Skeletonwitch and Havok bring U.S. Abomination Tour to Dallas
Thrash metalers Skeletonwitch and Havok arrived at Trees on Thursday, Oct. 18, for the Dallas stop of the 63-shows-in-65-days “U.S. Abomination Tour.” Joined on this leg of the tour by Skeletonwitch’s Prosthetic Records label-mate Mutilation Rites, these guys are leaving a swath of destruction in their wake. If you think that is pure hyperbole, consider the fact that Big Tex went up in flames mere hours after the show ended.
Leading off the show before the touring acts hit the stage, local thrashers Protest didn’t waste any time warming up. Diving headfirst into a killer set, they played fast and hard, and never slowed down. New bassist Tyler Berry was particularly impressive, given that he apparently only had a couple days to get ready for the show. It’s too bad that due to all the gear on stage, he was forced into a dark corner. Regardless, by the time Protest reached the end of their set, and with the help of a Slayer cover, the crowd was whipped into a frenzy, and the mosh pit made the first of its many appearances for the night.
Next up was Mutilation Rites, a black metal act who put on an incredible instrumental set. It didn’t appear that it was intended to be instrumental, as you could hear voices on the mics during sound test, and vocalist George Paul was obviously screaming into the microphone, but the vocal level was nonexistent. Hopefully these guys will come back to Dallas soon so they can perform a set with proper sound balance, because what could be heard truly was great. The heavier sound also set up a nice contrast to the thrash on display from the rest of the bands.
There were no sound issues when Havok took the stage, which is a good thing, because these guys are just a lot of fun to listen to. The audience was neatly divided by the trademark tree in the middle of the floor, with a sea of hair flying around the headbangers on one side, and a nearly omnipresent mosh pit on the other (including Havok shirts branded “No Karate in the Pit”). The set seemed to focus primarily on the two latest CDs, “Time Is Up” and “Point of No Return.” If Mutilation Rites was notable for a thicker, heavier sound, Havok made its impression with pure, blistering speed.
Skeletonwitch brought the night to a close with an absolutely brutal set. With titles like “Crushed Beyond Dust” and “Shredding Sacred Flesh,” you know you’re not getting songs about love, partying, and driving fast cars. The blackened thrash onslaught was relentless, with bass and dual guitar building on the rapid-fire drums to blast the eardrums and accelerate the heartrate to the point you feel like you need to dive into the pit purely for the release.
Technical issues aside, this was one of the best all-out metal shows to hit Dallas this year. If you like your music loud, any one of these bands are worth seeing. If you have a chance to catch one of the last dates of this tour, don’t miss the opportunity.