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14 happenings in metal to look forward to in 2014

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In the annals of metal history, 2013 certainly wasn’t a landmark year, but it was far from uneventful. How will 2014 be remembered? As the saying goes: only time will tell. That’s a pretty stupid saying though, and in defiance of it, here are fourteen things pertaining to metal to watch out for next year. Some of these events probably will not come to pass, but we’ll know for sure twelve short months from now.

  1. Let’s start with what we know is going to happen. There will be plenty of tours hitting Columbus as always, and so far, the highest profile one officially announced is the Worldwide Plagues tour, featuring Iced Earth along with Sabaton and ReVamp, the latter band featuring the inimitable Floor Jansen of Nightwish on vocals. That concert will be at the Newport Music Hall on April 10. Just four days before that, the Decibel Magazine Tour will stop at the same venue. This tour features the reunited Carcass, along with The Black Dahlia Murder, Gorguts and Noisem.
  2. The lineup won’t be announced till late next month, but the dates for next year’s Rock On The Range have been announced. The festival will be a full three days long again, starting on Friday, May 16, and going through Sunday night, May 18. The lineup this year and last have been absolutely incredible, running the gamut from mainstream hard rock to thrash metal to classic rock to grunge. Can the organizers do it again in 2014? If tradition holds, we’ll find out around January 22nd, give or take a day or two. For those who like to travel out of state to festivals, the dates for Rocklahoma (near Tulsa, OK) and Rock Fest (in rural Wisconsin) have also been announced. Unfortunately, Metallica’s Orion festival will not take place next summer due to the band touring in Europe.
  3. Speaking of Metallica, their theatrical film ‘Metallica Through the Never’ will be released on DVD, Blu-ray, 3D Blu-ray, digitally and Video On Demand on January 28. In case you missed it at the cinema (and based on the film’s box office returns, most people did), you can headbang in the privacy of your own home.
  4. Among the most anticipated – for better or worse – metal albums scheduled for release in 2014 is Slayer’s. To say the band’s gone through some traumatic upheaval since work on the album commenced is like saying ‘Reign in Blood’ is a good thrash album. Guitarist Jeff Hanneman unexpectedly passed away last May and drummer Dave Lombardo parted ways with the band after a contract dispute. Could this be Slayer’s last album of new material? We may not know the answer to that for years.
  5. 2014 will also finally see the release of the first Slipknot album of new material since ‘All Hope is Gone,’ which is going on six years old now. It will also be the legendary band’s first new album since the death of bassist Paul Gray. And stop the presses!! It was just announced that Slipknot has parted ways with drummer Joey Jordinson. What the heck??? That definitely came out of nowhere. Well, anyway…*catching breath*…other high-profile bands scheduled to release new albums next year include Anthrax, Opeth, Alice Cooper and Overkill.
  6. Slipknot might be releasing two albums in 2014, actually. If they follow the pattern they established in 2009, then a 10th anniversary reissue of their landmark album ‘Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses)’ should see the light of day sometime this spring. One reissue that is definitely coming out next year is a 20th anniversary edition of Pantera’s ‘Far Beyond Driven.’ There hasn’t been any official announcement yet, but Philip Anselmo has been hyping it up in interviews recently. He also added that at least one live show from that era will be on the reissue.
  7. Kiss is finally getting inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame! They actually became eligible 14 years ago, in 1999, but for some unknown but surely ridiculous reason, they just now got in. Recently, the Hall of Fame allowed the public to vote for which nominees they wanted inducted, and even though our vote probably doesn’t count for much, Kiss beat every other band in the polls, even – incredibly – Nirvana, who got in too, and during their first year of eligibility. Deep Purple came in third in the polls, so maybe there’s a chance they’ll get in soon. They’re only 21 years overdue!
  8. Ever since Mötley Crüe’s raunchy autobiography ‘The Dirt’ became a huge bestseller and a publishing phenomenon, legions of hard rock and metal musicians, from Ozzy Osbourne to Dave Mustaine to Al Jourgensen to Sammy Hagar, have written their life stories. That trend will stay strong next year, with the publication of memoirs by Scott Ian, Phil Anselmo and Paul Stanley (who will become the fourth and final member of Kiss’ original lineup to release an autobiography).
  9. Kiss truly does have a lot going on in 2014. It’ll be the 40th anniversary of their self-titled debut and their sophomore album, ‘Hotter Than Hell.’ Hopefully the band will celebrate this milestone with live performances of the albums, or at least some of the more obscure cuts, such as “Parasite” and “Strange Ways.” Kiss also has a documentary in the works, which will be released theatrically. Just how comprehensive it can possibly be without any involvement from Ace Frehley and Peter Criss, however, is a valid concern.
  10. Getting back to the local scene, a popular venue for hair metal bands, Slapsy Maxies, has reopened. Just be aware that they are in a new location: 158 Hutchinson Avenue, which is close to the Marcus Crosswoods Cinema. Their grand reopening party featured a country band though, which makes me wonder if they are going to continue to hose metal shows. If it turns out they don’t anymore, then the Turtle Creek Tavern, located at 5571 North Hamilton Road, might pick up the slack. So far, Faster Pussycat and LA Guns have performed there. Hopefully these are just the first of many, many concerts to be held at this venue. Now if only we could get another 20,000-capacity outdoor venue again (R.I.P. Polaris Amphitheater).
  11. Black Sabbath has already announced some North American tour dates for 2014, but as usual, there are no Ohio dates. Hopefully at least a Cleveland show gets announced sometime soon, but it’d be great to see them here again. Sabbath has not performed in Columbus since the summer of 2004!
  12. Some other bands that have not performed in Columbus for quite a while are Judas Priest and the Scorpions. Both, incidentally, are in the midst of farewell tours, and both have said that these treks will be massive undertakings that will take several years to complete, and that they’ll be hitting as many cities as they can. It’d be nice if Columbus is among those cities because both of these tours should be wrapping up in 2014. Of course, if these tours are anything like Ozzy Osbourne’s and Kiss’ “farewell tours,” then Priest and the Scorps will still be touring in 2024.
  13. In this age of rapidly declining album sales, bands are forced to stay on the road a lot longer. In order to increase interest from an increasingly blasé public, these bands are reuniting with estranged members. So many of them have done this in the past few years: Van Halen, Black Sabbath, Anthrax, Morbid Angel, Korn, Testament… the list goes on and on and on. Just in the last year or two, Faith No More reunited, but they haven’t performed anywhere even remotely near Columbus. Hopefully this is rectified in 2014. They’d be a perfect choice to play at Rock On The Range. Even more recently, Dangerous Toys and Infectious Grooves have announced concerts taking place next year, but again, none of them are near here. Yet, anyway. Maybe pretty soon the last of the reunion holdouts, namely Guns N’ Roses, Sepultura and Skid Row will get their butts in gear and reform their classic lineups, at least for a tour or two.
  14. The best show currently on television right now that doesn’t feature zombies, “That Metal Show,” returns for its 13th (!!) season on January 18.
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