We just posted non-genre-specific list of albums we're anticipating in 2020 that doesn't include metal, but if you're craving heavier stuff, here's a list of 26 metal (and metal-adjacent) records that we're looking forward to in the new year. Some of our picks were also on our 2019 list but either got officially announced or more-or-less confirmed since then, though one big one we left off is Triptykon, who are still promising a new album but the release date doesn't seem anymore concrete now than it did a year ago. Anyway, less talk, more rock. Here's our list...
Kirk Windstein - Dream In Motion (and Crowbar?)
due 1/24 via eOne
2020 is gonna be a very busy year for Kirk Windstein. He's back in Down for the NOLA 25th anniversary shows, and Crowbar are working on their new album. No release date for that one yet (hopefully 2020), but there is a release date for Kirk's upcoming solo album, Dream In Motion. And while you wait for new Crowbar, this album should scratch a very similar itch. Kirk calls it "my version of a mellow Crowbar basically," and that's a great description of the recently-released title track, which basically sounds like if Crowbar went doom. Bonus points: the album includes Kirk covering Jethro Tull's "Aqualung," which we are very interested in hearing.
Envy - The Fallen Crimson
due 2/7 via Temporary Residence Ltd
Veteran Japanese screamo band Envy's influence is pretty easy to spot today -- it's hard to imagine, say, Deafheaven, who brought Envy on tour in 2015, sounding the way they do otherwise -- but they're more than just influential on modern music. They're also still a relevant band of their own, as they reminded us on 2015's very good Atheist's Cornea. They're following that up with The Fallen Crimson in February, and all the music they've released from it so far sounds as devastating as you'd hope.
Godthrymm - Reflections
due 2/14 via Profound Lore
Godthrymm is a new-ish band from vocalist/guitarist Hamish Glencross (ex-My Dying Bride, Vallenfyre, Solstice), drummer Shaun Taylor-Steels (ex-My Dying Bride, Anathema), and bassist Bob Crolla, and they're more than just some side project or flimsy supergroup. They've already got two solid EPs to their name, now they're set to release their first full-length album on Profound Lore, and lead single "Among The Exalted" is gothy doom that gives classic My Dying Bride and Paradise Lost a run for its money.
Kvelertak - Splid
due 2/14 via Rise
Kvelertak's last album was one our favorite albums of the decade, so needless to say, we're anticipating its followup, though you might say our anticipation is a little cautious because this is their first album since the departure of longtime Kvelertak frontman Erlend Hjelvik. That said, his replacement Ivar Nioklaisen sang backup on Kvelertak's "Blodtorst," so he's already part of the Kvelertak family, and going by recent singles "Bråtebrann" and "Crack of Doom," it sounds like he already fits right in. Both of those songs are also packed with the kind of trademark guitar riffs Kvelertak have long been known for, and this album reunites the band with producer Kurt Ballou of Converge (who helmed their first two LPs), so it seems like it's still largely the Kvelertak you know and love. One other new addition though: "Crack of Doom" also features Mastodon's Troy Sanders, and Troy helps make it their most radio-friendly song yet.
Ozzy Osbourne - Ordinary Man
due 2/21 via Epic
Will Ozzy’s new album really be good? Who knows, but it’s his first in 10 years, it's kinda interesting that he made it with Guns N’ Roses’ Duff McKagan on bass and Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Chad Smith on drums, and that it has a song featuring ELTON JOHN (which also has a guitar solo featuring Slash), and the new singles aren’t half bad. (He also made it with Post Malone producer/guitarist Andrew Watt who worked on the Ozzy/Posty collab that Ozzy says inspired him to write again.) We're at least curious.
Today Is The Day - No Good To Anyone
due 2/28 via BMG
Long-running heavy music greats Today Is The Day are finally releasing their first album in six years this February, and TITD mastermind Steve Austin said to Decibel: "I fuckin’ love my new album, No Good To Anyone. I wanted to make the heaviest and most rocking, psychedelic songs possible. To take you on a trip. Anything goes at any second. No Good to Anyone is an experience. No Good to Anyone is beginning of the end of your life." You might normally take a band saying that kinda thing about their own music with a grain of salt, but the insane, unpigeonholable lead single/title track already lives up to that hype. And the second single is less insane and unpigeonholable but no less rockin'. We can't wait to hear what the rest of the album has in store.
Tombs - Monarchy of Shadows
due 2/28 via Season of Mist
Brooklyn genre-defying metal greats Tombs are now on Season of Mist, and their first release for the label will be Monarchy of Shadows, which the label says "is the fastest and most vicious blackened metal from Tombs to date, showcasing the quartet’s metallic precision without sacrificing the bleak post-punk leanings that set the critically-acclaimed band apart." Going by the lead single/title track, which bounces between whiplash-inducing black metal and Swans-like goth, we'd say that's pretty spot on.
