Metal File: Sepultura, Iron Maiden, The Sword & More In This Week's Hard News

Dante's 'Divine Comedy' inspired the heavy-metal legends to sound like Massive Attack.

When guitarist Andreas Kisser sat down more than a year and a half ago to start working on the forthcoming album by Brazilian heavy-metallers Sepultura, he wanted to find "a strong source of inspiration" to help shape the songs he'd be crafting for the effort.

"We've done many soundtracks for films in Brazil, so we thought about picking up a movie or a book to be inspired by," Kisser explained. "We thought about 'A Clockwork Orange,' a few other things," he said. But then the guitarist picked up a copy of Dante's "The Divine Comedy" and a few pages in "was blown away. It's a f---ing strong story and very rich in detail. It's very human."

Kisser says Sepultura's 11-track Dante XXI — which hits stores March 14 — will make the perfect soundtrack to Dante's book. "We read the book and started making a parallel between the book and today," Kisser said. "It was very inspiring for the music, the lyrics, the artwork, everything. The album is divided too — the first five songs [including 'Dark Wood of Error,' 'Convicted in Life' and 'Fighting On'] represent [Dante's travels through] hell, and the next five songs [like 'Ostia,' 'Buried Words' and 'Repeating the Horror'] represent purgatory."

The album's closing track, "Still Flame," signifies paradise. "It's a song that's totally different than anything we've ever done," Kisser said. "It sounds more like Massive Attack."

Kisser — who was in Los Angeles last week to record his contribution to the forthcoming album from Asesino, a band that features former Fear Factory guitarist Dino Cazares and Static-X bassist Tony Campos — is also preparing his first solo album. "I've been working on it for the past three years," he said. "It will be a double album — the first [disc] will be related to the electric guitar, with different musicians, and the second will be acoustic. I'm taking my time with it, and it should be out by the end of this year, [although] nothing's set. It won't be a masturbation guitar album; it will explore different tones, different guitars and different instrumentation."

Like any metalhead worth his salt, Kisser said he's heard all the rumors about Sepultura reuniting with founding member and current Soulfly frontman Max Cavalera for a spot on this summer's Ozzfest. He's even heard the one that involves the band's "plans" to perform three different sets from the main stage — one featuring Soulfly material, a second of just Roots and Chaos A.D. tracks, and the last consisting of songs off Dante XXI. But at this point he said they're nothing more than rumors, period.

"Nothing is really set," he said. "We need to go on tour with this new album, but nothing's set. There's a lot of talking going on, but nothing's being done as far as I know. A lot of people are working for these things to happen, but so far nothing's going on. People are excited to hear that there's a possibility for us to get back [together], and it would be cool to play with Max again, to jam together. It would be great and it's cool to see that everyone thinks it's a good idea. The way I see it is, if you do this sh--, we're only going to do stuff that we recorded up to Roots and hopefully maximize — do a DVD or something. I haven't talked to Max [about a reunion]. So far it's just really rumors — which is a start."

The rest of the week's metal news:

More details have emerged about Iron Maiden's long-awaited "Death on the Road" triple-DVD set, which will come out February 21. The first two discs feature a full set from a show at Westfalenhalle Arena in Dortmund, Germany, in December 2003. Tracks include "Wrathchild," "The Trooper," "Rainmaker" and "Paschendale." The third disc includes two documentaries on the band, "Life on the Road" and "Death on the Road," interviews with fans and videos for "Rainmaker" and "Wildest Dreams." Iron Maiden released the live double-CD Dance of Death last year. ... Fans waiting to hear Dimebag Darrell's posthumous guitar playing on the upcoming Rebel Meets Rebel will have to wait a little longer — the album's been bumped from April 4 to May 2. The disc, a metal-country hybrid recorded between 1999 and 2002, features country-music maverick David Allan Coe, Dime and Pantera drummer Vinnie Paul and bassist Rex Brown. Tracks include "Nothin' to Lose," "No Compromise," "Rebel Meets Rebel" and "One Night Stand." ... Madball, Zao, Remembering Never, Scarlet and the Banner will help hardcore and metalcore label Ferret celebrate its first decade of existence on the Under the Gun Tour. The festivities kick off March 14 in Cleveland and run through April 5 in Tempe, Arizona. The headliner will rotate every night and additional opening bands will be announced in the days ahead. ... Jawsh Mullen has left Denver's Cephalic Carnage, trading in his bass for the books. "I have decided to retire from the road," he wrote in a post on the band's Web site. "This has not been an easy decision to make, trust me — however, where I want to be in 10 years requires sacrifice. I'm gonna go back to school. But right now I have to work and save to get there." Mullen's last gig with the band is set for February 24 at Denver's 3 Kings Tavern. Cephalic are in need of a bassist — e-mail them at info@cephaliccarnage.net for details. ...

