Who will be the Comeback Kings of 2016?

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There are a lot of new albums on the horizon over the next 12 months, just look!

Killswitch Engage

Jesse’s digging deep to make the next record count

What was it like writing from scratch with Killswitch Engage again?
Jesse Leach (vocals): ““This record was the most mentally challenging one of my career. I really plunged myself into the darker places of my mind, allowed myself to lose control, and came to some honest realisations about myself.”

**That sounds intense!
**“I gave this album so much of myself, I have become a slightly different person because of it. There are pieces of me left behind on that record. My entire perspective on life has changed and I’ll never be the same person I was when I started it.”

How’s it sounding then?
“It’s the most diverse record we’ve done. It runs the gamut tempo-wise, as well as stylistically. I pushed my range and found a comfortable place at the top of my voice to give these songs that extra intensity. I also managed to get Joel [Stroetzel, guitar] to sing harmonies on a few songs, so there is a third voice in the mix aside from Adam [Dutkiewicz, guitar] and myself. This is our most adventurous album and I wouldn’t change a damn thing on it.”

What else have you got planned for 2016?
“We’ve a long-awaited DVD/documentary with live footage, interviews, nonsense and a band profile of sorts. At the moment there are also new Times Of Grace demos kicking around, as well as my other project, The Empire Shall Fall. However, the current KSE record took a great deal out of me and has left me a bit broken! I just hope that those who hear it will be able to take something from it.”

Avenged Sevenfold

There’s no telling what direction they’ll go next

Last month, new Avenged drummer Brooks Wackerman exclusively revealed to us that the next A7X album would be “taking risks”, and given the unpredictable path the OC mega-weights have treaded thus far, you’d have to assume that’s not hot air. “We never write on the road,” insisted frontman M Shadows at the end of last year, adding that the band should be writing “by the summer”. If that’s still the plan, then expect to see brand new music come our way by winter. What it’ll sound like, though, is anyone’s guess.

Sabaton

The big guns will be blazing again

“We’re bringing a tank!” Safe to say, Sabaton don’t do things by halves, and the Swedish power metal warriors will be returning to our shores in March with pirate metal berks Alestorm. “We’re going to start the year by releasing a live DVD,” adds frontman Joakim Brodén, “and a new album will come out at the end of the summer. We have lots of ideas and we’re working at full speed! We’re comfortable that it’s gonna be better than anything we’ve done before.” Our prediction: songs about fighting. Really, really, good ones.

Deftones

The Sacramento kings have some lost ground to make up

We’ve had a blast!” is how Deftones drummer Abe Cunningham recently summed up the recording sessions for the follow-up to 2012’s solid Koi No Yokan. Given that this will be the first new Deftones album recorded since the tragic passing of bassist Chi Cheng in 2013, it’s heartening to know that the alt-metal icons are feeling PMA about the road ahead – and what a busy road it is. As well as the album, expected around spring time, there’s the small matter of that rescheduled Wembley date on June 3, with Architects in support (sorry, just off to change underwear), swiftly followed by a subheadliner set at Download the following week. We have a feeling they’re gonna smash it all in style.

Rammstein

Expect more fireworks – and new music – come summer

As ever, getting concrete info out of the Rammstein camp is like trying to prise the acorn off that squirrel from Ice Age, but here’s what we do know: a) the German pyromaniacs will be setting Download festival well and truly ablaze in June; b) frontman Till Lindemann and guitarist Richard Z Kruspe have wrapped up the latest cycles for their respective side-projects, Lindemann and Emigrate; c) Till told us last summer that the band were planning to “meet in Berlin around September/October time”, which means the guys will have had a proper pow-wow heading into 2016. Ergo, our prediction: new Rammstein music this year! Fuck yeah! Expect news on that front as soon as we hear it.

Gojira

The French titans are broadening their horizons

Joe is in the studio finishing vocals – it’s the first time he’s spent so much time with each song,” says drummer Mario Duplantier about the next Gojira record, tentatively due around summer. “We’ve really pushed ourselves outside our comfort zone and have written some of our most ambitious material ever. We were more demanding of ourselves, and it doesn’t sound like any of our previous albums.” Having their own, self-built studio, Silver Cord, gave them the perfect environment to compose and record in. “It allowed us to create a bubble in which we felt completely comfortable and this ultimately helped the process. Joe is the owner and plans on opening it to the public this year!”

Motionless In White

Chris And Co Have Serious A-List Aspirations

2016 will see Motionless In White heading back to the UK this month for their previously postponed November dates with New Years Day, as well as hitting the studio to record the follow-up to 2013’s well-received Reincarnate. That album boasted a smattering of impressive cameos, and its successor may well do the same. “I have my dream list of people I’d love to have on this record,” admits frontman Chris Motionless, who stresses that for now the band are simply “planning [their] thoughts”. “The number one person we want is HIM’s Ville, and Rob Zombie would be huge for us!”

