Tag Archives: Black Metal

Septic Flesh, Dark Funeral and Thy Antichrist at Gramercy Theater

Septic Flesh is a band that rarely comes around, so when I heard they were coming I had to take the chance to see them.

I went with my friend/co-worker Jay who isn’t really a fan of the band but wanted to come to see Dark Funeral. We did the usual (took the bus in Middletown, got pizza at Two Bros, stopped at the Blue Ruin where Jay bought cheap drinks and blasted metal classics). We left when someone played awful music on the jukebox (U2 and Sublime at a metal bar, really?) and headed to the venue.

At the venue I ran into several friends of mine including some dude that runs a website called The Bonesaw I’m sure you never heard of. At around 7:45 the first band, Thy Antichrist came on.

Thy Antichrist 

 

I had never heard these guys but have always heard their name. They had a sound very similar to Mayhem and made for a fun opening act.

Dark Funeral 

 

 

 

Dark Funeral, the band Jay was there for was up next. The band did not take anytime to show off their intense live energy. Their set was full of extremity and the pit went wild.

Septic Flesh

 

 

At around 10 p.m. it was time for the nights headliner. While I was kinda disappointed by the lack of old songs such as “Little Music Box “or “Marble Smiling face,” Septic Flesh still ruled live and brought both epicness and heavyness to the table. The sound was perfect for the band, something common for this venue. After seeing most of their set we headed out due to wanting to catch a decent bus as well as Jay not liking the band and being drunk out of his mind. We headed back to the land of Middletown but shall return to the Gramercy on the 31st.

 

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Vantafrost: Dispossessed

From the filthy, decrepit backwaters of New Jersey comes an old-school pure black-metal gauntlet just as nasty as the gutters it was festered.

Vantafrost’s four-song debut EP titled Dispossessed begins with the wailing siren of “Nazgul” followed by the Hellhammer-style riffs, tribal drumming, and Warrior-esque shrieks.

Right out of the starting gate you’re blasted back to the early 80’s/90’s sounds of primitive black metal in all its raw and gory glory.

As the Ring Wraiths calm their death dragons after having murdered many a man, elf, and hobbit and claimed the one ring for Sauron, Vantafrost continues to beat your body to a pulp with the unleashing of the hyper-aggressive “Darkhammer.”  The constant down-pick and minor key agony assault tread on until mid-song, where the doom-groove slows things down before a journeyman’s gallop progress the bridge and keeps hold. Everything is then musically tied together in a woven arrangement fit for Shelob and her kin.

We are then welcomed back to the land of the dead with the sounds of vomit, kicking off the aptly named “Demon’s Breath.” An old-school Venom-like track bounces around for a healthy helping of head and fist banging. What really links this track is the bouncy main riff and the relentless rhythms and vocal delivery.

Finally, the New Jersey freaks unleash one final barrage with the almighty “Leadpumper.” Not only does this capture the embodiment of the band’s in-your-face intensity, but it also cultivates the spirit of true black metal. Heavy, miserable, and downright terrifying.

Not only is this initial offering a warning to emerging metal bands clinging to trends in their local scene or their “flavor of the month” genre, but the intentionally bare-bones production proves that when done right, bands can take their fancy state-of-the-art recordings and shove it. Vantafrost have not only begun to dominate a sonically depraved world, but they’ve managed to deliver a Hyper Viper Beam that would make Cable proud.

Mayhem, Inquistion at The Chance

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While The Chance gets some pretty cool metal shows from time to time, no one saw it coming when black metal icons Mayhem was announced with support from their Colombian counterparts, Inquisition. We then found out they were playing all of their 1994 album De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, making this show an immediate must. After work, I grabbed my friend Jay and we left for the venue. When we got in the parking lot we saw that many a fan had also arrived early. We ran into Branden (another friend) and all headed for some food at Nutty’s, where we again ran into other friends who are normally mentioned in my articles. Prime time came around and we entered the venue. Although no band had started playing yet, the venue was already packed. Taking advantage of the open balcony, I headed up and found a sweet view before the first band started.

Black Anvil

I had seen Black Anvil once before when they opened for Watain at The Loft. I was never a fan, and wasn’t impressed at their performance then. Here it wasn’t much better. They had a new sound that had clean vocals that didn’t seem to match the music. After their set Inquisiton got on.

Inquistion

This legendary duo has always been one of my favorite black metal bands. Every time I’ve seen them they were killer – including this one. Their sound was spot on and they had a great setlist. Nothing that night could match the power of their set as Inquistion stole the show once more.

