorded output…

Billy Talent – TBC

At the end of November, Billy Talent released their first new music since 2016’s excellent Afraid Of Heights. The oven-fresh track (or should that be ‘tracks’) Forgiveness I + II finds the Canadians in melancholic, introverted form, with a musicality that walks the line between their trademark bombast and something murkier and more complex. They’ve not expressly announced that there is a full album in the works, but anyone who’s heard this song will surely speculate that it’s just the tip of a creative iceberg ready to crash our ear canals.

Weezer – Van Weezer

Los Angeles pop rock legends Weezer dropped two albums in 2019, but that’s not stopped them readying more music, with album 14 virtually ready to roll out. With the title Van Weezer and a preview single – The End Of The Game – reportedly featuring 100 guitar overdubs, we can expect shred heaven. “Last album we didn’t have any guitars,” frontman Rivers Cuomo told Apple Music’s Beats 1. “This one is just all guitars. This is all from playing shows, and we just noticed over the last few years there’d be these moments during the show where I’d accidentally bust out a few harmonics or a whammy bar dive or a little tapping just because I can’t control myself.”

Exodus – TBC

If there was one good thing to come from November 30’s dissolution of metal overlords Slayer, it was that stand-in guitarist Gary Holt was free to return to his original outfit. Alongside their Californian brethren in Testament, Exodus look set to contribute to a new wave of old school thrash coming our way in the new year. There might not have been any official announcement of the follow-up to 2014’s Blood In, Blood Out just yet, but Holt himself has teased that the sounds coming out of Exodus HQ are beyond savage. Chuck us into the grinder!

VUKOVI – Fall Better

2017’s brilliant self-titled LP might have thrust Glaswegian rockers VUKOVI into the rock consciousness, but it also proved to be the tipping point for vocalist Janine Shilstone’s lifelong OCD, driving the frontwoman to a suicidal low. Their follow-up – due January 24 – is their fightback.

“When writing this I was going through a really angry stage towards my OCD,” Janine explains of a sensational collection of songs. “Angry because I physically wanted to hurt this thing which I couldn’t, so talking back and standing up for myself seemed the next best thing. This album is our therapy and we hope it’s gonna help a lot of people as well.”

Deftones – TBC

Although their brilliant eighth offering Gore threw up enough for us to chew on for year, we’re hungry for another Deftones release. Fortunately, Chino Moreno has stated – in an interview with NBC 7 San Diego – that we can definitely look forward to album nine in 2020. Daring to invoke 2000 masterpiece White Pony (a record celebrating its own twentieth anniversary in 2020) Chino has hinted that new material will find the Sacramento alt-metallers on “experimental” form. Given the rich, deep creative furrow they’ve been ploughing of late, we can’t wait to see how much deeper they can go.

Brian Fallon – Local Honey

In a move that shocked absolutely no-one, the lead single from Brian Fallon’s upcoming third LP was absolutely fucking gorgeous. Terming You Have Stolen My Heart his “most direct attempt at a love song” yet, the ex-Gaslight Anthem frontman seems like he’ll be at his Tom Petty-est on Local Honey (due March 27), which for fans of his bruised soul and roadworn heart is, er, music to the ears.

“Every single song is about right now,” Brian explains of this latest work with The Howling Weather. “It’s not about these glorious dreams or miserable failures, it’s just about life and how I see it.” Expect him to find the enchanting in that everyday.

The Offspring – TBC

The 2010s were a strange decade for The Offspring. After 2012’s Days Go By, their output was limited to a smattering of singles and standalone tracks: Coming for You dropping in 2015 and It Won’t Get Better in 2018. Hell, they even recorded the theme for 2016 Z-movie Sharknado: The 4th Awakens. Guitarist Noodles has confirmed, though, that after targeting a 2019 release, album 10 will be dropping early in 2020.

The artwork needs to be done and we have a rough track listing,” he explained. “We’ve even gone and done more music since. We just need a distribution deal, and we want that done by the end of the year. Then we can release…” Give it to us, baby! Uh-huh, uh-huh! (Sorry.)

Code Orange – TBC

In 2017 landmark Forever, Pittsburgh metallic hardcore supremos Code Orange delivered one of the definitive releases of the last decade. Characteristically, however, they were quick to tell us even then that the fun was just getting started. Having cancelled last summer’s festival dates (including a much-anticipated debut on the Bloodstock main stage), there was an implicit guarantee that the music on which they were working was so all-consuming that their focus simply could not be divided. Expanding on their already trademark multimedia approach, details have begun to leak out in recent weeks: A cryptic website, abstract YouTube clips, clues and codes layered throughout… Safe to say, when music finally drops this next chapter of their New Reality is going to be dark, it’s going to be terrifying, and it’s going to be bloody brilliant.

