30 albums to get excited for in 2021

We look ahead to the most important albums coming our way over the next 12 months – from titans of metal to underground heroes

30 albums to get excited for in 2021
Paul Travers

Okay, so 2021 hasn’t exactly gotten off to a flyer. So far it’s been another slice of the same shit pie but, for many people, music represented one of the few lights in the grey, shapeless morass of 2020. This year we’re expecting even more new records as delayed releases continue to filter through, with artists taking every opportunity they can to get together or adapt to new, remote ways of writing and recording.

Here are 30 albums we’re expecting (or in a couple of cases, just hoping) to see released in 2021…

Foo Fighters

The Foos rang in 2021 with new music in the shape of riff-tastic single No Son Of Mine, and are set to follow it up with the release of their 10th studio album Medicine At Midnight on February 5. “Pour a drink, turn it up, close your eyes and imagine that festival field blowing up to this,” said Dave Grohl. “Because it fucking will.”


AFI also cut through the New Year’s Day hangovers with an announcement that they would be releasing a new full-length album in 2021. “With the end of a year that has been, at best, challenging for all, we have news that we hope may bring you some joy,” they posted. “Very soon, new songs shall be yours. Before the year’s end, our 11th album will follow."


Another definite as The Bitter Truth is due out on March 26. It’s Evanescence's first album of wholly original material in a decade, and as Amy Lee told fans via Reddit: “It’s dark and heavy. Its also got moments of weird and sparse. Little bit of everything. Definitely some Open Door vibes but not the same.”


This one is a bit less definite, but there has been chatter about a new Slipknot album. Back in November, Corey Taylor hinted: “The plan right now with Slipknot is to try and a) finish up the touring next year, and b) we’re thinking about kind of putting another album out maybe next year.” Fingers crossed on this one.

Every Time I Die

Every Time I Die’s ninth album has been ready to go for months, but the band have been holding back until they can tour it. Keith Buckley told the Peer Pleasure podcast in November that they didn’t want to just “throw it into the into the furnace of online content that gets absorbed and quickly shit out while people are binge-watching shows". They have since released two singles in support of their recent livestream, though, so more will hopefully follow in the not-too-distant future.

The Pretty Reckless

Taylor Momsen and co. will return on February 12 with Death By Rock And Roll – which probably isn’t the worst way to go. Intriguingly, the new album features collaborations with Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello and Soundgarden’s Matt Cameron and Kim Thayil.


2018’s plague-themed Prequelle might be more pertinent than ever, but the spooky Swedes are hopefully set to return this year. Ghost mastermind Tobias Forge told Sweden Rock Magazine that their new album should be finished “sometime in March” but won’t be released until after summer, adding that it would be released to coincide with a tour. On the subject matter he told Sweden’s VK: “I have already made a record about God’s wrath and doomsday, even if Prequelle was not about just infection from a medical perspective. But I have a feeling that there will be plenty of doomsday and quarantine-confirming records in the future, and I think I might not participate in it.”


Beartooth mainman Caleb Shomo has shared numerous social media updates, along with teasers of a bunch of new songs and their amply endowed riffs. Last summer he described the work in progress as “just jacked”, adding “everything is amped up to 11”. He’s since said that the record is finished – but a release date is yet to be confirmed…

Greta Van Fleet

After exploding onto the scene with 2018’s Anthem Of The Peaceful Army, Greta Van Fleet will finally follow up their debut with new album The Battle At Garden’s Gate on April 16. Guitarist Jake Kiszka says of the album: "It's reflecting a lot of the world that we've seen, and I think that it's reflecting a lot of personal truth. What Josh [Kiszka, vocals] does very well with the lyrics is telling ancient tales with a contemporary application."

Ozzy Osbourne

After last year’s Ordinary Man it seems Ozzy’s rediscovered his passion for the studio as he’s back at work with Andrew Watt. The guitarist and producer revealed to Guitar World in December they were about "halfway through" an album featuring guest slots from Metallica’s Robert Trujillo and Taylor Hawkins of Foo Fighters. And, while there’s no guarantee they’ll make the finished album, he added that there are songs “that are like eight or nine minutes long that are these really crazy journeys”.