Mayhem

Last but not least, Mayhem got onstage. I had seen the controversial band once in 2015 with Revenge and Watain. At the time, I really enjoyed Mayhem’s set (though not as much as Revenge’s) as I finally got to see them and hear classics such as “Chainsaw Gutsfuck” live. Looking back, their sound was pretty off and they spent too much of the set promoting their last album (2014’s Esoteric Warfare), which wasn’t very good. Here, they were amazing. Mayhem brought out an altar while all the members wore robes. They performed De Mysteriis from front to back while doing over-the top-theatrics. The sound was much better this time around. The only problem I had was that they only played the album, making for a short set. Overall, it was a great show and made up for the near two month streak of not seeing any touring acts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Julian David Guillen and Shyann Rodriguez – Flordia’s Overlooked Extreme Metal Musicians

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Flordia is known for being one of the first places to have any death metal acts. Legends like Death, Obituary, Nocturnus, Morbid Angel and even some hidden gems like D.V.C all hail from there.

Now in current times, the scene has spawned a new gem known as Sapraemia. The band is young but already impressing both the new and old generations of Floridian metalheads. But this band alone isn’t enough to satisfy bassist/vocalist Julian David Guillen’s need for extremity. To cure this hunger Guillen decided to form a grindcore band called Munchausen, where he plays guitar while his girlfriend Shyann Rodriguiez does vocals. Today, the two lock up with The Bonesaw to chat about these amazing hidden projects.

How would you describe Sapraemia’s sound?

Julian: We’re influenced by Death, Nile, Wormed and lots of really brutal shit. We listen to a lot of the new school and the old-school. I guess the best way to describe us is a fusion of Origin and old-school Suffocation. People seem to really like us. We get a mixed crowd to of tech-death kids and old-school guys who loves bands like Incantation.

What does the name mean and where did you come up with it?

Julian: It’s a blood disease that eats all of your healthy blood cells. You are pretty much rotting from the inside. It’s a pretty metal disease and I found it to be a really cool word. A lot of people mistake us for the band from New Jersey called Sapremia. Maybe one day a tour of both of us will happen.

Any plans for any new material?

Julian: We are working on new material and trying to sell it to labels and stuff. We play new stuff at shows here and there and we do plan on recording it. Hopefully we will have an album before the year is over.

I see you played in Solstice for a short while?

Julian: I played with Solstice for a couple of months last year. When I was offered to join I had no idea who they were but then realized they are legends. It was a great experience playing for a classic band. I was younger than all of them by at least 15 years but it was fun. They’re all great guys.

Can you tell us about your other project Munchausen?

Julian: I was sitting at home one day and I was coming up with grind riffs. Nothing was going on with my other band at the moment so I figured to form a small fun project. I then talked to my girlfriend Shyann and said, “Hey, we should make some grindcore or something. Maybe you can sing.” She told me she didn’t know what to do and I said, “Well, just yell.”

Shyann: Then we discovered that I sound like bullshit. I honestly thought I sounded like crap, but everyone else loved it. I don’t know why, since I’m not trying to do anything spectacular. But I get good reactions so I’ll keep doing it.

Julian: You combine Barney from Napalm Death and Mike from Eyehategod, then make it a girl voice and you’ll get Shyann.

Well if you think about it, grindcore vocals are good for grind but in general are shit vocals. 

Shyann: Yes, it works out that way.

Julian: Unless you’re the dude from Insect Warfare. His vocals are just awesome.

Are you guys working on an album? Anywhere people can hear you guys?

Shyann: We do have a bandcamp where you can hear our stuff. We have two singles up on there. We might upload others. Who knows.

Julian: Shyann wanted to keep us as low-key as possible. We mostly just focus on playing shows instead of mostly putting our music out there. I find it annoying when bands over promote. I see it all the time, bands trying to force you to like their Facebook page or wear their own shirts live or even remind you they have merch between every song they play.  I’m just like, “Dude, let them find out.”

Shyann: It just pisses me off whenever a friend of mine has a band and their stuff is just all over the place. It’s not just 3 or 5 friends, it’s many assholes online who just spam everywhere. “Like Us on Facebook. Check Out our bandcamp. Look, we’re in this video. Look at our Instagram.” It’s over saturation and just way too much promoting. With Munchausen we just set just set out to make music for fun and don’t care about being huge or forcing our band down peoples throat on stuff like Twitter. I think Twitter is the dumbest shit in the world.

I noticed a song called “Comparing Turds” where you bash random bands in the lyrics. How did you come up with this song?

Shyann: I used to join all these metal groups about a year ago. I think I first saw it in this group called “Unpopular Metal Opinions.” Most of the time when someone compared two bands if someone thought both sucked they would comment “comparing turds” or some variation of it. The one who used it the most was this one girl who was an obvious black metal elitist. We became friends since we both like raw black metal and hate everything. She’s very weird. Whenever we chat she always randomly says that a random band sucks. I eventually got banned from those groups and me and her made our own metal opinions group together. I randomly searched the chat and typed in the word sucks and I got many results such as “Mastodon sucks,” “King Parrot sucks” and “Aeon sucks.” I agree with these bands being bad and we decided to write this song as a tribute to her.

Julian: We aren’t bashing her in any way. We love her. It’s a tribute.