My Dying Bride - The Ghost of Orion
due 3/6 via Nuclear Blast
We were hoping the new album from UK gothic doom vets My Dying Bride was coming out in 2019, and that obviously didn't happen, but it now officially has a March 6 release date and a lead single. "Your Broken Shore" basically sounds like MBD doing what they do best, and we're hoping the rest of the album has more where that came from. It also has two cool guests: cellist Jo Quail and Wardruna vocalist Lindy Fay Hella.
Code Orange - Underneath
due 3/13 via Roadrunner
It's kind of amazing that Code Orange evolved from a rowdy young hardcore band to Roadrunner-signed leaders of the modern metalcore revival who got nominated for a Grammy and made a song with Slipknot's Corey Taylor, but they did it, and they did it without sacrificing any of their intensity. (Their latest full-length, 2017's Forever, is one of the decade's best in punk, metal, or otherwise). In addition to being basically the only extreme band playing Coachella 2020, Code Orange are gearing up for a new album this year. The lead single/title track finds them offering up just about everything they do — their industrial side, their noise side, their pop side, their metalcore side, and more — and fitting it all into a cohesive song that clocks in at under five minutes. It's a very promising first taste.
Human Impact (ex-Unsane) - Human Impact
due 3/13 via Ipecac
Unsane are sadly no more, but frontman Chris Spencer is picking up where Unsane left off with his new band Human Impact, whose lineup is impressively rounded out by members of Cop Shoot Cop and Swans. Lead single "November" is pretty much cut from the same cloth as Unsane's '90s noise rock/post-hardcore classics, but Chris Spencer & co. aren't just rehashing their glory days. It sounds fresh today too.
Wake - Devouring Ruin
due 3/20 via Translation Loss
Canada's Wake never pigeonhole themselves into one specific metal subgenre, and new single "This Abyssal Plain" alone proves that is very much still the case. In just four minutes, it goes from a brutal blend of black, death, and grind, to harsh noise to beautiful post-metal, and beyond, and it all comes together seamlessly. What can’t they do?
Temple of Void - The World That Was
due 3/27 via Shadow Kingdom
Detroit's Temple of Void have spent the past few years perfecting a death/doom blend that's gained comparisons to Bolt Thrower, early Paradise Lost, Hooded Menace, and more, and for their upcoming third album, they say they've expanded their sonic palette a bit, but that they're not totally abandoning who they are or anything. "This album sees a considerable outside influence from the likes of Alice in Chains, Failure, Pearl Jam, and Ride," guitarist Alex Awn says. "However, don’t expect to hear these bands creep up overtly. This is still very much a death-doom record; there’s no U-turn in sound. It’s just that we draw from a very deep well of disparate influences to create the unique sound that is Temple of Void."
Elder - title TBA
due in spring via Armageddon label
Elder have long been breaking out of the stoner metal niche and becoming just a great rock band who warrant comparisons to Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, UFO, and more, and really do justice to that kind of stuff. Going by a recent interview with The Heavy Chronicles, it sounds like Elder plan to keep pushing the envelope on this one. "We wanted to work with engineer Peter Deimel because of his decades of experience in recording primarily rock and indie records [like Anna Calvi, The Kills, The Wedding Present, Cows, and more], and not really operating in the realm of metal at all," they say. They also add, "I feel we’ve fully explored all of our facets, from the minimalism of the last EP to full blown prog rock [...] I think it will be a pleasant surprise for everyone who still considers this a 'stoner rock’ or 'doom’ band.'"
Cirith Ungol - title TBA
due in spring via Metal Blade
Hard rock/heavy metal legends Cirith Ungol released some classic and very influential material back in the '80s (including but not limited to 1984's widely praised King of the Dead), but then they called it quits not long after releasing 1991's Paradise Lost. Fast forward to 2016, and the band finally reunited, played some shows, and reissued old albums on Metal Blade, and now they confirmed to Decibel that they're set to release their first new album in nearly 30 years on Metal Blade this spring. Going by the sound of their recent live album, these guys have clearly still got it.
Necrot - Mortal
due in summer via Tankcrimes
Necrot's 2017 debut album Blood Offerings remains one of the better death metal debuts in recent memory, and the band have their eyes set on something bigger for its followup, Mortal. "I think we are going a step forward from Blood Offerings while keeping every aspect of our sound intact," guitarist/bassist/vocalist Luca Indrio told Decibel. He also adds one thing Necrot care a lot more about than some of their other death metal peers: songs. "I always write thinking about the song in its entirety and not just putting riffs together," he says. "Writing a sick riff is simple; creating a song or a whole album is more complicated. It needs to flow at all times." Our bodies are ready.
Carcass - title TBA
release date TBA via Nuclear Blast
Carcass' 2013 comeback album Surgical Steel was the rare reunion album that was as essential as any of the band's classic albums, and seven years later, that still feels true. (It's no surprise that the album landed on many lists of the best metal albums of the 2010s.) We've been eagerly awaiting a followup for a while, and though we still haven't heard any of it, Carcass' recently-released non-album track from the same sessions is a serious ripper. If that's how good the songs that aren't on the album are, we'd be willing to bet the ones that make it won't be too shabby.