You Me At Six

This one’s almost on top of us, as the band’s new album SUCKAPUNCH is due to connect on January 15. “We had to face our pain head on and carve it into something positive,” says frontman Josh Franceschi of the record. “Our seventh studio album is the result of us finding peace and acceptance of what’s been and gone.”

Iron Maiden

Whether it will be a fully-fledged follow-up to The Book Of Souls we’ll have to wait and see, but something is afoot in the Maiden camp. In a video update in October, Bruce Dickinson said: “Well, we’re doing bits of writing. I’m talking to Steve [Harris, bass]. We’ve been working together a little bit in the studio. On what, I can’t tell you, ’cause they’d have to kill me.”

Black Veil Brides

Speaking to Kerrang! in November, Andy Biersack revealed that new album The Phantom Tomorrow was at that point around three-quarters done. It’s also another massive concept album. “I was always interested in sin and definitions of what is wrong,” he said of the theme, which also incorporates a character called The Blackbird that is “heavily based on my love of vigilante heroes, whether it’s Batman or Spawn or The Crow”.


Holy Hell! Architects are back with a ninth album that promises to be every bit as explosive as its predecessor if the two singles released so far are anything to go by. For Those That Wish To Exist will be released on February 26 and tackles some weighty issues. “This album was me looking at our inability to change to a way of life that would sustain the human race and save the planet,” said songwriter and drummer Dan Searle. On a more positive note, it also has some serious guest talent from Parkway Drive’s Winston McCall, Royal Blood’s Mike Kerr and Simon Neil of Biffy Clyro. This is definitely one to get excited about!


“When I was 13 or 14 years old, bands put out albums every year,” Kirk Hammett told Mixdown in 2019. “Seriously, KISS put out an album every eight months – none of this eight years between albums.” It seems the next LP might appear a lot quicker this time. In an interview with folk musician Phoebe Bridgers in November, drummer Lars Ulrich revealed the band were “three, four weeks into some pretty serious writing”, adding, “Fuck, there’s an opportunity here to still make the best record, to still make a difference.”


Waterparks dropped a new single (Lowkey As Hell) and live album (FANDOM: Live In the UK) at the tail-end of 2020, and already have a UK tour booked in – hopefully not overly optimistically – for this coming June. They also made a New Year social media announcement simply stating, ‘New Waterparks Album 2021’. Frontman Awsten Knight, meanwhile, told Kerrang! late last year: “When I skim through all the ideas that I’ve gotten to make in [lockdown], I’m like, ​‘Whatever comes from this has to be – and I think will be – better than [previous album] FANDOM.’ I could write a fucking thousand songs, and if a collection of them doesn’t beat what came before it, it’s just not gonna be released.”

Rob Zombie

Who else would release an album called The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy? Said record will emerge on March 12 via Nuclear Blast and includes typically OTT tracks with titles like The Satanic Rites Of Blacula and 18th Century Cannibals, Excitable Morlocks And A One-Way Ticket On The Ghost Train.


Weezer’s long-delayed 14th studio album is finally due out on May 7. Van Weezer has been dedicated to Eddie Van Halen (who passed away in October), and the album also nods to ’70s and ’80s hard rock from the likes of KISS and Black Sabbath. Rivers Cuomo told Entertainment Weekly: “The inspiration came from our live shows, where, in the middle of [hit single] Beverly Hills, unlike on the album, everything stops and I just break out with this crazy guitar solo. We noticed that, recently, the crowd just goes crazy when I do that. So it feels like maybe the audience is ready for some shredding again.”

A Day To Remember

The Florida metalcore crew return will with their long-awaited new album You’re Welcome on March 5. Thanking fans for their patience, Jeremy McKinnon said: “We took what we envision modern music to be and made a hybrid of who we were, who we are, and who we want to be. It took a lot of manoeuvring to get it right, but we feel like we did. We’re here now and very happy to present You’re Welcome.”


Having come back from a throat cancer diagnosis, Megadeth mainman Dave Mustaine is now intent on completing the band’s upcoming 16th album. Speaking on the Full Metal Jackie Radio Show he said: “I've had a pretty busy last two years. We were getting ready to start to record, and then stuff started going wrong with my throat, and we found out about the cancer. The treatment for the cancer was completed in six months, which was mind-blowing for me.” The pandemic delayed things further but the album is progressing, and bassist Dave Ellefson revealed that it was shaping up to be "one of the most ferocious records we've done since Rust In Peace". Sounds good to us!

