Skeletonwitch @ Nile Theater
You'd never know it if you took their black T-shirts, black hair and, well, black outlook at face value, but metalheads have no problem laughing at their own darkness. Cartoon Network's late-night Adult Swim block capitalized on this with Metalocalypse, a show about a cartoon metal band that simultaneously celebrates the genre's fixation on gore and brutal imagery while cleverly taking the piss out of it. In 2007, the network commissioned a video for Athens, Ohio, thrashers Skeletonwitch as part of its Metal Swim compilation. The hilarious clip shows the band wailing in earnest during a ridiculous battle royale between a horde of brain-hungry zombies and costumed furries. Skeletonwitch is a particularly good example of dire heaviness approached with a lack of self-seriousness. The word "workmanlike" comes to mind when describing the band's blackened thrash sound, sans the connotation that the dudes are just phoning it in. Their latest record, Forever Abomination, has no-frills chug riffage without an ounce of guitar god pretense that still sounds anthemic and catchy. The relentless double-kick beats aren't very flashy but also never veer into boneheaded fills. Skeletonwitch hits hard and has a fun absence of pomposity, even as their blood-soaked lyrics ring deadly serious.
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