Metal File: Cannibal Corpse, Slayer, Voivod, Red Chord & More News That Rules

Ultra-violent death-metallers don't mind playing second fiddle on Sounds of the Underground.

When ultra-violent death-metallers Cannibal Corpse take the stage, it's almost always to close out a gig. Bassist Alex Webster said the band is and always has been a headlining outfit.

So this summer should be interesting, considering the Corpse aren't topping the bill for the second annual Sounds of the Underground Tour — As I Lay Dying are instead.

"It's the first time we've ever been able to do a festival tour in the United States, and we've had very few opportunities to do tours where we weren't the headliner," Webster explained. "I don't know if a lot of bigger bands didn't want to take a band like us on the road with them or what, but ... this is the first time in 10 years we're doing something with bands that are more popular than us."

He said the Brooklyn, New York, band's thrilled to be part of Sounds, because he feels the gig's going to expose Cannibal Corpse to thousands of metal fans who've been too timid to check them out.

"We really feel like we haven't ever had the chance to play to an audience that is not mostly our own," he said. "We've done lots and lots of headlining tours, but very few opening tours, and never an opening tour of this size. We're in the middle of this package, and so, if an average Cannibal Corpse headlining show's in the hundreds of people and the average Sounds show's going to be in the thousands of people, we're obviously meeting a lot more people each night than we would on our own headlining run.

"I can't wait to see what people think," he continued. "If there's certain people who don't like what we do, and they're forced to watch us anyway, that's always kind of entertaining too. When we toured with the Misfits and Anthrax, there was always a handful of people out there going, 'What the f--- is this sh--?' We're very confident and proud of what we do, so we don't care if some people react negatively to it. If anything it makes us laugh. Some of these fans could be interested in us, if they have a chance to see us and get to know what we're like live."

In late March, Cannibal Corpse released Kill, their 10th studio LP. The album debuted at #170 on the Billboard albums chart, selling more than 6,000 copies in its first week. It was the second time in the band's career that one of its albums breached the mostly pop-friendly list; in 1996, Vile opened at #151, with more than 6,100 copies sold. And it's all due to the fans, Webster said.

"We don't have a huge following, but we have a strong following of dedicated fans," he said. "That's the difference between us and a lot of bands that kind of come and go. We have a dedicated fanbase that has been with us for a long, long time. Whereas I think a lot of bands that are more popular than us [are] kind of fleeting. They're popular for a couple of years, and [their] fans ... move on to the next big thing. We've had a slow and steady career."

After SOTU, Cannibal Corpse plan to launch a U.S. headlining run — the kickoff will most likely take place in early November. Webster said next month the band will film a clip for "Death Walking Terror." Well, probably. When you're in Cannibal Corpse, selecting the right song can be tricky.

"Every one of our songs has some kind of violent or dark imagery in it, but we have to look for songs that are a little less graphic," he said. "We only have a couple of songs on each record where the lyrics aren't more or less R-rated for violence. We have to carefully choose what songs we do videos for, because otherwise it won't make it passed the censors. The song 'Murder Worship,' I think all of us would have liked to have done a video for that. But there's no way, with the decapitated heads and all."

The rest of the week's metal news:

Converge have been tapped for eight Sounds of the Underground dates. The band will join the tour July 9 in Tinley Park, Illinois, and be on the bill through July 17 in Columbia, Maryland. ... The launch of Slayer's Unholy Alliance Tour — featuring Mastodon, Lamb of God, Thine Eyes Bleed and Children of Bodom — has been delayed once again. The trek will kick off June 15 in Camden, New Jersey, instead of June 10 in Peoria, Illinois. The rescheduling's due to Slayer bassist Tom Araya's minor gall-bladder surgery, which successfully took place earlier this month. "We wanted to give Tom an extra few days to make sure that he's at 100 percent before he puts one foot on the road," Slayer's manager Rick Sales said in a statement on the postponement. "We apologize for any confusion that this has caused, but Tom and the band want the fans to get the best Slayer shows possible." The tour's set to run through July 26 in Denver. ... Voivod's new record, Katorz, doesn't come out until July 25, but they're already making preliminary plans for its follow-up. The disc will be the last to feature the band's late guitarist, Denis "Piggy" D'Amour, and will contain the final 13 songs he recorded guitar parts for before dying of colon cancer in August. Singer Denis Belanger, drummer Michel Langevin and bassist Jason Newsted will likely rent a studio when Newsted is done with the next season of the reality show "Rock Star." "It'll happen in the next year when I have time to get away from it where we can really set it up real nice," Newsted said. "We'll put some money up for a studio and go in and make it rock." ... Diecast will begin recording tracks for their forthcoming album, Internal Revolution, next week with producer Zeuss (Hatebreed, Shadows Fall). The disc's slated for release September 19. ...

