“Skeletonwitch”: Despair and Chance in Lost Vocals

Source: photo by @theseekwill
Source: photo by @theseekwill

Guitarist Scott Hedrick and brothers Nate and Chance Garnette (guitars / vocals respectively) have made up the core three of Ohio based Skeletonwitch for the vast contingent of their eleven years together. Dustin Boltjes eventually rounded out the band on drums. Until October 2014 when then vocalist Chance Garnette would be forced to leave tour due to a charge of assault and battery on a family/household member. Former Cannibal Corpse singer Andy Horn took an interim touring position. Subsequently, Skeletonwitch distanced themselves from Nate’s brother and stripped Chance’s name from their Facebook page. In a recent interview Chance maintained that he had officially been fired for an alcohol dependency.

Minutes after Skeletonwitch’s set at The Commodore Ballroom, Hedrick vehemently refuted alcohol abuse as the catalyst to Chance’s reprieve as frontman.

Time less served has motivated the Decibel Magazine Tour act with what can only be described as an onslaught of progressive black thrash, deeper in its sincerity than last I witnessed them live.

Like a therapeutic unsheathing from a sword of repression, Skeletonwitch took to the stage with unwavering intent.

New vocalist (former Wolvhammer) Adam Clemens is very comfortable in Skeletonwitch skin and assumes his position of goddamned murderer, alongside a row of serial killers.

However, in person they carry a much different air about them. The lighthearted and levity filled demeanor of both Adam and Scott during our post show discussion was a stark contrast to the one I had witnessed inside moments prior. Now placing an intellectual foot forward while tapping into an aggression completely aside from the singular focused and hard-nosed approach that Chance brought to the position, their mutual influence on each other is taking shape.

Having been privy to ‘Well of Despair’ prior to the show – intrigue as to how the Skeletonwitch faithful would assimilate the first collaborative effort with Adam was natural. If the reaction from The Commodore Ballroom fans is any indication, Skeletonwitch can comfortably resume the trajectory they were once on. With their level of talent coupled with blue collar Ohio-work ethic and newly rediscovered inner-band harmony music can once again be the primary focus.

On the walk back inside the venue Scott had a candid moment when I asked him to level with me by explaining that the first song is always a band catering to a vocalist’s strength, and a vocalist not going too far outside of what brought them to the ball in the first place in the attempt of forming a proverbial building block or foundation. I asked, “Where do you see it going with Adam”?

Being “off the record” I’ll share only that seeing Scott’s eyes light up at the mention of the future combined with the coy smile shared by the two men often throughout our 25 minute banter, one gets the suspicion that they were not showing their entire hand and perhaps the new song shared that evening was a drop in the well of some very non-disparaging finished material.

Check out our recent interview here.