Here at Hammer we’re expecting big things from 2015. Big, loud, noisy, pulse-quickening things. Here’s 15 reasons we’re excited about the coming 12 months.
The ‘Prepare For Hell’ Tour
January is usually a bit of a bummer, a month long comedown from the December party season characterised by shitty weather, post-Xmas depression and empty promises about gym visits/weight loss/making the year ahead The One. This year, however, there’ll be no excuses for the January blues, with the prospect of Slipknot, Korn and King 810 kicking the living fuck out of arenas from Dublin to Birmingham on what promises to be the loudest, gnarliest tour of the year. ‘…Hell’ awaits, and we couldn’t be more psyched about embracing the darkness. January, this year you’re alright.
The Return Of The Pale Emperor
We’ll be honest, there was a while there where we’d kinda given up on Marilyn Manson ever ascending again to the lofty heights of his provocative and impossibly thrilling AntiChrist Superstar/Mechanical Animals/Holy Wood… period. But we’ve heard The Pale Emperor, the Double M’s forthcoming ninth studio album, and dammit if the old rogue hasn’t pulled off a quite stunning comeback. If album teasers Third Day Of A Seven Day Binge and Deep Six have given you weird stirrings then we promise that you’ll be frothing with excitement when this bad boy ‘drops’, as our Stateside brethren like to say, on January 19th. Welcome back you big lanky freak.
A Reborn Randy Blythe
As you’ll read in the new issue of Hammer, as the new year dawns Lamb Of God’s frontman is a man reborn. Facing up to the prospect of 10 years in jail for manslaughter will do that to a man. The harrowing saga of that court case will be laid bare in Blythe’s forthcoming first book, the eagerly anticipated Dark Days: My Tribulations And Trials, after which there’ll be the small matter of a new Lamb Of God album to write. When one thinks of just how pissed off Blythe was before his trial, it’s almost impossible to imagine just how ferocious the follow-up to 2012’s Resolution will be. Bring it on.
The ‘Nasty Nasty’ New Prodigy album
The Prodigy’s follow-up to 2009’s hugely successful Invaders Must Die album was originally supposed to see the light of day ahead of their 2014 Sonisphere headline set, but the fact that Liam Howlett has spent a further six months tweaking his band’s new material for maximum impact is a good indication that the Essex band will be taking no prisoners when they return. The trio’s new single, Nasty Nasty, is coming this month, with the album – set to include aggressively-titled tracks such as Rotweiler, Wall Of Death and Get Your Fight On – to follow in February. Howlett has already described the collection as “pure violent energy”: sounds good to us.
Behemoth’s Nergal’s Spills His Guts
Originally published in his native Poland in 2012, Behemoth frontman Nergal’s memoir Confessions Of A Heretic: The Sacred And The Profane will gets an expanded UK release on March 19th via Jawbone Press, the publishers behind the fine Cliff Burton biography To Live Is To Die. Featuring a foreword by Randy Blythe, the book deals with Nergal’s clashes with the Catholic Church, his battle with leukaemia and his appearances on the Polish version of The Voice, and promises to be a fascinating read whether or not you’re a Behemoth fan. (Though really, why wouldn’t you be?)
While She Sleeps Wake Up
Following a frustrating 2014 which saw their momentum stalled by frontman Loz Taylor’s throat surgery, While She Sleeps are keen to make up for lost time this year. Singles New World Torture and Four Walls have raised expectations for the Sheffield quintet’s forthcoming Brainwashed album, while an April co-headline tour with Cancer Bats promises to be pure carnage. While She Sleeps have long been tipped as the future of British metal: their time to step up to the plate is now.
We’ll just throw some names out here, shall we? Slipknot. Judas Priest. Kiss. Lamb Of God. Faith No More. Motley Crüe. Parkway Drive. Five Finger Death Punch. Every Time I Die. Slash. Body Count. Marilyn Manson. Billy fucking Idol! If the line-up for this year’s Download doesn’t cause you to do a little involuntary wee, you might be on the wrong website pal. Or the wrong planet. Oh, and those ‘indie nerks’ Muse will fucking kill it, just you wait and see.
