Metal File: American Head Charge, Tony Iommi, Throwdown & More In This Week's Hard News

American Head Charge talk about guitarist Bryan Ottoson's death.

Less than 24 hours after his former bandmate Bryan Ottoson's funeral, American Head Charge bassist Chad Hanks — known to fans by his stage name, Mr. H.C. Banks III — spoke to Metal File about the events that led to the guitarist's death last week, and the anguish the group has been feeling.

In his first interview since Ottoson's death, Hanks tried to dispel Internet gossip that the guitarist was a heavy drug user. Ottoson — whose body was found April 19 on the band's tour bus in North Charleston, South Carolina, where American Head Charge were to perform that evening — was determined by investigators to have died of a prescription-drug overdose.

"Brian had actually been on penicillin," Hanks explained. "He had strep throat. He actually had strep two or three times in like four, five months. He just had a real propensity for getting it. And every time he got it, it got worse. This time, his tonsils were literally black."

A doctor Ottoson saw in Philadelphia prescribed him painkillers "because every time he swallowed, tears would come to his eyes," Hanks continued. "But he wasn't swallowing handfuls of pills and not knowing what they were. This was a guy who maybe liked to drink a little bit, and that was it. He was not some crazy drug addict — that's probably the rest of the band. Everybody knows pretty much all of us have been to rehab. As far as my life has gone since I've been 17, and all the stupid sh-- I've done, and some of the stupid sh-- I know other people in the band have done — for this to happen to the most innocent guy in the band, it's just bizarre to me. It was the last thing you'd expect from Bryan."

Benji Hellberg of the Minneapolis band Black Flood Diesel has been tapped to fill in for Ottoson on the remaining dates of the tour, Hanks said.

MTVNews.com will have more from the interview with Hanks next week.

The rest of the week's metal news:

Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi's third solo offering, Fused, has been bumped back to July 12. It was produced by Bob Marlette, and ex-Deep Purple/'80s-era Sabbath singer Glenn Hughes provided all the vocals. "I definitely knew I wasn't going to use a lot of special guests again," Iommi said. "I wanted to use just one singer, and I wanted it to be more like a band this time." Tracks include "Dopamine," "Wasted Again" and "Grace." Iommi, Hughes and ex-John Mellencamp drummer Kenny Aronoff will tour North America after this summer's Ozzfest. "In addition to playing material from this album, we'll probably do a couple of tracks from The DEP Sessions: 1996 [released last year] and a few Sabbath songs, too," Iommi said. ...

When Iron Maiden cross North America on this summer's Ozzfest, singer Bruce Dickinson will likely take at least a moment or two to plug his new album, Tyranny of Souls, which comes out May 24. The disc, his first solo venture since 1998's The Chemical Wedding, was written by Dickinson and producer and guitarist Roy Z after the last Iron Maiden tour. "We both worked quickly together, which I like, and the recording is very organic, so it came together quite easily," Dickinson said in a statement. Track titles include "Soul Intruders," "Kill Devil Hill" and "River of No Return." ...

Metallic hardcore band Between the Buried and Me will enter a studio in their native North Carolina in May with producer Jamie King to record their third album. ... In Flames have been promoted to a main-stage band for this summer's Ozzfest. ... Crisis have started working on new songs with drummer Justin Arman (ex-Society 1), who has previously played with the band as a substitute. The group's last drummer, Ryan Ball, was fired in February and arrested in Pennsylvania on armed-robbery charges shortly thereafter. The new disc should be finished by early next year. In the meantime, Crisis will launch a tour with M.O.D. and Beyond the Embrace on June 8 in Texas. ...

Subterranean Masquerade, an experimental supergroup featuring members of Novembers Doom and Agalloch, will release their new disc, Suspended Animation Dreams, on June 21. The album blends elements of extreme metal, urban jazz, folk, classical, world and progressive music and includes the tracks "Wolf Among Sheep" and "Kind of a Blur." ... Scathing Orange County metalcore act Bleeding Through have entered Cherokee Studios in Los Angeles to begin work on their new disc, The Truth, the follow-up to 2003's critically acclaimed This Is Love, This Is Murderous. The album is being produced by Rob Caggiano (Cradle of Filth, The Agony Scene) and is scheduled for a fall release. ...

Passionate hardcore progenitors the Warriors will soon record several new songs that'll be tacked on to the upcoming reissue of their latest effort, War Is Hell. Eulogy will release the revised disc later this year. ... Throwdown's forthcoming new disc, Vendetta, will hit stores on June 28 and features guest appearances from Killswitch Engage and Blood Has Been Shed muscleman Howard Jones and Hatebreed axeman Sean Martin. ...

Heavy-hitting thrash-metal machine A Perfect Murder are close to wrapping up their second record, Strength Through Vengeance. The album's slated for a July 26 release; it was recorded at Quebec's Wild Studio with Pierre Remillard (Cryptopsy, The End, Voivod). ... Ozzfest 2005's Arch Enemy have re-signed with Century Media. The label will release the band's nearly completed forthcoming LP, Doomsday Machine, on July 26. ... Deutschland death metallers Defleshed have shot a video for "Grind and Rewind," a track off of their latest album, Reclaim the Beat. The album's worth owning, if only for the seventh cut, a cover of Mötley Crüe's "Red Hot." ...

A limited, first-edition run of As I Lay Dying's forthcoming Shadows Are Security will include a bonus DVD featuring 25 minutes of live footage. The disc drops June 14. ... The sophomore offering from Philadelphia metalcore grinders A Life Once Lost, Hunter, will be released on June 28. The album was produced by Rob Caggiano in February at Millbrook Studios in upstate New York. ... Acrobatic thrashers Byzantine will release their second disc, ... And They Shall Take Up Serpents, on July 12. The album's the follow-up to the West Virginians' 2004 debut, The Fundamental Component, and was produced by the band with Charles A. Fisher. ...

The debut by thrash/death quasi-supergroup Thine Eyes Bleed, In the Wake of Separation, was bumped to June 21. The band features ex-Kittie touring guitarist Jeff Phillips and bassist John Araya, whose brother is Slayer's Tom Araya. ... Swedish black metal band Naglfar will release their fourth album, Pariah, on July 12. The album features lead vocals by bassist Kristoffer Olivius, who took over for Jens Ryden after he quit the band last year for "job-related" reasons. ... Ministry drummer Mark Baker will join industrial-metal band Hanzel Und Gretyl on their fall tour. The outing will include a headline slot at Gothicfest 2005, which takes place September 17 in Villa Park, Illinois. Other dates will be announced shortly.