Metal File: If Hope Dies, Beecher, Zakk Wylde & More In This Week’s Hard News

New York metal sensations say they've finally created 'something marketable.'

Auburn, New York’s known for two things: It’s the birthplace of sound-equipped film and home to leather-chaps-lovin’ primal metal sensations Manowar.

Gary Mann’s hoping his band If Hopes Dies will become the next biggest thing to emerge from Auburn. But no, folks — he’s not at all ashamed of his hometown heroes. Not one bit.

“Dude we all have Manowar tattoos,” said the bassist, who signs autographs “Gary Manowar.” “I have one tattoo on my body and it’s Manowar. It says ‘Brothers in Metal’ on it and it’s got an axe and a torch on it. Both of our guitar players got lessons from their guitar player [Karl Logan]. I personally love that band. And I get to see [Manowar bassist] Joey DeMaio at Wal-Mart all the time.”

If Hopes Dies’ Life in Ruin will hit stores March 7 and feature 11 tracks, including “Fear Will Keep Them in Line,” “Water Into Wine Cooler” and the first single, “Anthem for the Unemployable.” Mann said the band worked with producer Jason Suecof (Trivium, God Forbid) on the effort, and while there’s loads of aggression on the disc, If Hope Dies took a different approach with their “Anthem.”

“This album is the first time we sat down and said, ‘Hey, let’s write songs this time,’ ” Mann said. “The chorus [to 'Anthem'] is very Shadows-Fall-like … I mean, you can understand what we’re saying, I guess. This is the first time we’ve had a taste of something marketable.”

If Hope Dies will soon shoot a clip for the track with directors Frankie Nasso (Mudvayne, Sworn Enemy) and Dale Resteghini (Shadows Fall, Candiria). Because “Anthem” is an anti-work song, Mann said the band had originally planned on producing a video spoofing “Office Space.”

“So we’re thinking about having us sitting in this office building in button-up shirts and ties, and we’re sitting there and during our lunch break, we go down into the boiler room and all our instruments are down there,” he explained. “So we start playing, and we’re just rocking out and going crazy, and upstairs, at the same time, without us knowing, people hear the song, and they go from, ‘Hey, what’s that noise?’ to ‘Yeah, this rules.’ And everyone upstairs starts moshing and going crazy and breaking all this stuff. We don’t even know about it, but when our lunch break’s up, we go back upstairs and return to work, and the whole place is in shambles.”

On March 20, a few weeks after Life in Ruin‘s release, the band will hit the road with Still Remains, Nodes of Ranvier and Demiricous. Dates run through May 7.

The rest of the week’s metal news:

The Dillinger Escape Plan have begun writing songs for the follow-up to 2004′s Miss Machine, but there’s no word yet on when the as-yet-untitled album might surface. A posting on the band’s Web site says the new stuff’s “going to completely shatter any expectations or preconceptions of what you think it will be. We don’t know how long this is going to take, but we do know that we are committed to pushing this thing we call the Dillinger Escape Plan to levels and extremities never before seen (or heard). We are still going to be standing while originality and authenticity burn down around us.” … Strapping Young Lad are four tracks into the writing process for their next album, which, according to a drummer Gene Hoglan, should surface in July. “I’m really psyched with the new stuff — hell, we all are,” he wrote on the group’s site. … Asesino — the grinding death-metal band featuring former Fear Factory guitarist Dino Cazares, Andreas Kisser of Sepultura and Static-X bassist Tony Campos — headed into Los Angeles’ Undercity Studios this week to start recording Solo Putos Muertos, the forthcoming album and follow-up to 2002′s Corridos De Muerte. A summer release is being eyed for the release. … More dates have been announced for Opeth‘s upcoming North American tour, featuring Dark Tranquillity, the Devin Townsend Band and DevilDriver opening on various dates. The band has booked gigs in Louisville, Kentucky; New York; Hartford (with Catalyst); Chicago; Milwaukee; and Eugene, Oregon, between February 20 and March 11. … Chimaira have lined up six shows for March with Children of Bodom and Bullet for My Valentine. The gigs commence March 18 in New Haven, Connecticut, and run through March 24 in Toronto. … Yakuza‘s new album Samsara will drop March 21 and feature 10 tracks, including “Monkeytail,” “Transmission Ends … Signal Lost,” “Just Say Know” and “Back to the Mountain.” …

