SKELETONWITCH and RAZORWIRE at The Annex Wreck Room, Sunday (June 2). Rating: NNNN
Since when are black metal bands so posi? Looking like an inked-up cross between Charles Manson and Russell Brand, Skeletonwitch singer Chance Garnette made broad overtures at ingratiating himself with the crowd at the Annex Wreck Room on Sunday: thanking everyone (multiple times) for coming out, offering shout outs to the pot-smokers, beer-drinkers and other hell-raisers in the crowd, and even serving a compliment to Toronto's female metal fans (uh...thanks?). It was nice and everything. But where's the evil?
Really, Skeletonwitch's connection to the U.S. death and black metal scenes feels tangential. They're more a NWOBHM/thrash band with black metal vocals. It's like if Municipal Waste was a black metal band. Except with more solos. Garnette's abundant positivity and generosity helped whip the crowd into a sweaty frenzy, as the band worked through cuts like Repulsive Salvation, Beyond The Permafrost and This Horrifying Force, as well as a few from their forthcoming record, Serpents Unleashed. Heads banged, horns pumped, a circle pit broke out, and there was even some late-show stage diving. It felt very much like an old school heavy metal show.
This throwback mood was helped by openers Razorwire, who served up a speedy set of un-blackened thrash. They even teased the crowd with the opening bars of Megadeth's Tornado Of Souls, before abandoning it for Metallica's Whiplash - a joke only an old school metal crowd at a Skeletonwitch show on a Sunday is likely to get.