Metal File: The End, Opeth, Titan, Clutch & More News That Rules

Frontman promises songs 'soaked in sex.'

Does Aaron Wolff have the write stuff? That's the question the frontman to Canadian post-grindcore band the End is about to be faced with after his group took a yearlong hiatus from performing and recording so he could spend all that time putting pen to paper. The result is Elementary, but Wolff readily admits he had a hard time writing the album.

"I just had all of these ideas stirring around in my head, and all I could think about was [wanting to play] rock and roll," Wolff explained. "We took an entire year off writing. That's a large gap of time for a band to just sit around and write.

"It's definitely a departure from our previous records," he continued about Elementary, which will follow 2004's Within Dividia and 2002's Transfer Trachea Reverberations From Point: False Omniscient. "But all the same elements are there — we've just taken those things into new directions and new avenues that we may not have touched on in the past, and I think it's going to be shocking to many people."

The ambitious Elementary will be in stores February 6 and feature 10 tracks, including "The Never Ever Aftermath," "Awake?" and "A Fell Wind." But unlike the band's previous avant-garde offerings, which were dense and manic, Wolff promises that this record will be more "melodic and formatted." "We tried new things with tones and different effects — even acoustic guitars," he said. "We tried to dive into new areas, and expand everything and embrace all the music we listen to.

"We realize that there is likely going to be some unhappy people, but that's the name of the game," he continued. "I don't think a band is always loved. Everyone gets hated on at some point. We're ready for whatever happens, but I am hoping people really dig it. It would have been easy to come out and write another tech-metal record. The brand is there. For us to expand as musicians and make things a little more interesting, we had to move into different areas. And it came naturally, I have to say."

Unlike Within Dividia, Elementary is no concept album — even though the LP layout will include specific images that corresponds to each song on the disc. "Every song has a clear idea to it, but to us, this one's about our lives, the music we write — it's a part of us, and it makes perfect sense," he said. "This one's a lot more personal to us ... and I tried to make things a bit more apparent in the lyrics. It deals with the struggles of everyday life — things that everybody goes through. But there's also a sexual aspect to the lyrical content. Many of the songs are soaked in sex."

On Tuesday, the End will launch a Canadian trek with the Cancer Bats that's set to commence in Hamilton, Ontario, and conclude January 27 in Toronto. Wolff said the End will tour the States in February but added that he couldn't reveal those plans just yet. They will also shoot a video for a to-be-determined Elementary track before the end of the month with pal Jeff Scheven, who directed TV on the Radio's "Province" clip and plays drums for Canadian indie outfit Controller.Controller.

During the Elementary recording sessions, the End reunited for two songs with former singer Tyler Semrick-Palmateer, who now fronts Mare. The tunes — acoustic renditions of "And Always ..." and "The Never Ever Aftermath" — will be released as bonus tracks on the Japanese version of the LP. Wolff said the End may post the cuts on their MySpace page to spare fans the added cost of buying the import.

"It's so wacky, what he did on those tracks," Wolff reflected. "It's some of the most insane vocal sh-- I have ever heard in my life. I can't believe a human being made these sounds."

The rest of the week's metal news:

There's good news for Opeth fans this week, as frontman Mikael Åkerfeldt revealed he has started crafting fresh material for the band's ninth LP and that it could be out before the arrival of 2008. Over at the Opeth Web site, Åkerfeldt added that he's also writing tracks for a side project he has yet to assign a moniker to. Opeth's last release, Ghost Reveries, was issued in 2005. ... Darkest Hour will head to Strapping Young Lad frontman Devin Townsend's compound in Vancouver, British Columbia, next month to begin the preproduction and recording of their next album. Townsend (Lamb of God, Soilwork) also produced the band's previous outing, 2005's Undoing Ruin. Look for the LP to drop in either June or July. ... Clutch will hit the road with the Bakerton Group for a spate of six East Coast gigs beginning January 15 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and wrapping January 20 in Philadelphia. Clutch will release the tentatively titled From Beale Street to Oblivion this spring. The band called once again on Nick Lakiotes, who conceived the layout and design for 2005's Robot Hive: Exodus, to handle the Beale Street cover art. ...

Sons of Azrael, a metal band hailing from the snowy tundra known as Buffalo, New York, have inked a deal with Ironclad Recordings. The act is due to hit the recording studio within days to start work on its yet-untitled full-length debut. Look for the disc to include "Trail of Flesh," "Sweet Blasphemy" and "Scent of a Dead Whore" when it lands in stores this summer. ... 3 Legged Dog, a group of aged vets that includes former members of Black Sabbath (drummer Vinny Appice), Dio (bassist Jimmy Bain), Quiet Riot (guitarist Carlos Cavazo), Bonham (singer Chas West) and David Lee Roth's band (guitarist Brian Young), will shoot a new video in February. The clip will be for a yet-unpicked track from their debut album, Frozen Summer, which came out on Halloween. The band hopes to tour in 2007, but current plans are on hold because of Appice's road commitments to Heaven and Hell, the new Sabbath-related band fronted by Ronnie James Dio. ...

Kylesa singer/bassist Corey Barhorst knocked out his front teeth in a bike accident on December 28. Barhorst was on his way to band practice when he flipped off his ride and landed face-first on the concrete. Barhorst required emergency surgery because nerves in his mouth were exposed in the fall, and he also suffered bruises and cuts on his face and hands, forcing the band to cancel all shows before January 20. "Corey needs a week or so to recover," wrote the band on its Web site. "We'll see you at the end of January, and Corey will have a new grill — hopefully made of silver or gold." ... Trippy progressive outfit Titan will release their second album, A Raining Sun of Light and Love for You & You & You, February 6. The disc, recorded by Steve Revitte (Liars, the Double), is the follow-up to the Brooklyn, New York, band's eponymous 2006 debut. Titan were formed in 2005 and feature ex-the Anasazi guitarist Josh Anzano. ... Zozobra, the new band featuring Cave In bassist Caleb Scofield, will open a batch of shows for Isis and Jesu. Zozobra's dates begin March 17 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and run through the tour's conclusion April 8 in Los Angeles. The proper Isis tour begins February 22 in San Diego. ...

Boston avant-metal band Kayo Dot will start recording their new album in late spring or early summer and hope to have it ready for release by early 2008. Frontman Toby Driver and violinist Mia Matsumiya have also formed the side project Tartar Lamb, which are on tour through January 19 in Brooklyn, New York. ... Canadian tech-metal blasters Beneath the Massacre will release their full-length debut, Mechanics of Dysfunction, February 20. The disc was produced by Yannick St-Amand (Despised Icon, Ion Dissonance) and mastered by Alan Douches (Shadows Fall, Unearth). The track "Mechanics of Dysfunction" can be streamed at MySpace.com/ProstheticRecords. Other songs include "The System's Failure," "Modern Age Slavery" and "Better Off Dead." ... Cannae drummer Colin Conway has left the band, prompting the remaining members to launch a search for his replacement. Interested applicants should e-mail setstatic@yahoo.com for more information. Players must be able to practice on weekends at least twice a month, be willing to relocate or make the drive to eastern Massachusetts, be able to play to a click and be "financially stable for months of touring and for band expenses." Cannae's most recent disc, Gold Becomes Sacrifice, came out in 2005.