Metal File: Machine Head, Shadows Fall, Watain & More News That Rules

Frontman Robert Flynn says Head are ready to erupt with 'molten riffage.'

When Machine Head needed some extra throats to help supply backup vocals for the track "Clenching the Fists of Dissent," instead of calling up some of his heavy-metal comrades, frontman Robert Flynn bought some booze instead.

"We had a bunch of our fans come down a few weeks ago, and we just had a big party and invited them down to the studio to sing on the record," he explained of the track, which will appear on the band's forthcoming "unconventional" album The Blackening. "It was a really cool night. We just busted out a ton of vodka and a ton of beer and got everybody all hammered. The fans are the reason we're still here. They went out there and made a huge statement when our last record [2003's Through the Ashes of Empires] came out, and proved to the world that we're here for good."

And because Flynn appreciates his disciples' support so much, he sticks up for them when they're attacked. Take the tune "Aesthetics of Hate," inspired by an article called "Aesthetics of Hate: R.I.P. Dimebag Abbott, & Good Riddance," for instance. The article, written by William Grim for the conservative Web site the Iconoclast, basically kicked fans of the slain Pantera guitarist while they were down, just days after he was killed onstage. The song is a "f--- you" to Grim, from Flynn.

"It basically said that Dime was untalented and that he reaped what he sowed," the singer said about the article. (Grim called Abbott "an ignorant, barbaric, untalented possessor of a guitar" who looks "more simian than human" and "part of a generation that has confused sputum with art and involuntary reflex actions with emotion"). "It's one thing to have an opinion about an artist, but the thing that was the most offensive to me was how it then went on to cast this huge generalization over the metal community, calling us pathetic for mourning his death. He called us all ugly and fat. I wanted to punch the f---ing computer screen when I read that article."

Machine Head have spent the last month in the studio tracking The Blackening, which Flynn said should be out in late March. He called the album, which the band began writing material for more than a year ago, its "most ambitious" one to date.

"We really didn't want to play it safe on this record," he explained. "We kind of came back from the dead with Through the Ashes, and the safest thing we could've done would've been to just stay in [that] vein and try to keep that formula because it worked last time. Not that there was a formula really. We just started writing and the music that we were writing just started going in this far more complex, intricate and layered direction. It's not like we sat there and intentionally did it. It just kind of [happened]. Pretty soon we ended up having 10-minute-long songs. But the thing that's really cool about it is, we're not just jamming on three riffs for 10 minutes. This is molten riffage — just 20, 30 crushing riffs per song."

Flynn said Machine Head were on a Rush kick (particularly 1977's A Farewell to Kings) during the writing of The Blackening, and even took a few cues from the Canadian prog-rock icons.

"The one thing that they did is that they'd have these long songs that constantly had a continuing theme throughout them," he said. "The songs always reverted back to this one melody or this one hook — and that kept it in the context of a song so that ultimately, it wasn't just riff soup for 10 minutes. It kind of had some things that took you on a journey and then brought you back to something familiar. And that's something that we really started to try and bring into the mix. We'd have these long songs, but then we'd go back to these choruses or these hooks, but in a different context. The more we did it, the more we got excited about it. For whatever reason, it's worked."

Machine Head plan to begin mixing the album next week with Colin Richardson (Fear Factory, Sepultura) and will shoot a video for the album's first single next month. As for touring, Flynn said there's a big announcement on the way. He claims they'll be touring from February through April "on a huge tour we're super-excited about." Flynn said Machine Head will spend most of 2007 on the road.

The rest of the week's metal news:

Massachusetts metalheads Shadows Fall have chosen Threads of Life as the title for their forthcoming major-label debut, which should be out in March. The band has been working on the follow-up to 2006's Fallout From the War for more than a month now with producer Nick Raskulinecz (Foo Fighters, Stone Sour) at Foo Fighter Dave Grohl's Studio 606 in Northridge, California. ... Type O Negative's forthcoming album, also expected to drop early next year, now has a title as well: Dead Again. The band has no extensive tour plans yet to support the album but will perform January 21 at the House of Blues in Anaheim, California. ... Laethora — a Swedish death/grind group featuring Dark Tranquillity guitarist Niklas Sundin and Provenance guitarist Joakim Rosen, bassist Jonnie Tall and drummer Joel Lindell — will release their album March of the Parasite February 20. Described by Sundin as "extreme and in-your-face, but organic rather than clinical-sounding," the disc features 10 tracks, including "Clothing for the Dead," "Parasite" and "Warbitrary." Songs for the disc were written over the past five years, and the bulk of the album was recorded at Gesperrt Studios in Gothenburg and produced by Rosen during spring and summer 2005. Although Sundin worked on the Laethora disc at the same time Dark Tranquillity were working on their upcoming LP, he says there were no scheduling problems. "There's no pressure or any urgent deadlines with Laethora, so we simply work whenever there is time available. If a song takes one or three months to complete, it isn't really such a big concern." ...

