Music Odds: Predicting 2017’s Heavy Metal Chart Toppers

Marilyn Manson at Rock am Ring 2015
Photo Credit: By Andreas Lawen, Fotandi (Own work)

Although I’m constantly inundated with radio-friendly pop music and Chainsmoker songs that all sound the same, there is still a place for heavy metal music in the dark corners of my playlists.

There is something about cranking Slipknot to 11 while running on the treadmill, or throwing on some metalcore while sipping coffee on the morning commute. Aggressive music helps get through the angst.

When you bring up heavy metal to the uninitiated, most people point to bands like Metallica, and that’s the obvious choice. Whether you believe they are true “metal,” their late 2016 release Hardwired…To Self-Destruct, seemed to be a return to their classic hard-hitting ways and, not surprisingly, it has ruled the Billboard 200 for months.

But there’s far more to the 2017 metal scene than the legendary San Rafael foursome.

The last time I conducted this predictive exercise, I mentioned that if Tool finally got their s#*t together and released a new record this year, that they would rule the charts. Well, just like every other year, it appears we might have to wait until 2018 for new music from Tool.

It’s okay, we’re used to moving on without Maynard James Keenan and crew. There are more than enough fantastic metal bands to keep us air drumming throughout the year.

Within the genre of shredding guitars and loud growls lie many sub-genres, where bands are either looking to continue their niche dominance or break out with a broader audience. Which ones will slam dance their way to the glorious Billboard 200?

Below are the odds, which mix some obvious choices with some of the more obscure metallers that you most definitely need to headbang to.

“Excellent!” – Bill S. Preston and Ted “Theodore” Logan


Odds on Heavy Metal Bands Hitting the Billboard 200 in 2017

The odds below are based on the band’s charting history along with likelihood of their new albums being released in 2017.

Rammstein, London O2, 2012
Rammstein, London O2, 2012 – Photo Credit: close to 94 blog (Flickr)

Marilyn Manson – Heaven Upside Down (summer 2017 release): 1/49

All of Marilyn Manson’s music has found its way into the Billboard 200. He is set to release his new album, Heaven Upside Down, sometime this summer, and you can fully expect it to be controversial and politically charged. The world could use a little Manson right now.

Rammstein – album name/release date TBA: 3/7

At the beginning of 2017, I had no idea Rammstein would release new music anytime soon, but apparently, that could very well happen. In March, guitarist Richard Kruspe told Bucksttabu, that their seventh album is nearly done.

Kruspe went on to say that they have 35 new songs almost in the can, and that they are just putting the record together yet can’t commit to a firm release date.

The last Rammstein record was 2009’s Liebe Ist Für Alle Da so as the Germans say, schon seit Langem fällig (long overdue).

Nine Inch Nails – album name/ release date TBA: 7/13

Last year, Trent Reznor told Rolling Stone that he plans on releasing two major pieces of work in 2017, both under the Nine Inch Nails umbrella (not Reznor and Atticus Ross’ film-score work).

Reznor went on to say that most of the new music will be very experimental in nature and different than his previous work. (I thought most NIN/Reznor releases were “experimental.”) Whatever they end up creating will find a home in the Billboard Top 200.

Bullet For My Valentine – album name TBA (tentative late-2017 release): 2/1

The Welsh metallers are back in the studio and crafting their new record. The big question is: will they release a full album or maybe a couple of EPs spaced out over the year? Lead singer Matt Tuck hinted at their plans in a recent interview with Kaaos TV.

Just because you’re recording material for a new record, doesn’t mean it will come out the same year, so this could easily come out in 2018.

BFMV released a new single called Don’t Need You which they say is a sample of what their new music will sound like. If, and it’s a big if, the new sounds come out in 2017, it’s a very safe bet it will be another metal record on the Billboard 200.

System of a Down –  album name TBA (tentative late-2017 release): 3/1

There were talks about a new System of a Down album being in the works, with an optimistic release date sometime in late 2017, but that kind of chatter was around in 2014, too.

Sadly, SOAD drummer John Dolmayan might have just poured cold water on all our hopes and dreams when he told Loudwire that the lack of progress on the new album is “very disheartening.”

It’s been 12 years since the last System of a Down record and let’s hope we don’t have to wait much longer. If the new album is released this year, I’m sure it will be another metal classic in the 200.


Steel Panther playing at Wacken 2016 – Photo Credit: By Frank Schwichtenberg (Own work)

Below are more great metal bands that are set to release new albums this year, and the odds they’ll crack the Billboard 200. Make sure to add them to your playlist and turn it up loud!

  • Steel Panther – Lower The Bar: 1/9
  • Miss May I – Shadows Inside: 3/17
  • Mastodon – Emperor of Sand: 3/17
  • Body Count – Bloodlust : 1/4
  • PallBearer – Heartless: 1/4
  • Kreator – Gods of Violence: 1/3
  • Eighteen Visions – XVIII: 1/3
  • Obituary – Obituary: 7/13
  • Within The Ruins – Halfway Human: 7/13
  • Darkest Hour – Godless Prophets and the Migrant Flora: 7/13
  • Ghost – TBA: 2/1
  • Origin: Unparalleled Universe: 25/1
  • Municipal Waste – Slime and Punishment: 50/1
  • Junius – Eternal Rituals For The Accretion Of Light: 50/1
  • Bear – /// 100/1
  • Zeal and Ardor – Devil is Fine: 200/1