Phil Anselmo

Uncle Phil may just be the busiest star of 2016

**So, Phil, tell us about new extreme metal project, Scour!
**“Some dudes from Cattle Decapitation and Pig Destroyer sent me some tracks, and then I went on the road, and the next thing I know they’ve made this gigantic announcement that I’m singing for this fucking band! I haven’t even written one fucking word for it! All I can say is musically it reminds me of some kind of hyper-modernish black metal, which isn’t my thing, but if I put my own vocal twist on it and give it a little attitude, then I think it could be pretty damn good.”

When can we expect to finally hear that?
“I have to iron out some business shit with those guys, then we’ll see. I’m sure they’re pretty hyped to get it out this year, which I can see easily, because I can apply myself in one or two days, and writing the lyrics will probably take me a week or so. Normally I don’t operate this way; I prefer to have a hand in the music writing as well, but they’re short songs, and the guys said, ‘Just be Phil and do your thing.’ But I think that’s the fun of it! They’ve put this trust in me and I’ve said yes to the project, so I’ve got to do it now!”

Will we get any new music from your Illegals project soon?
“Yeah, and it’s vicious! It’s so fucking horrible, so miserable, so fast, so heavy, and way different from the first record. A lot of people had a time getting into it because it was different, and I think the consensus this time is that it’s easier to get into, maybe because the stuff I’m playing for people is still very raw, but it’s very extreme, and that’s something I definitely wanna record this year.”

And how about Superjoint Ritual? Any new material coming from this reunion?
“We’ve got a bunch of new stuff, but I’m not interested in doing a full-length, so as long as it’s 30-something minutes long, I’m good! But it’s there, and it’s very true to what Superjoint sounds like, maybe a little more leaning towards 80s hardcore.”

Is it likely, then, that it’ll be a while before we hear any more Down music?
“It seems like it, because from what I’ve heard, Corrosion Of Conformity [who currently have Down guitarist Pepper Keenan back in the ranks] have been touring, and they’ll be wanting to hit the studio. But we do all realise that Down is very much a priority band, because people come out to see us and we have a strong fanbase.”

More fantastic filth expected from our favourite hair-metallers

More fantastic filth expected from our favourite hair-metallers
(Image: © Kane Hibberd)

Steel Panther

The boys are going political for album four (not really)

So, lads, how do you follow up headlining Wembley Arena?
Michael Starr (vocals): “We would love to headline Wembley again with all our heavy metal heroes, but before that we’re working on releasing our live Unplugged CD!”
Satchel (guitar): “And going wherever there are drunk, hot young girls willing to have sex with ageing heavy metal musicians. So Brazil.”

What are you writing about for the record? Any serious political songs?
M: “Well, fucking loads of chicks in political positions around the world in the last few years could lead to a song about it. That’s as political we will ever get.”
S: “We’ll leave the politics stuff to Muse and dorky bands like that. We like to party.”

Has work started on the album yet?
S: “It started the day the last record was in the can! It’s gonna rock your fucking balls off just as hard as the first three.”
M: “The songs are awesome. As we grow as a band we are breaking new ground but also keeping our roots firm, and as long as we stay alive we will party and write songs about it. It’s fun to have fun. Why should we stop?!”

Beartooth

Caleb is getting angry

“I was thinking about Bring Me The Horizon’s new stuff, about how it’s a bit more accessible,” muses Caleb Shomo on the follow-up to Beartooth’s knockout 2014 debut, Disgusting, “but we aren’t going to go down that route. I love choruses and things you can sing along to, but I love Pantera and Slayer, too!” On that note, expect some raging topics to rear their head on Beartooth’s sophomore, due out mid-2016: “It’s going to be intense, personal and super-pissed!” Caleb enthuses. “It’ll be all over the map!”

Linkin Park

Expect the unexpected from the rock mega-weights

“I never stop writing,” beams Mike Shinoda when asked about progress on the next LP record. “I’ve always got demos on my laptop and phone.” As for how those demos are sounding? “It’s important for us to keep learning and challenging ourselves,” he offers cryptically. “I think this album is going to be a surprise, both sonically and contextually. Our creative energy is on a remarkable high.” Expected in the second half of the year, it sounds like wecould see a significant left turn in Linkin Park’s sound. Watch this space.

Machine Head

The boys are back on the road this year

While a successor to 2014’s blistering _Bloodstone & _Diamonds is likely a fair while off yet, Machine Head will still be in action this year, not least through what should be an emphatically received UK tour that will see the Bay Area veterans tear through sets expected to fly past the two-hour mark, with no support at any shows. “We’re really excited about playing longer sets and throwing in some deep cuts,” offers Robb Flynn. Should be a blinder, basically.

