As we barrel into the new year we want to take one last look at our most popular news stories (by topic) on our website in 2019. Thanks for being here with us and choosing us for your music news, interviews, reviews and other entertaining content we try to provide daily!
Tool was everything in 2019
For many reasons, 2019 was “The Year of Tool” (or Slipknot, Metallica, Tool according to Metal Sucks)! From Adam Jones teasing the approaching album on Instagram, to Maynard James Keenan outright casting doubt that it would even release this year, to the band formally announcing the album with only about six weeks to go before its release, they masterfully played the press against the loyalty of the fan base all year-long. A notorious holdout from streaming services, the band dropped all of their music out of the blue on Spotify and other DSPs on August 7th, immediately dominating the service. Ghost Cult was graced with a private listening session of Fear Inoculum (Tool Disectional/RCA) a week early (in a room at their label with only writers for Esquire, and Stereogum!) posted our hot take/one listen- first review. It blew up with fans clicking hard, seeking early vibes on the album. To top it off, our share of a meme about Tool upsetting Taylor Swift fans for multiple #1 rankings on Billboard lists was retweeted by Maynard himself and then broke the goddamn internet as a true viral sensation. Oh, the album rules too!
— Maynard J Keenan (@mjkeenan) September 7, 2019
Mr. Bungle returns in 2020!
In the midst of the summer of Slipknot, Tool, and Rammstein, Mr. Bungle shared the news that they would reunite for the first time in a decade and a half in early 2020, to perform their début EP, The Raging Wrath Of The Easter Bunny. The band will be supported by special guests Scott Ian and Dave Lombardo. Realistically, only die-hard Bungle and Mike Patton fans even know this release well compared with their later discography. Still, the hype was so big for three quickly sold-out shows, that the band had to immediately add additional gigs in the three cities they planned to play. Ghost Cult will be at the New York shows in February. No word if there will be additional gigs yet, either in America or elsewhere in the world. Patton also kept extra busy as usual putting out new albums, performing two concerts with Mondo Cane, and oh yeah, reuniting Faith No More for a tour next summer!
Rage Against The Machine calls it a comeback!
Yes! In a fair bit of detective work, Ghost Cult uncovered the clues that Rage Against The Machine and their inner circle left on Instagram, and broke the news of their return that was one of the top stories of 2019. Major publications verified our detective work, but we had the story before anyone else in the world. RATM is back, will headline Coachella 2020 and perform at least a handful of other shows. More tour dates are expected to be announced in the future since Prophets of Rage has broken up since most of its members will be unavailable with other touring commitments.
The Identity of Slipknot percussionist “Tortilla Man” revealed!
Who is Tortilla Man? This is what Slipknot fans want to know. Not whether the new Slipknot album was any good (experimental, but tight), not the multiple tour dates (Knotfest Roadshow), many festivals, not “what Corey Taylor thinks” or other cool goings-on with the band. They wanted to know who replaced Chris Fehn as the touring percussionist. And we helped spread the good word of YouTuber House of Masks, who figured it out!
Devin Townsend’s sick new album and return to Strapping Young Lad Material
Every Devin Townsend new album is a special occasion in the heavy music world. There is a just a magic about him and his craft. Empath (InsideOut Music) is the culmination of the work of his entire genius and zany repertoire. He did a masterful job on the album and did more promotion than ever before with a series of behind the scenes videos. Not only that Devy announced that his first-ever festival headline set will be at Bloodstock 2020, and he will even play some old Strapping Young Lad tracks again, much to the delight of his fan base.
Def Leppard, the Reunited Mötley Crüe, Poison, Joan Jett and The Blackhearts tour confirmed
Some band reunions were unexpected surprises, and some we never asked for, but we got `em anyway. Mötley Crüe coming back was a complete shock, not because of that PR stunt “contract” that the band exploded in a video, but honestly the band has only been retired for four years. Still, the demand for tickets has proven people will pay to see the spectacle, be it awesome or terrible. Def Leppard should be great live, and Poison and Joan Jett get even odds to upstage both headliners completely. Don’t come late to “The Stadium Tour”.
Job For A Cowboy Teases a return
No announcement has been made by Job For A Cowboy, but we miss this awesome band a fuck-ton. When they suddenly appeared active on their Facebook for the first time in a long time, we reported the story, as perhaps it meant a return to activity was possible for the band whose brilliant Sun Eater (Metal Blade) album was massively underloved. We are not alone in our fanboying, because our story helped activate their fanbase, thousands of whom made it known they also want the band back badly! Then JFAC themselves shared our story and appeared to be flattered, but perhaps also have something up their sleeves for 2020. Time will tell.
