Gojira Flesh Out New LP, Work On Pronunciation; Plus Slipknot, Deftones & More News That Rules, In Metal File

'I don't know, myself, how to pronounce it correctly,' frontman Joe Duplantier says of his band's name.

If you’re not exactly sure how to pronounce “Gojira,” don’t fret — neither does Joe Duplantier, who fronts the French death-metal outfit of the same name.

“I don’t know, myself, how to pronounce it correctly,” he confessed with a slightly embarrassed chuckle to Metal File last week, in between tracking vocals for the band’s upcoming fourth LP, The Way of All Flesh, which is slated for a Stateside release October 14. “In France, people say Go-gee-rah, and some say Ga-jeer-uh, but I think the right way is the Japanese way: Go-jeer-ah. That’s the one I always go with.”

You say to-may-toe, I say to-mah-toe — let’s call the whole darned thing off. After all, Gojira have a lot going on these days. In addition to self-producing The Way of All Flesh (“We have many loans,” Duplantier said), their much-anticipated follow-up to 2005′s From Mars to Sirius, the guys are planning out their fall tour plans, working on ideas for album number five, and working on their broken English. Duplantier said he’d like to move to New York — his “favorite place on Earth” — for a year “to improve my English.”

But first, let’s talk about the new record. According to Duplantier, Flesh is a conceptual work, focusing on the morbid topic of death.

“That’s the theme — it’s about death itself,” he explained. “It’s also about the immortality of the soul. That’s the main subject for us. Since we started to play and release albums, we’ve always talked about the same thing: the soul.

“This album’s got a more dramatic feel to it, and some of the lyrics are almost cynical,” continued Duplantier, who worked with the Cavalera Conspiracy on their latest LP . “Usually, with my lyrics, I’m always positive. But on this album, I’m so pissed off with the situation on Earth right now, how we’re abusing so much, and we take everything that we can take from the ocean, and we kill off endangered species. So in some of the songs, it’s almost like a requiem for the Earth. This record is a lot darker — like, a lot darker, I would say. The music is darker and more violent.”

At times, he said, the mostly midtempo material — including the tracks “The Art of Dying,” “Esoteric Surgery” and “Yama’s Messengers” — bears an almost old-school thrash sound, like Slayer’s earliest material, while other tracks incorporate elements of hardcore. When the album drops (or leaks — whichever comes first), fans will discover that some tracks boast unusual atmospherics, while others are punctuated by their tortured melodies, all backed by pig-on-fire vocals, compliments of Duplantier. Machine Head’s Logan Mader will be mixing the effort.

“I think that, probably, some people will be disappointed by some things we did on this album, but there is also a very logical evolution of our music since From Mars to Sirius,” Duplantier said. “It’s pretty much what we want to hear from a band, and that’s been our goal since the beginning — to play music we could enjoy. And for the first time, we are happy with the sound we’ve achieved by being our own producers for all these years. We’ve never had an external person telling us what to do, and for the first time, we’re very happy with the sound, because it’s just so powerful”

Duplantier also promises a surprise cameo on the effort by someone he claims will be well-known to the band’s U.S. fans. He wouldn’t discuss the collaboration any further, “because I’m not allowed to. You’ll just have to wait.”

And even though the band is still recording The Way of All Flesh, the singer said he’s already looking to the future. “Some of the songs we wrote didn’t fit with the rest of this album, so we’re holding them over for later,” he said. “And we have tons of riffs. … The fifth album’s already on our minds.”

While Gojira have no immediate U.S. touring plans, Duplantier said they will be crossing the pond in October for an American trek. They’re also hoping to acquire the rights to the 1926 Italian silent film “Maciste all’Inferno,” he said.

“In 2003, we were invited to play this big festival in the south of France, but they wanted us to compose an hour and a half of material to play live, during the projection of this movie,” he said. “We watched the movie for a week and worked on brand-new music, just for this movie. Now, we want to put it on a record or release it as a DVD with the movie. We want to do it now. We want to record it, but we have to promote the new album for the next two years.”

The rest of the week’s metal news:

Right now, you can head over to the Roadrunner Records Web site and download the title track from All Hope Is Gone, Slipknot‘s forthcoming LP , for free. And starting July 1, you’ll be able to hear more material from the disc, which won’t be in stores until sometime later this summer, when the record’s first single, “Psychosocial,” will be added to iTunes and other digital-download retailers. …

Last week’s column promised that this week, we’d be brining you a feature on Judas Priest and their new album, Nostradamus. Well, that story actually popped up on MTV News’ site on Thursday. You can check it out here . …

According to guitarist Kerry King, Slayer‘s upcoming album could be out before the year’s up. In an interview with writer Joel McIver, excerpts from which can be found here, King said, “We’re supposed to have [an album] ready at the end of the year. There’s been talk of all kinds of odd things, because the record industry changes every day. We’ve talked about maybe putting out a couple of songs from an upcoming record through iTunes, so we can play something new on the Unholy Alliance III tour. You know, that’s not so far outside the realm of possibility. As far as how much we’re gonna get done by the end of the year? I have no idea.” Hey, fellas — please, just take your time with this one. …

The Deftones are hard at work on their next album, which one source close to the band told Metal File “sounds nothing like what they’ve done in the past.” Eros, which could be out before 2008 expires, will, according to bassist Chi Cheng, be “heavy as f— with a sh–load of groove. … I always say this sh–, but I truly believe this album to be well worth the wait and appreciate all your support and kind loyalty.” …

Unearth have begun work on the follow-up to 2006′s III: In the Eyes of Fire. The yet-untitled effort is being eyed for an October release. Produced by Killswitch Engage‘s Adam Dutkiewicz, the record, according to a press release, will feature the band’s “most dynamic material to date.” …

Walls of Jericho, 36 Crazyfists, It Dies Today, Sea of Treachery and Flatline will be hitting the road together in August for a string of live gigs. That trek commences August 20 in Syracuse, New York, and dates are booked through August 31 in beautiful Mokena, Illinois. …

Iced Earth‘s forthcoming album, The Crucible of Man (Something Wicked Part II), has been scheduled for a September 9 release. Look for it to include the tracks “The Sacred Flames,” “Crown of the Fallen” and “I Walk Alone.” …

Darkane‘s forthcoming CD, Demonic Art, is currently in the mixing phase. While no release date has been etched in stone yet, it’s looking like the disc will contain 11 tracks, including “Variations of an Eye Crush,” “The Killing of I” and “Wrath Connection.” …

Cattle Decapitation plan to return to the studio in August with producer Billy Anderson to finish tracking their next LP, which has yet to be christened. Expect the disc to feature more macabre material from these kings of deathgrind, including “Tooth Enamel & Concrete,” “We Are Horrible People” and “The Body Farm.”