Okay, time for the last question. If you were trapped on a desert an could only bring one album which would it be and why?

Julian: Damn that’s hard. I’d have to go with Blut Aus Nord’s “777-Sect(s).” Some of the nastiest, most experimental black metal out there. I love that band. Very varied and dark. The art is amazing too.

Shyann: For me it would be Alice in Chains self titled album. Alice in Chains is my favorite band of all time. People find it weird when I say that because I’m known for listening to all this ambient black metal. They’re pretty much what got me into I guess you could say heavy music. That album in particular has gotten me through hard times. So if I was trapped on a desert island and somehow had a CD player, that would be the album I’d hope would somehow be there.

 

 

 

 

 

My Experience At MDF 2016 – Part 2: Saturday

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After a most excellent Friday night we woke to another crazy day with an even better lineup to boot. After some Chipotle Jason and I headed to the venue while Herb and Matt went back to the hotel. The two of us got to the fest just in time for a band we both really wanted to see.

Demonical

A Centinex offshoot, Demonical which were similar to their step-band and  also like Centinex, they were killer live.

Gruesome… again

Since Gruesome was playing the same exact set again (this time on the day they were actually scheduled), I just used this time to look at merch. Seeing as nothing changed, it’s safe to say they played and sounded well.

Deranged

Swedish brutal death metal legionaries Deranged were another band I was curious about. BDM is hit or miss to me and this band was a surefire hit. Around this time Herb and Matt finally came to the lot.

Tulus

Another band I was curious about. Tulus are a 90’s black metal band from Norway that just never got as big as acts like Mayhem and Darkthrone. Tulus was good but nothing mind-blowing. They also did a very random cover of “Slowly We Rot” by Obituary.

Hirax

California thrash legends Hirax were one of the Saturday bands I wanted to see the most. As soon as their set started they easily became one of the fest’s best. They sounded spot on and vocalist Katon W. De Pena showed the crowd how it’s done.  Pena was running around shaking everyone’s hands and giving crazy facial expressions that reminded me of a friend back home.

Atrophy

In the ashes of Hirax’s wake were another 80’s thrash band called Atrophy. To me they were not offensively bad but were very forgettable and boring. Long story short, Hirax is a tough act to follow.

Hail of Bullets

While I am a big fan of Martin Van Druuen’s work in both Asphyx in Pestilence, I find Hail of Bullets boring and this set (which didn’t even have him in the lineup) didn’t improve my view of them at all.

Impaled Nazarene

After two boring bands, the fest got good again with Finland’s Impaled Nazarene. I had seen them at my very first MDF back in 2011 and found their set to be powerful and lots of fun. During most of the set I hung with Coco who I met at last year’s MDF.

Exciter

These speed/thrash titans were the band I wanted to see the most of Saturday’s Edison Lot lineup. Exciter had the entire original members playing this show as well (always a plus). Their set was intense with more moshing then you’d expect from a band this old-school. After they wrapped up their set I ran down to Soundstage.

Haemorrhage

Being one of my favorite goregrind bands, I was pretty excited to see Haemorrhage. Since I’ve already seen Nuclear Assualt twice and Testament once before I figured I was done with Edison lot for the day. Between Haemorrhage’s awesome songs, energy and the theatrics of the lead vocalist Lugubrious (yes, his stage name is Lugubrious), this was one of the best sets of the year.

Infest

Powerviolence pioneers Infest followed, continued and indulged in the lugubriousness. I only watched a little of their set (though I’d later find out they actually didn’t play that long), what I saw was intense (like all hardcore shows should be).

Grave Miasma

After Infest I headed to Rams Head and caught up with Herb. Grave Miasma put on a crushing,  heavy performance that impressed just about everyone in the crowd but Herb (how they didn’t I’ll never know) and prepared us for what was next.

Dragged Into Sunlight

Dragged Into Sunlight were another one of the bands I wanted to see most (esepcially since they dropped last year). They did not disappoint at all. Dragged Into Sunlight’s multi-subgenre sound translated very well at Rams Head and their performance was top notch. On stage were flicking strobe lights while the singer T (what’s up with these stage names?) had his back turned to the audience. This didn’t stop the band from having a really intense pit. After their set we stayed for one more Rams Head band.

Craft

Originally I was going to see Discharge at this time but unfortunately they dropped due to issues with their Visas (why don’t they just get MasterCards and be done with it?). Because of that we decided to see Craft instead while Jason went to see Drugs of Faith at the Sidebar Tavern.While a downgrade from the amazing set Dragged had, Craft still delivered and it was cool to catch this classic band.

After Craft’s set we said goodbye to a bunch of our concert friends and went back to the hotel where Matt and Herb were.

Check out the final part here.

 

My Experience At MDF 2016 – Part 1: Friday

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Another year, another MDF and another adventure. With an amazing line up as always, I knew I wasn’t going to break the chain of MDF every year.

