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).
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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).
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Anthony: It’s crazy how fast it sold out. I remember when I first got into doom and how no one was into it. How that times changed.
Chris: Doom pretty much became the flavor of the month once Black Sabbath started up again. I remember barely any doom bands around and then all of a sudden you can’t find a show around here without one.
Anthony: Maryland Deathfest gets loaded with doom now.
Chris: The D is unofficially for doom at this point. My 5th is also at Webster hall. My number five goes to At the Gates on April 12.
Anthony: With Vallenfye Pallbearer and Converge right?
Chris: Yes they were. I got to see them on their reunion tour in 2008, when we thought it was one and done. Then they came back and put out a new album that I thought was decent, but impossible to live up to Slaughter of the Soul. In my opinion they should have just toured but maybe they were pressured into it and maybe they were jonesing for a new record anyway. This show was unbelievable knowing what At The Gates can do. I rank it at 5 because I’m not crazy about any of the openers minus Pallbearer.
Anthony: I caught At The Gates at Maryland Deathfest 2014. It was pretty killer. How did Pallbeaer do? I never caught them live.
Chris: They did very well. One of the best shows I’ve been to this year.
4: Nuclear Assault (9/12/2015) Gramercy Theater, NYC
Anthony: I guess my number 4 would be Nuclear Assault at Gramercy theater.
Chris: Mine as well. If in fact this is Nuclear Assault’s last outing, it was a great send-off in their hometown
Anthony: I think after that one off show on Maryland Deathfest they are done.
Chris: Just the overall atmosphere was great. A bunch of hometown heroes and their friends. You couldn’t ask for a better ending.
Anthony: That was my second time seeing them. Both times they killed it. John Connelly’s voice sounds just as good it did in the 80’s. Having Whiplash open was a good choice too.
Chris: John always sounds awesome. I caught them at their semi-secret reunion in 2010 as well. Whiplash surprised me. I was not sure if they would be that good but they definitely still had their chops. It seems like they got better with age, and they were already good. Murphy’s law was a lot of fun too. Their energy was great and they were funny as hell.
Chris: They made if feel like a ceremony because they brought their whole crew with them onstage. It felt like a big house party.
3: Napalm Death,Voivod,Exhumed,Iron Regan and Ringworm (2/8/2015) The Chance Theater, Poughkeepsie, NY and Ghost (9/27/2015) Terminal 5, NYC
Anthony: I guess since this was 4 for both of us. I’ll go with my 3rd choice, 3 would be Napalm Death, Voivod, Exhumed, Iron Regan and Ringworm at the chance theater.
Chris: That sounds ridiculous. I forgot about that tour
Anthony: It was a crazy show both the line up itself and what happened that day. I got to interview Barney (Greenway) in person. Hes a great guy and I was starstruck. He gets extra points for bashing the Chance’s disgusting bathrooms. The best performances were them Exhumed and Iron Reagan. Voivod’s set could have been better and of course a shout out to the local opener Blast Furnace. Those dudes are always awesome.
Chris: The above three are always great. Haven’t seen them in awhile but looking forward to Napalm Death and The Melvins as well as Vektor and Voivod.
Anthony: Voivod were amazing at Maryland Deathfest 2011 and had a much better set. I plan on going to the Napalm Death/Melvins show as well.
Chris: My 3 would be Ghost at Terminal 5 . It was my first time seeing them and was blown away by their presence.
Chris: They’re unbelievable. The house was packed and it was the same week the Pope was in town so there was a very ominous vibe in the air.
Anthony: I wonder if that was scheduled on purpose.
Chris: Could be. Also the opener Purson was pretty good too. Their singer/guitarist was a breath of fresh air. She’s got a lot of charisma.
Anthony: Never heard of them. Last time I saw Ghost the opener was King Dude who was cool but didn’t fit the bill at all.
Chris: I heard mixed reactions about King Dude on that show, but their music is pretty decent. Purson is similar to Coven in that female-fronted psychadelic rock (which a lot of people mistake for doom).
Anthony: Coven-esque bands are pretty common nowadays.
Chris: Unfortunately, a lot of people are jumping on that but this one stood out.
2: Maryland Deathfest XIII (5/21/2015-5/24/2015) Baltimore, MD
Anthony: My 2nd place choice would be the Almighty Maryland Deathfest.
Chris: That would have been my first but I feel like because I didn’t go to it that puts in second for me as well. I have yet to go but i’m clamoring for one.
Anthony: It’s an experience. This was my third time going. This was the only year where I went all four days. I normally skip Thursday.
Chris: It sounds like the raddest party. I feel like the 10,000 Tons of Metal cruise is becoming the semi-mainstream version of this. Which band was your favorite at this year’s Maryland Deathfest?
Anthony: I’d say Agoraphobic Nosebleed had the best performance. Craziest pit ive ever seen. Demilich was a close second though.
Chris: Wasn’t that one of their (Agoraphobic Nosebleed) first shows or something?
Anthony: First official show. Also the Mobb Deep bonus show that was packaged with it was cool to0 though we left when it looked like fights were starting.
Chris: I could see that happening due to a mixed crowd.
Anthony: Yeah more metalheads were watching them than rap fans.
Chris: Groovy. I think our number one is the same band, possibly a different show each,
1: King Diamond and Exodus (11/20 and 11/21/2015) Playstation Theater, NYC
Chris: Me too, which night?
Anthony: The 21st, I also caught King Diamond at Mayhem Fest but this show throws it out of the water. Mainly because of King playing all of Abigail and not having to sit through Hellyeah and Devil Wears Prada. Slayer and Jungle Rot ruled though.
Chris: I saw the man himself on the 20th, night two for me.
Mayhem Fest shot themselves in the foot with that lineup.
Anthony: I can’t believe how much he (King Diamond) recovered.
Chris: Me too. I had tickets for King Diamond and Kreator in 2008 – just before he had the back surgery and then the triple bypass so when this was announced I was so psyched because that tour got cancelled for the above reasons. I would up having my friend go down to the venue the day the first night tickets went on sale and he got tickets for the second night about an hour before they were officially announced so it was a sweet score.
Chris: Exodus was great as usual, I liked how their merchandise played off of NWA’s imagery. It was nice seeing them with Zetro. How do you think they got screwed?
Anthony: Maybe it was just my show, but when I saw them they didn’t even play for half an hour and had no pit. They were much better when I caught them at the Chance with Testament last year.
Chris: I felt that their set could have been longer but “Impaler” was awesome to hear. I still can’t believe they played that. They had a decent set for me and their pit was ok. It could have been bigger but the crowds were mostly older fans. There were a few dads and their grown children in attendance.
Anthony: I was so glad King Diamond played “Melissa” and “Come to the Sabbath” back to back, especially since those songs were connected. The fact that they were right before the Abigail part of the set made it seem like a short film before the main one.
Chris: I agree. He also played “Curse of the Pharoahs” for me which was awesome. I just remember that this was the first show in a very long time where I was smiling and legitimately happy the entire time.
Anthony: This might very well be the best live performance Iv’e ever seen.
Chris: It did a lot for me personally. It definitely has earned a spot in the top five of all time.
Anthony: Same here.
Chris: The King is King, what more can I say?