It’s a leap year, there’s an extra day to give us more greatness or more tripe.
No sooner has the last drops of champagne mixed with hydrochloric acid been left on the pavement of a city centre and the last resolution broken before the new year is twenty four hours old, the prospect of another year of musical fantasy is upon us. Whether we like it or not.
With this new advent and the fall of Christmas trees and decorations all over the world, it would appear that the general population of planet Earth can return to normality, or as close to it as is possible, long winded editorial similes and hackneyed metaphors included.
So down to business. What follows is a small selection of prime cuts that are expected to be amongst the highlights of the upcoming musical year. Of course it would be silly and naive, if not down right ignorant, to place all hopeful eggs in the one basket, some of the best music and best tracks are often heralded without much hype and decorum. However, with some exhaustively huge names promising material in 2012, its best to get in at the ground floor.
Starting off is the incredibly long winded 19th studios album from venerable hard and prog rock legends Rush. Clockwork Angels the first since 2009’s ill received Snakes & Arrows, many positive things have been spoken about this latest offering. Rush are still considered major players amongst the rock journalism and fandom worlds, perhaps due to their impressive, genre busting back catalogue. However, without a solid album in over ten years and a seemingly endless stream of delays in the release of this one, expectations are high from Neil Peart et al.
The Smashing Pumpkins provide a new album, Billy Corgan and his mismatched, alternative rock behemoths deliver what should be a fine tribute to the band, and image’s, roots in alternative, melancholy roots. Oceania will for part of the ongoing, tentatively titled “concept album” started with Teargarden by Kaleidyscope and lasts for forty-four, lavishly lazy tracks.
Veteran arena rockers Aerosmith, Van Halen and KISS offer more material to their beying fans later in the year. After the very public spat between lead singer Steven Tyler and Joe Perry have put their differences aside, over a nice cup of chamomile tea, Aerosmith deliver their as of yet untitled new album this coming May.
Van Halen’s first album with singer “Diamond” David Lee Roth since the brilliant 1984, is still shrouded in mystery, despite a tentative release date of “early 2012.” This could prove to be VH’s triumphant return after the darkness of the Van Hagar debacles and reassert one of the best hard rock, musically sound bands of their generation.
KISS’ curiously titled MONSTER has all the makings of the classic creature feature KISS albums of the late 70s and 80s, the prime and pick of their live material to date. Capitalizing on the surprisingly entertaining and toe curlingly enjoyable Sonic Boom, look out for subsequent tours, t-shirts, tattoos, toilet seats and tantilisingly tasteful Kondoms to flood every market imaginable after launch.
Along with these giants come a series of interesting releases that will remain under the popular radar but may prove to be enjoyable additions to already stacked back catalogs. UFO release Seven Deadly which could prove to be one of the albums of the year this time in twelve months time, Phil Mogg and the rest of the gang long overdue a wider recognition of over forty years of hard rocking, stone washed denim anthems.
They are joined by the veteran Wilson sisters, Ann and Nancy of Heart. Although “Barracuda” is now relegated to the doldrums of Adam Sandler movies and, what is knocking on the door, Glee specials, the as yet untitled project is their fourteenth studio album. Red Velvet Car was a surprise hit in the US the back in 2010.
Finally and by no means the least, 2012 will see a positive renaissance in the big hitters of heavy metal as two of the founding fathers, should that be grandfathers now? Go head to head this summer. Judas Priest are going back to basics with their late 2012 release, what will be their first offering since the untimely retirement of guitarist K.K. Downing.
They will be joined, goaded and battled all the way in the cataclysmic metal domination by the recently reformed, in everyway possible, Black Sabbath. The original lineup of Toni Iommi, Geezer Butler, Bill Ward and John “Ozzy” Osbourne, announced their triumphant return in as dramatic a fashion as can be expected by this lot. On the 11th of November, 2011 at eleven minutes past eleven, there’s a Spinal Tap joke in there somewhere, the announcement was made that a tour and new album would be on the cards for 2012. Metal gurus everywhere had to change their underwear.
More questions than answered are sure to arise form this small selection of upcoming musical machinations from some of the best-known acts in music. But let this list be the tip of the iceberg and here is to the unsigned, mysterious bedroom producers who are out there cutting their teeth in an industry that is as unforgiving as the weather we have here in the UK. For those who continue to rock… we’ll salute you in 2012.