The night before, my friend Matt and I stayed at our friend Herb’s and headed for the annual metal fest the next morning. When got to the hotel we dropped off our stuff, met up with our friend Jason and headed down to the venue. After taking a cab down, we got there around 3:50 and started watching the band that was on.

Centinex

We got there during the middle of Swedish death legends Centinex’s set. Due to en-route traffic, we missed Horrendous and a good chunk of this band’s set. However, I was still able to catch several songs from them including the classic track “Moist Purple Skin.” Centinex sounded great and the fans were not disappointed.

Novembers Doom

Next up were Chicago’s melodeath/doom giants Novembers Doom. Around this time I ran into some of my Chicago friends who included members of Nucleus and Morditorium. I also ran into members of a Facebook group I’m part of. While I do like Novembers Doom I was never a massive fan. With that said, I did enjoy their set and thought they sounded great.

Wormed

Spain’s brutal death outfit Wormed transitioned the tone of the crowd from slowly brooding to intense and mosh heavy. Being one of my favorite bands of this subgenre, I was stoked to see them and my expectations were exceeded. After their set Jason and I head to Soundstage.

Bruce X Campbell

With a name liked that who would skip them? Bruce X Campell are a power violence act named after the one and only Bruce Campbell himself. And like the man with the iron chin, they were awesome.

Gruesome

After Bruce X Campell I head back to Edison lot. During this time slot, the classic death metal band Sinister was supposed to play, but due to dropping at the last possible minute Gruesome (who were already scheduled to play the next day) took the slot.

Gruesome is a band I have mixed feelings about. I don’t dislike their music but at the same time feel no need to listen to it as it sounds so much like Death that it feels pointless when Death’s music still exists. I watched them with an open mind.  They sounded good live and were fun to see. They also did a great job with the Death covers they played.

Hemdale

After Gruesome I went back to Soundstage with Herb based on a recommendation from Herb’s friend Sam. He compared them to acts like General surgery, Exhumed and Carcass – all of which we’re both big fans of. Hemdale was very entertaining and the vocalist told hilarious jokes about the internet.

 

Paradise Lost

I raced back to Edison Lot to catch Paradise Lost. As a fan of mainly just the first 2 albums I was curious of how many tracks from that era they would perform. They played mostly newer songs that were performed well and sounded good live. Midway through the set I did get to hear some tracks I enjoy such as “Rapture,” “Dead Emotion” and “As I Die (the latter being the only post-Gothic song I like).”

Samael

Samael was one of the bands I was curious about seeing once it was announced that they were playing all of “Ceremony of Opposites.” This is my favorite album by them as well as the last one they made that I liked.

When they started I thought they were playing one of their later songs until I realized it was on the album. The band looked like rejects from a bad 2000’s EBM band. They were playing their old songs but remixing them to sound like the later stuff. Though it sounded awful, I was wanted to see how my favorite Samael track “Baphomets Throne” would sound. Sadly, they really fucked it up with not only replacing riffs with synth but with “St.Anger” sounding drums. Once I heard this mess I went back to Soundstage.

Magrudergrind

Though Mayhem were playing at Edison Lot, I figured I’d go see Magrudergrind since I’d seen Mayhem once before. When I arrived I ran into my friends Nick and Cheyenne. All three of us were excited to see these grind greats as we missed them every chance we got. Magrudergrind sounded great and had incredible energy. This was a nice change in pace as the night just got crazier from here.

Rotten Sound

Being one of my all-time favorite (and one of my first) grind bands  I was stoked to finally see Rotten Sound. Continuing the trend of the night, Rotten Sound were even more energetic than Magrudergrind. Using Soundstage’s great sound to its full potential, they were among the best bands of the whole fest.

Repulsion

Next up on Soundstage were grindcore pioneers, Repulsion. I only watched about 20 minutes of their set as I wanted to catch Angelcorpse at 12:30. From what I was able to see, the band really killed and continued the late great shows of Friday night.

Angelcorpse

After 20 minutes of Repulsion, I went over to Rams Head for the last band of the night. Being the main reason for Rams Head Friday, Angelcorpse were the biggest must-see band of the night. From start to finish, Angelcorpse put on one of the most intense live shows I’d ever witnessed. The band’s fast and in-your-face style of blackened death metal really worked. Not a second went by that wasn’t amazing during their set. Angelcorpse was one of the best bands of the fest for sure.

After Angelcorpse, Herb, Matt and I went to our hotel (Jason had no Rams Head tickets) and went to sleep to prepare for the next day’s events.

Part 2 coming soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Experience at MDF 2015: Part 4 – Sunday

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For the final day in Baltimore we (now also joined by Josh’s friend Tom who was with us for just that day) decided to make a trip to legendary writer Edgar Allen Poe’s grave.