King Diamond - The Institute
release date TBA via Metal Blade
Not only are Mercyful Fate reuniting for their first shows in over 20 years, frontman King Diamond is releasing his first solo album in 12 years, The Institute, at some point in 2020 too. We don't know much about it yet, but we do know that lead single "Masquerade of Madness," with its militant rhythms, soaring falsettos, and shredding solos, is about as classic King Diamond as it gets.
Pallbearer - title TBA
release date TBA via Nuclear Blast
It's no secret that we are big fans of Pallbearer (who made one of our favorite albums of the decade), so we are of course very excited that they're finally confirmed to follow 2017's Heartless with a new album this year, which will also be their first for Nuclear Blast. Heartless saw Pallbearer getting poppier and proggier, and we can't wait to see what direction they go in this time.
Power Trip - title TBA
release date and label TBA
When writing about how Power Trip's 2017 album Nightmare Logic is one of our favorite albums of the 2010s, we said it solidified them not just as a great modern thrash band, but as one of the best thrash bands, period. They do it in a way that feels so fresh and truly rivals the greats of the genre's classic '80s era, and we see no reason why that won't continue on their next album. As for when that will be, frontman Riley Gale recently told Decibel: "I can say with almost 90 percent certainty, barring any unforeseen disasters, there will be a new Power Trip record in 2020."
Dying Wish - title TBA
release date TBA
Back in 2018, Portland hardcore/metalcore band Dying Wish released a killer demo, followed by an even more killer split with Serration, but 2019 was their biggest year yet. Lead screamer Emma Boster had a standout guest vocal spot on the excellent Knocked Loose album A Different Shade of Blue, and in return, Knocked Loose frontman Bryan Garris lent his voice to Dying Wish's new single "Enemies In Red." It's the band's best song yet, and not just because of the high-profile guest. The song's thrashy metalcore riffs are as addictive as Emma's instantly-appealing screams, and it just becomes clearer and clearer that this band is tight af. Like Knocked Loose, they do metalcore in a way that's darker and more menacing than a lot of their peers, but as they prove on "Autumn's Final Sun" on the Serration split, they sound like they could be the biggest band in the world when they let their poppier side shine through. No real clue what they're doing next, but they promised more new music for 2020, and we have a feeling it's only gonna get better from here. (They also promised more tours for 2020, and so far we know they're doing some of the West Coast dates on the Sanction/SeeYouSpaceCowboy tour.)
Paradise Lost - title TBA
late Spring via Nuclear Blast
Not only did My Dying Bride recently announce a new album, but fellow UK death-doom/gothic metal pioneers Paradise Lost confirmed in November that their new album was being mixed, and Decibel says it will be out in late Spring 2020. It'll be their third consecutive album with producer Jaime Gomez Arellano, and the last two albums have been part of a trend of the band returning to their original, beloved death-doom sound. Speaking to Decibel, guitarist Greg Mackintosh said: "One or two tracks maybe carry on from where [2017's] Medusa left off, but for the most part this is quite a different album. It is much more varied and diverse. I'd say that it's one part Medusa, one part Draconian Times/Icon, one part Gothic and one part totally new sounds." Our hopes are high!
Enslaved - title TBA
release date TBA
Norwegian black/prog metal vets Enslaved have been at it for three decades and they remain a force, so we're excited to learn that they're finishing up work on a followup to 2017's great, award winning E. It'll be their first album with drummer Iver Sandøy (who "has been with [the band] behind the scenes for more than a decade," guitarist Ivar Bjørnson says), and Bjørnson adds, "The new material I feel is very powerful. The Enslaved signature is there, but there is a wild drive and a level of energy that makes me extremely excited.'
Frozen Soul - title TBA
release date TBA
"Out of this recent wave of throwback hardcore-laced death metal, Texan deathers Frozen Soul have been able to stake their claim as one of the dominant players of the scene," Invisible Oranges contributor Rhys Williams wrote when he named their 2019 debut EP Encased In Ice his fourth favorite record of 2019. That's high praise for a band who only has four songs, but when your songs are this nasty, you deserve it. They confirmed on Christmas Eve that they finished writing their debut full-length, so our fingers are crossed that we get it in 2020.
Sanguisugabogg - title TBA
release date TBA
Frozen Soul's Maggot Stomp labelmates Sanguisugabogg have also confirmed their debut album for 2020, following their buzzed-about 2019 EP Pornographic Seizures. As you may expect from that EP title, song titles like "Turkish Blood Orgy," and Sanguisugabogg's disclaimer that they are "not responsible for any instantaneous vomiting upon listening," this is death metal of the most gruesome degree. Let's hope the LP sounds just as filthy.
Ulthar - title TBA
release date TBA via 20 Buck Spin
Way back in 2018, Bay Area blackened death metallers Ulthar released their rippin' debut album Cosmovore, and now -- following the historically good year for death metal that was 2019 (which included a great album by Shelby Lermo's other band Vastum) -- they're confirmed to release a followup. Will they make good on the promise of their debut and earn themselves a place within modern death metal's upper echelon? We'll find out soon.
Is this finally the year?! Chino says "definitely."