Rise Against

“2020 was a year of friction and change, a year where some fires needed to be put out while others needed to be started. Here’s to the next chapter. We’ll see you soon. RISE2021.” Maybe we’re reading too much into it, but did the band’s New Year tweet suggest a return to action for Rise Against this year? It’s no secret they’ve been working on the follow-up to Wolves for a while now. Tim McIlrath told Kerrang! they were working on new music as far back as May 2019 and last summer he said: “We have new music, we have it all – this isn’t the end, this is just a new beginning.” So is 2021 the year we’ll see their new album? Here’s hoping!

twenty one pilots

TØP have a tendency towards cryptic teasers and surprise releases, so exactly when their next album will emerge is anyone’s guess. But we have had some definite hints that it’s on the way. Tyler Joseph told Zane Lowe last May that “it’s definitely going to be sooner than we were planning on releasing a record”. Then in November he teased “I’m working on the album” on his stories before Josh Dun talked about the challenges of collaborating on new music remotely. So, we’re not sure when, but it’s coming…

Teenage Wrist

Californian alt.rock duo Teenage Wrist will release their second album, the cheerily titled Earth Is A Black Hole, on February 12 via Epitaph. “All we have is this moment and that’s the most important thing,” says frontman Marshall Gallagher. “To be present and be positive and transcend the black hole bullshit because it’s all going to end one day.”

Bring Me The Horizon

This one might not be a full-length, but we are hopefully looking at more BMTH music this year to follow the Post Human: Survival Horror EP. Jordan Fish told K! at the end of 2020 that they had a lot of material in the pipeline, “But we haven’t properly got into the rhythm of writing the next EP yet, we’ll probably do that in the New Year,” he added. “The whole thing’s different to how we planned. We planned to do four EPs in a year, but the last one was almost an album, so I think the spacing will be a bit longer than intended, just because they’re probably going to turn out bigger than intended. That doesn’t matter, as long as they’re all really good.”


All the albums on this list so far have been from established bands, but here’s a debut full-length to get excited about. Husband and wife duo Courtney LaPlante and Michael Stringer both served time in metalcore experimentalists iwrestledabearonce and have already built up a cult following with the genre-defying Spiritbox, and outrageous single Holy Roller. There’s no date for their debut album yet but it is tentatively set for this year. Be ready.

Holding Absence

Welsh rockers Holding Absence will follow up their self-titled 2019 debut with The Greatest Mistake Of My Life, due out on April 16. Vocalist Lucas Woodland says: “This album is about telling stories that are presented through the lens of hindsight, regret and looking back. There are songs that celebrate life when faced with death, and others that speak to the choices we make about how we live our lives. The fear of love, newfound respect for life and the covering up of depression are all subjects that rear their head.”

The Offspring

If the release of the first Offspring Christmas song with Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) wasn’t enough, we’re still hoping to see a full album in 2021. Back in June 2020, Dexter Holland told Download TV the record was “basically done” but added that it was “on hold” due to the pandemic.

Angels & Airwaves

After returning to action with a bunch of singles across 2019 and 2020, Tom DeLonge and co. are now set to unleash their first full album since 2014’s The Dream Walker. In a 2021 update, the band posted: “We are – safely and distantly – back at work putting the finishing touches on our sixth studio album, which we feel is our best yet. If all goes as planned, songs will be ready to roll out this spring.”

Chubby And The Gang

Speed didn’t kill them after all, and the hotly-tipped UK punks are set to return with a new album in 2021. We’re still waiting for the details, but if their Speed Kills debut is anything to go by, get ready for more three chord Ramones-style riffage and hooligan hooks heading your way.

The Distillers

It’s been nearly two decades since the LA punks last released an album (2003’s Coral Fang). The pandemic led to the shelving of the reformed band’s comeback album, but Brody Dalle confirmed that it is on the way – possibly with more to come in short order. She told Spin recently: “I really have no idea what’s going to happen, but yes, we have a record coming out — hopefully sooner than later. And at this point, we’re pretty much ready to make another record too.”

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