I decided to wear my Suspiria shirt; one to wear something that for once wasn’t a band and two because it fit the the atmosphere of the exhibit. After getting a picture with his tombstone we headed back to the Edison Lot, stopping by 7-11 for lunch before heading down to the venue. When we got there we ran into none other then Katherine Katz of Agoraphobic Nosebleed.We all got pictures with Katz and I eventually would get to interview her. For this day I would stay at the Edison Lot for the remainder of its run (just like I did last year).

Masacre

When we finally got to the venue we had already missed the first two bands, so the first one I caught was Colombian death metal band Masacre. Knowing nothing about this band I decided to watch them out of curiosity and damn was this awesome. I couldn’t believe a band I never heard of could end up being one of the best bands Sunday had to offer. After this set, I’m now a proud Masacre fan.

Goatsnake

Back in 2011, Goatsnake dropped from playing MDF and where replaced by Ghost.While Ghost were cool to see, I’m glad that this year I finally got to see this stoner/doom super group.

Goatsnake was a nice break from the extreme nature of Masacre and most of the bands from previous days. Goatsnake had a good sound which helped with their trippy atmosphere (until this show I never noticed how much the singer sounds like Alice in Chains’ Layne Stayley).

Primordial

After seeing death metal then doom we then switched to folk metal with Primordial. As mentioned in part three, I am very picky with folk metal. Primordial is a band that is not only an exception but one I find to be top notch. Primordial sounded much more epic live  – especially when they closed with “Empire falls,” their signature song.

Winter

After Primordial the shift returned to doom but with a deep-seated vengeance. I was super stoked to see these death/doom pioneers as I was always a big fan of their only album,”Into Darkness” for quite some time. As it tends to be in real life, Winter was extremely heavy and crushing – one of the heaviest bands on the fest.

Anaal Nathrakh

England’s Anaal Nathrakh were yet another one of my “must-see’s” (Sunday was on a roll). With the exception of the clean vocal sections, the band’s distinct mix of grindcore, black metal and industrial translated great live (a very minor complaint). The crowd went from being crushed by doom to intense moshing. The transition would revert to doom yet again with the next band.

Skepticism

To be honest, I was never a fan of funeral doom. During this band’s set I decided to get food from my favorite MDF vendors Pork Lord Tacos. After eating I went to the shape area. Here I met a girl named Coco who turned out to have read my interview with Teloch of Mayhem as well as friends with my areas infamous Facebook troll Olivia (small world).

Demilich

After Skepticism was over my excitement skyrocketed. One of the bands I wanted to see the most was about to start.

Finland’s tech-death masters were a band I planned on catching no matter who played at the same time. Demilich’s set was perfect: the sound, the energy, the choice of songs – EVERYTHING. This was easily my favorite set from Sunday night and one of my favorites of the whole fest.

Neurosis

Neurosis was always a band I found to be over-hyped. While I am a fan of sludge, the more post-rock infused bands just never did it for me. I was bored during their whole set and was honestly just awaiting to see Amorphis.

Amorphis

Next to Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Amorphis was the fest’s second biggest draw.

This was Amorphis’s second time playing in America (the first being at that year’s 70,000 Tons of Metal cruise). Amorphis was set to play their best album “Tales from One Thousand Lakes” in its entirety.

Unlike ANB (who more then met expectations), Amorphis was the most disappointing band of the entire fest. The main problem was the sound which I immediately noticed was way off. The mic would also tune in and out a lot – most noticeably during the clean vocal sections of “Black Winter Day.”

I didn’t stay for the whole set as I wanted to catch Melt Banana at Soundstage, but people who did told me Amorphis played no encore and would have had time for one if they did. What a bad move for a Sunday headliner.

Melt Banana

Japan’s experimental rock band was up next. I caught up with my friends Nick and Cheyenne and we watched from the rail at Soundstage.

Melt Banana more then made up for Amorphis’s disappointing set. The over-the-top energy mixed with the theatrical light show and vocalist Yasuko Onuki’s chirping vocals made it impossible to not enjoy this experience (she would also talk to the audience in her “chirp voice,” which I thought was pretty funny). As different as it was, Melt Banana was still one of the fest’s best acts.

D.R.I

I had once seen D.R.I. three years ago where they played a two hour set due to it being their anniversary show. Here I only planned to watch them for 45 minutes so it wouldn’t conflict with Portal at Rams Head. Having said that, 45 minutes of D.R.I. is still a lot of songs!

They opened with “Who Am I?” – the perfect way to start a D.R.I. set. Like last time, their energy was great but because of a larger crowd, they were more fun to watch this time around. After watching a decent amount of songs I went over to Rams Head for the final band of the 2015 Maryland Deathfest.

Portal

I got into Rams Head and watched Portal set up from one of the TV screens before finding a great spot where I could see everything.

Portal had a dark theatrical performance that went well with their odd, atmospheric music. They were going over time and their equipment’s power was eventually shut off. This didn’t stop them from finishing their last song. Overall, they were a great way to finish the fest.

