Concert Review: Skeletonwitch at the Webster Theater in Hartford, CT
Reviewed by: Brian Cross
The heat was brutal when Skeletonwitch came calling, but it didn’t stop them or any of their supporting acts from performing before a fierce crowd of headbangers.
First up was a quartet of local bands. Leading the charge was Maniac, a surprising thrash band. I say “surprising” because the bandmembers were all quite young; you don’t see many teenaged bands into old-school metal. They even had a Dave Mustaine clone leading the band; leave your jokes at the door, though, because Maniac had the chops to back it up. These guys belonged in the Bay Area circa 1987!
Following the thrash attack was Carnage, a crossover act. They had a decent sound, but parts of their songs sounded rather disjointed, especially in the leads. While Carnage did perform a solid a cover of the classic S.O.D. song “United Forces,” their set still suffered from a lack of cohesion. One of their guitarists even looked bored.
If the previous act stuttered a bit, InDamnum remedied the situation with some high-energy metal and deathcore. These guys made it their mission to stir up the pit with constant shout-outs to the audience. Pummeling bass and vocals did the trick, getting the crowd even more riled up.
The last of the local openers was Oath of Insanity, another great thrash band. Between the killer riffs and brutal drum fills, the band pulled even more people towards the stage from the noticeably cooler bar area. Connecticut isn’t known for its thrash scene, but if there’s one brewing due to new bands like Maniac and Oath of Insanity, I’m all for it.
The penultimate act was Barn Burner, a Canadian hard rock and metal four-piece whose name is about as accurate as you can get. They’re the very definition of a louder-than-life rock band, and I’m sure their guitar-driven performance earned them many new fans in spite of the sweltering heat.
The temperature and humidity were sky high when Skeletonwitch took to the stage, and it only got hotter as the extreme metallers from Ohio plowed through their set. The venue practically became a swimming pool as the band shredded through songs like “Reduced to the Failure of Prayer,” “Crushed Beyond Dust,” and “Submit to the Suffering.” Their set list spanned all three of their albums on Prosthetic Records, with plenty of attention paid to their latest effort Forever Abomination. Skeletonwitch is to be commended for pressing on as the heat soared; the bandmembers were shedding sweat more than the crowd due to the intensity of their playing and the lights in their faces, but vocalist Chance Garnette proclaimed that if the fans were going to stick around, then so would Skeletonwitch. The facemelting heat nonwithstanding, the metalheads in attendance moshed, dove off the stage, and roared their heads off to Skeletonwitch’s blistering set.
Everyone left the venue absolutely drenched by the time to show drew to a close, but it was absolutely worth the discomfort. Skeletonwitch will be back in late September when they headline their ‘US Abomination Tour’ at Cherry Street Station with Havok and friends in tow, so don’t miss it. Weather be damned!