Metal File: Dillinger Escape Plan, Unearth, King Diamond & More In This Week’s Hard News

New Jersey metal maniacs writing material for fourth LP while guitarist recovers from surgery.

New Jersey-bred maniacal metallers the Dillinger Escape Plan spent the end of last summer as part of Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine’s inaugural Gigantour, sharing the bill with established, long-running bands that all sound, well, not as frenzied: Fear Factory, Nevermore, Life of Agony and Dream Theater, among others. While it was an experience the band’s not so sure it would repeat, bassist Liam Wilson isn’t harboring any regrets about the move.

“Our initial reaction [to the Gigantour invite] was, ‘Well, that’d be a hoot — let’s f—ing do it,’ ” he explained. “We’re always looking for ironic ways to do what we do, and we knew that all the people on that tour and all the people watching that tour had never seen anything like what we bring to the table. We figured it could be awesome, and if not, we’ll learn something and get our name out there in a weird way. It was a halfway decent way to spend the summer.”

Really, hopping on the Gigantour train was sort of a last resort for the Dillinger dudes. “When we started planning our summer, somebody contacted us [and said], ‘Do you guys wanna play with Lamb of God this summer?,’ ” Wilson recalled. “We were like, ‘Not really.’ A month and a half later, we realized that call was the Sounds of the Underground call, but it wasn’t explicit. We had no idea it was going to be what it was.”

Wilson’s not sure what his band will be doing this summer. At the moment, he and the rest of the Escape Plan are writing material for the group’s fourth studio LP, the follow-up to 2004′s Miss Machine. The writing process has been stymied, as guitarist Ben Weinman’s been sidelined for close to two months.

“He just had rotator cuff surgery, so he’s just starting to be able to pick up his guitar and play it aggressively,” Wilson said. Weinman has been enduring brutal physical rehabilitation and is constrained to a constant passive motion machine six hours a day. “He should have had [the operation] six months ago. It was an injury he sustained in a car accident. We’re sort of the Dillinger Insurance Plan for the moment.”

Wilson says the band could be back in tour mode by April, but there are no definite plans yet. For the time being, he says Dillinger will continue crafting fresh tracks for the forthcoming disc, which they hope to have out by the fall.

“I’d say there are three songs finished,” he said. “It’s kind of an intense writing process, and the stuff we have so far is pretty detailed. We’re spending a lot more time on the individual parts, and it’s building slowly. But once you’ve got the ball rolling, it takes off.”

Wilson added that he hasn’t heard about Dillinger being on this summer’s Ozzfest, beyond some of the speculation that’s been surfacing online in recent weeks.

“Would we do it? Maybe, but if we have to pay to be on it, chances are we won’t,” he said. “If we did do it, like anything else, it would be on our terms.”

Two Dillinger DVDs are in the works: one featuring pre-Miss Machine material and videos and another filled with footage captured during the making and touring in support of Machine. He doesn’t know when those two projects will materialize.

The rest of the week’s metal news:

Sources close to the band have confirmed that Unearth will be rotating co-headliners on the second stage at this year’s Ozzfest. … New Jersey’s E-Town Concrete are throwing in the towel after 11 years in the hardcore business. The band’s final live gig is set for May 20 at the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, New Jersey. In a posting to the band’s message board, frontman Anthony Martini wrote that the band “would rather go out with dignity than to quietly become irrelevant. Although this is difficult for all of us, sometimes the most admirable thing is knowing when to let go.” … King Diamond will start recording their next release in Dallas next month before heading to Gothenburg, Sweden, where they’ll put the finishing touches on the effort. According to the band’s Web site, the album could be finished this fall. No official release date has been unveiled. … Deicide‘s forthcoming album, The Stench of Redemption, has been scheduled for a June 6 release. … Demon Hunter, Zao, August Burns Red and Becoming the Archetype will hit the road together starting June 13 for a four-week jaunt that will make stops at the Cornerstone Fest in Bushnell, Illinois (set for July 5 through July 8), and at Michigan’s Lifefest. … Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider will undergo throat surgery on March 1, forcing the band to nix its previously scheduled appearance at this year’s Atarfe Vega Rock Festival in Spain, set for March 10 and 11. Snider wrote in a band statement, “I have been told by my doctors that the recovery period will be about eight weeks.” There’s no word on what condition the operation will be correcting. …

In Flames will be the in-studio guests on this weekend’s “Headbangers Ball.” … Cretin‘s forthcoming debut LP, Freakery, will land in stores April 18 and feature 16 cuts, including “Daddy’s Little Girl,” “Cook the Cupcake” and “Making Roadkill.” Repulsion guitarist Matt Olivo makes a guest appearance on the latter track. … A Life Once Lost have announced that they’ll be the headliners for an East Coast and Midwest trek launching sometime in April. Cephalic Carnage, Through the Eyes of the Dead and Scarlet will serve as the tour’s support acts. … Buffalo, New York’s Herod will issue Rich Man’s War, Poor Man’s Fight March 7. It will include “Assimilation,” “All Night” and “Lies and Betrayal.” … On April 4, death-metal legends Venom‘s latest, Metal Black, will hit record stores. The LP features 14 tracks, including “Burn in Hell,” “A Good Day to Die” and “Lucifer Rising.” … Dragonforce have a new bassist to replace Adrian Lambert, who left the band last year to spend more time with his kith. The band’s current touring bass-pounder Frederic Leclercq has been elevated to full-time member status. There’s still no word on when the band’s latest offering, Inhuman Rampage, will surface in the U.S., although the disc should see release before the summer. …Thine Eyes Bleed are in the studio working on the follow-up to their debut, In the Wake of Separation. The band will start a tour with Darkness Rites in Oshawa, Ontario, March 13. Dates run through March 20 in Toronto, after which Thine Eyes Bleed will join Six Feet Under, Sworn Enemy and Animosity on the Crossroads to Armageddon Tour. Dates are scheduled from March 28 in Portland, Oregon, through April 9 in Wilmington, North Carolina. …

Philadelphia instrumental prog-metal jazz freaks Dysrhythmia have finished working on their third album, Barriers and Passages, which is scheduled for release May 2. The trio recorded the disc at B.C. Studio in Brooklyn, New York, with engineer Martin Bisi. The album track “Appeared at First” is available at the band’s Myspace page, MySpace.com/DysrhythmiaBand . … Oakland, California NWOBHM-embracers Saviours will release their debut album Crucifire on May 16. The track “Invaders” will also appear on an upcoming metal compilation of the same name. Saviours features members of Santa Cruz emo band Yaphet Kotto and Oakland stoner group Drunk Horse. Saviours will tour the U.S. in March with Kalas. … Boston dirge-rockers Defcon 4 will release their debut, File Under F—, this spring. The album was recorded by Today Is the Day frontman Steve Austin. Defcon 4 will tour the U.S. this spring. … Three-quarters of the late Washington, D.C., band Carrion have resurfaced in the Wayward. The band, which plays a bizarre hybrid of Amphetamine Reptile-style noise, Dischord post-punk and epic prog rock, will release its self-titled debut this spring. The disc was recorded by ex-Anodyne frontman Mike Hill. … Ex-Emperor bassist and ambient keyboard goblin Mortiis spent Valentine’s Day remastering three of his early solo albums at Rubber Biscuit Studios in Nottingham, England. Fodt Til a Herske, Crypt of the Wizard and The Stargate will be released in April. In addition, the cryptic keyboardist will release his first DVD, “Soul in a Hole,” which includes a full live set shot during his seven-week European tour to support The Grudge.

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