Manchester, England, metallers Beecher have thrown in the towel after five years as a group. Why? Well, a statement from the band explains that, “it seems … right now, you either need to look stupid or sound sh– (or more often than not, a combination of the two) to get anywhere in this ‘scene,’ two things that have never applied to Beecher. The reason for our breakup is a combination of personal reasons that no one outside of our band needs to know. But rest assured, now is the time — the time for us all to get our lives back.” … Darren Doane will direct As I Lay Dying‘s video for “The Darkest Nights.” On Doane’s MySpace page, he wrote that the clip will be a “really big project — sort of ‘Lord of the Rings,’ but darker. Horse chases through forests, battle scenes and burning cities. This is probably the biggest video I have ever done.” … Kreator, Napalm Death and A Perfect Murder will launch the Enemy of God II Tour February 21 in Rouen-Noranda, Québec. Dates run through March 25 in Springfield, Virginia. Napalm Death started working on material for their 12th album last month. … Zakk Wylde and Dream Theater guitarist John Petrucci will guest on a new album by former Dream Theater keyboardist Derek Sherinian. The disc, tentatively scheduled for release in June, will also feature Toto guitarist Steve Lukather, ex-Blue Murder bassist Tony Franklin and respected studio drummers Simon Phillips and Brian Tichy. Sherinian is working on the follow-up to his 2004 Mythology at his Beachwood Manor Studios in Burbank, California. … New York grindcore outfit Skinless have started recording the follow-up to their 2003 disc From Sacrifice to Survival. Tentatively due in the spring, Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead will be the band’s first effort featuring singer Jason Keyser, who replaced Sherwood Webber in winter 2004. Skinless are working with engineer Brett Portzer in Albany, New York’s Max Trax Studios. …

Darkest Hour are about to enter the studio with engineer Brian McTernan to remix and remaster their second album, So Sedated, So Secure, which was originally released in 2001. The reissue will include covers of Pentagram‘s “Be Forewarned” and Battery‘s “Go Back to the Gym” and is scheduled to hit stores in March. Darkest Hour will launch a tour with Himsa, A Life Once Lost, the Acacia Strain and Dead to Fall February 17 in Cohoes, New York, with dates running through April 1 in Washington, D.C. … Fort Lauderdale, Florida’s Remembering Never will release their third album, God Save Us, February 6. The disc was produced by Zeuss and includes “Con Artist,” “Pocket Full of Dirt” and “Slaughterhouse Blues.” Remembering Never’s last album, Women and Children Die First, came out in early 2004. … Traditional heavy-metal band Seven Witches will release Amped January 24. The disc was recorded at Mix-O-Lydian Studios in Lafayette, New Jersey, and features “West Nile,” “Dishonor Killings” and “Fame Gets You Off.” The album will be the first to feature two new members, singer Alan Tecchio and bassist Kevin Bolembach, both of whom were previously in Non-Fiction. … Swiss melodic-metal band Shakra will release their first album in the States, Fall, January 24. The group’s fifth album includes “Take Me Now,” “All or Nothing” and “She’s My Ecstasy.” It will be the band’s first offering to feature new singer Mark Fox. … Italian extreme-metal band Aborym will release their fourth album, Generator, March 21. Tracks include “Armageddon,” “A Dog-Eat-Dog World” and “Suffer Catalyst.” The band’s lineup has changed considerably since the release of 2003′s With No Human Intervention. Ex-Mysticum singer Prime Evil has taken Attila Csihar‘s former spot and ex-Emperor drummer Barg G. Eithun (a.k.a. Faust) has replaced the group’s longtime drum machine. …

Eagle Rock Entertainment will release the DVD “Deep Purple: Live in California 74″ January 24. The show was recorded on the band’s tour for Burn at the Ontario Speedway in front of 200,000 people. The lineup for the show featured Ritchie Blackmore (guitar), David Coverdale (vocals), Glenn Hughes (bass), Jon Lord (keyboards) and Ian Paice (drums). … Cerberus will soon enter the studio to record What Have We Become, a six-song EP that should hit stores in July. … Vader, Kataklysm, Nuclear Assault, Speed Kill Hate, Graveworm and the Absencse will launch a North American tour in May. Dates confirmed thus far for the Metal Crusaders Tour run from May 26 in Montreal to June 29 in Seattle. … Nebula‘s forthcoming disc Apollo, produced by Daniel Rey (Ramones, the Misfits), will land in stores February 21. … Enslaved‘s new album, Ruun, will be released May 8 and, according to guitarist and composer Ivar Bjørnson, feature songs that “are stronger than ever. We’ve found the ultimate studios and the guys in the band are in very high spirits. Now it’s just a matter of working as hard as body and mind permits.” … Reunited New Jersey metal act Attacker‘s forthcoming album The Unknown will be available April 11. … Former Godbelow and Brand New Sin drummer Mike Rafferty has been named Demiricous‘ touring drummer. He’ll be working with the band on a trial basis before being made a permanent member of the fold. … Beyond the Embrace and Green Carnation will hit the road together starting February 24 in Buffalo, New York. Dates run through April 1 in Toronto.