Melodic metal?

Skeletonwitch at Oddbody’s

By Allyson B. Crawford and Gary Spencer

Photo: Skeletonwitch will perform on Nov. 15 at Oddbody’s

Legendary Ohio metallers Skeletonwitch are about to unleash their hardcore fury on Dayton. The band will play Oddbody’s (5418 Burkhardt Road) on Nov. 15. Dayton bands Horlet and Engraved Darkness will open the show. Advance tickets are on sale now for $12. The door price is $15. This is an 18 and over show and doors open at 7 p.m.

Guitarist Scott Hedrick is excited to be back in the Dayton area doing shows. For a band originally from Athens, Ohio, Skeletonwitch has only played Dayton two times before, and those shows were a long time ago.

“The more memorable performance was a show with The Red Chord and Job for a Cowboy at a Christian venue,” Hedrick told the Dayton City Paper. “The owner actually asked us to sign papers saying that we wouldn’t fucking swear on stage. That was interesting.”

Since that “no swearing show,” Skeletonwitch has continued to crisscross the country, logging hundreds of thousands of miles and racking up fans in support of their classic style of true thrash metal.

With a decade of experience on the road and in the studio, the guys in Skeletonwitch know how to handle curve balls. A big one was thrown at the band in October when singer Chance Garnette was forced to leave the band’s current tour for personal matters. The other four members of the band had to make a decision: cancel the shows or carry on and do something nearly unheard of for a metal band – instrumental gigs. Skeletonwitch chose the latter, playing instrumental gigs for their legions of faithful metal heads.

“The response has been overwhelmingly positive,” Hedrick said proudly. “Certainly, some people miss Chance, but it seems everyone is enjoying hearing our music in a different way. In fact, some people are coming to see us specifically because this is something that is unlikely to happen again. In our style of metal, the melodies and catchy parts largely come from the guitars, not the vocals. So those parts really shine. We’ve never been a vocally driven band or had ‘pitchy’ vocals. So playing an instrument set works for us. To be honest, I don’t think a lot of the more vocally driven metal bands could get away with it.”

Hedrick is also quick to add that coming to the Dayton show might be a great opportunity for those who love great, heavy guitar work but can’t get past “metal screaming.”

Perhaps most importantly, Skeletonwitch wants all their fans to know that the band isn’t going anywhere. The five-piece addressed rumors and fan concerns on the Skeletonwitch Facebook page, posting, in part:

“Unfortunately, Chance is unable to finish out the tour as he has some serious personal matters to attend to. We ask you to respect his and our privacy regarding these matters.

This obviously left us with a very difficult decision to make and we’ve decided to finish out the tour as a 4-piece.

We made the assumption that Skeletonwitch fans attending the shows would rather see 4 of us ripping through our songs, than a piece of paper on the door announcing our cancellation. If the first 2 shows were any indication, we assumed correctly.

Please come out to the remaining shows for riffs, beers, and hi-fives with us. At the risk of sounding too sentimental, music is equally important, if not more so, during rough times as well as the good.

Skeletonwitch is not going anywhere. See you soon.”

Being a traditional thrash band means delivering a kick-ass live show, warts and all. While some metal acts like to use click tracks and other “stage voodoo” to enhance live sound, Skeletonwitch collectively feel this stifles the live moment and opportunity to feed off crowd energy.

“In a lot of ways, we’re like a rock and roll band playing metal,” Hedrick explained. “No click track, no drum triggers, tube amps, standard tuning. The live show is more wild, raw and in your face than our records. Our energy ebbs and flows with the crowd’s energy. If you’re married to a click track, you’re playing at the same speed every single night. That’s too rigid. We’re putting on a show, not playing a CD through the PA. So we want it to be a living, breathing thing.”

The band released Serpents Unleashed in 2013. After this current tour ends, writing will begin on the band’s next studio effort. Signed to Prosthetic Records, Skeletonwitch tries to release a new album every other October. Still, no one wants to pin themselves in too much regarding a new album release date. Hendrick added the new album release date will depend on how the writing process proceeds.

The writing and recording process always creates a flurry of activity for any band, and Skeletonwitch is no exception. The band already has a lot planned for 2015, including an appearance at the Roadburn Festival, touring Europe in April, touring America and Canada in the spring and much more.

Skeletonwitch will perform on Saturday, Nov. 15 at Oddbody’s Music Room, 5418 Burkhardt Road in Dayton. Doors open at 7 p.m. for this 18 and over show. Horlet and Engraved Darkness will open. Advance tickets are on sale now for $12. The door price is $15. For more information on Skeletonwitch, please visit skeletonwitch.com.

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About Allyson B. Crawford

View all posts by Allyson B. Crawford
Allyson B. Crawford lives in Kettering and writes about ’80s metal bands on her daily blog bringbackglam.com. You can usually find her at all sorts of metal shows around Ohio and across the country. Allyson can be reached at AllysonCrawford@DaytonCityPaper.com

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