30 Most Anticipated Albums of 2021 in Rock and Metal

2021-02-01

From Foo Fighters to Alice Cooper, here are Audio Ink Radio's most anticipated albums of 2021 in rock and metal.

Story by Anne Erickson – Wolfgang Van Halen photo by Travis Shinn, Dave Grohl photo by Ken Settle, Alice Cooper and Anthony Kiedis photo by Anne Erickson

The most anticipated albums of 2021 in rock and metal include releases from Foo Fighters, Greta Van Fleet, Megadeth, Gwen Stefani and more

Last year was a difficult one, especially for those in the music industry. With tours continually canceled, musicians found themselves at home all year long- something foreign to a touring musician. On the up side, the downtime brought plenty of time for bands to work on new music.

The albums on the way in 2021 are largely sets recorded during lockdown last year or originally slated to come out in 2020, but were held while the world waited to see how the pandemic would shake out. Now, a plethora of rock and metal bands are ready to unleash their creations to the world. Even though touring hasn’t returned yet, the new music should provide some welcomed musical comfort.

Read on for Audio Ink Radio’s 30 Most Anticipated Albums of 2021 in Rock and Metal, in alphabetical order. Of course, in a perfect world, the metal kings of Metallica would be on this list, but since band members have indicated their new album will likely be out in 2022, we resisted the urge to include them.

AFI, TBA

AFI have evolved beautifully over the years, starting out as a hardcore punk outfit in the 1990s and developing into something of a gothic, punk-fueled rock ‘n’ roll band. Over the holidays, the band announced on Twitter that they’ll release a new album before the year’s over, and judging by their latest singles, “Twisted Tongues” and “Escape from Los Angeles,” the new songs should offer catchy melodies and sharp riffs.

Alice Cooper, “Detroit Stories”

Alice Cooper is proudly from the Detroit area, and he pays tribute to him hometown in his new alum, “Detroit Stories,” out Feb. 26 via earMusic. The album features a collection of Detroit musicians, including MC5’s Wayne Kramer, the Detroit Wheels’ Johnny “Bee” Badanjek, bass player Paul Randolph and the Motor City Horns.

Alta Reign, “Mother’s Day”

Alta Reign was founded by Trans-Siberian Orchestra drummer Jeff Plate, who is usually on the road constantly over the holidays, but was stationed at home last year due to the ongoing pandemic. The up side of being at home was that Plate was able to work on new music with Alta Reign and, after years of waiting, finally put out new music with the band, which also features Trans-Siberian Orchestra keyboardist Jane Mangini. The album dropped on Jan. 8, making it one of the first of the year.

Avril Lavigne, TBA

“Sk8er Boi” superstar Avril Lavigne has always brought a rock edge to her pop music, and considering that Machine Gun Kelly is working on her upcoming album, fans should expect even more of that edge. Lavigne has taken to social media to share news about her upcoming album, recently hinting that new music is coming in the first half of 2021. Meanwhile, Lavigne has a new song out with MOD SUN, the fiery “Flames.”

Billie Eilish, TBA

Billie Eilish hit the big time with her debut full-length album, 2019’s “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” On the strength of that album out and a handful of No. 1 pop hits, Eilish has been able to sell out arenas and venues around the world. Now, listeners are primed for her sophomore release and banking on a 2021 delivery.

Black Veil Brides, “The Phantom Tomorrow”

Black Veil Brides are gearing up to release their latest concept record, “The Phantom Tomorrow,” later this year. Lead single “Scarlett Cross” is a dramatic, deeply exotic, heavy rock track, and if the new album follows suit, expect some of he heaviest material from Black Veil Brides to date.

Chevelle, “Niratias”

Chevelle have served up their melodic hard rock since the mid-1990s, and one thing is for certain: The band knows how to craft a chart-topping rock hit. From “The Red” to “Send the Pain Below,” Chevelle are perennial favorites on rock radio playlists around the world. Now on their ninth studio album, “Niratias,” out March 5, and forging ahead as a duo of brothers Pete and Sam Loeffler, Chevelle have nothing to prove, which will make this record an interesting listen.

Dead Daisies, “Holy Ground”

Dead Daisies are back with their fifth studio album, and it’s their first with new vocalist Glenn Hughes of Deep Purple fame. Dead Daisies are known for their firery, live-sounding recordings, and “Holy Ground” follows that pattern, as Hughes is joined by founding guitarist David Lowy, plus lead guitarist Doug Aldrich and drummer Deen Castronovo.