After their set Josh,Tom, Matt, Nicole and I went back to the hotel (Jason had already gone back after D.R.I.) before heading home the next day. As always, MDF 2015 was a success and we all can’t wait to see what Evan and Ryan (the fest’s organizers) have in store for us this year.

My Experience at MDF 2015: Part 3 – Saturday

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Saturday was going to be the roughest day of the fest. With so many good bands across the stages, I knew I’d end up moving around a lot.

Before the show we stopped at a pharmacy since some of our friends needed a few things. Here I ran into Joe Sullivan of Metal Rules TV (this was an awesome surprise as his concert reviews are a big influence on mine). Today was the only day that our group included two more people, Gwen and Joff (this was due to them only having Saturday Edison tickets).

Fulgora

As early as 12:15 P.M. (seriously MDF wtf?) Fulgora played. I went into this set knowing nothing about them except that they’re on Phil Anselmo’s of Pantera fame’s Housecore Records. The band played some kind of sludge/death metal mix with a space theme.The drums were impressive but sadly, nothing else was.

Serpentine Path

After Fulgora were done another sludge/death metal fusion took the stage. This was one I was more familiar with. Playing a sludge influenced version of 90’s death doom, Serpentine Path crushed it.

Twilight of the Gods

Twilight of the Gods is a Bathory influenced power metal band. Although power metal is normally not my thing, I will admit this band played well. I’d heard the band started out as a Bathory cover band, which would have been awesome if they played some Bathory songs.

Morpheus Descends

The first of the “must-see” bands of Saturday. Being from the area Morpheus Descends is from, I’d seen them twice before (both secret shows). Now was time to see them play to a much larger audience.

I was joined by Pearl and Andrew of Chicago death metal band Moratorium.We all watched Morpheus Descends play their classic tracks such as “Immortal Coil” and “Corpse Under Glass.” It felt both weird and awesome to see a band from my area play the main stage at a huge festival.

Einherjer

After watching some death metal from familiar ground the lot shifted to viking black metal from Norway. I tend to be pretty picky when it comes to the whole folky side of metal, but Einherjer was always one of the ones I dug. Their epic and atmospheric sounds really translated well on Edison. I could have done without the people in Turisas shirts dancing funny, but it was a fun set regardless. After these guys I would run over to Soundstage.

Full Of Hell

After getting some cheap 7-11 food I went into Soundstage for some powerviolence. Full of Hell played their brand of hyper-aggressive noise really well. I didn’t stand too close to the stage as I was going to leave right after their set.

Vulcano

I rushed back to Edison Lot and got there just in time for some Brazilian thrash. I never had the chance to check these guys out before and boy did I wish I had.They played very raw and primitive old-school thrash that quickly reminded me of Sarcofago and old Sepultura.

Bulldozer

After watching one of Brazil’s most obscure thrash bands, it was time for an Italian one.

I will admit though I’ve made fun of some of their weird ideas and lyrics in articles in the past, I don’t dislike them at all and find them fun to listen to. With that said, I actually really enjoyed their set. My friend Herb, who was standing right up front yelled at them to play their infamous “Dance Got Sick” EP -t o which the bands vocalist, A.C. Wild heard him and laughed.

Tryptikon

On the car ride here Josh and I were both discussing what Tryptikon’s set would be like. We wondered if it would be all Tryptikon songs or if there would be any Celtic Frost covers thrown in for good measure (either variation would’ve been cool). I mentioned that I doubted they would play “Proclamation of the Wicked” or any Hellhammer songs.

As soon as the set started I was wrong. They opened up with “Proclamation of the Wicked,” playing it in the slowed down Tryptikon style. I watched it with my Albany friends Filip and Craig and while we were pretty far, we heard them nice and clear where we were. They played a mix of Trypikon songs and Celtic Frost classics. Singer/guitarist Tom G. Warrior proved me wrong once again when the band played the Hellhammer track “Messiah.” Not only was it an amazing set, it one of the best performances of the whole fest.

Matyrdod 

I rushed back to the Soundstage yet again to catch these Swedish crusties in action, who played a fun energetic set. After Matyrdod I went once again back to Edison.

Arcturus

I got back to Edison right when these guys were about to set up. A very different band on the bill, Artcurus are a Norwegian metal band with avant-garde influences. The bands sound turned off a lot of people but I was excited to finally get to see them (especially after their great new album “Arcturian”). Vortex’s vocals sounded spot-on and the band’s campy theatrics were fun as hell to watch. Arcturus had a great set, playing material from most of their albums.

Razor

The last band of Edison Lot was the old-school Canadian thrash band Razor. While I still wish Sodom didn’t cancel their appearance, seeing Razor was still pretty cool. The band delivered a great thrash performance and a set that included a lot of classics. Herb and I left 15 minutes before their set ended to catch a band we both wanted to see at Rams Head.

Gnaw Their Tongues

We got into Rams Head to watch what was probably the second biggest outlier on the bill next to Mobb Deep. Gnaw Their Tongues play electronic music with black metal influences.

