And we’d like to take this opportunity to look ahead at what will be the highlights of another sensational year for the music we love.
New albums are forthcoming from Aerosmith, Joe Bonamassa, Rush, Motley Crue, Kiss, Europe, The Darkness, The Gaslight Anthem, Judas Priest, Lamb Of God, Testament, Dragonforce, Meshuggah, Shinedown – and even Thin Lizzy!
But there’s little doubt that two bands will dominate the rock and metal scene this year.
And it will be impossible to escape the hype surrounding Van Halen and Black Sabbath – with both bands welcoming back their original singers.
Sabbath have already laid their cards on the table by announcing an Ozzy-fronted world tour – including a Download headline slot – and a new album at the end of the year.
And while Van Halen have kept their cards close to their chest it seems the band’s John Shanks-produced album will be out by the summer on Interscope. A world tour will follow.
Needless to say we’re stoked about both bands returning to the scene and it’s hard to see who or what will overshadow two of the biggest reunions for 25 years.
On a smaller scale two of the best double-header UK tours you’ll see all year will be rolled out across Britain in March.
Black Stone Cherry hook up with Rival Sons and at around the same time two of finest domestic talents on the live scene join forces – The Answer and The Union finally coming together on one stage.
Another early highlight is the return of Rammstein to UK arenas with the German industrial metallers bound to serve up a typically bombastic show replete with flames, bizarre suits and edgy subject matter.
Blink 182 look to bounce back from last year’s cancellations with a new tour and album while Metallica will play the Black album in its entirety alongside Sabbath at Download.
Alice Cooper leads a strong Bloodstock bill on the back of his superb Welcome 2 My Nightmare and ZZ Top are set to tour this summer on the back of their first new album in eight years.
Def Leppard look likely to release new material throughout the year following on from the three fresh tracks included on last year’s debut live album. And from a personal point of view we’re very excited at the prospect of a new Quireboys record – the album that should finally restore their reputation as British rock and roll royalty.