Ex-Faith No More guitarist Trey Spruance has created the soundtrack for "The Anna Cabrini Chronicles," a partially animated, bleak, surreal film about the motivations behind three suicides. The movie was written, directed, animated and edited by newcomer Tawd B. Dorenfeld, and Spruance worked on the chaotic soundtrack for the past two years. Instead of submitting the movie to this year's film festivals, Dorenfeld scheduled a screening tour in cities that Truance played with his band Secret Chiefs 3. Dorenfeld is currently seeking distribution for the movie, which is also available for purchase via annacabrini@polymorphproductions.com. ... Drummer Shannon Lucas has decided to leave All That Remains, although no official explanation for his departure has been offered. In his place, the band has temporarily recruited Tim Yeung (Hate Eternal), who will man the kit for ATR's current tour. Interested in becoming the band's full-time replacement? Reach out to ATR via their MySpace page. ...

Losing one member's tough enough — but when you lose four, that's just insane. But that's exactly what happened to Kayo Dot this week, leaving the experimental band with just three members strong. No additional information on the shakeup has been released yet. ... In Flames have enlisted former touring guitarist Niklas Engelin to temporarily take over for Jesper Strömblad, who had to return home to Sweden recently to settle some personal matters. ... Black-metal warriors Watain have signed to Season of Mist, and the label will release the band's forthcoming third LP in Europe in March. According to a press release, "those who experienced Watain onstage can witness a blood-soaked, rusty metallic machinery embodying every aspect of the traditional satanic black-metal cult, reliving and taking further the sinister legacy of Venom, Hellhammer and Mayhem. But believe us when we say, 'You have seen nothing yet!' " We're not sure we know what that means, but Watain still rule. ... Starkweather's 1994 album, Crossbearer, and 1997's Into the Wire will be reissued January 23 as a double disc. Both albums feature bonus material, like rare singles, compilation tracks, outtakes and unreleased demos. ...

Note to Fear Before the March of Flames bassist Mike Madruga: Watch where you swing that thing. Frontman David Marion was clocked in the face with the bass' tuning pegs during the band's San Diego stop last week on the Radio Rebellion Tour. Marion was knocked unconscious and awoke a little while later, discovering that he had sustained a large hole in one of his cheeks. The band finished its set and Marion was transported by ambulance to a local hospital for treatment. ... Proving a kick-ass name isn't enough to hold a band together, the Abominable Iron Sloth announced this week that they've decided to split up. The band featured ex-members of Will Haven and Oddman, and its mastermind, Justin Godfrey, explained in a press release that, "I've had enough. I've been doing this for three years now and I'm tired of trying to beg people to tour Europe with me, so I'm going to focus on my other forms of art that don't require commitment from other human beings." ... Technical death deliverers Odious Mortem have inked a deal with Willowtip Records and will begin work on their forthcoming album, Cryptic Implosion, this month. The disc is slated for an early 2007 release and will feature 11 tracks, including "The Endless Regression of Mind," "Gestation of Worms" and "Collapse of Recreation." ...

The Seattle Metal Fest makes its triumphant return this year after a three-year break. Scheduled for January 20, the bill will boast Overkill, God Forbid, Destruction, Into Eternity, Goatwhore, the Human Abstract, Mnemic and Arsis. ... Israeli-born black-metal band Melechesh will release their third album, Emissaries, January 23. Tracks include "Rebirth of the Nemesis (Enuma Elish Rewritten)," "Ladders to Sumeria" and "Touching the Spheres of Sephiroth." Described by the band as a "collection of Sumerian spells, Mesopotamian mysticism and its cosmic connection," the album marks the recording debut for drummer Xul. Emissaries is the follow-up to Sphynx, which came out in 2004. ... Atlanta death-metal band Daath will release their debut album, The Hinderers, January 30. The disc was produced by ex-Death and Testament guitarist James Murphy and mixed by Colin Richardson. Tracks include "Ovum," "Under a Somber Sign" and "Above Lucium." Daath will tour with Cattle Decapitation and Goatwhore from November 17 in Austin, Texas, through December 10 in Ogden, Utah. ...

Colombian death-metal band Goretrade will release their second offering, Perception of Hate, November 28. "Impregnate With Deceit," "Righteous Retribution" and "Ritual of Flesh" are among the nine blood-drenched cuts. For trivia buffs, Ritual of Flesh was the title of the band's 2003 ultra low-fi debut. ... Boston post-hardcore quintet Vanna are in Seattle's Robert Lange Studios working on their debut album with producer Matt Bayles (Mastodon, Norma Jean). The band will record through the end of November and mix in December. Vanna hope to release the album, the follow-up to this year's The Search Party Never Came EP, in April. ... Brighton, Massachusetts, melodic thrash band Burn in Silence have released the video for "Lines From an Epitaph," from their current album Angel Maker. The clip was inspired by various horror movies and can be viewed here. Burn in Silence will launch a tour with Misery Index, Yakuza and Intronaut on November 22 in Akron, Ohio. The trek runs through December 2 in Kingston, Rhode Island.