Music Reviews — 21 April 2012
Skeletonwitch at Irving Plaza: A Concert Review

Irving Plaza, New York, NY
April 19th, 2012

Call them death or call them thrash. Just never call Ohio’s, Skeletonwitch light. Since 2003 these mid-western metalers have been showing the rock music scene what they are made of. The band is a collection of hardcore road dogs. Just take a look at their touring schedule and it’s simple to see that they are on the road more days than at home. And with the release of 2011′s much praised ‘Forever Abomination’ Skeletonwitch is converting fans and dominating stages wordwide. LocalBozo was lucky to have caught the band at New York City’s Irving Plaza. From start to finish their set was a lesson in everything that is good and pure about modern metal.

Besides the banner stating their name, when Skeletonwitch hits the stage the audience knows it. Lead singer Chance Garnette made his presence felt as soon as the lights dimmed to darkness. And from that point on no one’s face was safe from being melted. His unique growl combined with the devastating shredding of Nate Garnette and Scott Hedrick on dueling guitars, produced a headbanging sound so satisfying you’d wish that it could be bottled. While these guys may lean to the ‘death’ side of the genre, they are first and foremost about rocking the crowd hard without any pretension. Their entire set was filled with beer drinking and tons of love thrown to the fans donning their logo-laden shirts.

Speaking of their set, let’s just say it was relentless. Sure, they only had time to play about nine songs, but each of them packed a major punch. As a longtime Skeletonwitch fan, their entire song catalog is excellent, but as for their Irving Plaza gig, we definitely had our favorites. First off, ‘Submit To The Suffering,’ which appeared early in the set, quickly grabbed the crowd by their throats and featured Garnette bounding across the stage belting out each verse with brute force. He even took the time to step to the edge and sing directly to the fans who reciprocated the vocalist’s love right back. ‘Crushed Beyond Dust’ produced one of the biggest mosh pits of the evening. The pit was an example in everything good about moshing, with none of the bullshit karate people are doing nowadays.

Any fan of metal simply needs to check out a Skeletonwitch album and any of their three releases will reinforce a need to see them live. The Irving Plaza show proved this being insanely satisfying in all its headbanging glory. But the next time they come back to town, a two hour blistering set is in order and I believe everyone in attendance on this night would agree to that.

- Jay Rubin

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