Queens of the Stone Age's upcoming sixth studio, which is due in June and titled '...Like Clockwork,' has made our list of the most anticipated albums of the year for the past three years running. However, we're foaming at the mouth for the long awaited follow-up to 'Era Vulgaris' now that Dave Grohl has returned to play drums.

Queens' sixth full-length album was reported as being a work-in-progress as far back as 2008, but has yet to be heard by anyone (save for a few lucky folks in the QOTSA family). Frontman Josh Homme initially put record #6 on hold when he was presented with the chance of a lifetime -- making a blues-rock record with Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones and Foo Fighters frontman and former collaborator Dave Grohl on drums. The trio -- known as Them Crooked Vultures -- quietly put together an innovative self-titled debut album and spent much of the next year touring behind it.

Toward the end of his touring with TCV, Homme was forced to have surgery and nearly died. After several months of recovery, Homme returned better than ever. The band re-released their debut album in late 2010. They also played the entire record in sequence on the supporting tour, during which Homme had a maniacal focus on recreating the feel of the disc.

It seemed Homme returned from his brush with death a new man, with new priorities. "It made me explain my own philosophy to myself better," explained Homme in a 2011 interview. "It made parts of music utterly useless to me all of a sudden....it made me want to go away." Thankfully for us all, he did not go away and instead re-focused on making a masterful new Queens album.

The most recent news regarding the super top secret project is the exit of drummer Joey Castillo (the first major lineup change since the firing of bassist Nick Oliveri in 2004) and the return of Dave Grohl, who played drums on their beloved 'Songs for the Deaf' LP. Aside from that here is pretty much all we know about the disc:

  • Long time Homme collaborator Alain Johannes is working closely on the album in some capacity (likely production and some session work).
  • Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) has contributed to a new song on the album, he previously recorded the title track B-Side 'Era Vulgaris' with the band.
  • The group has said that the disc is more in the vein of their early works and have been quoted as saying, "the robots are back."
  • Josh Homme explained his decision to again recruit Grohl to play drums as, "the search for something classic. If we’re gonna do this and everything, you know, I’d really like to put everything I have into it and make it a record that somebody can really fall in love with."
  • Perhaps inspired by their recent recording sessions, Dave Grohl said they are "without question, the baddest rock and roll band in the world!"
  • Former bassist Nick Oliveri has contributed vocals to a track on the album.
  • Homme told BBC Radio 1's Zane Lowe, "I think this record is a little more lyrically vulnerable, but I also think it’s sort of musically deeper and richer and it’s a little bit stranger. This whole record basically sounds like you’re running in a dream the whole time.”
  • Dave Grohl says it is likely that he will not tour behind the disc.
  • Scissor Sisters frontman Jake Shears has contributed vocals on a potential album track.
  • Frequent collaborator Mark Lanegan has reportedly recorded vocals for unspecified parts of the record.
  • In an interview with Dave Grohl on 'Chelsea Lately,' Sir Elton John Revealed that he recorded a hard-hitting track in the key of B with the band.
  • Jon Theodore (Mars Volta, One Day As a Lion) has been named as the new drummer.

It had initially been rumored that the album would be released in March of 2013, but obviously we'd heard that before (see our 2011 and 2012 album previews). Turns out we actually got our first preview of the album and its release date in March. The band relaunched their website with a new logo, title and the simple message of "June." Since then we've learned that '...Like Clockwork' will be released on June 4th and have heard a good chuck of the new material via a slew of animated videos (see below). We're pretty confident that 2013 will be the biggest year Queens of the Stone Age have ever had (and rightfully so).