For fans of Van Halen‘s original lineup, the band’s last three decades or so have been punctuated with more than a few frustrations and disappointments, including their brief reunion with David Lee Roth in 1996, bassist Michael Anthony’s rudely handled dismissal, and an overall lack of new music since a pair of new tracks were appended to the double-disc ‘Best of Both Worlds’ compilation way back in 2004.

Roth has been back in the band since 2006, with rumors of a new album persistently surfacing over the last five years. The buzz has grown louder than ever this year, and for awhile, it looked like this might finally be the year Van Halen came back — but it looks like we’ll have to keep on waiting.

According to the latest reports, the new Van Halen album is now scheduled for an early 2012 release. The delay may be due in part to the band’s reported departure from its longtime label, Warner Bros., which has released every VH record since its 1978 debut. According to sources, the band is now with Sony’s Columbia Records imprint, where Rick Rubin’s appointment as label co-president has made it a friendlier outpost for rock acts.

Producer Ross Hogarth, who manned the boards for the new album, has been quoted as saying “It’s the killing side of Van Halen at the top of their game again with Diamond Dave, and the band on fire.”

The inside scoop, or mere hyperbole? Maybe next year, we’ll finally get to judge for ourselves.

[Ultimate Classic Rock]