If everything goes according to plan, 2018 is going to be a huge year for new music. Whether it's metal legends like Slayer, Megadeth and Ozzy Osbourne or heavy metal heavy hitters like Ghost, Killswitch Engage, Pig Destroyer to up and coming acts worth your time like Tribultion, Gatecreeper and Anaal Nathrakh – there is a lot to look forward to this year.
So, without further ado, here are the most anticipated albums to (hopefully) be released in 2018.
THE BIG GUNS
Ozzy Osbourne – TBA
Black Sabbath ended last year (I only cried a little), and it looks like frontman Ozzy Osbourne is about to ride off into the sunset as well (and I’ll only cry a little more). With Zakk Wylde back on guitar duty for the first time since 2007’s Black Rain, whatever he’s working on has the potential to be pretty good.
I’m hoping for a return to their late 80’s/early 90 sound, but would happily settle for some Down To Earth-vibes. There’s no release date yet, but the Ozzman has been working on a batch of songs around touring for quite some time now. Still, he’s also said that making records is a waste of money, so he could release a stream of singles, or he could just cave and waste some money. – Daniel Cordova
Slayer – TBA
It pains me to write this but this could very well be the last Slayer album and we all have to come to terms with that. While Repentless was, I think, significantly better than most of us expected I’m still curious to see what happens now that it seems like Gary Holt is going to be writing with the band.
Will the band approach the thrashier sound of Exodus? Or is Gary going to do his best to create a tribute to Jeff Hanneman? And again, all of this is happening with the looming threat of this being the final chapter. Will the band even nod to that in the promotional cycle for this record? Tom Araya is going to be 57 this year you guys – do you really think he’s going to want to be belting out “Angel Of Death” that much longer? We could be witnessing a stunning conclusion. – Matt Bacon
Tool – TBA
Well, someone had to write about it, and nobody else wanted the job. So, fine. A Tool record is apparently coming out this year, now get hyped.
What? Is that not enough?
It's no secret that the perpetually imminent release of Tool's fifth record is pretty much the biggest joke in the metal industry, but it's worth acknowledging that the endless announcements regarding the album still get fans wildly excited. Whether you're a diehard member of the so-called Tool Army or just a plain 'ole progressive metal fan, any reasonable sign that the band might actually release the damn record is worth getting excited about. Look, I'm with you. I take any announcement about new Tool music with a grain — well, a few metric tons — of salt, but that doesn't mean that "Lateralus" isn't a sprawling epic or that "Ticks and Leeches" doesn't do heaviness better than most extreme metal bands. The unwavering hype around Tool's fifth record is far from unwarranted and if it actually comes out this year, it could easily be the most significant industry event of 2018. – Tyler Hersko
Megadeth – TBA
Megadeth is still alive and kicking and the thrash pioneers are set to release album number 16 this year. Geez, that’s a lot of albums. Although Megadeth’s track record is a bit shaky, most critics argued that 2016’s Dystopia was a return to form and if there’s anything metal fans know, it’s that you should never count Dave Mustaine and co. out.
The band seems to have finally figured out how to mesh its thrashy and melodic halves into a cohesive package and hey, they won a Grammy last year, which Definitely Matters for metal bands! All of thrash’s Big Four have put out fairly solid material in recent years, and a new release from one of metal’s most important bands always justifies genuine excitement. – Tyler Hersko
Rammstein – TBA
While some expect Rammstein’s upcoming seventh album to be the German industrial metal titans’ swan song, the band squashed those rumors on its official website last September. In an interview with Metal Hammer back in May 2017, guitarist Paul Landers said he expects the band’s follow-up to 2009’s Liebe ist für alle da to be “another milestone,” and added that the goal “is to write really good songs and maybe even try unusual methods, new ideas, and change the path that one usually has.” So with a band that has continuously pushed the envelopes since its inception in 1994, this year’s album should be just as captivating as the rest. – Nic Huber
Exodus – TBA
I am legitimately stoked for this record. The bands last offering, 2014’s Blood In Blood Out was a return to form and classic Exodus fare. There was something incredibly fun about what the band offered on that album and it’s going to be interesting to see Gary Holt writing for this record and the new Slayer album.