Epica, “Omega”

Dutch symphonic metal band Epica were one of the early adaptors of the gothic, symphonic metal sound and style. Now on their eighth studio album, “Omega,” out Feb. 26 via Nuclear Blast, Epica have developed a mature sound that is lauded as one of the finest in the genre. “Omaga” is poised to offer an even more epic and unique presentation, making this one of the most curious releases of the year.

Evanescence, “The Bitter Truth”

Evanescence broke out in the early-2000s with a sound so unique and refreshing that it was impossible to ignore. Over the years, Amy Lee and the band have released a handful of albums and collections, all featuring their trademark gothic sound, but it’s been 10 years since Evanescence released a studio album of all originals. Now, Evanescence will release “The Bitter Truth” on March 26, and it promises big-sounding rock anthems, soaring vocals and plenty of riffing.

Gwen Stefani, TBA

Gwen Stefani of No Doubt has achieved a wildly successful solo career, and in December, she released her latest solo single, “Let Me Reintroduce Myself.” Since then, Stefani has been teasing that her new solo album will be arriving “probably soon,” which will mark her follow-up to 2017’s “You Make It Feel Like Christmas.”

Evergrey, “Escape of the Phoenix”

Swedish progressive metal band Evergrey returns with their much-anticipated new album, “Escape of the Phoenix,” on Feb. 26 on AFM Records. Now on their 12th studio album, vocalist and founder Tom S. Englund opens up on “Escape of the Phoenix” with deeply personal songs about his life, views of the world and more.

Exodus, “Persona Non Grata”

It’s been nearly seven years since Exodus released their latest studio album, 2014’s “Blood In, Blood Out,” and with guitarist Gary Holt no longer tied up in Slayer, the new tunes are flowing. Exodus spent much of last year working on new music, and the latest Exodus album is tentatively slated to arrive this summer.

Foo Fighters, “Medicine at Midnight”

It’s always a major deal when Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters release a new album, and with touring off at the moment, fans are coped up at home and even more excited for the new tunes. Grohl, of course, was the drummer in Nirvana before forming Foo Fighters in 1994. Now, with plenty of No. 1 albums and singles under their belts, the Foos are back with their 10th studio album, “Medicine at Midnight,” out Feb. 5 on Roswell Records. Some tracks have already been released, such as “Shame, Shame” and “No Son of Mine,” giving hints of a varied rock ‘n’ roll record that both screams and whispers.

Grey Daze, “Amends…Stripped”

Grey Daze is the rock band that featured a teenage Chester Bennington, years before Bennington catapulted to stardom in Linkin Park. Following Bennington’s tragic passing in 2017, Grey Daze put out an album of songs featuring Bennington’s lost vocals, 2020’s “Amends.” Now, the band is back with an acoustic take on the tracks in “Amends…Stripped,” an unplugged albums featuring soft, acoustic backings that really bring out Bennington’s vocals.

Judas Priest, TBA

Last year marked the 50th anniversary of Judas Priest, but unfortunately, the band wasn’t able to embark on their 50th anniversary tour to celebrate. At least the time off the road allowed frontman Rob Halford to release his debut memoir, “Confess,” which he spoke with Audio Ink Radio about in an in-depth interview. The time off also enabled Judas Priest to work on their follow-up to 2018’s “Firepower,” which promises another towering metal concoction.

Greta Van Fleet, “The Battle at Garden’s Gate”

Greta Van Fleet broke into the mainstream seemingly overnight when their debut song, “Highway Tune,” shot to the top of the rock charts in 2017. The band didn’t even have a full-length studio album out at that point, but the following year, they put out their debut album, “Anthem of the Peaceful Army.” Now, the band is back with their sophomore album, “The Battle at Garden’s Gate,” out April 16, and judging by early singles, it will carry the Led Zeppelin swagger and sound that has earned the band such a big spotlight.

Mammoth WVH, TBA

Mammoth WVH, the solo project from Wolfgang Van Halen, has been hard at work on what’s certainly one of the most anticipated albums of 2021. Wolfgang has been working on the albums for years and was scheduled to release it in 2020, but things got pushed back due to the pandemic. Wolfgang has released one song off the upcoming album, “Distance,” which is a tribute to his father, the late Eddie Van Halen.

Megadeth, TBA

Megadeth scored a Grammy with their 2016 studio album, “Dystopia,” which makes the follow-up an even more anticipating listen. Frontman Dave Mustaine and guitarist David Ellefson have both talked excitedly about the upcoming album, including in David Ellefson’s recent interview with Audio Ink Radio. The band has been recording the new album in Nashville, and expect another thrash-y, brutal set.

