Thursday night was a landmark night for me: It was my first time seeing one of my favorite bands on the planet Skeletonwitch headline! As I expected, the evening didn't disappoint in the slightest.
I got to Great Scott a little after 9 and local opener Razormaze had already started playing. This was my first time at Great Scott and the venue really struck me immediately. It's a bar that's about the size of a large classroom and it had surprisingly good sound for such a small venue. Anyways I've heard a lot of good things about Razormaze, but they didn't really impress me. They definitely had some good riffs here and there, but the vocals were pretty iffy and their style of thrash was too stagnant for my liking. Not bad, but I probably won't be checking them out any further.
Early Graves was on next. I knew pretty much nothing about them besides that their old vocalist died in a van accident last year. I believe this was their first tour (or at least one of the first) without him and they were definitely happy to be back on stage after that tragedy. Their set was pretty good. They played a really sludgey, noisy brand of hardcore that vaguely reminded me of Gaza (who I'm a big fan of). They had a lot of energy (save for their guitarist who looked miserable and just stood in place the whole time) and got some pretty good pits/circle pits going. (I actually got slammed into the side of the soundboard near the end of their set). Solid performance and I will probably check out their stuff further.
Havok was up next. They were the only one of the openers that I was a fan of going into the show and I was excited to get to see them for the first time. They once again proved my theory on how good thrash sounds live. They ripped through a half-hour set with very little time to breathe or do pretty much anything besides headbang and/or mosh. "Covering Fire" was a badass opener that sent the whole place into a fucking frenzy and "Time is Up" closed out the set on a perfect note. Their vocalist said Boston is one of their favorite places to play and might be their favorite place on the East Coast and judging by the crowd reaction, I completely understand why he said that. The only letdown was the length of their set. It went by way too fast and I wish they got to play a few more songs. Really fun set and I would really like to see them again in the future.
The moment for Skeletonwitch had finally come. This marked my fifth time seeing them, but it was my first time seeing them headline. As usual they tore shit up and finally seeing them headline made it that much more special. Their one-hour set flew by because of their chaotic stage presence, tendency to not talk too much between songs (though when Chance Garnette talks, he is really god damn funny), and the almost unfathomable amount of fun their performances are. There are few live bands that are as consistent from a performance aspect or as exciting to watch as Skeletonwitch. These guys are just amazingly gifted performers. The headlining-length set also made for an absolutely amazing setlist containing a pretty even mix between old and new material as well as the chance to hear quite a few songs I've never heard them play the previous four times I've seen them. "Baptized in Flames", "Cleaver of Souls", and especially "Soul Thrashing Black Sorcery" were all amazing surprises and I was stoked I finally got to hear those songs live (I almost shit myself when they played "Soul Thrashing Sorcery"). "Upon Wings of Black", "Of Ash and Torment", "This Horrifying Force" ( worked great as an opener), and of course, traditional set closer "Within My Blood" were the other highlights of the set for me. Skeletonwitch absolutely slayed once again and I will continue to see them as much as I possibly can. Once again it was awesome meeting you energymetal and I can't thank you enough for the ride home.
Early Graves 7/10