What has me especially curious is that this is the bands second record with Zetro back and they have been touring heavily – this record is almost certainly going to feel a lot more comfortable and be willing to take a few more artistic leaps than its predecessor. This could very well be another thrash classic from a band who have churned out nearly a dozen. – Matt Bacon
Judas Priest – Firepower (March 9)
Judas Priest are unfuckwithable. Nobody can touch this band's career and ultimate influence on every heavy metal band that came after them. And, they continue to deliver, if their first single, "Lightning Strike" is any indication. Rob Halford's voices delivers as good as ever, and the Metal Gods will come to retain their throne in 2018. – Robert Pasbani
Behemoth – TBA
Behemoth has been unstoppable since their 2004 album, Demigod, and continues to get better with every album. Their last efforts, The Satanist, saw the band reach critical heights as they pummeled us with their demonic fury mixed in blackened death metal, and we can't wait for it to happen all over again! As you may know, Nergal, is very open about his day to day via Instagram, and already released a mountain of behind the scenes footage from the studio on his stories. Simply just by following him, I can already tell there's some killer riffs stacked away in the upcoming album, and I'm looking forward to hearing them mixed, mastered, and in my head! – Frank Godla
Black Label Society – Grimmest Hits (January 19)
It's been four long years since we've gotten a proper Black Label Society LP, but Grimmest Hits is here in all its bluesy grimness. Or is about to anyway, though I've been so damn hung up on the singles that I almost can't even fathom how many more earworms Zakk Wylde and crew have got up their sleeves for the record.
Seriously, what we've heard so far has been an excellent mix of straightforward rock, doom, quite a lot of electrified blues like we heard on Wylde's solo album, and of course tons of ridiculous guitar playing. What's not to love? – Greg Kennelty
A Perfect Circle – TBA
This one has me interested for a multitude of reasons, though the two prominent ones are the 14 year gap between the band's last album and this one, and the fact that this fronted by Maynard James Keenan. The singles we've heard from the album thus far have been pretty chilled out and generally laid back, as have the live tracks. Which is awesome! After 14 years I'd imagine Keenan, Howerdel and crew have matured a bit and explored different sonic ways to express themselves, and the coming record really seems like it'll be worthy of the wait. – Greg Kennelty
Machine Head – Catharsis (January 26)
Machine Head will forever do whatever the fuck they want to do. Pulling themselves out of the trendy gimmicks of the 1990s, the Oakland-based metal band has had its fair share of experimentation. While the band eventually returned to their thrash roots in more complex technicality, this period saw Machine Head releasing its grand opus The Blackening in 2007.
Ever since, however, Robb Flynn and Co. have struggled to match that same intensity in the studio, and perhaps have abandoned the approach entirely as Flynn tells Metal Hammer: "If The Blackening was us at our most thrashing and aggressive, this is probably the most melodic and most grooving we've been. There's thrashy bits here and there and it's heavy, but it is a very groovin', rockin' melodic record." – Nic Huber
Children Of Bodom – TBA
I've been a Children Of Bodom fan ever since between 2000's Follow The Reaper and 2003's Hate Crew Deathroll. I wasn't too pleased with pretty much anything between Are You Dead Yet? and Relentless Reckless Forever, but then 2013 rolled around and Halo Of Blood made me fall in love with the band all over again. Much like Cradle Of Filth, they've been keeping this second wind going really strong lately, and I hope high hopes for the next album.
It'll also be interesting to see what ex-Norther guitarist Daniel Freyberg brings to the table in place of long-time guitarist Roope Latvala, who was with Children of Bodom from 2003 to 2015. – Greg Kennelty
Ministry – AmeriKKKant (March 9)
From the mind of industrial legend, Al Jourgensen, comes his 14th album, AmmeriKKKant. Judging from his views on the current political situation, I think it's safe to assume Uncle Al is pissed and has a lot to say, which always makes for the best Ministry albums! They put on a killer show a few months back, filled to the brim with Trump hate, and don't doubt the album will be as equally charged. – Frank Godla