All That Remains frontman Phil Labonte might give the impression that he's sort of on the fence, to some degree, when it comes to his band being part of the second-stage bill for this summer's Ozzfest.
Of course he's thrilled about hitting the road and ripping through dizzying, 25-minute sets in front of some of the largest crowds All That Remains have ever played for. He's feeling a little pressure too — but nothing he said he can't handle.
"The thing is, you're expected to be a headliner after Ozzfest and if you can't do it, people think you're not a good band," Labonte explained. "I think that's probably one of the coolest things about Ozzfest and one of the most daunting, because after Ozzfest, if you're not a headliner, what do you do? I'm really pumped to be a part of it, and I hope it introduces us to a lot of new people. We've got a new record coming out, and Ozzfest? Man I can't wait."
Earlier this month All That Remains entered Zing Recording Studios in Westfield, Massachusetts, to begin recording the yet-untitled follow-up to 2004's This Darkened Heart. At this point Labonte said the band's finished tracking drums and is days away from finishing up the guitar sections. Labonte said the disc should be mixed and mastered come mid-April and prepped for release either the first or second week of July — to coincide with the launch of Ozzfest.
"We've got 11 new tracks, and we're going to go ahead and redo a track from our first release [2002's Behind Silence and Solitude] called 'Follow,' " the singer said. "We're going to take a fresh look at an old song. I'm not sure if that will be on the U.S. release — it could end up being an import track."
Like a lot of Massachusetts metal bands these days, All That Remains called on an old friend to help them produce the effort: Killswitch Engage guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz, who's worked with Underoath, Unearth and the Acacia Strain, among others.
"The bands that come from this area know him well, and we're all friends with him," Labonte reasoned. "They know he does great work and that they want their record to sound like what he's going to make it sound like. I mean, you can just call the dude up. So, on this record, the songs may be crap but at least the sound's going to be good."
So what can fans expect from the new material?
"We've got that blazing double-bass, that fast metal drumming and there will be a significant increase in vocal variety," Labonte said. "We're going to have more singing, but there's also going to be more of that death-metal, Cookie Monster growl — that old Cannibal Corpse, Tomb of the Mutilated stuff. There's going to be more of that shout, like the Haunted.
"There's a bunch of different things I want to try on this record," he continued. "It won't be just more singing, because singing sells records. It's more variety — there's a bunch of stuff we like that I can do. I'm sort of a master of none — I don't have the highest highs or the cleanest cleans, and I'm not the best singer in the world, but I can cover a lot of bases and do it well. We're also just trying to solidify what the All That Remains sound is — it's just going to be more of what we did last time."
The rest of the week's metal news:
Defunct Long Island hardcore heavyweights Vision of Disorder will reunite for the Superbowl of Hardcore 2006, which is set to infiltrate New York's Club Spirit April 23. Indecision, featuring original singer Tom Sheehan, will also be on the bill, along with Underdog, Killing Time, Shutdown, District 9, Crown of Thornz, Kickback and Murphy's Law. ... Satanic death-metal band Deicide have targeted a June 6 release date for their upcoming record, The Stench of Redemption, in order to capitalize on the demonic energy of the day (6/6/06, geddit). Their efforts will likely be thwarted, however, by that most unholy of beasts — record-label logistics. The company that handles distribution for Deicide's label only schedules releases for every other Tuesday of the month, and the dark day falls on one of their off-weeks. Deicide will start recording the unholy offering regardless later this month in Tampa, Florida. ... Chimaira and Arch Enemy will co-headline a 22-date trek that's set to commence April 3 in Denver, with dates running through May 6 in Millvale, Pennsylvania. Nevermore, Hate Eternal and God Forbid have signed on for support roles. ... Terror have wrapped up recording their forthcoming disc, Always the Hard Way. The July 11 release, produced by Zeuss (God Forbid, the Red Chord), will feature guest vocals from Leeway's Eddie Sutton and Aaron Butkus of Death Threat. ...
