Skeletonwitch's Chance Garnette Says the Serpents Are Unleashed


Heavy metallers Skeletonwitch have been around for quite sometime and now that they're on their fifth album to date "Serpents Unleashed" there is no stopping just how far they can truly go with the music they have created. Vocalist Chance Garnette talks about the new album and how it compares, differs, and evolved from their previous releases and what plans these guys have between now the end of the year.


1. It's been 4 years since we last spoke you went on to release another full-length "Forever Abomination" can you give me a brief summary as to what that release was all about?

Chance: “Forever Abomination” is basically a statement that from album to album, year to year, Skeletonwitch will forever continue to stay true to what we do. As the lyric goes, “Forever Abomination, Forever Cold.”

2. Now 2 years later from that release you're on your fifth release entitled "Serpents Unleashed" how does this make you feel to be on album number five? Did you see yourselves lasting to this point?

Chance: I’m stoked to have 5 records under our belt. It’s an amazing feeling. This is always what I've wanted to do with my life, and I’m getting to do it. So yeah, I’m beyond stoked to be releasing our 5th album this year! Did I see us lasting this long? I like to be mindful of the future but stay focused on the here and now. I don’t really dwell on what may or may not happen down the road. I mean, I certainly didn't see us NOT lasting to record number five, but when “Beyond the Permafrost” came out I wasn't concerned with how many more records I would or wouldn't be able to make. During the next two or two and a half years I’ll be focused on “Serpents Unleashed” and supporting that album, then when the time comes I’ll shift focus to record #6. So, I’m definitely keeping the future in mind but staying focused on what is going on right now.

3. You've been a part of the Prosthetic Records family for quite some time now - your relationship with them has been good then?

Chance: Yeah, it’s great to be a part of label where you can call the main guy right up and discuss whatever is on your mind. Actually everyone there at Prosthetic is more than happy to lend a hand, talk me off the ledge, just shoot the shit, or whatever. So, yeah the relationship is good.

4. How has "Forever Abomination" differed, compared, and evolved onto "Serpents Unleashed"?

Chance: I think when you play as much as we do and love what you do then you’re sure to become better at what you do. That being said, “Serpents Unleashed” is a natural evolution from where we were then, to where we are now. Two years after “Forever Abomination” we’re just a better band.

5. You decided to call your follow-up "Serpents Unleashed" how come?

Chance: Without getting overly deep one this one… Throughout time, the serpent has stood for many different things. Some of those being: strength, knowledge, protection, of course evil, and even salvation. So basically, drawing from these qualities of the serpent, we are unleashing the absolute best Skeletonwitch record to date. 10 years since it started, we stand as “Serpents Unleashed.”

6. Will this release be a concept album?

Chance: Concept album as far as, does song #2 pick up where song #1 left off? Is each song a part of a continuing story told over the length of the album? NO, each song has its own identity, its own demons and a different story to tell.

7. Can you describe the album artwork for this album and who designed it?

Chance: John Baizley is responsible for the cover art on “Serpents Unleashed.” He also did the “Beyond the Permafrost” and “Worship the Witch EP” cover art for us as well. I believe that, musically, “Serpents Unleashed” has more depth than some of our previous releases and John’s artistic style seems to fit perfectly here. There’s meaning behind every brush stroke within this artwork. I think he nailed what we were going for. It’s a beautiful piece and we all are incredibly stoked on it.

8. Tell me about the new single off the album.

Chance: The first single released from “Serpents Unleashed” is called “Burned From Bone.” We first played this song at SXSW in Austin, TX earlier this year and have included it in the set list at every show since first debuting it. It’s basically about a revenge killing, and cleansing the sins of the wrong doer in the fires of vengeance. To boil it down, it’s about righting a wrong by burning someone alive. Good wholesome stuff.
9. Are there any surprises or any collaboration on the album?

Chance: There are a few new tricks or things we haven’t done before on “Serpents Unleashed.” Of course you will have to listen to the record and pick them out for yourself. I can’t just tell you “we did this new thing here or this new thing there.” Don’t worry though, there’s no drastic change in direction. You’re not going to hear me attempt any clean singing or hear any songs about how mommy didn't love me enough. That’s just not what Skeletonwitch does, or will ever do for that matter. On “Serpents Unleashed” we took what Skeletonwitch does and just did that better than we ever have before.  And no, there are no collaborations other than the group effort between us five on this record.

10. You recorded this album at Godcity Studios in Salem, Massachusetts working with Kurt Ballou what was it about this particular studio location and this guy that stood out the most for you guys? What did the two bring to the table?

Chance: Location, as in geographic location, really had no part in why we wanted to record with Kurt at Godcity studio. Although it is kind of cool to have recorded a record in a place with such a history revolving around witchcraft, of course the Salem witch trials, plus there are a lot of cool and very old grave yards there, all of which provide a certain feel or vibe as well as inspiration if you look for it. I mean Skeletonwitch recording in “Witch city” just sounds right huh!?

As far as the actual recording with Kurt goes… Kurt is able to really capture that live energy on record, which is something I feel we have always come up a little short in achieving. We were confident he could give us a tight yet raw sound, something jam packed with personality and energy, something real and organic sounding as opposed to that mechanical, almost hospital sterile and overproduced thing. Working with Kurt was a great experience, and we left Godcity studio with not only the best Skeletonwitch record to date but the best sounding Skeletonwitch record as well.

11. What are your expectations for the CD?

Chance: Well first off, I expect to be touring my ass of for the next two years following its release! I really don’t know what to expect upon releasing any album actually. People will like the record and respond to it or they won’t you know? I am however confident that we achieved what we set out to do, to continue to grow and improve as song writers and musicians and  to write and record an album that we’re all stoked on and can be proud of. The goal is to get better and better with every album, like I said, I’m very confident we achieved that goal with “Serpents Unleashed.”

12. What are your upcoming tour plans?

Chance: As of now we have a handful of shows with Swedish Occult rockers, Ghost B.C. in early October, and then we head out for over a month in late October through late November as direct support to our buds in The Black Dahlia Murder. So we’re staying busy, which is how we like it. Write, record, tour, tour, tour, repeat! Also, all of our tour dates can be found on www.skeletonwitch.com

13. The band itself has been around for 10 solid years do you guys plan on doing anything special or have you even noticed or celebrated?

Chance: Pretty much we’re celebrating 10 years as a band by releasing our 5th full length record, that’s pretty special I guess! Its an amazing feeling to have been able to do what we love for 10 years, we celebrate that fact at every show by always giving it all we have. Thanks to everyone for the support and allowing us to be around for a full decade! Lets go for two!

14. How about the rest of this year what do you guys got lined-up?

Chance: Staying on the road, doing what we love. Playing Heavy Metal!

15. Any final words of wisdom?

Chance: Words, yes. Wisdom, I’m not so sure! Id just like to give one last thanks to everyone for the continuing support, we definitely could not have survived the last 10 years as a band without you! Remember, the new record  “Serpents Unleashed” will be released on October 29th  2013. Head over to www.skeletonwitch.com for pre-order info as well as tour dates, news and everything ‘Witch’ related. Thanks again guys, we’ll see you all on the road very soon!

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