Last month sources close to Unearth confirmed that the New England metallers would be one of the rotating co-headliners on the second stage at this summer's Ozzfest. But guitarist Ken Susi can't say for sure what his band's going to be doing ("I've heard rumors we may be attending, and it would be great if we're lucky enough to do it," he said). What Susi does know is that next week Unearth will board a plane bound for Seattle, where they'll spend the next two months recording their forthcoming, yet-untitled LP — which hits stores August 8.

Unearth chose producer Terry Date (Pantera, Deftones) to helm the project — a decision made over some of Susi's mother's home cooking.

"We had other producers in mind, and we'd locked in a producer who's an amazing talent and shall remain nameless," Susi explained. "But Terry stepped in at the right time and had the right things to tell us. He had dinner over my family's house, and we just sat around talking about music and life. He just seemed like he's laid-back enough to help us find what it is inside that needs to come out on tape, but he also has the type of stern attitude where he'll tell you if something's wrong."

Unearth have written 10 songs for the album and have assigned working titles — like "Circus Metal" and "Centrifigal Fist" — to most of them. Susi hopes to record at least 12 tracks in all and thinks, based on some of the other material the band's come up with, that shouldn't be too daunting a task.

When Unearth started writing the follow-up to 2004's The Oncoming Storm, "we just wanted to simplify a little bit," Susi said. "We wanted to do what we normally do, as far as writing intricate riffs and really hard things to play — things that come together really well. But we wanted to strip everything down and have a more organic record — just a more natural feeling, with fewer triggers and more power and realness. We've always been a live band more than a recorded band, and I think we need to start transporting what we do live onto record."

While in Seattle, Susi said the band plans to record a cover of "It's Clobberin' Time," which will appear on an upcoming tribute to New York hardcore legends Sick of It All. And for his part, Susi hopes he can continue racking up more producer credits of his own: He's twiddled the knobs for Burn in Silence and worked with Ligeia on that band's sophomore album, Your Ghost Is a Gift. But first things first — Unearth need to take care of their own opus before Susi can line up any side gigs.

"I'm a little nervous, man," he said about Unearth's upcoming disc. "It's like getting a science project together. You want do what you can to get an A. We're on our way, though — the general vibe of the band's pretty positive. I just hope [the record] doesn't suck."

The rest of the week's metal news:

Monster Magnet frontman Dave Wyndorf was hospitalized on February 27 following a drug overdose. Wyndorf, who has struggled with drugs in the past, but was clean for years, is expected to make a full recovery. "The battle with one's inner demons is the most personal fight any of us can undertake," read a statement from the band's management. "Wyndorf suffered a setback in his own fight. ... We ask that all those he has encountered over the years or simply [those] affected by his music take a moment to think good thoughts of and for him." Following the incident, Monster Magnet canceled their European tour. The band had been working on the follow-up to 2004's Monolithic Baby! at Paramount and Sound City studios in Los Angeles. The album, which is being produced by Matt Hyde, is tentatively scheduled for release this summer. ... German death-metal band Necrophagist will play their first-ever U.S. headlining tour starting April 28 at the New England Metal and Hardcore Festival. The tour will run through May 31 in Philadelphia. The band was originally scheduled to play an an additional 10 dates in Canada, but the shows were canceled because of a conflict with the tour producer. Necrophagist will be playing with new guitarist Sami Raatikainen, who replaced Christian Muenzner. The former axeman departed in early February due to "scheduling conflicts." The band's most recent record, Epitaph, came out in 2004. ...