Mastodon, TBA

Atlanta metal band Mastodon hit their 20-year milestone as a band last year, and to celebrate, the band released a rarities set, “Medium Rarities.” Aside from that release, Mastodon also spent much of last year working on new music, which is expected to arrive before the year’s end.

The Mercy Kills, “New Rule”

New Rule offer a dirty, sleezy mix of post-punk, grunge and rock ‘n’ roll. The Melbourne band releases their debut EP, “New Rule,” on Feb. 12 via Golden Robot Records, which was actually produced back in 2010. At the time, the set was only available as a short run of CDs, but now, it’s getting the proper attention it deserves.

Myles Kennedy, TBA

With Alter Bridge off the road last year, Myles Kennedy used the downtime to work on the follow-up to his debut solo album, “Year of the Tiger.” Kennedy has stated that the new music will be more electric guitar-centric than his previous solo album, which was completely acoustic, so expect to hear a different side of Kennedy than on his debut.

The Pretty Reckless, “Death by Rock and Roll”

The Pretty Reckless make raw, real-sounding rock ‘n’ roll that recalls grungy favorites such as Soundgarden and Temple of the Dog, but with a female vocalist. Taylor Momsen and the crew have achieved major success in the rock world over the past decade and change, including a handful of No. 1 rock singles, such as “Heaven Knows” and “Take Me Down.” Now, the band is back with their fourth studio album, “Death by Rock and Roll,” out Feb. 12, which features some big names, such as Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello, Soundgarden drummer Matt Cameron and Soundgarden guitarist Kim Thayil.

Steel Panther, TBA

Steel Panther’s most recent studio album is 2019’s “Heavy Metal Rules,” and although the band has been performing virtual concerts throughout the pandemic, they’ve certainly had time to work on new music. Last September, Steel Panther frontman Michael Starr told Audio Ink Radio that the band was in the process of writing “some really killer tunes” and that the guys were “not writing about the quarantine,” but focusing on helping their fans forget about the bad times with songs about “partying and having a good time.”

Styx, TBA

Tommy Shaw and Styx write some of the most imaginative rock music of the era, and the band’s 2017 release, “The Mission,” proved that they’re just getting started. Various band members have stated that a follow-up is in the works, and with touring off for the forseeable future, 2021 seems the perfect year to release the new tunes to the masses.

Tremonti, TBA

Tremonti, the band fronted by Mark Tremonti of Alter Bridge and Creed, released their latest studio album in 2018, “A Dying Machine.” The album earned rave reviews, with Tremonti sounding as powerful and confident in the lead vocalist role as ever, and now, fans are eager to hear the band’s new material. Tremonti hasn’t given the official word on when the album will be out, but we’re hoping for this year.

Todd La Torre, “Rejoice in the Suffering”

Queensryche vocalist Todd La Torre is known for heading up vast-sounding melodic rock anthems, but he also has a heavier side. La Torre’s debut solo album, “Rejoice In The Suffering,” out Feb. 5, shows off his love for all things brutal, with ripping, metallic tracks that showcase La Torre’s penchant to not just sing but also scream and growl. Metalheads, surely, will “Rejoice in the Suffering.”

Red Hot Chili Peppers, TBA

The upcoming album from the Red Hot Chili Peppers is greatly anticipated, as it will mark the band’s first with guitarist John Frusciante back in the fold since 2006’s “Stadium Arcadium.” After a ten-year hiatus, the Peppers announced that Frusciante was back in the band in early 2020, right before touring shut down, but at least the extra time gave them time to work on new material.

Rob Zombie, “The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy”

Rob Zombie has been teasing his new studio album, well, for pretty much years at this point, but judging by the success of his past releases, it will be worth the wait. While five years between records is a large gap, the distance has just make Zombie’s fans even more excited for his upcoming release, “Rob Zombie – The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy,” out March 12, which promises his characteristic creepy, dark sonic textures and electronic backbeats.

Weezer, “OK Human” and “Van Weezer”

When one album isn’t enough, why not try for two? That’s exactly what Rivers Cuomo and the guys of Weezer are doing with their 2021 releases. Weezer will release two new albums this year: “OK Human” on Jan. 29 and “Van Weezer” on May 7. The albums will show off two different sides of Weezer, with “OK Human” more piano-driven and orchestral and “Van Weezer” showing off the guitar-heavy edge to Weezer.


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