Instead of a full band it was a man programming beats on his laptop while another member did shrieks. I’m not a huge fan of electronic music, but this band is a pretty big. Gnaw Their Tongues had a lot of walk-outs due to being so different from many other bands on the bill, but I enjoyed the haunting atmosphere the band brought with them. Towards the end of their set I yet again went back to Soundstage.

Wolfbrigade

Wolfbrigade are the band that got me into crust punk and are still one of my favorites of the genre. They killed with their high energy and intense circle pits.Their whole set reminded me of first checking these guys out in 12th grade and learning what crust punk is all about.

Agoraphobic Nosebleed

The time had come for the main attraction of the entire fest: Agoraphobic Nosebleed’s first official live show.

The expectations where high. Just the thought of being part of the first real show from a band that never plays live was mind-blowing enough. The venue was extremely crowded. Anyone who had a pass that allowed access to Soundstage on Saturday was here.

The band more then met expectations. The energy was top notch. The sound was crystal-clear and extremely loud and their set had the most violent pit I had ever seen.

ANB would end up being my favorite performance of the entire fest. It felt as if the band had been building up to this very moment from the day they started. When ANB finished we traveled back to the hotel. Walking with us were a bunch of Josh and Nicole’s friends who were also blown away by this moment as well as a guy with a traffic cone on his head yelling that he was the singer for Portal (not making this up).

Check out the final part (Sunday) right here.

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.

The Vault: My Experience at Maryland DeathFest 2014 Part 1 – Friday

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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.”

Back in late 2013 when the full line up for Maryland DeathFest 2014 was announced I knew I HAD to go. Last time I went was in 2011 (I had no money in 2012 and in 2013 I came close but didn’t go due to being in the probationary period at a new job. By now I had been working for almost a year and was going to earn vacation hours, so I found a group of friends to go with, booked our hotel and we were ready. May 23rd came soon enough (wasn’t able to do the Thursday date) and the MDF journey began .

FRIDAY

I arrived just in time for the doors to open. Even when standing right in line I was greeted by friendly metalheads from around the world. I met up with a few of my concert going friends from my area as well as some people I hadn’t seen since 2011 – all before the first band got on stage who turned out to be…

Castevet

Castevet - Photo

First up was this “hipster” black metal/hardcore fusion from New York City. For the most part, bands who fall under post-metal or post-anything genres generally tend to bore me and this band was no exception. I could barely pay attention as the band just sounded like Deafheaven with a small bit of punk influence. After a few songs, I just walked over to the other Edison lot stage awaiting something unholy.

MGLA

Hailing from Poland comes the unholy two-piece (a four-piece during live onslaughts) known as MGLA. This band played an intense set of raw drawn out black metal that reminded me a bit of Darkthrone during their most acclaimed era. If someone introduced me to this band as part of the 90’s Black Metal Inner Circle I would believe them. Though their sound fits well into that style, they did not sound like a carbon copy “kvlt” tribute band. MGLA was the first of many raw black metal bands to play the fest for the second time.

The Ruins of Beverast

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First of the bands on my MUST SEE list for the fest was The Ruins of Beverast. If you read my previous blog on my top ten albums of 2013 then you know I LOVE this band. I was in such disbelief when I found out they were added to the bill. I had no idea this one man act from Germany played live shows at all, let alone that I was actually going to see them. This band killed. Though Ruins atmosphere works a little bit better in studio (and probably at indoor venues), the band still sounded pretty damn creepy live and they played a great set of songs – including my all-time favorite Ruins track “I Raised This Stone as a Ghastly Memorial.” After their set my friend and I headed out of Edison to go get a bite to eat as well as walk over to sound stage to see…

ACXDC (Anti-Christian Demoncore)

Laugh at the name all you want, these guys kick ass. Originally I wasn’t planning on seeing this band as I had not heard a single song by them, but my friend Jason was heading over to Soundstage and I had no idea how to get there – plus a band I wanted to see was scheduled on the same stage right after so I figured why not? ACXDC sound nothing like AC/DC (though that would have been awesome). Instead, they play a modern take on 90’s powerviolence. Their set was intense with the pit going wild and Jason stage diving like crazy. All and all, ACXDC was a pleasant surprise and since I was already at Soundstage i didn’t have to worry about being late to…

Coffins

Coffins

Japanese extreme giants Coffins were one of Fridays two outliers for Soundstage (the venue was mostly a punk line up). They play a style of death/doom that leans more towards death metal similar to Asphyx and Autopsy. Originally they were scheduled to only play Thursday and missing them would have been the only reason I was regretting not getting a Thursday ticket (I had already seen Crowbar twice and  Tryptikon would eventually drop off the bill),  but when when The Secret dropped and Coffins took their time slot my regrets went out the window. Whether its games, movies, music or anime, Japan is known for making things energetic and over the top and Coffins’ live performance was no stranger to this. For a band that falls under doom they had tons of energy and it reflected in the audience as the pit transformed from punk rock circle pitting to extreme metal moshing. Sound-wise Coffins were definitely one of those bands that sound better live then in studio. I left their set 10 minutes early so I didn’t miss a minute of…