Let’s be clear: it’s highly, highly unlikely that you’ll ever get another chance to see the greatest rock ‘n’ roll band in history if you miss AC/DC’s summer stadium shows in Glasgow, Dublin and London, so best not fuck this up, eh? Yes, the Aussie legends will be touring without their beating heart, stricken rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young, while long-time drummer Phil Rudd’s position in the band remains in doubt, but we promise you that when Angus Young starts cranking out the riffs to Highway To Hell, Back In Black or Rock Or Bust you won’t care if he’s being flanked by Prince Harry or The Gruffalo.
Maiden Going Beyond The Final Frontier
On Christmas Day 2015 Iron Maiden will celebrate their 40th anniversary, a remarkable achievement for a truly remarkable band. What’s even more impressive is that Steve Harris’ group seem to be only growing in strength, confidence and creativity. To that end, the internet rumour mill is abuzz with speculation that Maiden are already working with longtime producer Kevin Shirley. When it emerges this year it’s likely that Maiden’s sixteenth studio album will see the sextet push further into prog territory, and you can bet your best Maiden shirt that the Irons will be promoting it with another mammoth tour. Dare we hope for UK dates? Watch this space.
The return Of Deftones
The Sacramento band spent 2014 alternating between studio sessions and short bouts of touring, and the follow-up to 2012’s Koi No Yokan album is expected ahead of their appearance at the first US incarnation of the Rock In Rio festival, being held in May. Former Sabbath drummer Bill Ward was one guest permitted to sit in on one day’s recordings, and we’re hoping he wasn’t just there to make the tea.
The rise and year of Britain’s biggest independent metal festival over the past decade has been genuinely heartwarming, and this year BOA has drawn arguably the strongest line-up in its history for its annual August bash. with Rob Zombie, Trivium, Within Temptation and Opeth among the headline attractions, and legends such as Cannibal Corpse, Overkill, Nuclear Assault and Emperor mainman Ihsahn as stellar support, the weekend of August 6-9 promises to be a black-hearted blast. Raise your drinking horns brothers and sisters, and hail our returning heroes!
New Sounds From The Big Four
Nostalgia can get old, and in 2015 thrash metal’s legendary Big Four look set to prove their continued vitality with the release of new albums. Anthrax entered the studio to work upon the follow up to the acclaimed Worship Music in December, Slayer’s 15th studio album (produced by Terry Date, and their first recording without founding guitarist Jeff Hanneman) is already in the can, Megadeth are set to shrug off the November departures of Chris Broderick and Shawn Drover by regrouping shortly to work upon their own 15th album, while Metallica – who’ll be back here in August to headline Reading and Leeds festivals – have conceded that they’ve “run out of excuses” not to get the follow-up to Death Magnetic done and dusted. Time to show the young guns who the real bosses are?
The Re-birth Of British Metal
2014 ended on a high for British metal with Bring Me The Horizon headlining a sold-out Wembley Arena, and 2015 will see homegrown acts push to the forefront of the global scene. We’ve already mentioned Maiden and Sleeps, but add in new releases from legends such as Napalm Death (Apex Predator-Easy Meat), Venom (From The Very Depths) and Saxon alongside eagerly anticipated albums from Bullet For My Valentine, Asking Alexandria and Bring Me The Horizon and debuts from the likes of Hacktivist and Abhorrent Decimation and we’re looking at a bumper year for our boys. And we haven’t even mentioned the likes of Gallows, Enter Shikari, Rolo Tomassi, etc… Oh, and Sabbath’s very last album too!
Remember how fucking incredible Earth Rocker was? Well, Clutch frontman Neil Fallon reckons that his band’s eleventh studio set, currently being recorded in Austin with producer Machine, is a “close cousin” to that beast of a record. Set for a June release, the as-yet-untitled collection will feature the hard-groovin’ Sidewinder, the moodier Our Lady Of Electric Light and Decapitation Blues, which Fallon claims is loosely based upon surgery he had in 2014. Colour us excited.
The Golden Gods 2015
Okay, it’s not til June, and it’s our own event, but we’re still allowed to get excited about what is THE best rock ‘n’ roll party in the world six months in advance, right? Right?