When Lamb of God jumped from an indie to Epic Records a couple of years back, the results were mixed; Ashes of the Wake sounded somewhat watered-down, and inevitably, major-label influence was believed to be the culprit. But prog-metallers Mastodon — who became the latest addition to the Warner Bros. kith last month — claim they'll be different.

"It's a big step for a band like us that doesn't really have any radio hits or ... any plans to write any radio hits or anything like that," drummer Brann Dailor explained.

"We wanted to make sure that [Warner Bros.] knew that," guitarist Bill Kelliher added. "We told them, 'We're not going to change into a Backstreet Boys or anything like that.' We're not going to change our sound. If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Mastodon say three major labels battled over them for more than six months. Dailor said they've already started working on new material for their Warner Bros. debut, which will actually be a joint release with Relapse, the indie imprint that issued the band's critically hailed Leviathan and Remission.

"Relapse feels more like a home, and it feels like we're flying the coop, so to speak," Dailor said, "but it was the logical next step. If we don't take the chance, what are we going to do?"

The band's been compiling footage for an in-the-works DVD for the past year, but its main focus right now is a prized spot on this summer's Ozzfest. Mastodon plan to write material while on tour and hit the studio in early fall.

Dailor said Mastodon will play three Ozzfest off-dates with Iron Maiden and a slew of others with Rob Zombie. A concrete list of those dates could come as early as next week.

"I'm looking forward to those Zombie shows as much as those Ozzfest shows," singer/bassist Troy Sanders said. "That's a no-brainer, because [those shows] will be [sold out] five minutes before tickets go on sale. That should have really good energy."

The rest of this week's metal news:

Hate Eternal — which features ex-Morbid Angel guitarist Erik Rutan — will release their third album, I, Monarch, June 28. Tracks include "Two Demons," "Behold Judas" and "To Know Our Enemies." The band will launch a North American tour with Krisiun, Incantation, Into Eternity and All Shall Perish on June 16 in West Springfield, Virginia. Dates run through July 23 in Tampa, Florida. ... Cephalic Carnage just completed a video for "Dying Will Be the Death of Me" with director Darren Doane (Deftones, Nile). In the clip, the band kidnaps a mall brat and gives him a lesson in unbridled metal. The song's from the band's fourth album, Anomalies. Cephalic will launch a North American tour with Suffocation, Cryptopsy and Aborted on October 6 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and wind down at BB King's Blues Club in New York on November 7. ...

New Jersey thrashers God Forbid will play a benefit concert on June 4 at the Wayne Firehouse in Wayne, New Jersey. Proceeds from the gig will support their friend Frank Piegaro, former guitarist for the Degenerics and Ensign. Piegaro has been battling a rare skin disease for several years, and money raised during the show will help fund his recovery. Nora, the Number Twelve Looks Like You, Fanshen and Hot Cross will also perform; tickets are priced at $15. ... Founding Exodus drummer Tom Hunting has been forced to leave the veteran thrash band because of a serious but undisclosed illness, which has required several hospital stays over the past two months. In a post on their Web site, Exodus write that Hunting's ailment is not drug-related, and that he kicked his addiction more than a year ago. The band has recruited ex-Slayer/Forbidden drummer Paul Bostaph to replace him and is currently working on a new record due in September. ...

In Flames' main man, Anders Fridén, announced on the band's Web site that its forthcoming album will be titled Crawl Through Knives. The disc will feature 13 tracks, including "Dead End," "Reflect the Storm" and "Take This Life." ... Peter "Peavey" Wagner, singer for '80s German power-metal band Rage, suffered a broken elbow last week when he was hit by a car while riding his bicycle. He underwent a two-hour operation to repair the broken bones and will remain in a splint for six to eight weeks and then undergo intensive physiotherapy. He hopes to return to the stage in time for the band's June 4 show at the Tradate Iron Fest in Tradate, Italy. ... Glenn Danzig is organizing his own summer metal festival (think of it as Ozzfest lite). At this point, it appears that all Danzig's solidified is the name: the Blackest of the Black. All-important details like the lineup and dates are still being ironed out. ...

Tucson, Arizona, metalcore rookies the Bled have Found in the Flood set for a late summer/ early fall release through Vagrant. Tracks will include "Gutter Shark," "Listen for the Flood," "Daylight Bombings" and "I Don't Keep With Liars Anymore." ... Canadian muscleman Thor will release his seventh studio album, Thor Against the World, July 12. Recorded in Los Angeles in April and May 2004, the album includes "Megaton Man," "Creature Feature" and "Serpent's Kiss." Before testing his mettle with heavy metal, Thor was a professional bodybuilder and was elected both Mr. Canada and Mr. U.S.A. ... Seattle power-metal band Nevermore will release their seventh album, This Godless Endeavor, July 26. Produced by Andy Sneap (Arch Enemy, Opeth), the LP features the recording debut of Steve Smyth, who previously acted as the group's second guitarist in concert and was a member of Testament before that. Nevermore will travel this summer as part of Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine's Gigantour, which will also feature Megadeth, Dream Theater, Fear Factory and Dillinger Escape Plan. ...

English power-prog gods Biomechanical will release their second disc, The Empires of the Worlds, June 28. Tracks include "Enemy Within," "Assaulter" and the four-part epic "Absolution." ... New Jersey metalcore outfit SoIHadtoShootHim have entered Atomic Studios in Brooklyn to work on their first record, Alpha Males and Popular Girls, due November 22. ... Maryland's Recourse will issue their first disc, Weakening the Structure, on July 12. The album was produced by Dying Fetus singer/guitarist John Gallagher. ... Denver's Fear Before the March of Flames have joined the Sounds of the Underground tour, which launches June 25 in Lowell, Massachusetts. ... Sydney, Australia, metal band Daysend will launch their first U.S. tour May 12 in Pomona, California, and wind down June 25 in Detroit. All dates also feature Otep, Gizmachi and Devilinside. ...

A DVD of 2004's Metalmania festival, one of the biggest headbanging soirees in Eastern Europe, will be released June 21. The disc includes performances by Soulfly, Moonspell, Tiamat, the Michael Schenker Group, Enslaved and Krisiun. ... Some Girls, a San Diego underground ensemble featuring members of the Locust, the Plot to Blow up the Eiffel Tower, Give up the Ghost and Unbroken, have signed to Epitaph. The band will release an LP this fall. ... Ex-Kyuss bassist Scott Reeder has joined Butcher. The group's debut, Auricle, comes out in June. Reeder also recently finished producing an album by the Whores of Tijuana. ... Floridian hardcore crew Remembering Never's been busy writing God Save Us, which will be released early next year through Carl Severson's Ferret Records. ... Finnish thrashers Am I Blood have signed with A1 Metal LTD. The band just put the finishing touches on its long-awaited new disc, The Truth Inside the Dying Sun, slated for a late summer release. ...