The Infernal Resurrection: Skeletonwitch live in Kansas City, MO 10/19/16

skeletonwitch 1

In 2014, Skeletonwitch was poised to take over the world. A year into support of their fifth album Serpents Unleashed and fresh off the heels of supporting heavy metal giants Amon Amarth and numerous headlining tours in Europe and at home in America, the blackened thrash metal group from Ohio seemed unstoppable. Then, due to personal reasons, vocalist Chance Garnette left the band. Skeletonwitch seemed to enter a state of limbo – would they continue on? Who could replace one of the most energetic and unforgettable frontmen in American extreme metal at the time? Though they announced a temprorary replacement for a European tour, the future of the band seemed uncertain. That all changed earlier this year when it was announced that current Wolvhammer vocalist Adam Clemans was the new Skeletonwitch shrieker. Although a completely different beast from the original vocalist, Clemans added an air of professionalism to the while elevating their already staggeringly high-caliber live show. The Riot Room was blessed with their presence on Wednesday night and a wild and raucous crowd let the band know just how much they want Skeletonwitch back on top of the metal world once again.

With a set that covered every studio album and their recently released EP, The Apothic Gloom, there was something for longtime fans as well as newer fans and the group showcased just how they’ve evolved over the years. Set opener Beneath Dead Leaves wasted no time getting into the blast beats and black metal guitar riffing and showcased Cleman’s impressive vocal stylings, but it also reiterated how effortlessly Skeletonwitch can transition between more subdued riffing in a black metal style to galloping thrash metal guitar playing and making them work together. Their unique songwriting really shone through in gems like 2009′s Crushed Beyond Dust whose drum syncopation can’t help but elicit furious headbanging, and This Horrifying Force (The Desire To Kill) which goes from mid-paced melodic metal to breakneck speed metal and back with ease.

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It may not be the most popular opinion, but Skeletonwitch’s strength comes from their ability to create memorable riffs. In an ever-increasingly easy world to write by-the-books thrash numbers, Skeletonwitch blends black metal and a smattering of other genres to create those old-school sounding songs that get stuck in your head – Cleaver of Souls even had some of the best bass playing of the night to accentuate the riffing. Although the crowd was moshing and singing along throughout the entire set, it was a treat to hear two tracks from the groups first album, Upon Wings of Black and the title track Beyond the Permafrost. Upon its release in 2007, it was easy to see that Skeletonwitch was something special. The group must have been impressed with the energy our Kansas City metal crowd put out, since they performed a two-song unplanned encore – 2013′s Unending, Everliving and a particularly vicious performance of Submit to the Suffering that only left the rabid crowd wanting more. A truly tremendous performance from a group ready to climb the metal mountain once again.

iron reagan 3

Leading the pack of truly terrific bands opening the show was Richmond’s crossover maniacs Iron Reagan. Consisting of former and ex-members of metal stalwarts like Municipal Waste, Darkest Hour and Cannabis Corpse, Iron Reagan brought the glory days of 80s crossover thrash back to the masses. With the most violent pits of the night and almost everyone singing along with vocalist Tony Foresta, it conjured up visions of Cro-Mags playing CBGB’s – but it’s just another show for Iron Reagan. Whether it’s the 7-second Your Kid’s An Asshole or their self-proclaimed anthem Miserable Failure, there wasn’t one second of downtime during their set. It was complete chaos the whole time and that’s exactly where Iron Reagan shines the brightest.

Oathbreaker 1

With the Kansas City show being their first show of the tour, Belgian post-hardcore/post-black metal group Oathbreaker played quite possibly the loudest show in the Riot Room’s existence. Commanding a haunting aura through stage presence and performance, vocalist Caro Tanghe – whose face remained mostly obscured from hair through the set – belted out hauntingly beautiful melodies only to punctuate them with some of the most tortured, terrifying black metal vocals I’ve ever heard. Combined with a wall of noise black metal attack with subtle undertones of melody and post-rock, it’s easy to see why Oathbreaker has been extremely well-received in their 8 years of existence. A must-see for anyone that considers themselves a fan of extreme music of any genre.

Homewrecker 2

Combine 80′s Slayer with 80′s Napalm Death and what do you get? Why, Ohio’s Homewrecker of course! Possibly the most straight-forward band of the night but one of the most impressive, Homewrecker combined hardcore’s breakdowns with old-school death metal’s riffing and speed that conjured images of the best of the genre – it may be a reason why there were so many Power Trip shirts in the audience that night. Homewrecker may have just made a multitude of Kansas City fans after their blistering performance Wednesday night – they certainly won this writer over.

The Uncouth 1

And what better way to start the night off with some good ol’ blue-collar old-school punk from Kansas City’s own The Uncouth? Although they were probably playing to a crowd that would be widely unfamiliar with them (and maybe this type of punk rock at large), they easily won everyone over minutes into their set with their gang-style vocals and punk-as-hell (sorry, no other way to put it) songwriting which included ballads romancing the Kansas City music scene and sticking it to the man. In a way, it was a perfect way to welcome the more extreme style bands to the stage – and The Uncouth are a prime example of why Kansas City has one of the best local scenes in the country.

Skeletonwitch:

  1. Beneath Dead Leaves
  2. Burned From Bone
  3. Crushed Beyond Dust
  4. Black Waters
  5. Serpents Unleashed
  6. Beyond the Permafrost
  7. Gorge Upon My Soul
  8. This Evil Embrace
  9. Well of Despair
  10. Upon Wings of Black
  11. Choke Upon Betrayal
  12. Cleaver of Souls
  13. The Apothic Gloom
  14. From a Cloudless Sky
  15. I Am of Death (Hell Has Arrived)
  16. This Horrifying Force (The Desire To Kill)
  17. Red Death, White Light
  18. Unending, Everliving
  19. Submit to the Suffering

Iron Reagan:

  1. Paycheck
  2. Obsolete Man
  3. Government Surveillance
  4. Tyranny of Will
  5. I Won’t Go
  6. In Greed We Trust
  7. Eat Shit and Live
  8. Insanity Plea(se)?
  9. Spoiled Identty
  10. Cycle of Violence
  11. Miserable Failure
  12. We’ll Give It To You (Gang Green cover)
  13. I Ripped That Testament a New Asshole
  14. Mini Lights
  15. Close to Toast
  16. Your Kid’s an Asshole
  17. Broken Bottles
  18. Snake Chopper
  19. A Skull Full of Maggots (Cannibal Corpse cover)
  20. Eyeball Gore

Oathbreaker:

  1. 10:56
  2. Second Son of R.
  3. Needles in Your Skin
  4. Being Able to Feel Nothing
  5. No Rest for the Weary
  6. Glimpse of the Unseen

Homewrecker:

  1. Prophet Liar
  2. Forced Under
  3. Born to Suffer
  4. Beaten Freedom
  5. Chained Hanging Victim
  6. Worms & Dirt
  7. Baseborn
  8. Punish the Ignorance
  9. Path of Terror

About Jackson May

Read more from Jackson at Mandatory Metallica and follow him on Twitter at @Mankvill.

View all articles by Jackson May

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