Metal File: Atreyu, Throwdown, Silent Civilian & More In This Week’s Hard News

Frontman Alex Varkatzas says My Chemical Romance's success having 'trickle-down' effect on his metalcore band.

The video for “Her Portrait in Black,” Atreyu’s contribution to the “Underworld: Evolution” soundtrack, will have the requisite action-packed, Kate Beckinsale-in-tight-leather film snippets. But according to frontman Alex Varkatzas, the clip could also have performance footage of the Orange County, California, metalcore five-piece that was captured “in this weird, huge, dark, scary warehouse they shoot a lot of dark movie scenes in.” There might also be eerie images of a young girl gently plucking petals from a wilting daisy — but again, Varkatzas isn’t positive. What will make the video and what won’t is beyond his control.

“There’s this one weird scene we shot of me and [guitarist] Travis [Miguel] in business suits, shaking hands,” he explained of the clip, which was directed by Rob Schroeder (the Postal Service, Breaking Benjamin). “And then they did these weird scenes, like with me covered in black paint up to my elbows. I have no idea what the final thing’s going to look like. I’m just trying to work my magic to get tickets to the [film's] premiere.”

“Her Portrait in Black” was one of the first tracks Atreyu wrote for their forthcoming third LP, the follow-up to 2004′s The Curse. But now the tune will be appearing exclusively on the “Underworld” soundtrack, which also features Cradle of Filth, Slipknot, Trivium and My Chemical Romance. That makes A Deathgrip on Yesterday — produced by Josh Abraham (Staind, Coal Chamber) — a mere nine songs long. The track list will include “Our Sick Story (Thus Far),” “Your Private War” and “My Fork in the Road (Your Knife in my Back).”

“Every song is different and stands alone,” Varkatzas said of the disc, which will be released on Victory Records. “It’s its own little thing. Maybe there’s not a whole bunch of singles on there, but it’s nine entertaining songs that we worked as hard as we could on. We’ve redone and rethought and rewrote, lyrically and musically, [the album] several times. We’re pretty hard on ourselves. So I hope people can appreciate the end product. We’re just trying to be honest with our music. We can only do what comes naturally to us.”

The singer said several of the lyrics were inspired by relationships — such as on the song “Ex’s and Oh’s.” “That song’s more about ex-girlfriends and sex than it is hugs and kisses,” Varkatzas said. “I listen to a lot of [the Deathgrip songs] now, and it hurts to listen to them because they’re about such a personal time in my life and about all this pain I went through. And for me, to listen to it, I get the urge to cry a little. It’s so weird — the songs hit me like that.”

The singer said Atreyu will mull over the invite they’ve received for the 2006 edition of Ozzfest between now and March 28, when Deathgrip hits stores. They’re also looking forward to the Taste of Chaos trek, which kicks off February 16 in San Diego and features Thrice, Deftones, As I Lay Dying, Pelican, Dredg and others. He said the band is prepared for whatever response the new material gets.

“Bands like My Chemical Romance and Fall Out Boy, those bands enjoying more success just helps bands like Atreyu,” he said. “It’s like trickle-down success for us. The more popular and acceptable those bands become, to a much smaller extent, bands like us become.”

The rest of the week’s metal news:

The first six dates for Opeth‘s forthcoming U.S. headlining tour have been revealed, with more dates expected to be announced in the coming weeks. No word yet on who the band will tap as openers. The run launches in Raleigh, North Carolina, on February 15, and will hit Norfolk, Virginia (February 16); Towson, Maryland (February 17); Millvale, Pennsylvania (February 18); Cincinnati (February 19); and Columbus, Ohio (February 21). … The debut LP from Silent Civilian, which features former Spineshank frontman Jonny Santos, will hit stores March 21. Rebirth of the Temple will feature 13 cuts, including “The Song Remains Un-Named,” “Lies in the House of Shame” and “Dead to Me.” The band will shoot a video for the album’s title track January 15 in Los Angeles with director Scott Culver (Over It, A Wilhelm Scream). … Iowa’s own Modern Life Is War have lined up seven East Coast gigs, the first of which is set to go down in Wallingford, Connecticut, January 9. Dates run through January 15 in Revere, Massachusetts. …

Minneapolis death-metallers With Dead Hands Rising have booked a boatload of gigs, keeping themselves busy for the next month and a half. The band plays in Mountain Iron, Minnesota, on December 30 and hits five other small cities before stopping in Hudson, Massachusetts, on January 7. An eight-date tour with Death to Your King and Amora Savant will follow starting January 8 in Lake Station, Indiana, with dates running through January 15 in Milwaukee. And four shows with Dead to Fall and Ion Dissonance are planned for the first week of February. … The Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower and Akimbo will be hitting the road together in 2006. The 14-date tour’s set to begin in Chicago on March 3, with shows scheduled through March 16 in Denton, Texas. … Portland, Oregon, noisecore threats Blowupnihilist will hit producer Matt Bayles‘ (Isis, Mastodon) Seattle studio, Red Room, next month. Playing Enemy drummer Andrew Gormley is tapped to produce Blowupnihilist’s full-length debut, which should be in stores this spring. …

Throwdown, the Red Chord, Still Remains and A Dozen Furies will tour play 13 consecutive gigs together pretty soon. The jaunt kicks off February 4 in Flagstaff, Arizona, and ends February 21 in Des Moines. Throwdown and the Red Chord will then spend some time with the Black Dahlia Murder and the Agony Scene for a trek that begins in Tampa, Florida, on March 8 and runs through March 21 in Seattle. … Several bands have been confirmed for the first Virginia Metal & Hardcore Festival, set for January 28 at KC’s Music Alley in Fredericksburg. Tickets cost $15 in advance and $18 at the door. On Broken Wings, Despised Icon, From a Second Story Window, Through the Eyes of the Dead, Ed Gein, the Burning Season, All Else Failed and Time of Cholera are also on the lineup. … Nebraskan power-metal troupe Cellador have been added to the Deep Freeze V Festival, scheduled for January 21 in Westminster, Colorado. The event will also feature Agents of Man, Silencer, Dethroned, Skapegoat and the Casket Crew, among others. … Belgian grindcore specialists Leng Tch’e will start working on the follow-up to 2005′s The Process of Elimination in July. The band’s recruited Fredrik Nordström (At the Gates, the Haunted) to produce the effort, which is tentatively titled Marasmus.Re:Ignition — featuring Skinlab guitarist Steev Esquivel — are recording 14 songs for Empty Heart, Loaded Gun. Producer/engineer Kent Matcke (Stabbing Westward, Primus) will helm the debut.