The first album in this list was confirmed the same morning that I published Part 2 of this series. It meant that I had to create a third part to this series, not that it was much of a chore given that I was able to easily put together another impressive list of likely records to be released this year. So, without further fanfare, let’s get on with it…
My Dying Bride – ‘The Ghost Of Orion
Nuclear Blast – 6 March 2020
I still remember hearing My Dying Bride for the first time when I took a punt on ‘Like Gods Of The Sun’ as a teenager back in 1996. The sheer anguish and misery that vocalist Aaron Stainthorpe managed to convey was incredible and songs like ‘For My Fallen Angel’ remain heartbreaking to listen to.
Coming to the band at this time, I was unaware of the growled vocals that appeared on previous records until I delved into the back catalogue. As such, I am absolutely delighted to hear Mr Stainthorpe unleash his wonderful clean vocals on the lead single from ‘The Ghost Of Orion’, ‘Your Broken Shore’. The blend of guttural growls and emotional fragility is intoxicating, especially when layered on top of some scintillating music that is both heavy and beautiful in equal measure.
I cannot wait to be able to review this beast of a record because I now have seriously high hopes for it.
Novena – ‘Eleventh Hour’
Frontiers Records – 6 March 2020
Given my love of Haken, it is hardly surprising that I’m excited about the prospect of a debut full-length album from London-based Novena, a progressive band that features Ross Jennings as the lead singer.
I reviewed Novena’s debut EP a few years ago and discovered a band that displayed huge potential. It wasn’t without a few flaws as far as I was concerned but it showed me enough to assure me that I’d be very interested in hearing a full album.
And, oh lordy lordy, based on the track below, ‘Disconnected’, my expectation levels just went through the roof. This song is brilliant; full of melody and understated complexity, it is modern prog done extremely well. It appears that the quality control lever has been raised and we could be in for something quite special. Admittedly I am saying this based on just one song but bearing in mind the clientele, I’m very confident of being proved right.
Dark Tranquillity – TBC
Dark Tranquillity remain one of my favourite bands after discovering them early in my journey into the uncharted waters of the melodeath or ‘New Wave Of Swedish Death Metal’ subgenre to give it the full title. Their consistency, attitude and the quality of their output has meant that they have never ceased to be an important player in my collection. Therefore, when you read the following post on their news feed in mid-December, it is naturally met with some measure of delight.
“It’s that time again. We have been writing for a while and early next year we will lock ourselves in the studio to try and create something new and meaningful. So far we are excited about the progress!”
There is no firm news of whether this record will see the light of day during 2020 but I will remain ever hopeful that I’ll be able to wax lyrical later this year at manofmuchmetal.com about the twelfth album of the Swedes’ career.
Fates Warning – TBC
Mid November, fans of US progressive metal stalwarts Fates Warning were treated to the following update:
“We know it’s awfully quiet in here. Working hard on FW13 and hope to start tracking early next year.”
That’s not exactly confirmation that we can expect a new studio album from Fates Warning within 2020 but it does provide us with hope. And for me, hope is all I need! After the very high-quality solo release from vocalist Ray Alder in 2019, I couldn’t help but turn my attention to the band with which he is most associated.
Having taken some time to ‘get’ Fates Warning, their last couple of albums have really clicked with me and I am definitely hoping that the quality of their thirteenth studio release is on a par or better than what has gone before it. I have no doubt that these professionals will deliver something very exciting for us to sink our teeth into when it finally arrives.
Earthside – TBC
Regular readers of my website will know that I hold the US progressive metal band Earthside in high regard. Their debut came out of nowhere in 2015 to floor me and many others besides. Largely an instrumental album with some guest vocal appearances, it was as much a surprise to me as anyone to award it ‘album of the year’ above a plethora of established and much-loved artists.
‘A Dream In Static’ remains an album that I listen to regularly and it still gives me chills in places. It comes as no surprise therefore, that I have been stalking the band’s social media posts for any news of a follow-up to their incredible debut. And, as it so happens, the omens are good, as the following videos posted last year should demonstrate. It remains to be seen whether their eagerly anticipated sophomore release will see the light of day within 2020 but I have everything crossed that it will. I need a new dose of the kind of epic, cinematic and symphonic prog metal that only this band seem to be able to deliver.
H.E.A.T – ‘H.E.A.T. II’
earMUSIC – 22 January 2020
A new H.E.A.T. album you say? Oh go on then! I’m a huge fan of melodic hard rock and this Swedish band are up there with the likes of Treat, W.E.T and Eclipse as one of the very best in my opinion. Since their inception around 2004, they have failed to release a sub-par record and have consistently brought new fans to their cause. However, they have yet to break into the very big league and I would hope that this is the album that makes this next important step possible.
There was talk in some quarters that perhaps their last album, ‘Into The Great Unknown’ flirted too close and too often to the world of pop. I can see that argument but personally, I really enjoy that record. It will be interesting to see how this new album sounds but I can guarantee that it will be catchy as hell and hard rocking – of that there is no doubt.
Vanden Plas – ‘The Ghost Xperiment – Illumination’
Frontiers Records – TBC
Despite not entirely loving their last album, ‘The Ghosrt Xperiment – Awakening’, I am still hopeful and interested to hear the second part of this two-album project, to be released just a year after the first part (I hope). The second half of ‘Awakening’ was infinitely stronger than the first half so going by that logic, the second album should be even better. And we all know that when Vanden Plas fire on all cylinders, they are world-beaters.
There is no official release date or confirmation that ‘Illumination’ will see the light of day in 2020 but late November, we were treated to a post that confirmed that the recording process had begun:
“”The Ghost Xperiment – Illumination”: Day 1 of the recordings for the next CD.
Not long ago we released “The Ghost Xperiment – Awakening”, and we are already working together with mighty Markus Teske on the second part :-).
Starting with Andreas/drums.”