Metal File: DragonForce, Cradle Of Filth, Anthrax, Horna & More News That Rules

Break out the trampolines: British power-metallers finally arrive in U.S.

In two months U.S. record stores will, at long last, be able to stock an album by British power-metallers DragonForce. While the band's been around since 1999, the sextet's presence in the U.S. hasn't been felt much, considering DragonForce's three albums — 2003's The Valley of the Damned, 2004's Sonic Firestorm and 2006's Inhuman Rampage, which was issued four months back — haven't been released here. Hell, the band has yet to set foot on American soil, so DragonForce fans here have been deprived to say the least.

But that's all about to change, guitarist Herman Li said. Visa problems kept DragonForce from performing at New York's CBGB club back in November, but Li said that's not going to happen again on April 30, when the band plays its first U.S. gig at the New England Hardcore and Metal Festival. But he did warn fans that DragonForce shows aren't like most metal shows.

"We're famous for accidents onstage now," he said. "We have trampolines we jump on and four different boxes of different heights, which allow us to jump in the air and spin around. Even though the music is really fast and complicated, we're jumping in the air, playing the guitar upside down ... it's fun. We finish each tour with bruises on our legs and everything."

Eight additional U.S. club dates have been lined up: May 2 (New York), May 3 (Philadelphia), May 4 (West Springfield, Virginia), May 5 (Cleveland), May 6 (Chicago), May 8 (Denver), May 10 (San Francisco) and May 11 (West Hollywood, California), with Protest the Hero and Sanctity. Most of those shows have already sold out, but Li did mention that the band's working on securing a spot on an American festival tour, like Sounds of the Underground or Gigantour 2 — so fans who miss them this time around might be able to catch the 'Force this summer. But Li said the band hopes, in time, to be headlining tours in the U.S.

First, though, there's the matter of getting an album on store shelves. On June 20, Roadrunner Records will release Inhuman Rampage in the U.S., but DragonForce have already begun writing new material for that record's follow-up. Fans, Li said, can expect the new stuff to be just as fast, frenetic and technically perverse.

Most of Li's guitar stylings have been inspired by video game music, he said. In fact, on Inhuman, he tweaked and scratched the strings to create sounds he claims he borrowed from "Pac-Man." And those sounds are difficult to replicate live.

"When we finish an album, it's like, 'Whoa — we've got to learn these songs? It's going to be tough,' " Li said of the recording process. "But it's better that way because it makes you a better player afterwards."

The rest of the week's metal news:

Cradle of Filth's forthcoming album, Thornography, will hit stores September 19. Look for it to include "Libertina Grim," "Tonight in Flames," "Cemetery and Sundown," "I Am the Thorn," "The Byronic Man" (featuring guest vocals from H.I.M.'s Ville Valo) and "Temptation." ... Arch Enemy's Angela Gossow will lend her pipes to Demonized, the forthcoming LP from Greek female metallers Astarte. The disc should be in stores before year's end. ... Fear Factory's late-fall headlining trek with Suffocation, Hypocrisy and Decapitated will launch October 26 in San Francisco. Dates thus far run through November 26 in Saginaw, Michigan. ... Slipknot's Joey Jordison has signed on to produce the forthcoming, yet-untitled 3 Inches of Blood album, which should feature "Night Marauders," "Goatriders' Horde" and "Black Spire" when it's released early next year. ... Devin Townsend-led Canadian extremists Strapping Young Lad have revealed the tentative track list for their forthcoming opus, The New Black, which will hit stores July 11. The album will feature 11 cuts, including "You Suck," "Far Beyond Metal" and "Almost Again." ...

