Thanks to bold bands like hard rockers Tomahawk and the glammy metalcore group Black Veil Brides, January is sporting an uncharacteristically strong showing of notable records by heavy groups. But that still leaves 11 more months for any number of headbangers to put out some metal milestones. With that in mind, we've picked out the five mosh-worthy releases, rumored to surface sometime in 2013, that we're most excited to raise our horns to in the months to come.
1. Tool, TBA
When Tool titled their last album, 2006's 10,000 Days, they didn't tell their fans they'd have to wait nearly that long for a new record. As of December, the band's webmaster has claimed that the new album is about halfway done. "Dare I say that it sounded like …Tool (some of it reminiscent to earlier Tool stuff, with other parts pushing the envelope)," he wrote coyly of the group, who last toured in early 2012 (see below). "I assume that it will sound even more like Tool once the vocal melodies, etc. have been added." Without getting all Inherit the Wind, questioning the relationship between Tool's divine inspiration and the science of recording, exactly how long is one of Tool's days?
2. Black Sabbath, TBA
Since announcing their reunion in 2011, the iron men of Black Sabbath have been seemingly climbing uphill. First, original drummer Bill Ward chose not to participate in the reunion concerts at various international festivals over a contract dispute, then guitarist Tony Iommi learned he had lymphoma, which forced them to cancel several concerts, though they were able to make it to the U.K.'s Download Festival where they played in fine form (see video). Nevertheless, Iommi, vocalist Ozzy Osbourne and bassist Geezer Butler have been working diligently on writing and recording their first LP together since 1978's Never Say Die! As of this past June, Osbourne had been saying the group had written about 15 new foot stompers, and in October, the group announced the title of one song: "God Is Dead." The boys have really lightened up over the past few decades.
3. Avenged Sevenfold, TBA
In a recent interview with Revolver, Avenged Sevenfold frontman M. Shadows said he'd been schooling the group's drummer, Arin Ilejay -- who will make his full-length debut with the band on their forthcoming LP -- on their most important influences: Pantera, Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, and so on. "Right now, we're handing him [Pantera's] Far Beyond Driven and [Metallica's] Master of Puppets and saying, 'Learn these albums…' because when we’re talking about 'groove metal,' we're not talking about some Warped Tour band," he said. "We're talking about fucking Pantera. We're talking about Black Sabbath, you know?" For a band whose last album, 2010's Nightmare, had the sort of hooks and epic-length songs that their inspirations in Metallica pioneered in the '90s, the bar is already pretty high. Until the new album comes out, we have the song they wrote for the latest Call of Duty to tide us over.
4. Phil Anselmo, Walk Through Exits Only
Over the past two decades or so, vocalist Phil Anselmo has regrooved thrash with Pantera, muddied up sludge metal with Down and tried his hand at any number of extreme-metal projects. So what could he possibly do differently on a solo album? Apparently, push the envelope even further somehow, considering he's been saying it's the most extreme thing he's ever done. He released his first taste this month on War of the Gargantuas, a split EP with thrashers Warbeast. On it, he leads his solo group, the Illegals, on two staticky barnburners, on which he summons the sort of guttural screams he hasn't loosed since his time in Pantera, a band whose songs he's been revisiting at special concerts with members of Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax (see video below). He's also said that the new album takes that sound to a new level, so we will have to wait and see what that means. Nevertheless, it's a sign of good things to come when the full-length, Walk Through Exits Only, comes out this summer.
5. Carcass, TBA
It's been 17 years since the larynx-lacerating Liverpudlian extrme-metal trailblazers released their final album, the death-'n'-roll disappointment Swansong. Luckily, the forthcoming album, which vocalist-bassist Jeff Walker announced late last year, is coming off a reunion tour where the band's set lists drew heavily from its more melodic-leaning early '90s death-metal albums Heartwork and Necroticism. "I've jokingly christened some parts 'Trad Blast' and some 'Death Sleaze,'" Walker said in an interview with Decibel. "Don't think for a minute this is just some nostalgic throwback album—we're setting up another 17 years of ideas for other bands to copy and clean up on." Even though there is no firm release date, let's hope it's worth the wait.