Thrash’n’Churn Butter: Skeletonwitch and company at the Waterfront Tavern

I greatly enjoy what I call “adventure weekends”, which are as it sounds: New places are gone to, awesome bands are seen, troubles are overcome. All in all, adventure weekends are damn great. This one, however, was halted by some schmuck that decided to inconvenience several hundred people by allowing himself to be hit by the Worcester train. This may, however, be a mixed blessing, as being stuck in Worcester with nothing to do for a few hours is infinitely worse than being stuck in Boston, where there are options other than heroin. The main difficulty was not in being stuck on a train for a few hours as the police bumbled around, not just hosing the train down and continuing as usual (surprise, it was suicide) but that some snotty kid decided that complaining the whole time was the right thing to do. This is why we should advocate the termination of all current pregnancies, so I can personally be less annoyed.

Before I further derail myself, the weekend was a success, as I got to see a bunch of bands I missed, and a late night excursion to Denny’s, as per the rules of rollin’ with Big Papa Fudge. The Waterfront Tavern is a decrepit little structure that stands across from a small car dealership and a liquor store, so obviously the best place for long haired degenerates to come out and party. Opening up the festivities were Forest Of Remorse, who despite their energetic stage presence, was greeted with a cardboard cutout instead of a crowd.

Forest play a mix of different types of Death Metal, mostly borrowing from Slam but elements of Technical and straight up Brutal appear as well, with an odd jazz fusion bit popping up at one point, so definitely not music to quietly spectate to. In lieu of some ECW style brawling, there was polite applause, so at least people seemed to enjoy it, but Big Papa’s enthusiasm about vagina milkshakes seemed tragically one-sided. Blame it on the alcohol. Forest are an ambitious group, as well as buddies of mine, so I hope to see much more blood at future outings.

Under A Serpent Sun was an ununspired Meh-loDeath band that I believe would make a better Exivious clone with a name not ripped off from At The Gates, so nothing worth mentioning except that the vocalist is ruining a perfectly average band. Lich King blew these guys out of the water even if they weren’t interested in blowing.

If you’re one to go by first impressions, you wouldn’t know Lich King were a Thrash Metal band (and a damn good one, might I add) just by looking at them. Throw a bunch of random average looking Metalheads together, give them instruments, and you might get Lich King, who play goofy 80’s style Thrash, lo-fi production and all, boasting three full-length albums and a fourth to come. All of this adds up to a fun live set, no? Indeed, but only if the crowd participates.

The King suffered not only from Dead Crowd Syndrome, but Pitifully Small Crowd Syndrome as well, in a more concentraded measure than even Forest. Despite the efforts of myself, a platinum blonde neo-thrasher who was shaking with excitement the entire time, Big Papa Fudge, and a “Spaniard”, the temperature remained sadly low for the King. They were visibly disheartened by the low turnout and lack of audience hijinks, but still went through their set like pros.

Following the majesty of Thrash revival was One Ton Tommy Gun, a hardcore act that’s somewhere between the brainless pseudo-slam chugging you’ll find on the “bro” spectrum, as well as the melody you find in the introspective spheres. I didn’t know what to make of it, but all I can be certain of is that I didn’t really hate it, and was just (im)patiently awaiting Acaro, the superheroes of modern Metalcore.

Acaro’s live show is a work of art unto itself, just seeing how they blend the face-melting technical prowess of Metal with the aggression and uplifting energy of Hardcore.

As more people trickled in, Acaro bore witness to the first real crowd, in the truest sense of the word, of the show, and thus were blessed with a good amount of singing along, headbanging, etc. Unfortunately, the power of their set was curtailed by their blowing out a guitar and not being able to fix it in time, so they only got to play three songs. The power of rock contained in Forever Is Temporary would just have made the night too perfect, or so say the Rock Gods. With Early Graves taking the stage next, however, it’s best that I saved my energy.

Even after the devastating loss of their original frontman, Makh Daniels, several years ago, this did nothing to stop them from honing their craft, already, in my opinion, perfected on We: The Guillotine and Goner. I had the pleasure of seeing them on tour with The Funeral Pyre during that fateful year, but at the time I didn’t fully appreciate the intensity that I was seeing. Now with John of The Funeral Pyre taking the reins and conducting this sinful orchestra, they’re up and running, set to release Pure Hell (pardon the incredibly lame pun) upon the world in the form of Red Horse.

Equipped with knowledge of the band’s style and more importantly, how they sound, I was ready this time around, and had an uninitiated person been viewing my conduct, they’d think I was gripped by some form of hysteric mania. One cannot listen to Early Graves and not feel an urge to act on their innate misanthropic tendencies. I swear that’s the hardest I’ve gone for a band in weeks, if not months, unless I’m missing something major. I’m still a bit sore to this day, so that’s a sign I enjoyed myself.

Havok, with its militant stance against karate dancing, is Thrash by numbers, where they don’t do anything wrong, but don’t really bring anything worthwhile and attention-grabbing to the table. You don’t want to be the guy that brings more stuffing than needed to Thanksgiving dinners, right? Well, if you’re gonna be a goofy Thrash band, don’t sound exactly like Gama Bomb, but lazy. Up to deliver us from that foolishness was Skeletonwitch, bringing Black Thrash to the masses of evil people worldwide.

Collage by Lauren Gowdy. May she burn in heck.

Ah, the reportedly almighty Skeletonwitch, who I’ve seen thrice thus far, and have enjoyed greatly every time. Though the audience mysteriously thinned out, there was a lot more mayhem per song than earlier bands, with the probable exception of Early Graves, but that was mainly my fault.

If you keep a close eye on me, which you should, you’ll know that I don’t make statements like this often anymore, as I have renounced the term “Metalhead”, but if there were a Rock’o’Meter in the venue during Skeletonwitch’s unholy ministrations, a bony hand would be pointing at 666 the whole time. Taking their cues from NWOBHM speeds and harmony, new-school Thrash energy, and the blasphemous aesthetics of Black Metal, they form the quintessential Metal band that one is hard pressed to find anything wrong with. They also draw crowds that like to run in circles, so that’s always a big plus. Raise your invisible oranges and make your scariest face when Skeletonwitch is around, because otherwise you’ll look like you’re not enjoying it, or something.

If Skeletonwitch ever roll up to your town, don’t miss them. Drink blood, fuck skulls, worship Satan, smoke weed. It’s a fun time, you won’t regret it.


One response to “Thrash’n’Churn Butter: Skeletonwitch and company at the Waterfront Tavern

  1. The Waterfront sucks for shows more often than not. Bad sound, terrible sound guy, the booking is done by monkeys who don’t understand how to put together a show intelligently. My suggestion is to never go there. Plenty of better venues in the area.

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