With 2013 over, we asked our MetalTalk writers to tell us what they are looking forward to in 2014, and this will give you something to look forward to as well...
I'm particularly looking forward to the long awaited new album from my favourite singer-songwriter, Heather Findlay. Her last record of new material was the superb EP 'The Phoenix Suite', released back in 2011. Since then this disc of five moving, thought provoking songs has rarely been far from my CD player, and during some particularly troubled times this year this music helped to save my life. I also trust that 2014 will see The Temperance Movement achieve world domination, or at least a stonking tour or three – and a new album would be lovely too.
A personal highlight of 2013 for me was the fact that this very site, MetalTalk.net, has moved up another level in terms of quality content and reader figures and we intend to continue this in 2014, plus I've been lucky enough to see Black Sabbath perform at the O2 Arena in London this past week - amazing! As far as things to come in 2014 though, Iron Maiden and Metallica at Sonisphere, Manowar's 25th anniversary of 'Kings Of Metal', new albums from Absolva and Hostile, tasting a Demonstealer curry at Les-Fest and most importantly on a people level, the re-emergence of our Syrian Metal brothers Anarchadia who fled the country due to the troubles - they'll be back and stronger than ever!
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For me, it's the albums to be released and gigs to attend that I don't even know the existence of yet that I'm looking forward to. These are the things that get me out of bed every day, the new Down Among The Dead Men EP that is rumoured to be released in 2014, and maybe also seeing them play live, possibly supporting Rogga Johansson's other band, Paganizer, but maybe that is too much to dream for. To be honest, just waking up in the morning is an achievement in itself at my age!
A new album by Septicflesh has been promised for early 2014. The Greek masters of Metal reached new heights with 2011s 'The Great Mass', and I am tingling with anticipation for what might be in store from the band next. They rarely do any shows in the UK, unfortunately, but here's hoping that the new year will bring these chaps over, otherwise it'll be a tour of Europe for yours truly!
2014 for me is looking good already with a few gigs planned – the most important one for me will be one final chance to see Status Quo in April which will once again see Alan Lancaster on bass guitar and John Coghlan back behind the drum kit for a handful of show, plus there is of course, Les-Fest 3 to look forward to, which has over thirty bands officially announced already. Good times ahoy!
Behemoth's new album, 'The Satanist' will be released on Monday 10th February, which is not only the band's first full-length album in five years, but it's the first since vocalist Adam 'Nergal' Darski underwent bone marrow transplant surgery after being diagnosed with leukaemia. Tool vocalist Maynard James Keenan will be celebrating his 50th birthday in style by performing with his other two bands – A Perfect Circle and Puscifer – for two special concerts named Cinquanta at the Greek Theatre, Los Angeles on Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th May.
So much to look forward to in 2014 - Metallica and Iron Maiden at Sonisphere in Knebworth for a start, but you can add new releases from Dusk, Dionysus and newcomers Slaves Awakening which will ensure that the Metal flame in Pakistan keeps burning.
Loads of great gigs of course. I already have tickets for tours by Within Temptation, Halestorm, Stream Of Passion and Epica. I'm sure there will be many more to come. There will be new albums to come from all those except Halestorm too so the first part of 2014 already is looking pretty good!
Keep an eye on Pink Cigar and Southern rock/country rock band Blackberry Smoke who are the best thing to come out of Atlanta since The Georgia Satellites.