The Most Anticipated Heavy Metal Releases of the Fall

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September, 2012:

ZZ Top, LA Futura

ZZ Top hasn't had a new album since 2003's Mescalero, but their quality assurance standards and legendary Billy Gibbon's guitar prowess will no doubt be evident on LA Futura, the band's 15th studio album since their inception in 1969. Some of the songs are built up from old ideas, such as the bluesy, hip-hop-inspired "I Gotsta Get Paid," which is based on the 1999 track "25 Lighters" by Fat Pack and Lil' Keke. The album as a whole though reportedly explores their usual loud, artsy representation of sticky Texas culture.

Down's Down, IV Part I: The Purple EP

The band's first batch of new tunes in five years since Down III: Over the Under is projected to be pretty intense, and the album artwork chosen is a testament to that. Literally. The disk will be the first EP in a four disc series, and if this supergroup is your style, you won't be disappointed. Think Anselmo's usual aggressive vocals against staggering riffs and a melodic grinding backdrop, exploring such themes as the faith of mankind, its imperfections, and cultural belief systems.

As I Lay Dying, Awakened

This Grammy-nominated blue-collar thrash-metal group's sixth album was crafted while the band was running as a main stage act on the Rockstar Mayhem Festival, alongside heavy-hitters like Slipknot and Slayer, and was produced by one of the most popular rock producers in the game, Bill Stevenson, who's worked with NOFX and Anti-Flag.

Listen to the album single, "Cauterize:"

Dokken, Broken Bones

These American melodic hard rockers are releasing their 11th studio album with a bonus DVD, which features a making-of-the-album documentary. Expect Dokken's usual catchy hooks, soaring riffs and intense production. It's also the first album with their new bassist, Sean Mcnabb. Check out tracks "Empire" and "Waterfall" -- they'll blow your mind.

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Lauren Wise has worked as a rock/heavy metal journalist for 15 years. She contributes to Noisey and LA Weekly, edits books, and drinks whiskey.
Contact: Lauren Wise