"SKELETONWITCH has been called every name in the fucking book: death metal, black metal, thrash metal, speed metal, heavy metal, epic viking blackened thrash 'n' roll, and so on. It seems the only description everyone can agree on is 'metal,'" says guitarist Scott Hedrick, "and that suits us just fine."
Indeed. Like Satan himself set loose in the hallowed halls of heavy metal, these Athens, Ohio-based headbangers careen wildly through the music's history, gleefully destroying and setting flame to every genre along the way, only stopping at the forefront of today's metal scene to look back and watch that fucker burn — and then piss on the flames. No other band has tapped into the fire, fury, and frost of all things metal like SKELETONWITCH.
Their latest slab of savage, molten metal, Forever Abomination (out in October on Prosthetic Records), is a testament to their refined craft, honed through years of hard work and relentless touring. "We live and breathe this shit!" exclaims Hedrick. "We tour as much as humanly possible, and when we're home we write. There's technically no such thing as 'time off' when you're in The 'WITCH".
And it shows. On Forever Abomination, SKELETONWITCH's unique blend of metal was given a kick in the ass by Matt Hyde (Slayer, Hatebreed), who produced and recorded the album. The group's carefully crafted tunes and technical mastery are brought to the forefront by Hyde's monolithic production.
Main songsmith and epic riff-merchant, Nathan Garnette, has carved out the most unique batch of SKELETONWITCH tunes to date, while vocalist Chance Garnette has outdone himself again, sounding like he was barely able to contain his inner demons long enough to track the vocals. Bassist Evan Linger plays like a possessed Steve Harris, if Harris actually knew what the fuck black, death and thrash metal were. Guitarist Scott Hedrick's lead work displays musicality and feeling rarely seen in extreme metal, and all of this is enhanced by SKELETONWITCH's newest addition, drummer Dustin Boltjes (Demiricous).
"Dustin is a fucking animal!" says Hedrick. "He stepped up to the plate and took these songs to another level with his relentless style of playing. He really drives the songs more than anyone we've ever played with."
And at the end of the day, it's all about the songs. Each track on Forever Abomination has its own unique identity and ability to stand alone. "Everyone stepped up on this album and really pushed themselves. We've created something much larger than the sum of its parts. We've never been more proud of our work, and that's how it should be. We wouldn't release Forever Abomination if we didn't feel that way," says Hedrick.
SKELETONWITCH's vicious live show and fierce blue-collar work ethic have garnered them a dedicated fan base, including some of the genre's biggest names such as Rob Halford, Phil Anselmo, Bill Ward and Robb Flynn, to name a few. They were also handpicked by Glenn Danzig for his 2008 Blackest of the Black tour, and have also logged countless miles on the road in the U.S., Canada and Europe with the likes of Amon Amarth, Dimmu Borgir, Cannibal Corpse, Children of Bodom, High on Fire and The Black Dahlia Murder. The band has also made high-profile appearances at several festivals, including the New England Metal and Hardcore Festival in 2008, 2010 and 2011, the 2010 Scion Rock Fest in Atlanta (along with Mastodon, High on Fire, etc.), South By Southwest, Ozzfest, Wacken, Summer Breeze and more.
SKELETONWITCH formed in 2003 and self-released their debut full-length, At One With the Shadows, the following year. In 2006, after several underground tours, the band broke through musically with the self-released EP Worship the Witch (which included a limited, handmade edition by Baroness' John Baizley). Worship the Witch peaked label interest, and in 2007, the band signed with Prosthetic Records and released Beyond the Permafrost, which received numerous accolades in the U.S. and overseas and landed on many year-end "Best Of" lists including Revolver, Decibel, and Pitchfork. The album also cracked the Top 10 of the CMJ Loud Rock Chart. Their follow up full-length Breathing the Fire, released in 2009 and produced by Jack Endino (Soundgarden, Nirvana), landed at #151 on the Billboard Top 200, received glowing reviews throughout the metal community and landed on numerous "Best Of" lists.
If you know what's good for you, you'll come out and bang your head when SKELETONWITCH comes to your town. Worship the 'WITCH!