Tool

…yeah, fuck knows

Tool are doing stuff this year! Yaaaaay! So far that just means a smattering of US shows this month with new album news still not in sight. Booooo! Still, if they’re playing shows, that means they’ll have to, like, talk to each other and stuff, and with Maynard giving his creative muscles a much-needed work-out with last year’s Puscifer album, some new Tool action seems more likely than ever. Maybe.

Satyr Wongraven: staying sharp and focused

Satyr Wongraven: staying sharp and focused

Satyricon

Satyr’s staying positive about his health and new music

First of all, how are you feeling since the brain tumour diagnosis?
Satyr (vocals): “There are people in worse situations than mine. I feel very supported, and I’m taking one day at a time, looking forward to getting back to doing what I was meant to do with my life. I miss working on the new record and going to the gym, but I will be OK! I just don’t know how long it will take.”

What work have you done on the next album so far?
“The purpose is to find out whether we can record the entire album as a demo, so that it sounds and feels like a band in its natural environment. If that happens, it will certainly affect how the feel of these new songs come out. I try and make things simple: if it feels damn good, then we have a good song!”

What made you decide to play your Nemesis Divina album in full at, amongst others, Bloodstock festival?
“It’s a hallmark record for us, and it’s worth celebrating in front of an audience. For a band that is constantly moving forward, it can be healthy to stop for a second and reflect on the difference we have made in people’s lives. Many people discovered black metal through Nemesis Divina, and its 20th anniversary is a good opportunity to celebrate!”

Meshuggah

The Swedish giants will fuck with your head!

It’s looking like 2016 is going to be a very busy year!” enthuses Meshuggah guitarist Mårten Hagström. “We have started to nail down our schedule and, the way it stands right now, we’re hoping to have the new album out come in the fall, provided we don’t fuck anything up. We may throw in a few festivals this summer as well.” On the sound of the album, which is the long-awaited follow-up to 2012’s cranium-splitting Koloss, Mårten notes: “I have a feeling it’s going to be a pretty diverse bunch of tracks. We’re focusing on fucking with people’s heads!” Be afraid…

Cancer Bats

More UK action – and a new AxeWound record?!

It’s gonna be sick!” beams Liam Cormier of Cancer Bats’ imminent UK tour, which kicks off this month. “We’re also gonna do some spring tours and summer festivals, party some more, and then maybe start writing some music!” Liam also admits that AxeWound, his heavy metal project with Bullet’s Matt Tuck, may return this year, adding: “When Matt and I have a minute to breathe, I’d love to do some more stuff, because it’s so much fun. So just as an excuse to spend time with my new British family and hang out more in the UK, I’d love to do it.”

Nothing’s gonna stop Parkway Drive in 2016

Nothing’s gonna stop Parkway Drive in 2016
(Image: © Kane Hibberd)

Parkway Drive

Somebody call the R.A.C. – there’s gonna be a breakdown

With last year’s Ire full-length still burning holes into our eardrums, we’re just a little psyched for Parkway Drive’s upcoming European tour, which tears through the UK in February for dates that will see some ace support from British metalcore hopefuls Bury Tomorrow and thunderous Australian deathcore brutes Thy Art Is Murder. Beginning with what is sure to be a career-defining show at London’s Brixton O2 Academy on February 12, expect approximately 2,378 breakdowns across about four hours.

Watain

Another dark chapter begins

“Empty spaces are where interesting things usually happen,” offers Watain’s Erik Danielsson ominously of the next step for the demonic Swedes, and with the black metal heavyweights’ Black Metal Warfare US tour with fellow hellraisers Mayhem and Rotting Christ wrapping up last month, there’s a large empty space now looming which, you would assume, will be filled with work on a new album to follow up 2013’s The Wild Hunt and, we hope, a UK tour to bring their spectacular and sense-assaulting stage show back to these shores. We expect to see something lurking from the shadows by the autumn.

Architects

New music incoming!

While frontman Sam Carter told us that Architects’ plans for the year ahead are currently “under wraps” when we reached out for comment, we’re reliably informed that there is already new music on the table from Brighton’s finest, so expect to hear something pretty special coming your way by summer. Judging by their current trajectory, we’re backing the follow-up to 2014’s immense _Lost Forever // Lost _Together to be a year-stealer.

Dream Theater

Double trouble from Boston’s prog legends

If you like Dream Theater, the chances are high that you’re not after news of a 13-minute punk EP, so we imagine you’re pretty pumped at the prog metal superstars’ recent announcement that their next album is a two-disc, conceptual monster. Based around the story of a band of rebels trying to defy an evil empire, The Astonishing looks set to live up to its title, so stay tuned for a special, feature-length interview with the guys themselves to read all about their mammoth new undertaking next month.