Last summer Ozzfest — the Goliath of metal and hardcore carnivals — faced, for the first time since its debut, some serious competition. The David, in this case, was the Sounds of the Underground tour. The inaugural run lived up to its name, with unorthodox acts like Lamb of God, Clutch, Opeth, Poison the Well, Strapping Young Lad, Gwar and Unearth rounding out the bill, along with a dozen other black-, death- and thrash-metal stalwarts.
The trek was such a success that the organizers are returning this year with the second installment of SOTU, which will feature headliners and Ozzfest 2005 vets As I Lay Dying.
The SoCal metalcore unit — which is spending the spring with the Deftones on the Taste of Chaos tour (see "Taste Of Chaos '06 Tour Dates Revealed") — will be joined by several of the genre's other big names for SOTU. Confirmed so far are Gwar, Swedish melodic death-metallers In Flames, Florida's Trivium and Cannibal Corpse, Californian hardcore band Terror, Detroit death-metal troupe the Black Dahlia Murder, Polish power-metal trio Behemoth, the Chariot and South Carolina death-metal collective Through the Eyes of the Dead.
The Sounds of the Underground organizers are taking a different approach to this summer's festival by keeping the number of bands on the bill down and extending the length of set times. Last year most bands got no more than 30 minutes to play.
While dates for the trek — including the official launch date — are still being worked out, SOTU will return to Denver, St. Louis, Chicago, Detroit, Toronto, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Los Angeles, as well as cities in Texas, New England and western Canada. Tickets will go on sale in late March.
More bands will be announced in the coming weeks.