Ill Niño, God Forbid, Eyes of Fire, Silent Civilian and Bleed the Sky will hit the road together under the tour banner One Nation Undivided. The trek kicks off May 10 in New York and will pass through 25 cities. Dates so far are booked through June 1 in Chicago, with additional gigs to be announced in the coming weeks. ... It Dies Today, Haste the Day, the Showdown, Chiodos and Flee the Seen will tour together starting June 1 in Syracuse, New York. Dates run through June 26 in Memphis, Tennessee. ... San Diego gore-grinders Cattle Decapitation have found someone to fill the void left behind the kit with the departure of Michael Laughlin: ex-Unholy Ghost drummer J.R. "Kid Gnarly" Daniels. ... DevilDriver will be this weekend's guests on MTV2's "Headbangers Ball." The band launches a U.S. tour May 8 in San Diego with Bury Your Dead, Remembering Never, If Hope Dies and Artimus Pyledriver, with dates running through June 2 in Sayreville, New Jersey. ...

Grind specialists the County Medical Examiners — "a collection of real-life pathologists with an unhealthy adoration of and fixation on Carcass," with one member who's said to be 63 years of age — have signed with Relapse Records. They'll release Olidus Operattas, their first album in three years, this fall. ... Brooklyn's Made Out of Babies will begin recording Coward, their second full-length LP, next month in Chicago with Steve Albini (Nirvana, Mono). ... North Carolina vegan metallers Undying have parted ways. "As is always the case, we have our reasons for the breakup — some petty, some great, none of which we will go into here," the band said in a post on its MySpace page. "Suffice to say that for the past eight years we have had the rare opportunity to travel the world, have more than a few interesting experiences and make friends, too many to be counted here, who we will hold heart-close and dear for a lifetime and more. Be kind, live well, go vegan." ... The Vows — a new hardcore band featuring John Pettibone (Himsa, Undertow), Rob Moran (Unbroken, Some Girls), Ryan Murphy (Undertow, Ensign), Aram Arslanian (Champion) and Chris Williams (Champion) — will issue its debut EP later this spring. ...

Finnish black-metal outfit Horna's next offering, Ääniä Yössä, will land in stores June 6. The epic record features four tracks and runs about 40 minutes. ... Live In: Nerd Rage, the debut CD by comedian Brian Posehn, will be reissued July 11. The record features Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian, Shadows Fall guitarist Jonathan Donais, Armored Saint bassist Joey Vera and ex-White Zombie drummer John Tempesta. It also has the cut "Try Again, Again" by the mock metal group Titannica, which were featured on the HBO cult-classic comedy "Mr. Show." ... Richmond, Virginia, crossover metal band Municipal Waste have posted a gory, uncensored live music video for "Unleash the Bastards" on Earache's Web site. The clip depicts fans in the crowd tearing stage divers limb from limb and eating their body parts "Dawn of the Dead"-style. Not a great incentive to attend their gigs, if you ask us. ... Slipknot and Korn producer Ross Robinson is in the studio with Norma Jean working on the band's follow-up to 2005's O God, the Aftermath. The team entered the studio April 7 and hopes to finish by the end of May before embarking on Ozzfest. "We are thrilled to an insane degree," singer Cory Brandan said in a press statement. "We really think Ross Robinson will be able to bring something out in us and our music." ...

Grindcore band F--- the Facts are working on their debut album, Stigmata High-Five, in Montreal. The disc is slated for a late summer release and includes "The Wrecking," "Carve Your Heart Out" and "The Sound of Your Smashed Head." The Ottawa band begins a monthlong Canadian tour April 14. ... Longtime Origin drummer John Longstreth has rejoined the Kansas technical metal band. He replaces James King, who left in October due to personal and creative differences. The group starts a tour July 19 in Oklahoma City with dates running through August 26 in Milwaukee. ... Two classic melodic death/black-metal albums by Sweden's Dissection will be reissued June 27 as double-CD sets. The Somberlain, which originally came out in 1993, will be resurrected with the 1991 EP Into Infinite Obscurity, previously unreleased live recordings, demos and rehearsal room tapes. Storm of the Light's Bane (1995) will re-emerge with an alternate mix of the full album, demos and the 1996 EP Where Dead Angels Lie. Dissection's long-awaited new album, Reinkaos, comes out May 16.