It’s a new year and so that means there’s only six months until the metal festivals begin.

Sonisphere and Bloodstock have confirmed loads of bands already.

Sonisphere’s line-up is pretty impressive with the heavyweights of Rammstein and Maiden as well as Alice Cooper, Motley Crue, Iggy, Slayer and Anthrax all there.

Bloodstock has some still to be announced slots but has confirmed co-headliners for the Saturday of Children of Bodom and Fear Factory. Cannibal Corpse and Behemoth help to ensure it’s the heaviest festival in the country for another year.

So that just leaves all the serious speculation about who is to play at Download this year.

AC/DC accidentally posted their appearance on their website and then took it down a couple of minutes later, so that seems pretty likely (although Heaven and Hell did similar last year and then went on to play at Sonisphere instead).

In their self-hype the organisers have claimed that their headliners are to be one of the biggest stories of the year. Metal Hammer speculate that that could mean The Misfits. I would prefer a SOAD reformation myself.

Virtual Festivals seems to think that it will be a completely classic rock themed weekend with the likes of Aerosmith, Guns N Roses and Van Halen mentioned.

Download has never had a weekend headlined by two classic metal (or two when it was a 2-dayer) bands since it brought back Donington so I doubt that we would see both Aerosmith and GNR on the bill. It wouldn’t seem to fit their business plan which has seen the likes of Linkin Park and My Chemical Romance headline.

Metallica played the festival in 2003, 2004 and 2006, and have a gap in their tour schedule in early June, so perhaps this will be the year they return.

Lower down the bill all of the bands who have albums out this year as listed here are solid contenders (apart from Orphaned Land who don’t tour and Fear Factory who are doing Sonisphere and Bloodstock).

Finally, with all the metal going to Sonisphere will Reading/Leeds ever get another metal headliner? It’s rumoured that it will have a predominantly punky line up this year. That’s a shame, because it always used to attract a solid metal contingent previously.