TAAKE

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Heading back to Edison (while hanging with a girl I met at the 2011 MDF and the bassist from ACXDC), I got back just in time to see Hoest’s crazy outfit. This was Taake’s first US show so there was no way in hell I was going to miss this. Hoest has always been one to get attention from the black metal crowd whether it be saying “Go suck a Muslim,” performing with his penis exposed or making out with the lead vocalist of Sweden’s Shinning and here he performed in a costume that made him look worthy of a Sith lord. This of course did not distract from the intensity that the band brought on. They had a great set list playing favorites from both old and newer albums. Taake blew both Ruins and MGLA out of the water but even their extreme intensity was no match for …

Capitalist Casualties

Ever since my buddy Nick first showed me them a few years ago I had been curious to see them. CC is a pioneering West Coast powerviolence band that has been around since 1986. These guys may be old timers but they had more energy the most bands half their age . This set  had the most intense mosh pit I had ever seen. Old-school powerviolence bands were known for their intense pits but were balanced out by the fact that they played small shows with a limited crowd. Here we had those same intense PV pits but at a huge fest.  The pit area became a battlefield which, along with seeing Nick live his childhood dreams made the show even more entertaining. They played a 45 minute set of short songs. As much as i enjoy grind and powerviolence bands with short songs, I feel bands like that are meant to have short sets. CC was though a huge exception as not a minute went by where I was bored. After their set I headed back to Edison yet again to see…

Agalloch

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I had been a big fan of Portland’s Agalloch ever since I first heard “Not Unlike the Waves.” Call it, dark metal, black metal, folk metal, etc., Agalloch’s unique sound has been labeled as so many things and on every album they have evolved and seem to always put out quality work. Their album “The Serpents and Sphere’s”  is destined to make my top ten of 2014 and is my second favorite album of there’s next to 2002’s “The Mantle.” Like Ruins, they were one of the bands I was most stoaked for on Friday. Sadly, they were the biggest disappointment on the whole fest.When I got to the Edison stage I noticed that they were already playing though they were not scheduled for another 10 minutes. At first that sounds cool like, “Yeah more Agalloch, right?” But in reality, it meant they rushed their soundcheck. The bass overpowered every other instrument. Since Agalloch were never much of a bass-driven band, this just made them sound like a mess of noise as they butchered not only their new album but their classics as well. Hopefully next time they will do better. After Agalloch it was time for the last Edison band that night.

At The Gates

Along with Ruins, Agalloch, and Incantation, Sweden’s melodeath creators At The Gates were one of the top of the must-see bands criteria for Friday. I have been a fan of At The Gates since I was in the 10th grade and felt extremely nostalgic when watching their set. Their set list was mostly songs off of “Slaughter of the Soul” with a few older tracks. To some that sounds disappointing (I even heard a drunk dude in the back say it’s “metalcore without breakdowns”), but personally, I greatly enjoyed that album and as for the litany of bands that ripped it off…not so much. There was a big rumor going around that they were going to debut songs from there then upcoming album “At War With Reality” at MDF, but it turned out to be false. Either way, I didn’t care as I was just happy to finally see these guys live. They ended their set with “Kingdom Gone” – my favorite track off the debut. The gates of Edison were closing and it was time to go to return to SoundStage to see…

Impaled

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Carcass worshipers Impaled  are mostly known for being the unmasked members of the crossover thrash band Ghoul. They were the 2nd outlier on the Soundstage that day as well as the headliner. I did not get to watch too much of their set as their delayed sound check pushed them set back 15 minutes. From what I did get to watch (about like 20 minutes) they were pretty fun and I kind of wish I could have watched more but i had to leave for Rams Head at 12:30 to make sure I caught…

Incantation 

The time had finally come  for the band I wanted to see the most on Friday; the nights feature presentation: Pennsylvania classic death metal act Incantation. I absolutely love this band. They have been around since the early 90’s and still are able to put out killer releases (the album “Vanquish in Vengance ” was one of my top ten 2012 releases). I had once seen guitarist/vocalist John Mcentee’s other band Funerus play with Krisiun and Abnormality up in my area code last year but now was time to see his main band. Jason and I met up with my New Jersey friend Herb and we chilled as we awaited this moment. Once Incantation started we were all blown the fuck away. Rams Head by far had the best sound system of all three venues. The bands powerful sound was given great justice and they were loaded with energy. Incantation’s set list was great as they played plenty of songs from both the old and new eras. Incantation won the night and was a perfect closer for MDF Friday. After the set Jason and I went back to our hotel for some sleep after a successful night of metal. After all, we were just warming up, things were only going to get better.

Read Part 2 here.