The year 2015 has already been a pretty solid year for heavy metal. More festivals in the U.S. have popped up, like the Loudwire Festival and the first-ever U.S. Rock in Rio, and the month of May had six consecutive weekends of record-setting attendance for festivals like Carolina Rebellion and Rocklahoma. People are embracing heavy metal now more than ever, and it also seems like hardcore fans are branching out, keeping an open ear and mind about different metal genres.
This list of heavy metal and hard rock summer releases are by no means the only albums we’re psyched about, but rather the ones were most excited about. However, since the summer heat in AZ extends far past Labor Day, I’m including a few special releases that straddle the summer/fall line. Enjoy.
Lindemann, Skills In Pills, June 23
As one of the most successful rock bands ever, Rammstein have sold more than 17 million albums around the world to date, and eclectic frontman Till Lindemann is known for his consistent variety of hilarious yet disgusting lyrics and live antics. So it will be interesting to see what his new project Lindemann will bring to the table. Created with producer Peter Tagtgren (Pain, Hypocrisy), whose known for cutting-edge studio skills, the debut Skills in Pills is scheduled for a June 23 release.
Cradle of Filth, Hammer Of The Witches, July 10
The 11th studio album of English extreme metallers Cradle of Filth also marks the first release with the band’s addition of new guitarists Marek Ashok Smerda and Richard Shaw, which means we also get the return of twin-guitar harmonies. But that’s not the only new blood; keyboardist and female vocalist Lindsay Schoolcraft will also bring some fresh sound and perspective to the table.
Joe Satriani, Shockwave Supernova, July 24
If you love metal, you most likely have a deep appreciation for the art of shredding. Enter Joe Satriani, the guitar master. From instructing such young axe-slingers as Alex Skolnick and Kirk Hammet, to being a 15-time Grammy nominee and selling more than 10 million albums—he’s earned his place as the top selling instrumental rock guitarist of all time. While I love his band Chickenfoot, you can't beat Satriani’s solo jams.
Kataklysm, Of Ghosts And Gods, July 31
Kataklysm has always been great at keeping their fine balance of death metal, movie quote samples, and just a touch of melodic moments consistent. And of course, it’s all with a healthy dose of their signature “northern hyperblast” style thrown in. It’s one of those bands you can always count of for some solid metal, and I’m anxious for my Canadian fix.
Lamb Of God, VII: Sturm Und Drang, July 24
While it’s only been two years since Resolution, Lamb of God have been sent through the wringer during that time. In fact, there were lots of fans who felt unsure about the band’s future, between frontman Randy Blythe’s arrest and later acquittal, and financial woes. But I’m hoping all that angst can contribute to some really great material. Drummer Chris Adler explained that this new album is for themselves, writing from inside themselves. That’s what Lamb of God is all about.
Soulfly, Archangel, August 14
Fitting that Sepultura and Soufly are both releasing albums this summer; I’m not complaining. The Phoenix band we all know and love is bringing a new album full of heaviness, influenced as always by an array of metal genres, as well as Brazilian tribal and world music. Since bassist Tony Campos announced in May that he was leaving Soulfly to join Fear Factory, I’m wondering who will step in on bass when the band embarks on their We Sold Our Souls to Metal tour this fall.
The Sword, High Country, August 21
This band from Austin is all about the American heavy metal, enormous guitar riffs, and sci-fi themes, and if you’ve never seen them live you better get on it. Influenced by bands like Black Sabbath and Sleep, the stoner/doom metal act, with a heavy root in blues, is set to release their fifth album High Country, which will undoubtedly expand the band’s audience much like their 2013 record, Apocryphon.
Ghost B.C., Meliora, August 21
One of my favorite bands to see live, Ghost B.C. have an incredible sound and stage presence. Their like a mix of Pentagram and Black Sabbath, hailing to the progressive sounds of the late ‘60s, and frontman Papa Emeritus has that sort of Rob Halford/Judas Priest regale when he’s around. Each member though seems to describe their sound in a different way; for instance, one of the Namelous Ghouls once said it’s “a mix between pop music and death metal.” Meliora promises to be a bit heavier and more instrumental-oriented than prior releases, which only increases my excitement.
Soilwork, The Ride Majestic, August 28
Soilwork has always been one of my favorite Swedish metal bands. They’ve crafted a great concoction of hard-hitting melodic death metal, speed, and atmospheric interludes. For this new release, Soilwork teamed up with Testament frontman Chuck Billy’s Breaking Bands management company, so you can assume that this album is going to be tight and polished, with Soilwork sounding better than ever.
Motorhead, Bad Magic, August 28
It’s no surprise that even after 40 years of melting faces with their speed metal, Motorhead are still releasing albums. Their 22nd—yes, 22nd—studio album will be released at summer’s end, and it’s rumored to consist of some of the band’s most intense rhythms and riffs yet. They are as heavy as ever, and this album calls back to their early days, when an attitude of punk, devilish biker style, and tribal drums reigned supreme. There’s even a guest appearance by Queen’s Brian May.
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Slayer, Repentless, September 11
Slaaaaayerr!!!! After getting the press release announcement about this album a few weeks ago, I couldn’t help but let out that little bellow. The band’s last album, the Grammy-nominated World Painted Blood, came out five years ago, which seems like ages. The 12 tracks on Repentless range from a completely re-recorded “Implod” to an unfinished song from the World Painted Blood sessions called “Piano Wire,” which Kerry King says sounds like a Jeff Hanneman song.
Honorable mentions: Deftones is rumored to have an album done for a possible fall release; Corrosion of Conformity fans are hopeful that, with the guitarist Pepper Keenan back in the picture, there will be some inspiration for a new album; and Anthrax is aiming for a 2015 late summer/fall release for the follow-up to 2011’s Worship Music.