Doom Video Game Composer assembles a Death Metal Choir for Doom Eternal
Half of the skill being good journalists (we care about this, even though the majority of heavy music websites don’t) is being relentless, astute and always being on the lookout for emerging news stories. When our Instagram started popping off with posts of famous Death Metal and other extreme music singers in photos together and posts from Doom video game score composer Mick Gordon. The fifth edition in the Doom video game franchise is coming soon, dubbed Doom Eternal. Members of Aborted, Frontierer, Immortal Bird, Vault Dweller, Wildspeaker, Black Crown Initiate, Sectioned, The Anchor, all participated in the recording and shared posts along with Gordon. Also included in the session was Tengger Cavalry leader, pioneering Mongolian Metal artist, and friend to Ghost Cult Nature Gangabaigal, in what was possibly his last recording before he tragically died just a short while later in June.
Machine Head Reunites Some of The Burn My Eyes Lineup and more DRAMA!
It’s been a busy and tumultuous few years for Machine Head. After being almost broken up after losing half of its lineup at the end of 2018, The band rebounded to announce that founder Robb Flynn was reuniting some of the Burn My Eyes-era lineup with Logan Mader and Chris Kontos (who was long retired from drumming!) to tour the world. The BME 25 tour is quickly selling out worldwide and will continue in 2020. On top of that, the band added new members and dropped a controversial new song. Regardless of the past or the present incarnations of the band, the rest of the Machine Head saga is not yet written.
The Slayer Farewell Tour ends their career, lots of old guys cry in public
It is no small thing that Slayer has retired. Ghost Cult covered Slayer for our entire existence but gave them no less attention on their victory lap. We covered every leg of “The Final Campaign” in America and elsewhere in the world. Even their long-form video and concert DVD – “The Repentless Killogy” earned a lot of respect from fans and traffic to our site. Other than Lemmy and Ronnie James Dio passing away and Black Sabbath stepping down, this is the first major band of the Heavy Metal or Thrash Metal eras retiring. We put out a final missive on the band too, discussing their eternal importance. Hopefully, we have not seen the last of them, but it does indeed feel final.
Sleep Robbed of their Gear by a Major Airline
Bands seem to get robbed left and right lately, but Sleep’s irreplaceable gear, especially Matt Pike’s one of a kind custom pedalboard for both Sleep and High on Fire was stolen by employees of Delta Airlines. The gear was not recovered. Those fuckers! Sleep continues to dominate searches by fans of our site for stories about Pike’s health, his contributions to tribute albums, the bands’ tours and Sleep’s pre-hiatus shows in Chicago to close 2019.
So goes Metallica, so goes Rock and Metal
Metallica keeps dominating the news cycle and continues to achieve things few other bands have done. They toured the world in 2019, performed “S and M 2″ concerts, ran afoul of fans for their ticketing practices, made huge strides with their foundation, and closed the year announcing a deal to headline all five Danny Wimmer Presents Festivals in 2020.
Ghost Ascends to Headliner Status with Arena Tour and Surprise EP
The huge year Ghost had in 2018 with the Album of the Year at Ghost Cult, Grammy wins, opening for Iron Maiden and Metallica, toys and other merch and headline tours of arenas, and their two new singles means that Ghost will continue to be one of the most talked-about bands in the world in 2020.
Misfits Play Madison Square Garden, Not Done with Shows Yet
Say what you want about Glenn Danzig, the guy is as press savvy as they come. The Orginal Misfits continued to perform sporadic arena shows in 2019 in the USA. After they played their home state of New Jersey, Denver and Seattle the band booked the “most famous arena in the world”, Madison Square Garden. Not just an epicenter for Hardcore Punk, seeing the Original Misfits in New York was an event people will be talking about for ages, as the band absolutely brought their “A” game by all accounts. Danzig also spurred the show to a sellout after hinting it would be their final show. It wasn’t and won’t be with at least one more show booked in 2020 at Domination Festival in Mexico. The band also kept busy with all kinds of events and cool toys and merch in 2019.
King Diamond tours, New Album Coming Soon
King Diamond is beloved by fans of all stripes. Not only did the legend tour the world in 2019, but he dropped a new single and firmed up plans for a new full-length album in 2020. Not only that King will be busy with a full European tour for the Mercyful Fate reunion too. So killer!
Mayhem Festival Plots a comeback
In another story first broken by Ghost Cult, this one about the impending return of Mayhem Festival blew up big time. And why not? Along with Ozzfest, Mayhemfest was the flagship summer metal festival for a generation of fans, and broke countless bands. The fest did all the work on social media, posting a photo of Rocky Balboa and the words “Don’t call it a comeback”. We say bring it on!!!
My Chemical Romance Reunites Capping A Monster Year for an inactive band
Emo megaband My Chemical Romance was all the talk all year long in 2019 before they even announced their reunion! From solo music and a team-up track from Gerrard Way and Frank Iero, Way’s Umbrella Academy superhero TV Series dominating Netflix, and finally the big news that they are back, it was quite a time for fans. Their legendary album The Black Parade even reentered the Billboard charts. We are looking forward to tours and hopefully new music too in 2020.