Skeletonwitch – Well Of Despair

Skeletonwitch Well Of Despair abum cover ghostcultmag

Fandom is a curious thing. People feel very intense about about a band and sometimes fret when there is a change. Bands change members all the time. That is the nature of people trying to play music for a living under mixed circumstances at the best of times. For thirteen years Skeletonwitch has been one of the most heavy and consistent bands in the American metal scene. They have made some great records, opened tours for major names, and spread their sound around the globe. Fans certainly didn’t want to accept the change when the band suspended and removed former singer Chance Garnette, due to his personal issues, and much chatter on line centered around the future prospects of new music. Cleverly the band didn’t reveal new vocalist Adam Clemans (Wolvhammer) until just recently and now have debuted the first new music with Adam, in the form of new single Well of Despair (Prosthetic).

Although this track s but a small taste of what is to be expected later this year in the form of a full EP, ‘Well of Despair’ was recorded at Baltimore’s Developing Nations with Kevin Bernsten (Noisem, Magrudergrind, Mutilation Rites) earlier this year. Musically the track is as much of a declaration of intent as anything else. Galloping drum beats pound from the speakers. All the things that made Skeletonwitch great, this track has it. It’s a quick slab of brutal thrashy black-metal inspired riffage that is sure to make fans headbang like mad and take notice. Clemmons sounds excellent. He has a gnarly growl and a lung power equal to Chance’s. It will be great to hear him tackle the back catalog during the forthcoming Decibel Tour with Abbath, High On Fire, and Tribulation. But ‘Well Of Despair’ is a powerful introduction to the next phase of the band. If you had any doubts about the future of the band, throw them out the window now!


Skeletonwitch 2016 new band photo ghostcultmag



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Battlecross: Live At the Worcester Palladium


I will preface this article by saying I try and stay as open minded as possible when seeing bands I don’t know, especially with other bands I do know and am a fan of. I always want to try and bring you, the readers, an unbiased and honest opinion of these bands so you can decide if you want to listen to them or not. At Ghost Cult Magazine our goal is to bring a fresh break down of new talent out there in the music scene so readers can find bands that may fit their tastes. That does not mean we can ignore our own tastes and our standards for music. It would be sugar coated to say that all bands out there right now are good, or great, or are fresh and doing something different. Sometimes you just have to be honest to yourself, the readers, and to the bands and say that maybe their sound just simply isn’t cutting it. On the Battlecross “Winter Warriors” tour, there were a handful of bands both local and slightly more well known signed on to open for the powerhouse thrash band taking the metal world by storm as what could be called “the best American metal band since Lamb of God“.

Sadly, everything leading up to Battlecross was extremely bland, predictable and all sounded more or less the same. One of the most important qualities a band needs to have is that first impression wow factor. People need to be able to stand in front of you as you take the stage and think “Ok, who are these guys?” and after you are done be leaving with your merchandise praising you and saying “Wow those guys just blew me away how have I never heard of them?!” This experience was definitely missing during this show. Band after band took the stage, Death Rattle a band we do know who is probably the least original sounding band we have on the line up seeing as most of their material is covers of Pantera and Lamb of God and all their original stuff sounds about the same seeing as those two bands are the biggest influence of Death Rattle. Having an influence and right out copying other bands are totally different things. Then started the sea of monotony with Carnivora, War of Ages and Wretched. These three bands sounded so much alike it was almost as if one band never stopped and the other never started.


