Since there still isn't any OFFICIAL word on VAN HALEN'S phantom new album with DAVID LEE ROTH... we're forced to stick with the UNOFFICIAL word.

Here's the latest:  A fan site called Van Halen News Desk claims the album is "nearing completion."

They quoted "That Metal Show" host EDDIE TRUNK, who Tweeted:  "On the rock gossip wire I heard two reports today from reliable sources:  VH album is close to done and will come out this year.  Label [to be determined]."

Of course, since Eddie attributed his comment to the "rock gossip" scene, there's also the possibility that this site is just using Eddie's Tweet to "confirm" its own Van Halen speculation.  (A possible case of rock gossip incest, if you will.)

The fan site adds, quote, "This matches up perfectly with what we heard from a trusted source at the beginning of March... that the recording process is going great and the band is starting to mix the new tracks.

"Also, from another reliable source of ours today, we hear that this fall is the most probable time that the album will be released and a tour will begin."