Metal File: Clutch, Mastodon, Judas Priest, Megadeth, Suicidal Tendencies, Brand New Sin & More In This Week’s Hard News

Maryland hardcore vets to participate in their first festival tour this summer.

Clutch have logged enough highway miles for 10 bands, but surprisingly they’ve never done a festival tour — not one. That’ll change this summer when the Maryland hardcore veterans headline the Sounds of the Underground Tour.

“To be honest, [festivals] always struck us as enormous wastes of time and money and didn’t look like a whole lot of fun,” said Neil Fallon, Clutch’s roaring, pint-sized foreman. “[Sounds of the Underground] looks to be something fresh and new. It’s not going to be us playing at some ungodly hour in the afternoon, and the people who’ll actually go there are hungry for something like this, which works out to everyone’s benefit.”

Clutch are currently mixing their new disc, Robot Hive/Exodus, for release on June 21. Fallon promises a couple of straight blues tunes plus songs with “very efficient and very traditional arrangements.” The band’s also working on a DVD that started out as a behind-the-scenes look at the recording of Robot but has been expanded to include “life on the road” footage.

The rest of the week’s metal news:

Mastodon, who’ve been wined and dined by countless majors since Leviathan was released in August, have become the latest metal act to board the corporate ship. According to a Warner Bros. source, the Atlanta quartet has left its longtime home at Relapse. The source said the deal was finalized two weeks ago. … Judas Priest‘s U.S. tour in support of Angel of Retribution will begin June 1 in St. Paul, Minnesota. Dates are scheduled through July 10 in Phoenix, although more will follow. Queensrÿche, who are currently wrapping up Operation: Mindcrime II, the sequel to their 1988 epic, Operation: Mindcrime, will open all shows. …

Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine is assembling what he’s calling the Gigantour, which will launch in late July and feature some of the most musically proficient metal bands on the scene. The six-week campaign will boast Megadeth, Dream Theater, Fear Factory, Dillinger Escape Plan and Nevermore on the main stage; second stage acts have yet to be announced. Megadeth’s lineup for the shows will be Mustaine (vocals, guitar), Glen Drover (guitar), James MacDonough (bass) and Shawn Drover (drums). … B. Dez Fafara‘s post-Coal Chamber project, DevilDriver, will release The Fury of Our Maker’s Hand this summer through Roadrunner. The disc will include “End of the Line,” “Hold Back” and “Fury.” …

Acrobatic quintet Manntis will release their debut album, Sleep in Your Grave, on June 28. The album was produced by Cameron Webb, who has also worked with MotÖrhead and Social Distortion. Manntis are on the road with the Battle for Ozzfest Tour, which runs through April 23 in Richmond, Virginia. A Dozen Furies and Curse Your Name are also on the bill. … Ronnie James Dio will contribute vocals to a track on the still-untitled solo album by Twisted Sister guitarist Eddie Ojeda. Quiet Riot bassist Rudy Sarzo plays on two other songs. … Suicidal Tendencies were forced to cancel their European tour due to “serious health problems of singer Mike Muir,” the band’s booking agent said in a statement. Muir underwent back surgery last year but had hoped to bounce back in time to tour and finish a new record. …

Syracuse, New York, riff rockers Brand New Sin will release their second full-length album, Recipe for Disaster, May 31. The disc will include “Black and Blue,” for which the band recently shot a video with director Dale Resteghini (Hatebreed, Dillinger Escape Plan). The release will end a period of dormancy during which the band signed to a major label and was dropped before issuing a record. … Christian death-metal band Extol will release their fourth full-length, The Blueprint Dives, May 3. The album is touted as the band’s “heaviest and most diverse” to date. … Colombian death-metal band Goretrade are getting ready to enter the studio to record their new album, Perception of Hate, which will be released on Displeased Records. …

“Rise and Oppose,” a track from hardcore heavyweights Diecast, is featured in a new Volkswagen commercial. The band has shot a video for the song with Kevin Leonard (Himsa, Terror) that should make its MTV2 debut later this month. … Death/doom-metal veterans Cianide will contribute an unannounced track to an Antiseen tribute album. They’re also planning a split 7-inch with Spanish splatter-metal band Machetazo. … Metalcore brutes Bleeding Through will headline the second Strhess Tour, which will also feature Zao, Darkest Hour, Martyr AD and Fight Paris. The tour is sponsored by artist Derek Hess and named after his Strhess clothing line. …

Jazzy hardcore provocateurs The Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower caused a stir in Europe recently — and not just in Paris. Various overseas venues were disturbed by the band’s name and stage costumes, which include red armbands sewn onto black shirts. The title of their most recent album, Love in the Fascist Brothel, didn’t exactly ease anyone’s concerns. The band’s European booking agent issued a statement that said the musicians “are not Nazis. We personally think that it is, due to the Jewish ethnicity and homosexual orientation of some of the members of the band, unbelievably ignorant to think something like this.” The band will open shows in North America for the equally subversive Blood Brothers starting May 10 in Chicago and running through June 17 in Los Angeles. … Spastic hardcore specialists Drowningman are close to finishing up their next disc, Don’t Push Us When We’re Hot, for Thorp Records. …

The first 500 copies of the sophomore album by Orange County’s atmospheric Eyes of Fire will come with a bonus CD featuring one 25-minute track. The still-untitled record was produced by the band and Matt Bayles of Mastodon and Isis note. … Grindcore generators Strong Intention have signed with Goodfellow Records and will begin working on a new album next month. The band then plans to head out with Internal Bleeding, Bodies in the Gears of the Apparatus and Kill the Client. … Following successful surgery to remove his gall bladder, Solitude Aeturnus singer Robert Lowe has returned to the studio to work on the group’s new record. Alone will be the doom warriors’ first release in seven years. …

Barry Stern, who drummed for doom-metal legends Trouble and ’80s thrashers Zoetrope, died April 1 in his hometown of Chicago shortly after undergoing hip-replacement surgery. A chapel service was held Tuesday. Stern sang and played drums on Zoetrope’s 1985 debut, Amnesty, and 1987′s A Life of Crime. He left to join Trouble for that band’s 1990 self-titled record and also performed on 1992′s Manic Frustration. … Progressive death-metal band Into Eternity were forced to cancel several recent shows because guitarist Rob Doherty was hospitalized with pneumonia in Atlanta. Singer Stu Block and guitarist Tim Roth were also treated for pneumonia. After recovering, the band launched a Canadian tour that runs through April 22. … Death-metal group Ominous have signed a deal with Chicago’s Rotting Corpse Records. The band’s first full-length for that label is expected this summer. …