Thine Eyes Bleed want to make sure they're good and ready for their big-time spot on the Unholy Alliance Tour with Slayer, Lamb of God, Mastodon and Children of Bodom, so they've scheduled three smaller scale tours beforehand. The Canadian thrash/ death-metal band — which features Slayer frontman Tom Araya's little bass-slappin' brother, Johnny — will play stretches with Darkness Rites (March 13-27); Six Feet Under, Sworn Enemy and Animosity (March 28-April 8); Ringworm, the Absence and Jacknife (April 9-23); and Necrophagist, Arsis, Neuraxis and Alarum (April 30-May 8). ... Rare and previously unreleased tracks by Thine Eyes Bleed, Voivod, Dissection, Sadus, Impaled Nazarene, the Gathering, Agalloch and others will be available early next week on Alternate Endings, a free comp sent out with every purchase from the End Records' mail-order Web site. The disc is also being handed out as a freebie at South by Southwest and will be available for streaming starting March 23 at the End's Web site. Unholy Alliance Tour participants Children of Bodom will be this weekend's guests on MTV2's "Headbangers Ball." ...
Demon Hunter, Zao, August Burns Red, Becoming the Archetype and Spoken will kick off a 19-city run June 14 in Portland, Oregon, and wrap it up July 3 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. ... Before heading out on this summer's Ozzfest, A Life Once Lost will headline a 24-date North American tour with Cephalic Carnage, Through the Eyes of the Dead and Scarlet. The road trip begins April 19 in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and winds down May 14 in Baltimore. ... Skinless have put the finishing touches on Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead, the band's first LP featuring fresh frontman Jason Keyser. Look for the June 13 release to feature eight cuts, including "A Unilateral Disgust," "Deviation Will Not Be Tolerated" and a cover of Black Sabbath's "Wicked World." ... Ozzfest 2005 veterans It Dies Today will go out on a U.S. headlining run June 1-28 with Haste the Day, Chiodos and the Showdown in the support slots. The tour's routing is still being fleshed out. In the meantime the band continues to hammer away at the follow-up to 2004's The Caitiff Choir with producer GGGarth (Bloodsimple, Mudvayne). The yet-untitled LP is due September 5. ... Spastic grindcore duo Plague Bringer have signed with Seventh Rule and will issue their self-produced debut, As the Ghosts Collect the Corpses Rest, in late May or early June. ...
The bill for this year's Macrock festival — set for April 7 and 8 in Harrisonburg, Virginia — is taking shape. Thus far it'll feature Spitfire, All Else Failed, Hell Within, Human Abstract, Call Me Lightning, the Number Twelve Looks Like You, Municipal Waste, Valkyrie, Backstabbers, Triac and Down to Nothing. ... Floridian spazzcore act Bodies in the Gears of the Apparatus have disbanded. "We're all very upset to see this band go, but for now this is the best decision we could decide on," singer Josh Vitale said of the split. "We will all be in other bands, most likely not with each other." ... Dodge City hardcore kings Let It Die are throwing in the towel too after just three years as a band. "It's been a blast, but it's time for us to go our separate ways," the band said in a joint statement. Let It Die will play their last gig April 27 at the Magic Stick in Detroit, and the bill will also feature Scars of Tomorrow, Bloody Knuckle Combat and, fittingly, Embrace the End. ... Self-described "cobra-core" outfit Dim Mak — which features former members of Ripping Corpse — will issue Knives of Ice April 23 through Willowtip Records. Look for the effort to include "Great Worm of Hell," "Incident at the Temple at Leng" and "Perpetuating Corpses." ...
Thunderous grindcore dudes Daughters have entered Mad Oak Recording Studios in Allston, Massachusetts, with producer Andrew Schneider (Cave In, the Red Chord) to begin tracking their forthcoming sophomore LP. A July release is being eyed through Hydra Head Records. ... Los Angeles thrash/black-metal band Abysmal Dawn will release their debut album, From Ashes, April 4. The disc was recorded at Shiva Industries in Santa Ana, California, late last year and engineered by John Haddad (Eyes of Fire, Phobia). ... Eighties Canadian thrash band Sacrifice will reunite for one day to headline the Day of the Equinox II festival September 23 in Toronto. The band will play tracks from 1986's Torment in Fire, 1987's Forward to Termination and 1990's Soldiers of Misfortune — the first two of which were recently reissued by Brazil's Marquee Records as a single CD. ... Hirax will release a two-hour DVD "Tharsh 'Til Death" April 25; the DVD includes a complete set captured during Minneapolis Mayhem 2 in 2005, as well as bonus footage shot at festivals in Europe and San Francisco. The band's most recent album, The New Age of Terror, came out in 2004. ... Orange County political hardcore band Ignite will release their seventh album, Our Darkest Days, May 16. Tracks include "Fear Is Our Tradition," "Poverty for All" and "Bleeding."