Concert Review: Skeletonwitch at Cherry Street Station in Wallingford, CT
The mighty Skeletonwitch are in the midst of their US Abomination headlining tour, and when they dropped by an unassuming bar by the train tracks, there was much metal to be had.
Kicking off the evening’s festivities were pair of local bands, Shallow Ground and Pristina. The former put their formidable thrash riffs to good use to start the night on a proper loud note. Shallow Ground are skilled veterans of the Connecticut thrash scene, and their love for classic extreme metal from decades past was on full display with their expert musicianship. Pristina’s sludgecore was a sharp contrast to the previous band’s thrash attack, but it was no less heavy. The power trio’s booming sound echoed throughout the bar, pulling people away from the taps and right out to the front of the stage.
(Next up was Early Graves, but I missed their set, as I was interviewing Skeletonwitch vocalist Chance Garnette. Look for that in the next few days!)
Moving on, we had Havok. Hailing from Denver, don’t mistake them for just any old retro thrash act. They’ve got songwriting talent that puts other revival acts to shame, with more than enough aggression and a modern edge to match. Just in case someone in the crowd wasn’t riled up yet, Havok took care of the business with heavy hitters like “D.O.A.” and “Time is Up.”
Skeletonwitch gave no quarter by opening with the blistering “This Horrifying Force (The Desire to Kill).” They didn’t waste any time moving from piece to piece; roaring, churning out blastbeats, and otherwise bending their instruments to their will in the pursuit of extreme metal. Chance did take a brief break once in a while to thank the throng of metalheads for coming out to support the roster of bands on a Monday night, and apologizing in advance for any hangovers or other discomfort the attendees might suffer in the morning. Not that an apology was necessary; any minor pain was a small price to pay in order to see Skeletonwitch roar forth a massive set of death/black/thrash brutality. Cuts from Forever Abomination dominated the set, of course, but Skeletonwitch tore through loads of other material spanning their career. From the twin guitar-shredding “Upon Wings of Black” to the pummeling “Submit to the Suffering” to the simply evil “Of Ash and Torment,” the soul thrashing black sorcery just didn’t stop. The band even pulled out a few tracks never played live before this tour, like the underrated “Bringers of Death” (originally featured on Adult Swim).
After pulverizing our eardrums for over an hour, Skeletonwitch left behind one happy crowd of headbangers. The band crafts extreme metal of the highest order, and Skeletonwitch’s live performance is a requirement for any metal fan. The tour grinds on across the States, so what are you waiting for?
Check out all of Skeletonwitch’s upcoming tour dates here.