Opeth have officially parted ways with drummer Martin Lopez and replaced him with Martin "Axe" Axenrot. In a statement, frontman Mikael Åkerfeldt said: "However sad I and the rest of the band feel in light of Lopez's departure, I want to thank him for his incredible work with Opeth and immense dedication to the band. We recorded some classic stuff together and he obviously had an enormous impact on our sound. I now feel very excited to hear the material of his own band. In the meantime, Opeth fans can rest assured that we'll continue jamming it out with Axe and we all have high expectations about our coming musical ventures." Opeth's 2005 album, Ghost Reveries, will be reissued as a special edition deluxe version through Roadrunner on July 25. ... British black-metallers Venom will hit the road with DevilDriver on August 13 for their 7 Days of Hell tour across North American. Dates run through August 28, although cities and venues haven't been announced yet. ... At All Cost have also parted ways with their drummer, Grant Anderson. "We love Grant and wish him the very best in all of his future endeavors," the band wrote in a statement about the amicable split. "He is a true friend and a brother to each of us." The band will be auditioning potential replacements, and interested parties should swing by the metallers' MySpace page for additional details. ...

The Red Chord shot a video for "Black Santa" in New York on Thursday, with Dave Brodsky (God Forbid, All That Remains). Brodsky wouldn't describe the video in detail but hinted that the clip will feature Claymation, "someone yo-yoing, sentinel blasts and battle scenes with retarded mutant monsters." Frontman Guy Kozowyk said the band has started writing material for its next LP, Birdbath, but have no immediate plans to begin recording yet. Kozowyk said Birdbath will include "I Am Not a Lawnmower," "The Robot From the Future," "Skin Beef" and "The Brian Slagel Song," a devotion to the founder of Metal Blade Records. ... In addition to touring this summer with AFI, the Dillinger Escape Plan have booked a bunch of headlining gigs for which Dysrhythmia will open. The chaotic metalheads will play in Tucson, Arizona (July 14); Albuquerque, New Mexico (July 15); Houston (July 18); Dallas (July 19); Austin, Texas (July 20); Fayetteville, Arkansas (July 21); Des Moines, Iowa (July 22); Madison, Wisconsin (July 23); Papillion, Nebraska (July 28); and Wichita, Kansas (July 29). ... Daughters' forthcoming album, Hell Songs, will be in stores August 8. The LP, the band's first in more than four years, was recorded in March and April and will feature 10 new cuts, including "Daughters Spelled Wrong," "Feisty Snake-Woman," "Crotch Buffet" and "The F--- Whisperer." ...

Atheist founding guitarist Rand Burkey has had to pull out of the band's upcoming European reunion concerts because of "legal troubles," according to a statement. Chris Baker of Gnostic will replace Burkey for the festival gigs, which run from July 14 in Derbyshire, England, through August 28 in Athens, Greece. "Not having Rand be able to take part is a disappointment to us, but we have always honored our band commitments, even in the face of unbelievable odds," said the band. "This will be no exception." ... Chrome Division, a new band featuring Dimmu Borgir singer Stian Thoresen (a.k.a. Shagrath) on guitar, will release their debut album, Doomsday Rock 'N Roll, August 8. The disc was recorded in Oslo, Norway, last winter and will include "Serial Killer," "Breath Easy" and "The Angel Falls." Chrome Division plan to shoot two videos for the record with Patric Ullaeus (In Flames, Lacuna Coil) in the coming weeks. ... Ex-Carcass guitarist Bill Steer has finished working on Hot Wings, the fourth album with his stoner-rock band Firebird. The disc is tentatively scheduled for release in early July and will mark the return of Spiritual Beggars drummer Ludwig Witt, who played on the band's first two discs.