War of Ages, by Emma Parsons Photography



The tour was called the Winter Warriors tour and was in honor of the US armed forces with a portion of the proceeds going to the Wounded Warriors Project, which is a veterans services organization dedicated to helping vets and their families. Great cause to come out and show support for. Battlecross fans waited anxiously for the set to start while bantering back and forth with the guys as they set up and switched equipment and a couple of small cameras to film the set. GoPro cameras were set up on Don Slater’s bass and a few other places to get some interesting POV shots oft he show. The band started out with a roar as their die hard fans chanted their name over and over. As always, with a rip roaring good time, Battlecross went through their list of hits from ‘Kaleb’ to ‘Push, Pull, Destroy’, ‘My Vaccine’, ‘Flesh & Bone’ and many more that every fan knows word for word. The pure love and intensity this band gets from the fans rivals none. They have almost a cult fan-following that is loyal to no end. The support and love they receive at every show intensifies time after time. A lot of that is not only due to how genuinely good the band is, but the well known presence and crowd interaction from their front man Kyle “Gumby” Gunther. Gumby is a friend to all and is always a smiling, friendly face at every show. The entire band loves to hang out with their fans and get to know them on a personal level. When fans can feel like they are real friends with a band they love, that just breeds more support. So cheers to Battlecross for another great show and for doing metal the way its supposed to be done. With power, family like atmosphere and as always an energetic, flawless performance.

Gumby of Battlecross, by Emma Parsons Photography

Gumby of Battlecross, by Emma Parsons Photography


Battlecross, by Emma Parsons Photography

Battlecross, by Emma Parsons Photography


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Killswitch Engage – Trivium: Live at 02 Academy, Manchester UK

Trivium Matt Heafy 2Traffic is an inconvenient thing when you’re doing anything but when you’ve got somewhere to be, it always seems to take the biscuit that little bit more. Unfortunately, this was the situation that occurred as this guy made their way to the Manchester Academy and as such, the first and second acts of the night, Battlecross and Miss May I, were not seen through these writers’ eyes. Luckily a friend with usually excellent taste was on hand to witness the Ohioan five-piece and her review, so elegantly put, was “f-ing awesome,” so lets go with that. Trivium, however, was thankfully a different story and one that starts with yours truly actually getting to observe some live music in action. Having witnessed these boys before in a fashion that brought words such as lacklustre and tedious to mind, it was with surprising but blisteringly excellent style that the Floridian metallers went about their set, showing how far they’ve come in recent years.

As for the rest of the room’s reactions, they too seemed to be more than happy with the performance in front of them, ‘Down From The Sky,’ ‘A Gun To The Head Of Trepidation’ and ‘Shogun’ being of particular vocal highlights amongst the mostly blurry-eyed fans. The music however wasn’t the only thing we were treated too. Smoke bursts and lighting effects to rival the Olympics brought another entertaining if not blinding dimension to their show, an element that always appears to come to the stage when this four-piece is in town. Ending the show with the an excellent rendition of ‘Pull Harder on the Strings Of Your Martyr,’ trivium left the stage having shot many a proverbial bullet to any trepidations that I or others may have had concerning their live prowess.

For the main act, or seemingly most popular act in the Academy anyway, it was their turn to bring the noise and this time the room tinged with so KSE Jesse Leech 1much drunken and sober (ahem) enthusiasm that it even the most cynical of spectators would have been hard pushed not to be swept up in it. Coming out to ‘Eye Of The Tiger,’ Killswitch Engage (KSE) leapt on to the stage, their leader Jesse Leech brimming with confidence and front man swagger. Launching into ‘A Bid Farewell,’ the crowd wasted no time joining in with the verbal festivities, word for word being sung back to the quintet. As for the makers of the music, chugging beer on stage, encouraging female viewers to expose their breasts when on friends shoulders and generally having fun were just a few things in the KSE repertoire, showing to those who could see the love they have for what they do.

Musically it was as tight and as brilliant as we’ve come to expect from KSE, but it was lead man Jesse who, for me anyway, really stole the show. Screaming or singing, Jesse’s vocal performance was excellent no matter which way he was vocalizing it, and having being disappointed by the Howard Jones departure before, it’s safe to say I am no longer (we still love you Howard!). A wonderful set and fantastic show by the KSE boys, the Massachusetts five-piece brought tracks such as ‘The End Of Heartache,’ ‘My Last Serenade’ and closing number ‘My Curse’ to a new level of awesome, one that they managed to bring throughout and one they will undoubtedly continue to do as long as their metal-core hearts beat on.


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Trivium on Facebook

Killswitch Engage on Facebook


Words: Emma Quinlan

Photos: Emma Stone