Review and photographs by Jessica Ayotte
This past Saturday, the Into the Everblack Tour came down to the Knitting Factory in New York City. This tour featured four popular up-and-coming metal bands. Headlining the tour was the Black Dahlia Murder with Skeletonwitch, Fallujah and Noisem opening the show. Although I am not a metal fan at all, I seem to find myself going to these types of shows because of the performance itself.
Not only was it the anticipated performances that had me interested in the show, but also the album artwork for Skeletonwitch’s fifth studio album, the brand new Serpents Unleashed, described as “frosty blackened thrash” on their website. After forming in Athens, Ohio ten years ago, Skeletonwitch has toured almost nonstop around Europe and North America since 2006. They have played some of the smallest venues around, as well as huge festivals such as Ozzfest, and they once played 63 shows in 65 days, something that not many musicians could handle. in addition to constant touring, Skeletonwitch also managed to write and record along the way, including their new 11-track album in the nostalgic formats of cassette, vinyl and CD.
Working with Savannah, Georgia-based painter John Baizley, the cover for Serpents Unleashed was designed to enhance the potent theme created by Skeletonwitch’s music. Being a visual artist, I found myself quickly attracted to his artwork and had a growing interest in seeing the band perform live.
With a full house of fans, nearly everyone at the concert was wearing some sort of Skeletonwitch apparel. As soon as their set began, the crowd broke out in to total chaos, making it nearly impossible for me to get good photos, but it was quite the experience. Playing songs from older albums – including 2007’s Beyond the Permafrost and 2009’s Breathing Fire (2009) – the band kept their oldest fans satisfied, along with playing several new songs. Each member of the band had such strong stage presence compared to the openers, and it really did leave an impact on the overall experience. It’s nice to see a band like Skeletonwitch enjoying shows after being together for 10 years. Although they are metal band that has been in the scene for quite some time, there has been a vast amount of positive criticism for Serpents Unleashed that will bring on a whole new number of fans as they tour.
Like Skeletonwitch, the Black Dahlia Murder put on quite a show. After almost getting trampled by the crowd, I was able to escape to the side of the stage to watch the madness and stage diving. The Black Dahlia Murder was formed in late 2000 in Waterford, Michigan and has had ever-growing popularity playing such tours as Summer Slaughter and Warped Tour. They offered songs from each of their six studio albums – including the new Everblack. Lead vocalist Trevor Strnad started the set by tearing his shirt off. This is something that tons of rock stars have done in the past, but there was something shocking yet hilarious about this particular stunt. On the upper abdomen of Strnad was the word “heartburn” in large Times New-Roman font. (I was later told that this was a tattoo he chose because of his acid reflux disease.) As the set went on, people flew from one side of the venue to the other, and the band was just as much into it as the fans, which made the night total mayhem.
As I said before, I don’t normally find myself listening to metal music, but Skeletonwitch and the Black Dahlia Murder took me out of my comfort zone, and I’m glad I chose to attend. If you enjoy metal music, I would highly recommend checking out Skeletonwitch’s newest album Serpents Unleashed. If not, I would also recommend attending a concert that you wouldn’t normally find yourself at. An open mind is a terrible thing to waste…