According to a spokesperson for the band, Mastodon's forthcoming Warner Bros. debut, tentatively titled Blood Mountain, should surface in late May/ early June. ... The 10th annual Skylar Neil Memorial Golf Tournament has been set for May 5 at Lost Canyons Golf Club in Simi Valley, California. The event raises money for the Skylar Neil Memorial Fund for Cancer Research, which is named for Mötley Crüe frontman Vince Neil's daughter, who succumbed to stomach cancer in 1995. ...Soulfly's approaching trek with Incite, Manntis and A Perfect Murder will kick off April 21 in Anaheim, California, with dates running through April 30 in Boise, Idaho. ... Chimaira will hit the road with Arch Enemy for a co-headlining tour that launches April 3 in Denver. Hate Eternal have been named as one of the support acts for the trek; Nevermore will also be on the bill for the first half of the tour, with God Forbid confirmed for the remaining gigs. Dates run through April 30 in Washington, D.C. ... Orange Goblin, Scissorfight and the Capricorns will team up for a 12-date run that kicks off May 16 in Boston and wraps May 27 in Rochester, New York. ... Candiria have begun recording tracks for their forthcoming album, which could be released early this summer. According to the band's MySpace page, Candiria have about 16 songs written for the yet-untitled effort. ... Swedish death-metal pugilists Gadget have finished recording their third album The Funeral March, which comes out May 2. The follow-up to 2004's Remote includes "Day of the Vulture," "Let the Mayhem Begin" and "5HN1." ...

Loser, the new band featuring ex-Marilyn Manson guitarist John 5, are helping launch a contest to hook up the hottest chick and the biggest loser. The contest will be announced on LoserNation.com and contestants can sign up starting April 1. Applicants for both categories should submit a photo of themselves along with a brief description of why they should win. The hottest chick will win a trip to Hollywood and a professional photo shoot if she agrees to go on a date with the biggest loser, and both winners will be flown to Hollywood to attend an upcoming Loser concert. Loser's debut album, Just Like You, comes out June 13 and includes "Nobody Knows," "The First Time," "Away" and "Disposable Sunshine." ... German metalcore outfit Caliban have bumped the release date for their next album, The Undying Darkness, to April 4. The disc was recorded with In Flames singer Anders Fridén at Principal Studios near Munster, Germany. Tracks include "I Rape Myself," "It's a Burden to Bleed" and "My Fiction Beauty." ... Burbank, California noise quartet Bleeding Kansas will release their full-length debut, Dead Under Décor, March 21. "Retract the Altitude," "Drowning in a Sea of Sh--" and "Hypocrites, Be Alive Again" are among the 13 track titles. The band's debut EP, 1859, came out last year. ... Glendale, Arizona emo-metal band Desole will release their debut album, A Story to Tell, March 7. Tracks include "Personal," "Gossip" and "Shadow Girl." ... Belgian black-metal veterans Ancient Rites will release their fourth album, Rubicon, May 15. The disc was recorded at Spacelab Studio in Germany and produced by Oliver Phillips and Christian Moos. Tracks include "Crusade," "Mithras" and "Invictus." ...

Threshold of Revelation, the second album by Chicago power-metal band Twelfth Gate, will be released March 20. Songs include "Loyal," "Come Alive," "Critical Elements" and "Inner Core." The latter two can be heard on MySpace.com/TwelfthGate. ... Misery Index have chosen Discordia as the title of their forthcoming Relapse Records debut. The album, scheduled for a May 16 release, will boast 10 new tunes, including "Breathing Pestilence," "Sensory Deprivation" and "Dystopian Nightmares." ... I Killed the Prom Queen have recruited Ed Butcher as their new singer. He replaces Michael Crafter, who jumped ship in late January. ... Horse the Band, Gatsby's American Dream, Portugal. The Man and Forgive Durden will tour together this spring. So far just eight dates have been announced: the first will be May 23 in Boise, Idaho; and the final gig is set for June 13 in Huntington, West Virginia. ... One Dead Three Wounded will hit the road March 3 in Bordentown, New Jersey, for a three-week spate of East Coast dates set to conclude March 26 in Nashua, New Hampshire. ... The first California Metal Festival will take place May 13 in San Bernardino, California. Suffocation, Darkest Hour, Necrophagist, Caliban, Cattle Decapitation, From a Second Story Window, Sworn Enemy, Animosity and Job for a Cowboy are among the 20-plus acts that will take the stage. ... The Showdown, August Burns Red and Project 86 will hit the road come April 14 in Modesto, California. Dates thus far run through April 28 in Minneapolis. ... Goatwhore have christened their forthcoming, Erik Rutan-produced LP as A Haunting Curse. The album should be in stores sometime in September and feature "I Avenge Myself," "Alchemy of the Black Sun Cult" and "Bloodletting Upon the Cloven Hoof."