Ghost B.C. with Skeletonwitch
Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY
July 28, 2013
Concert Review: Skeletonwitch at Music Hall of Williamsburg
To deny the power of heavy metal is to make a fatal error in it’s vital place in the hallowed halls of rock n’ roll history. No where was this more apparent then on a rainy Sunday night in Williamsburg, Brooklyn when infamous doom-metal band Ghost B.C. and thrashers’ Skeletonwitch held court over the sold out Music Hall of Williamsburg. Never one to miss such an impressive double billing, our outlet was elbow to elbow with diehard fans of both incredible bands for an unforgettable evening of unabashed heaviness. Unless of course, we get lobotomized.
A few ticks after 9pm, Athens, Ohio’s Skeletonwitch humbly took to the stage to much fanfare from both longtime fans and first timers alike. With Tecate beer in one hand and his trademarked spike covered wristband on the other, lead singer Chance Garnette grabbed the microphone, launching into a set that would peel the paint off the walls with it’s sheer intensity. “Beyond the Permafrost” and “Fire from the Sky” set the pace to prove this wasn’t a typical opening act providing filler before the headliner would go on. The seemingly endless barrage of killer thrash licks kept the headbangers upfront locked in with laser-like focus, and those in the mosh pit primed to circle up and go to war. The band’s unprecedented hour long set was a non-stop party that brilliantly paved the way for our unearthly headliners.
While Garnette provided his sinister growl, guitarists Nate Garnette and Chad Hedrick shredded through Skeletonwitch mainstays like “Repulsive Salvation,” “Baptized in Flames” and “Soul Thrashing Black Sorcery” to the utter amazement of those who were checking out the band for the very first time. When there happened to be a rare break in the set Skeletonwitch ‘virgins’ commented boldly on how the band reminded them of everything they have ever loved about stripped down thrash metal. Needless to say, several t-shirts were purchased from the merchandise booth by these newly minted fans. The gifts continued deep into the set as the band busted out a few choice tracks from their soon to be released new album, proving Skeletonwitch has a gigantic cache of fresh ideas to entice our eardrums with in the months to come.
Concert Review: Ghost B.C. at Music Hall of Williamsburg
As the minutes ticked away, it was truly the witching hour when infamous Swedish doom metal band Ghost B.C. took the stage behind thick fog and satanic mystery. The set piece background of a haunted European Church provided a perfect backdrop for the “Nameless Ghouls” to take the stage cloaked in black hooded robes. Moments later an eerie blue glow filled the entrance doorway, and from there Ghost B.C. frontman Papa Emeritus II appeared on the stage. The intensity of the completely sold out crowd welcoming him to the stage was near deafening with its joyous screams. The band immediately satiated a hungry audience launching into a set chock-full of new tracks and new classics from their debut album. The title track “Infestissummam” from the band’s second album set the pace for a flawless evening of doom metal celebration while the tight performance of “Per Aspera ad Inferi” proved the band showed no signs of a sophomore jinx.
From that point on it was a virtual wish list of Ghost B.C. favorites. “Con Clavi Con Dio,” “Prime Mover” and “Elizabeth” followed quickly, giving us a huge chunk of their debut album “Opus Eponymous” translated expertly to the stage like we were hearing an amplified version of the record. During their set, “Papa” chose several moments to banter with the crowd, making us chuckle uncomfortably but entertaining all the same. But when it was time to rip through their impressive catalog of tracks, the massive audience sang along in near flawless unison. Ghost B.C.’s onstage presence transcends their now infamous stage persona, truly making them a fully well rounded band and far from a gimmick. “The Namesless Ghouls” band members are a perfect example of this. Each member helps mold a sound reminiscent of everything we love about doom metal and acts like Blue Oyster Cult, but making it their own and highly original.
As the hours zipped by, the assault of deliciously occult tunes continued. “Secular Haze” and the excellent new single “Year Zero” kept the train of killer tracks from the second album rolling strong. These tunes fit seamlessly into the band’s catalog without one clunker amongst them. Not only do they elevate the band to have lengthier sets, but they mint Ghost B.C. as a fully fleshed out faction to be reckoned with. As the main set drew to a close, Papa and the Ghouls busted out a pulse-pounding version of “Ritual” that reminded me why I got into this band in the first place. After thirteen (coincidence, we think not) intensely satisfying songs, it was time for the band to exit the stage for a few moments before gearing up to leave us on a very high note with an encore that included “Ghuleh/Zombie Queen” and the demonically awesome closer, “Monstrance Clock.” It may have been a rainy night in Brooklyn, but inside the Music Hall of Williamsburg the forces of metal kept us warm and dry with power of the dark side.
- Jay Rubin