The Vault: My Experience At Maryland DeathFest 2014 Part 2 – Saturday

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Editor’s Note: In the wacky world of publishing, some stories don’t see the light of day. Whether they sit on the backburner until they become irrelevant, positions change hands or they just plain get cut, it’s just one of those things. Today, one of those unpublished articles will finally get its due as we traverse the archives of “The Vault.”

After Fridays success, my friends and I were highly excited for Saturday. The lineup looked amazing as it’s usually considered to be MDF’s main day. After finding an awesome Japaneses place to eat, my friends and I headed back to the Edison Lot to see if Saturday was worth all the hype.

Goat Torment

Having no idea who this band was, I decided to watch them as they were the first band up for the day. By the name alone I made a wild guess that they were a black metal band (I couldn’t be more right).These guys couldn’t look more black metal if they tried. They even yelled “Hail Satan” after every song. With that said they were still an awesome band. Goat Torment played raw, straight-forward in-your-face black metal and made for a great warm up.

Diocletian

Next up on the stage was a black metal band from New Zealand known as Diocletian. Though they were of the same style as Goat Torment, their songs were not as interesting but were still enjoyable. Next up was the first band of the day I knew…

Entrails

Entrails are an old-school death metal band from Sweden that formed in the early 90’s, but made it absolutely nowhere until around 2010. Entrails’ performance had tons of energy, intensity and their sound was spot on. Before this set I had only known a few songs by these guys but now after seeing them I feel the need to explore their discography.

Machetazo

This was my second time seeing Spanish deathgrind greats Machetazo (the first time I saw them was at MDF 2011 in the small indoor stage). They killed then and this time as well. I always find it cool when a drummer is also the lead vocalist. Like last time, the crowd was very energetic and wild. Though I greatly enjoyed their set, I preferred the first time because I just think that indoor venues work better for this band.

God Macabre

God Macabre were a lesser known pioneer of the 1990’s Swedish death metal scene. This very same scene was known for greats such as Grave, Dismember and Vomitory. But how do these guys rank compared to those others? Decent but nothing too great.  God Macabre’s performance was that of a run of the mill death metal band. I wasn’t fully bored by them but didn’t really find anything memorable about their music.

Nocturnus A.D.

I was real excited for this one. For those who don’t know, Nocturnus was a death metal band formed by singer/drummer Mike Browning after he left Morbid Angel (after guitarist Trey Azagoth had and affair with his girlfriend).

Nocturnus’s debut album “The Key” was a very distinct old-school death metal album as it featured keyboards, shredding and lyrics about science fiction instead of the  violent and gory lyrics the genre was known for. The band performing was actually Browning’s  post-Nocturnus band After Death but were playing all of “The Key” so they played under the name Nocturnus A.D.(get it?).

“The Key” is the only album I really knew by these guys so hearing a set completely dedicated to the album made me excited.  They played the whole album in its entirety and sounded great doing it. The only down side was at times the keyboards were a little drowned out but it wasn’t too big a problem.

After they played through all of “The Key” they ended the set with an awesome cover of the Morbid Angel song “Chapel of Ghouls.” The entire crowd (including me) was screaming along to this iconic death metal classic. Nocturnus A.D. was definitely one of the best performances at the entire fest.

Tankard

German beer thrash classics Tankard were up next and the first old-school thrash band I saw at the fest. While not my favorite 80’s thrash band, I never had a problem with them and was curious to see them. The crowd turned into a gigantic drunken circle pit as the band played both old and new material. After every few songs the lead vocalist Gerre would ask audience members for a beer and after they played “A Girl Named Cervesa,” they got two girls from the audience to dance on stage as “Cervesa.” Both the band and the audience just got more and more drunk as the show went on, making it wilder and wilder. After being possibly the one non-drinker watching all of Tankard’s set it was time for me to head over to Soundstage.

Dropdead

I returned back to Soundstage just in time for powerviolence pioneers Dropdead.  Just like Capitalist Casualties yesterday these guys played an awesome set of short songs and like CC I wasn’t bored for a minute. Towards the end of the set came a great surprise. Members of the hardcore punk legends Siege came onstage and with the members of Dropdead, finished the set with several classic Siege tracks. After this great two-for-one set I stayed at Soundstage for…

Birdflesh

Swedish comedic grindcore trio Birdflesh were by  far the wackiest band on this year’s fest. While they were setting up these two guys asked me and a bunch of other people to help inflate these balloon ghosts. When the band performed the two guys threw the balloons along with glow sticks at the audience who then threw them at each other and the band, who performed in their trademark over the top costumes.

Though this band is comedic they still put on an intense and powerful performance with the audience both moshing and throwing glowsticks and balloons. I didn’t stay for the whole set but I got to hear a decent amount of songs. The next band on was Noothgrush – a band I wanted to see but had to sacrifice as they played the same time as…

Unleashed

I rushed back to Edison just in time to catch these Swedish viking themed death metal masters. Unleashed’s set started out with lead vocalist Johnny Hedlund calling the audience warriors. Though I enjoyed their performance, I wasn’t too familiar with the songs they played. I only know Unleashed’s first and third albums (1991’s “Where No Life Dwells” and 1993’s “Across the Open Sea”) and they played virtually nothing from them. I was very confused by the set list in general as those omitted albums contained some of the bands most well known tracks such as “Before Creation of Time” and “The One Insane.”

Dark Angel

The time had come. The moment about 90 percent of people at this fest were waiting for. Not only were they the most hyped band of 2014’s Maryland Deathfest, it was also Dark Angel’s first U.S. show since 2005 and their ONLY U.S. appearance of that year.

As they were setting up, everyone was wondering if they would be able to live up to such hype. They did and you better believe it. Dark Angel delivered their aggressive and powerful brutal thrash metal just as good if not better then everyone expected. The intense guitar riffs, powerful vocals and crazy drumming by none other then Gene Hoglan himself translated perfectly from album to live onslaught. During their set it started to rain. Eventually it got real windy as rain blew towards the stage, adding to the atmosphere.

They had arrived.

After Dark Angel’s epic set Jason and I ran as fast as we could to Soundstage to make it in time to see the next band there.

The Extinction of Mankind

The two of us lucked out and made it just in time for these British crusties to start. Before seeing these guys, all I knew was their split with the legendary Doom. Like the other punk based bands on the bill they were filled with raw intensity and had tons of intense circle pits. After watching there set we walked over to the Ramshead stage.

Schirenc (playing songs from Pungent Stench)

Martin Schirenc

I will admit I was never a big Stench fan (always found them to be pretty mediocre death metal). When we got there, Schirenc had about 20 minutes left in his set and i just sat upstairs chilling with my friend Herb as Schirenc’s music was not interesting me one bit. Once he got off the stage things go more exciting as it was time for the nights last act.

Asphyx

Saturday night ended with Dutch death/doom legends Asphyx (as well as meeting Hoglan on the way to the bathroom). Dark Angel had an insane performance that I thought would be topped by no one else at the fest (I was wrong).

Asphyx had the most crushing performance of the night and of the entire fest. Like it had for Incantation the night before, the great sound system did justice for this bands intensity and Asphyx had a perfect setlist. I have always thought of Martin Van Drunen as of the best vocalists in all of death metal and this live performance showed that he’s even better live then in studio (Hell, this whole band sounds better live then they do in studio). I was pretty tired but even that wasn’t distracting me from watching every second of Asphyx’s magic. After their set we headed back to the hotel once again to rest for the final night at this massive fest.

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