A Day To Remember – You're Welcome

With their Victory Records lawsuit finally behind them, 2019 was a stop-start affair for Ocala heavyweights A Day To Remember. First up, a strange, leftfield collaboration with EDM heavyweight (and ADTR die-hard) Marshmello: Rescue Me. Then, a couple of smashing singles of their own in Degenerates and Resentment. The LP You’re Welcome – named after the slogan on a hoodie frontman Jeremy McKinnon picked up in Mexico – was due on November 15, but has now been pushed back to early 2020. That’s no cause for concern, mind. “It’s something fresh,” Jeremy has enthused. “I would say that this is the first truly happy A Day To Remember record. The vibe has never been stronger!”

Gojira – TBC

There’s been no official announcement of a new album from French giants Gojira, but like a kaiju beginning to awake from its slumber, the rumblings have been there. Frontman Joe Duplantier appeared, on social media, to be back in the studio as far back as October 2018 and drummer brother “Evil” Mario confirmed in May last year that they were working hard on new material. With festival appearances already booked in for the summer, it’s about time they had some new songs to showcase. And, no matter how sparse details remain, it’s a nailed on certainty that the follow-up to 2016 landmark Magma is going to fucking crush.

Anti-Flag – 20/20 Vision

Of course Pittsburgh’s favourite socially aware punk rockers will be dropping an album in 2020. With the looming presidential election campaign – not to mention the wider global discord – filling front pages, their stripped-back, no-nonsense approach is sorely needed.

“The policies of Donald Trump and his administration are not just hateful. They’re racist, Islamophobic, homophobic, transphobic, and bigoted,” bassist/vocalist Chris #2 has explained, pulling zero punches. “Our focus should not only be on their hatred, but their outward and unabashed fascism. We shouldn’t just try to kill these things with love and kindness. We should be in the streets daily, demanding an end to racial, social, and economic injustice.” A most righteous return. Kudos, too, for delivering the year’s most ingeniously obvious album title.

Gone Is Gone – TBC

Although bassist/vocalist Troy Sanders has also teased that his main concern Mastodon are getting into gear for their eighth release, output from his inspired collaboration with Queens Of The Stone Age guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen, At The Drive-In drummer Tony Hajjar and multi-instrumental soundtrack specialist Mike Zarin is more imminent. Standalone single No One Ever Walked On Water dropped on Friday December 13, but the band disclosed in a recent interview with Kerrang! at November 30’s European debut that a third extended recording – following 2016’s self-titled EP and 2017’s Echolocation LP – will be following soon after. Not bad for an outfit with a grand total of four shows under their belts…

Creeper – TBC

Two and a half years after Southampton sextet Creeper announced themselves as British rock’s darkest hopes, and following an extended, characteristically mysterious hiatus, we’re ready to delve into the rich, textured narrative of album two.

“Whereas before we’d transformed our hometown into something more fantastical than it was, with a first record that told people where we’d been, this time we felt we needed to show people where we’d gone since,” frontman Will Gould explained to Kerrang! of an extraterrestrial concept informed by their Stateside exploits. “We started thinking about creating an entirely new world not reliant on landmarks that already existed, but building from the ground up.” With lead single Born Cold showing off the maturity in their sound, fans understandable can’t wait to get beamed up.

Sløtface – Sorry For The Late Reply

Genius Norwegian alt-punks Sløtface have been bubbling away beneath the surface for a few years now. If 2017’s debut LP caught the attention with its bubblegum catchiness and sharp wit, they’re looking for the follow-up Sorry For The Late Reply (due January 31) to smash through to the mainstream. Sporting a sound that’s “rock but … more defined,” as well as being increasingly “minimalistic,” “braver” and more “raw”, album two promises to deliver the same sort of stripped-back sounds and big ideas exploited lead-single S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Plumbing deep into personal and political crises – the everyday injustices endured by women, minorities and immigrants – expect them to win over a new legion of hearts and minds.

My Chemical Romance – TBC

Another speculative entry here, but we can hope and dream. Given the New Jersey emo figureheads’ reunion dropped out of nowhere on Halloween, though, who’s to say that new music isn’t a possibility? And, if something were to drop, who knows what shape it would take. MCR were always fans of reinvention, but with the near seven-year break in activity and wealth of wildly divergent side and solo projects, we could get anything from Britpop-revivalism to dark, avant-garde electro – or a Frankenstein’s monster of all sorts. No matter the ifs, whats and whens, mind, we’re in 100 per cent.

Green Day – Father Of All…

We can’t lie: the thirteenth album from Green Day might just be the most exciting prospect of the lot. Following-up 2016’s Revolution Radio, the Berkeley punks are promising zero indulgences, with their shortest album ever stripped of fat and weighing in at a pin-sharp 26 minutes.

“Rock and roll sometimes has become so tame because a lot of rock acts are always trying to look for the feel-good song of the year or something,” frontman Billie Joe Armstrong explained, stressing the band’s playful form during an interview with Apple Music’s Beats 1. “Everything gets really watered down and wimpy, and I think rock music should make you feel bad.” The freewheeling two-and-a-half title-track/lead-single sure lives up to the promise to get wild, and we can’t wait to see the rest of the record hold pace for the duration. “Our motto? ‘Nothing says fuck you like a unicorn’,” Armstrong wrote under the YouTube video of the same. Read into that what you will…

Posted on January 2nd 2020, 4:30pm
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