Metal File: Animosity, Alice Cooper, Withered, Blood Freak, Into The Moat & More In This Week's Hard News

Band scrambling to find venues to play following Hellfest cancellation.

The last thing San Francisco grindcore virtuosos Animosity wanted to hear was that the festival for which they'd been confined to a van for 72 hours — driving in one straight shot, from San Diego to New Jersey — was canceled. But unfortunately, 15 minutes after arriving in the Garden State, frontman Leo Miller said he got the call: No Hellfest this year, kids.

Like many of the 150-plus other bands that'd traveled to Trenton to perform at the three-day metal fest that was canceled Wednesday night (see "Three-Day Metal Hellfest Canceled Over Insurance Snag"), Animosity have spent the last 24 hours scrambling to find a venue — be it a club, skate park or someone's basement — that'll let them gig.

"It's pretty f---ing amazing what people are doing," Miller explained. "They're pretty on top of it, pulling shows together. The thing is, most of these last-minute shows are going to be pretty decent, because all of these headlining-type bands now don't have shows to play." So far Animosity — rounded out by drummer Navene Kopperweis, bassist Dan Kenny, and guitarists Frank Costa and Chase Fraser — have been in touch with Turmoil, Most Precious Blood and Converge to discuss a possible "Let's make the best of it" gig, the singer said.

As of press time, nothing had been firmed up for Animosity, who'll be touring through late September with Ed Gein and Curl Up and Die. Other acts did manage to set up shows of their own — the much-anticipated reunion of Lifetime will happen on Sunday at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, New Jersey, with the Bouncing Souls and the Loved Ones, while God Forbid will perform Friday night (August 19) at the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville with Chimaira, Unearth, Madball, Nora, If Hope Dies, the Banner and Six Feet Under.

As if trying to justify a weekend in Jersey's not enough to worry about, Animosity have the release of their second disc, Empires, coming up this week; the disc hits stores on Tuesday through Black Market and Metal Blade. Miller's anxious for people to hear it.

Shut It Down came out in 2003 through Tribunal, when the bandmembers weren't even old enough to drive, "and it was recorded in 2002, so the music's pretty old and doesn't represent us in the way we want," said Miller who like much of the group, is 18. "It's not how we play anymore. On the other hand, Empires totally does. There's nothing on it that pisses us off when we hear it."

As the band's matured — and for a bunch of dudes who still can't legally drink, that word holds even more true — so too has Animosity's sound. "When we started, we were just trying to emulate the bands we wanted to be like," Miller said. "It was kind of like we were just taking influence from similar bands and trying to be like other bands. Now we're listening to a bunch of weird, progressive music from the '60s and '70s. We're no longer trying to be like all the other bands that we play with."

The rest of the week's metal news:

All three members of reformed West Coast gore-grind band Blood Freak were killed in a car accident last weekend. According to their label, the bandmembers left their native Anaheim, California, the morning of August 12 and were heading for Seattle, where they'd planned to record their second outing, Live Fast, Die Young, & Leave a Flesh-Eating Corpse. Outside Portland, Oregon, the band's van veered off the road. "Exactly what went 'wrong' isn't known yet," reads a statement posted on Razorback Records' Web site. "We hope to have more details soon. What we do know is that [we] mourn the deaths of our fellow gore-hounds in Blood Freak." ... Throughout their 24-year history, Ministry have hardly been the most organized or deadline-oriented band on the planet. That may soon change. Frontman Al Jourgensen has just announced new tour dates nearly nine months in advance. The jaunt with the band's alter ego, Revolting Cocks, and Spyder Baby will begin in San Antonio on May 6 and run through June 25 in Cleveland. Ministry's remix album, Rantology: The Definitive Collection Celebrating 25 Years of Service, which features the new song "The Great Satan," comes out September 27. ...

Alice Cooper will launch a North American tour with Cheap Trick on August 20 in Cincinnati, with dates running through September 16 in Los Angeles. Cooper will then play 15 more solo dates, ending October 29 in Tacoma, Washington, before heading to England. Cooper's new album, Dirty Diamonds, was released August 2. ... "Waking Up Dead," a film about the seedy underworld of '80s metal as seen through the eyes of Skid Row and Saigon Kick member Phil Varone, will debut August 26 in New York. The unflinching documentary was directed by Emmy Award-winning journalist Fabio Jafet and was filmed over a four-year period. ... The biggest-ever band of Antarctican space warriors, Gwar, will release a quadruple-DVD box set on October 18. The package will feature videos for "Rendezvous With Ragnaro," "It's Sleazy," "Gwar: Tour de Scum" and "Dawn of the Day" and more. ... Atlanta death-metal band Withered will release their first disc, Memento Mori, on September 20. The band will launch a U.S. tour on August 27 in Washington, D.C. ...

Every Time I Die have scheduled dates with High on Fire, the Red Chord, the Chariot and the Esoteric from September 7 in Poughkeepsie, New York, through October 24 in State College, Pennsylvania. Every Time I Die's fourth album, Gutter Phenomenon, comes out August 23. ... Vancouver punk outfit Black Halos will launch a North American tour on August 25 in Portland, Oregon. Dates run through October 9 in San Bernardino, California. The band will be touring to support its third album, Alive Without Control, which came out June 28. ... Into the Moat were forced to cancel six shows after their guitarist, Robert Shaffer, quit the band in the middle of their tour with Soilent Green. It wasn't the only recent shake-up for the band; bassist Joshua Thiel quit due to always ambiguous "medical reasons" on the first date of the tour, leaving the group to continue as a four-piece. ... Sludge metallers Brand New Sin have been tapped to open up the upcoming Black Label Society tour, which kicks off October 14 in St. Petersburg, Florida. The five-week trek, which follows the band's brief September run with Life of Agony, wraps November 20 at the Fillmore in San Francisco.