The much anticipated new Van Halen album is near completion. It seems the band -- with David Lee Roth back on vocals for the first time since 1984's '1984' -- is down to rounding out the edges, dotting i's and crossing t's, with one significant "i" rumored to have just been dotted. A change of record companies may keep the project from being released in 2011, meaning an early 2012 arrival is more realistic.

Last weekend reported that VH had split with Warner and signed with Sony, specifically Columbia Records. The band had been loyal to Warner for 35 years, but with so much instability in the record business it's not surprising to see a legendary group like Van Halen find a new recording home this far into their career. For their part, Warner may have lost hope that the volatile rock band could still produce high-caliber new music, even with the return of their original frontman.

Early indications are that the album is better than anything the rockers have released since Sammy Hagar split in 1996. Album producer Ross Hogarth told Ultimate-Guitar that "It’s the killing side of Van Halen at the top of their game again with Diamond Dave, and the band on fire." Granted Hogarth has something to gain from the album's success, but it won't take much to better their last studio album, 1998's 'Van Halen III.'