Tonight was the second of the only two UK shows in Skeletonwitch and Mantar’s 23-date co-headline European tour. I saw both bands for the first time in Norway this summer at Tons of Rock festival and was very pleased indeed when this tour was announced, as I really enjoyed watching both of their sets and was keen for more!
Unfortunately Hanno (vocalist / guitarist of Mantar) has been struggling with his health on this tour, and just a three hours before doors were due to open, it was announced that Mantar would not be able to play tonight. The band posted the following statement on the Facebook event page:
Things ain’t getting better so far, so with a heavy heart, we also have to announce that we won’t be able to perform in London and Colmar, France. We are sure you will understand. We discussed things back and forth but out of respect for US and YOU we decided that we don’t wanna play half-ass. That’s not us. Never been, never will. We rather come back some other time and play with full power like we usually do. It would just feel wrong to play these shows, that we have been looking forward to so much, without the devotion they deserve.
Right now we are trying everything to be be back on track for the weekend in Paris, Wiesbaden and Rotterdam. If you wanna hang, come say hi! Erinc still will be at the merch booth and will be up for beers and hi fives. (The HARDEST currency). MANTAR.
They also had to pull out of the Manchester show last night. We wish Hanno all the best for a speedy recovery, and look forward to Mantar returning to London to melt our faces in the near future!
Despite Mantar having to miss the show, Deathrite and Skeletonwitch were still able to perform, so with some slightly adjusted set-times everything else continued as planned. First to take to the stage at around 8pm were German death metallers Deathrite who released their fourth album Nightmares Reign at the beginning of November.
As there had been an hour to wait between doors opening and Deathrite taking to the stage, everyone was quite dispersed around the 500-capacity room, but as soon as the band started playing it was as if some sort of magnetic field had been turned on, and everyone gravitated towards the stage to check them out. We were all very glad that we did because they put on an excellent show; full of energy from the very start. Definitely a band I would check out again next time they are in London.
Headlining tonight were Skeletonwitch, who brought their black and wicked thrash metal all the way from Ohio. They opened their high-energy set with “Fen of Shadows” from their latest album Devouring Radiant Light which was released in July of this year. Adam delivered his vocals with intensity and passion and every single band-member was a joy to watch as they looked like they were having a brilliant time.
The band have great stage presence and the crowd were really into their sound and moshed along to their fierce performance. At one point during one of the first three songs I turned around and found myself on the edge of a mosh-pit – not an ideal place to be with heavy and expensive camera gear held up to your face, but fun nevertheless, especially on a Wednesday night!
As well as tracks from Devouring Radiant Light, Skeletonwitch also treated the crowd to tracks from their back-catalogue, including “Submit to the Suffering” from their 2009 album Breathing The Fire, and “I Am of Death (Hell Has Arrived)” from their 2013 album Serpents Unleashed.
Whilst it was a shame that Mantar were not able to perform, Deathrite and Skeletonwitch made it more than worth the effort to head to Tufnell Park for what turned out to be a wonderful night of metal!
Photos by Katie Frost Photography