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Skeletonwitch celebrates 10 years of head-banging raw metal

Having long held the distinction of being the most prolific heavy metal group to come out of Athens, Skeletonwitch has reached yet another milestone this year as the band celebrates its 10-year anniversary.

The band will ring in the remembrance by kicking off its latest tour at The Union Bar & Grill, 18 W. State St., this Friday before continuing on to perform in Canada. 

Most of the members of Skeletonwitch agreed that “making it” and reaching the 10-year mark has come as a surprise, but that the time and commitment the members have put into the project has allowed it to stick around.

“When we first started out, this was the goal we wanted,” said Nate Garnette, Skeletonwitch guitarist. “But when you’re just young kids drinking beer, it’s hard to fathom how to get there.” 

The band’s other guitarist, Scott Hedrick, said the band members take pride in their Athenian roots, adding that they might not have gotten as far as they have were it not for the support of the local music scene in getting their name out there.

“There were a lot of places to play around here, and everyone sort of pushed us on, telling us to tour and do all this stuff,” Hedrick said. “When we signed with a record label years ago and started doing it full time, we got so much support in town.”

Over the span of its career, Skeletonwitch has released four studio albums, two EPs and has been featured on the late-night TV program Adult Swim, though most of the band members' time has been spent on the road as they have toured extensively since 2007. 

Chance Garnette, lead vocalist and Nate’s brother, said that despite the non-stop touring and writing, he sees the band continuing at the same pace in the foreseeable future.

“Well, this is our tenth year and we plan on releasing our fifth full-length record this year so I'd say we're full speed ahead,” Chance said. “You never really work when you absolutely love what you do, so I’m in no hurry to close the door.”

Though the current members share a “nose-to-the-grind” mentality, it hasn’t been for everyone involved. Two of the original members have left the lineup since the band's debut in 2003 to pursue less travel-intensive lifestyles.

While Skeletonwitch has made it to such heights as playing for 80,000 people at Wacken Open Air Festival in Germany, Nate said that they are proud of any show, even those where only 20 people show up, because it means that those few are there to see and support them.

As the next tour begins and another phase in the band’s storied career is set behind them, they hope to stick to the plan the same way they always have.

“Shut up, get in the van, and go kick ass,” Chance said.

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