The drought is over. After years in the wilderness, homegrown heavy metal has finally returned. No longer the domain solely of our European forefathers, metal pure in both delivery and creativity is gaining momentum at breakneck speed in the Western Hemisphere. Leading the charge domestically are Ohio’s sons of Midwestern darkness SKELETONWITCH, who have emerged as forerunners of this new American sound. The ‘WITCH’s mighty, sonic fortress is an amalgamation of classic Bay Area thrash, Scandinavian death/black metal and NWOBHM. Upping the ante from their Prosthetic debut, Beyond the Permafrost, these five gnarly longhairs show no mercy and take no prisoners on their newest long-player, Breathing the Fire, which debuted at #151 on the Billboard Top 200 charts.
To lay this nasty, raging slab to tape, SKELETONWITCH traveled to Seattle and hooked up with legendary producer Jack Endino (Nirvana, Soundgarden, High On Fire). To make things extra filthy, the ‘WITCH enlisted Scott Hull of grind kings Pig Destroyer to handle the mastering duties. Tracks like “Crushed Beyond Dust” and the leveling album-opener “Submit to the Suffering” are sure to whip even the most jaded metal fan into a psychotic frenzy.
“Breathing the Fire is a burning, fucking beast!” says guitarist Scott Hedrick. “The drums are monstrous; Chance’s sickening vocals sound inhuman and somehow retain amazing clarity; Evan’s bass sounds like Steve Harris, Lemmy and D.D. Verni in a blender; and the guitars sound like jousting chainsaws. A lot of people said that on Beyond the Permafrost, we married black and thrash metal. With Breathing the Fire, they banged and had a kid – and that baby’s a burner!”
SKELETONWITCH’s vicious live show and fierce blue-collar ethic have helped to establish the band as torchbearers of today’s metal scene. They were handpicked by Glenn Danzig for his 2008 Blackest of the Black tour, and have since logged countless miles on the road crisscrossing the nation with the likes of Municipal Waste, Job For A Cowboy, Amon Amarth, Dimmu Borgir, 1349 and Cannibal Corpse. In the fall of 2010, they hit the road with Children of Bodom 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 and Ozzfest.
“White van, black t-shirt: that’s been my life since we started SKELETONWITCH,” adds Hedrick. “We love and live for the road. We’ll play the enormo-dome or we’ll play in your fucking closet – we don’t care as long as we get to play. Being out there on the road and mixing it up with all the metalheads is what it’s all about. We’re all one and the same, and if we weren’t fortunate enough to be on the stage, we’d be right in front of it banging our heads.”
SKELETONWITCH formed in 2003 and self-released their debut full-length, At One With the Shadows, in 2004. 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 ten of the CMJ Loud Rock Chart.
SKELETONWITCH brings together the old and sacred elements of true heavy metal, melts them down, and forges them into a brand new monolith of riffage. 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!