Metal File: Norma Jean’s Hot Billboard Debut, Deftones, Judas Priest, Gwar, Danzig & More In This Week’s Hard News

Group's latest LP, O God, The Aftermath, roars into Billboard albums chart at #64.

When Solid State Records released the third album from Atlantan metalcore act Norma Jean on March 1, no one — not the band’s management, its label, and certainly not the bandmembers themselves — expected the disc would sell more than 19,000 copies in a week. But O God, The Aftermath did sell just that in its first week in stores, roaring into the Billboard albums chart at #64.

“We would never have thought that would happen,” said drummer Daniel Davidson. “It just totally blew us away. The music is so brutal and heavy and chaotic.”

Don’t think Norma Jean’s going to let sales figures get to their heads, though: There’s too much work coming up for them even to pat each other on the back. Norma Jean’s one of the main attractions for this summer’s Sounds of the Underground Tour; they’ll be spending April and May in Japan, the U.K. and Australia with Atreyu and Unearth; and they’ll be shooting a video for “Liarsenic” at some point in between those road trips.

But singer Cory Putnam did say the bandmembers are glad the Ozzfest folks snubbed ‘em. “If you play Ozzfest, that’s just like instant credit for your band, but it just costs too much money to be on it,” he explained. “You end up playing at 10 in the morning. I think [the Sounds of the Underground] is a tour that really cares about the bands that are on it, and cares about the music. And that’s what we care about.”

The rest of the week’s metal news:

The Deftones are said to be working on their next album, which is due out this summer. In the meantime, the long-delayed self-titled debut from frontman Chino Moreno‘s experimental trip-hop side project, Team Sleep, will finally see the light of day on May 10 and feature the tracks “Your Skull Is Red,” “Our Ride to the Rectory,” and “Paris Arm.” … Canadian extremists Strapping Young Lad‘s video for the track “Love?,” which was shot by director Joe Lynch and pays homage to the cult film classic “The Evil Dead,” will debut on MTV2′s “Headbangers Ball” Saturday night. …

Taking a cue perhaps from Rob Zombie, former Misfits frontman Glenn Danzig has penned a screenplay for “Gerouge,” a voodoo/horror tale that’s said to unfold in New Orleans during the 1900s. Danzig will also direct the film. … Can’t make it to Ozzfest this summer? Well, there’s always Judas Priest. Rob Halford and the gang will join forces with Queensrÿche for a North American tour that’ll kick off on June 1 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. A third band is being considered as the official opener, and a complete list of all of the dates for the eight-week run still needs to be ironed out. … Gore-metallers Cattle Decapitation have plans to release a split 7-inch single with Caninus. They’ll start working on the material for that effort next month. …

Losa will be hitting the road with Sinaibeach and Death by Stereo on April 14, playing just six shows on that trek before meeting up with Dead to Fall, 12 Tribes, and Fight Paris for a 26-date stint. … Goop-spewing gimmick rockers Gwar will release a live album on May 31 called Live From Mt. Fuji. The enhanced CD will contain 12 live cuts, including “Bring Back the Bomb,” “Horror of Yg,” “Krosstika,” “Sick of You,” “Womb With a View” and “Immortal Corruptor.” …

Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo and electronic artist DJ Spooky have teamed up for Drums of Death, a disc of rumbling, experimental songs that comes out April 26. Public Enemy‘s Chuck D. and Living Colour guitarist Vernon Reid guest on the disc, which was co-produced by Spooky and Meat Beat Manifesto. Track titles include “Quantum Cyborg Drum Machine” and “Metatron.” … Industrial supergroup Pigface will embark on their Free for All tour starting April 14 in Palatine, Illinois. Dates run through May 21 in Columbus, Ohio. The ever-mutating lineup will be filled this year by frontman Martin Atkins and members of KMFDM, My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult, Atari Teenage Riot, Nocturne, Hate Dept. and Bile. Nocturne and Sheep on Drugs will open all shows. …

Bodies in the Gears of the Apparatus will be hitting the road in June with Internal Bleeding and Strong Intention for a full U.S. tour. … Recently unearthed death-metal pioneers Obituary will replace Lamb of God for a concert April 9 in Inglewood, California. Lamb of God were banned from playing the venue because venue owners took offense to the group’s former name, Burn the Priest. While the group hasn’t used that moniker since 1998, its self-titled debut was re-released last week. Obituary recently completed its comeback album, which is tentatively scheduled for release this summer. … SikTh have written all of the material that’ll comprise the English math-metal band’s second album — which will serve as its Stateside debut. The band will hit the studio to record the album, which hasn’t been named yet, in April. Look for it to drop later this year through Bieler Bros. Records. …

Every Time I Die will be touring Europe with Lamb of God and Unearth in June. The band’s latest offering, Gutter Phenomenon, will be released through Ferret this summer. … The Number Twelve Looks Like You will release their next full-length offering, Nuclear, Sad, Nuclear, on June 7, through the chaotic metal-core band’s label, Eyeball. … Darkest Hour‘s Devin Townsend-produced effort Undoing Ruin is in the final stages of being mixed; the album drops June 28. … Deutschland thrashers Dew-Scented will release Issue VI in Germany on June 20 through Nuclear Blast. However, American fans will have to wait: its U.S. release has not yet been set. …

New Orleans demolition duo Blackfire Revelation are working on their debut album, which will be the follow-up to their recently released EP, Gold & Guns on 51. The disc is due by the end of the summer. The band will open for New York noisemasters Unsane starting May 11 in Columbus, Ohio. Dates run through May 28 in Philadelphia. … Danish band Fear My Thoughts will release their fifth album, Hell, Sweet Hell, on July 27. The disc was recorded last year with Jacob Hansen, who has previously worked with Mercenary. … Progressive British band Porcupine Tree will release their most metallic offering to date, Deadwing, on May 3, the savage sounds of which were probably influenced by frontman Steven Wilson‘s production work with Opeth. Porcupine’s last major-label album, In Absentia, was released in 2002. … Atlanta band Lilitu have hired 20-year-old bassist Noah Martin to fill the slot recently vacated by Shane Bell.