A Very Metal 2014

It is that time of year again where we look to the twelve months ahead and try to predict which upcoming releases will be topping the end of year polls and leaving a mark on the music scene that will last for more than just one month. In this week’s blog I have decided to look at five of the most anticipated metal releases of 2014, regardless of whether they have been confirmed or not.

Machine Head – 8th Studio Album

I’ve recently found myself listening to a lot of Machine Head, especially since they announced that they will be entering the studio next month to record their 8th full length record. This album will be the follow-up to the highly successful pair of 2011’s Unto The Locust and 2007’s The Blackening and if their incredible form continues through, then this release will conclude a trilogy of albums that will acclaimed in the metal community for many years to come.

Tool – 5th Studio Album

Tool haven’t had a new release since 2006’s 10,000 Days and finally after a period of noticeable activity from the band, it seems the music for the album has been written and when vocalist Maynard James Keenan has finished writing the lyrics, the band can finally re-enter the studio and perhaps have the album released before 2014 draws to a close. Although this album has not been announced, if it doesn’t drop this year is almost guaranteed to be out in 2015, a mere nine years after their fourth album surfaced.

Skindred – Kill The Power

Reggae-metallers Skindred arguably pushed themselves into their widest audience yet with 2011’s incredibly hard-hitting Union Black and have the unenviable task of bettering it with this years Kill The Power, which is due out later this month. The Welsh five-piece announced this album back in April last year and have since been hard at work recording what is promised to be another massive record in Britain’s biggest growing metal band’s back catalogue.

Mastodon – 6th Studio Album

Although it’s a minority opinion, I personally felt Mastodon’s last album, The Hunter, suffered from a lack of direction both conceptually and musically. This isn’t to say it was a bad album, in fact it had may stand out tracks including Curl Of The Burl and Dry Bone Valley, but as a cohesive unit it didn’t hold together as well as a Mastodon album should do, especially when compared to the likes of Crack The Skye and Leviathan. Nevertheless a new mastodon album is always a welcome thing and with their drummer Brann Dailor finally adopting more vocal duties (as arguably their best vocalist), their sixth effort is bound to launch them even further into progressive metal royalty.

Opeth – 11th Studio Album

Opeth’s 10th album Heritage was a severe detour away from their progressive death metal style which they have been refining since 1995’s Orchid. Band leader Mikael Akerfeldt has announced that the new album will go in a heavier direction than Heritage but won’t be returning to the extreme levels that previous albums have reached. I personally doubt that Akerfeldt will ever return to sounds similar to those featured on Blackwater Park (probably due to the continual working relationship with prog-genius Steven Wilson), which whilst a shame, will only push him into new genres, producing more unique and unexpected records that allow his creative talent to be used to its full potential. In the meantime go and listen to Storm Corrosion (his collaboration with Steven Wilson) if you still haven’t!

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