Skeletonwitch, Goatwhore, Mortals @ Sound Control 11.04.15
Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, Mortals' set is stripped down to a mere three songs thanks to airport delays. Thankfully these songs pin the audience to the wall by the throat and choke them into open-mouthed submission. Blacker than a black hole at a party where the theme is wear something black, the three-piece annihilate those present with their deathly wall-of-sound dynamics. It's clear they've made some new friends in Manchester tonight and hopefully we'll see them again soon.
Crawling out from the Louisiana, NOLA swamplands in 1997 with murder in mind, Goatwhore take the Sound Control stage thirsty for blood. Boasting ex-Acid Bath, Crowbar guitarist Sammy Duet and Soilent Green screamer Ben Falgoust, their latest offering Constricting Rage of the Merciless is a vile masterpiece; a summation of their career six albums in, and in a live setting is a destructive, raging force. Baring Teeth for Revolt has got to be up there with all the best metal riffs ever written and it curses the venue with a whirlwind of pit action that threatens to tear down the walls. Falgoust himself is a compelling presence as he air guitars, throws the horns and twists his vocals from scream to roar, his stud-adorned arms pulling stage divers from the pit and gleefully tossing them back in again. It’s a furious display that’s sure to leave scars: mental and physical. Fucked by Satan indeed!
The drama surrounding Skeletonwitch and ex-singer Chance Garnette is well documented of late in social media gossip but Cannabis Corpse growler Andy Horn has stepped up to the plate and proved himself a fitting successor. An energetic and somewhat fanatical frontman, he whips the crowd into a frenzy and draws a power from the room that had appeared spent after Goatwhore’s efforts.
The Ohio headbangers, forged in 2003, rip through a set culled mainly from latest release Serpents Unleashed with the ferocity of an air-strike. Classics like Beyond the Permafrost ignite the pit into blazing fury with it’s punk, thrash and deathly black noise but the crowd soak it all in and the intensity remains remorseless. Drummer Dustin Boltjes is a tireless octopus swatting wasps while the frenetic bass work of Evan Linger pins the whole thing down. Imposing riffmeister Nate Garnette, with his spiked armour, flays the rhythm from his Les Paul as does Scott Hendrick on the opposite side of the stage.
It is an exhausted pit that leaves the venue tonight. Three intense performances have beaten the crowd senseless and any doubters about Skeletonwitch’s ability to continue have hopefully been silenced this night.
All hail the Witch!
Words: Paul ‘we didn’t burn him’ Cooke