As I Lay Dying's out-of-print Pluto Records releases will be reissued in May as one disc. It will contain the band's debut, Beneath the Encasing of Ashes, along with As I Lay's half of a split they did with American Tragedy. The record will also feature a revamped version of "Reinvention." ... The out-of-print 2003 tribute record Black on Black: A Tribute to Black Flag will be re-released March 14 with six extra tracks by newer artists Bleeding Through ("My War"), the Black Dahlia Murder ("I've Heard It Before"), Zao ("Black Coffee"), Remembering Never ("Spray Paint the Walls"), Most Precious Blood ("Rise Above") and Drowningman ("Loose Nut"). Highlights resurfacing include Converge's take on "Annihilate This Week," Coalesce's cover of "Jealous Again" and the Dillinger Escape Plan's version of "Damaged." ... Through the Eyes of the Dead have replaced Bullet for My Valentine on the upcoming Children of Bodom tour, which kicks off March 18 in New Haven, Connecticut. In related news, both Bullet for My Valentine and Trivium have been confirmed for this year's Download Festival bill; the three-day fest is set for June 9 through June 11 in England's Donington Park. ... Emperor frontman Ihsahn is nearly done with his debut solo record, The Adversary, tentatively scheduled for release April 18. The enigmatic Norwegian wrote all the songs for the album, which he recorded at Symphonique Studios in Norway. Ihsahn also played all the instruments on the disc, except drums, for which he recruited Borknagar member Asgeir Mickelson. "He has been the perfect drummer for this album," Ihsahn said in a statement. "He has really brought to life the patterns I programmed in pre-production." ... The Sword kicked off their U.S. tour with Priestess and Early Man February 1 in Philadelphia. Dates run through March 11 in Hoboken, New Jersey. ...

Exodus will head out on a U.S. headlining tour that begins in Concord, California, April 15. Dates run through May 19 in San Francisco, with Full Blown Chaos, Cryptopsy, the Classic Struggle, Suffocation and Immolation opening on various dates. The band will be Jamey Jasta's guest of honor Saturday night during MTV2's "Headbangers Ball." On a related note, Full Blown Chaos will enter New Jersey's Trax East Studios this month to record their next album, scheduled to drop sometime this summer. ... Swedish death-metal veterans Dismember will release their seventh full album, The God That Never Was, March 7. The disc was recorded at Dug Out Studios and produced by drummer Fred Estby. Tracks include "Shadows of the Mutilated," "Autopsy" and "Into the Temple of Humiliation." The band's entire back catalog was recently reissued with bonus tracks. ... Indiana Christian metalcore band Haste the Day have hired singer Stephen Keech to replace Jimmy Ryan, who left in November to pursue other ventures. Keech's first major outing with the band will be with Bleeding Through and Every Time I Die. Dates start February 11 in Reno, Nevada, and run through April 1 in Anaheim, California. Haste the Day will return to the rehearsal space in April to start writing material for their next album. Their second album, When Everything Falls, came out in June. ...

Melancholic Swedish doom-metal band Katatonia will release their seventh record, The Great Cold Distance, March 14. The album was recorded and mixed at Fascination Street in Orebro, Sweden, and co-produced by singer Jonas Renske, guitarist Anders Nystrom, Jens Bogren and David Castillo. Tracks include "Leaders," "Consternation," "Increase" and "My Twin." A single featuring two versions of "My Twin" and the B-sides "Displaced" and "Dissolving Bonds" will be released February 14, but will be available for download on Katatona.com starting February 6. Katatonia's last album was Viva Emptiness, which came out in 2003. ... Arkansas exploratory sludge-metal band Rwake are working on their next album, which is scheduled for release later this year. Titles include "The Lure of Light," "The Finality" and "Fire and Flight." The group's last disc, If You Walk Before You Crawl You Crawl Before You Die, came out in 2004. ... North Carolina gloom-metal band Daylight Dies will release their second disc, Dismantling Devotion, March 7. The follow-up to the band's 2002 debut No Reply, was mixed by Jens Bogren. Tracks include "A Life Less Lived," "Dead Air" and "All We Had." Daylight Dies will open for Emperor on their four U.S. reunion/farewell shows in July. ... Nerve Gas Tragedy have begun writing their second album. The band, which features ex-members of All Out War, will hit New Jersey's Big Blue Meenie Studios this spring to record the effort. Meanwhile the band's lined up 14 East Coast dates, spread out between February 3 in Middletown, New York, and June 4 at the Adams Aggressive Music Festival in Adams, Massachusetts.