2016 in Music: A Look Forward

New blog, new year: having a look forward to what albums are due to come out later this year seems as good idea as any for my first post. So much anticipation, like it’s still Xmas Eve or something…

Anyway, it looks like it’ll be a decent year indeed for rock and metal; here are some albums that I am particularly excited about: –

Avantasia – Ghostlights (due for release: 29th January)

Edguy frontman Tobias Sammet returns to his “metal opera” project this year, and he’s once again recruited rock royalty for vocal support. Alongside old friends from past albums (Within Temptation’s Sharon Den Adel, Magnum’s Bob Catley and Helloween’s Michael Kiske to name a few), there are new faces in the shape of Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider, Queensryche’s Geoff Tate and Nightwish’s Marco Hietala. The main thing that has me champing at the bit in anticipation though is the return of iron-lunged former Masterplan singer Jorn Lande, who was sorely missed on Avantasia’s last album, The Mystery of Time. This is sure to get 2016 off to a bombastic start.

Dream Theater – The Astonishing (due for release: 29th January)

Albums by two of my favourite bands on the same day, it must be my birthday. Never one to shy away from a challenge, the prog kings’ latest effort is a two-disc rock opera about a heroic band of rebels fighting an evil empire, complete with orchestration by acclaimed composer David Campbell. Some worry that this sounds too ambitious even for Dream Theater, but they’ve gambled and won many times before so I can’t wait to check it out.

Moonsorrow – Jumalten Aika (due for release: 1st April)

Keeping with the bombastic theme, Finland’s most sonically ambitious band return after a five-year absence this spring. Following a successful show in York last year, Moonsorrow are undertaking an extensive co-headline tour of the UK with Korpiklaani in support of their new album later this year. This could be the perfect opportunity for this band of pagan folk metal warriors to make serious inroads over here.

Alice in Chains – TBC

Black Gives Way to Blue and The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here were both great triumphs for Alice in Chains. William DuVall’s fantastic contribution to the Seattle grunge band has been a source of welcome relief for long-term fans who were worried the band wouldn’t survive without much missed frontman Layne Staley. They’ve not just survived; they’ve soared. Hopefully their upcoming album will carry on the successes of the previous two.

Dimmu Borgir – TBC

Abrahadabra was one of the highlights of the symphonic black metallers’ career, but that was six years ago now. Dimmu Borgir tend to take their time with each album, creating a powerful, well-crafted statement each time. Let’s hope their new one follows suit.

Tool – TBC (eventually…)

Ok, I’m being a bit optimistic here, but it’s now TEN YEARS since rock’s most enigmatic group last provided us with some new material. If the long-awaited fifth Tool album finally surfaces this year, it’ll certainly be worth the wait as this is one band who has never ever done things half-heartedly.

I am just scratching the surface here, and I can’t wait to see what else might appear this year, from both old and new bands.

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