Tag Archives: mdf 2015

My Experience at MDF 2015: Part 4 – Sunday

maryland-deathfest-2015

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

maryland-deathfest-2015

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.

My Experience at MDF 2015: Part 2 – Friday

maryland-deathfest-2015

After resting Thursday night, the five of us (Josh, Nicole, Jason, Matt and I) ventured to the Edison Lot. We arrived an hour before the first band to look at merch.

At the Season of Mist tent I finally met Enrique, the labels PR in person (who thanks to my connections I’ve been able to conduct several interviews for the label’s artists). Before we knew it, 2pm started to roll around and it was time for the first band.

Artificial Brain 

Friday started with Long Island tech-death metal in the form of Artificial Brain. At the time I’d heard a lot of hype about this band but sadly, I didn’t get the hype. Artificial Brain was very technical but not in a fun way.

Funebrarum

After being bored by those damn Long Islanders, it was time for a slice of New Jersey  to take stage. I had seen these guys once before at MDF 2011. Like at that year’s fest, they killed.

Cianide

Old-school death metal dudes, Cianide where next. The band sounded decent but nothing too amazing.

Vallenfyre

These British death/doom greats were the first band on my Friday “must-see” list. I’ve loved their music ever since their 2011 debut “A Fragile King;” most likely due to the fact that they are an offshoot of Paradise Lost and sound similar as well.

The bands live performance was very impressive and they sounded great. I was extremely happy to hear my favorite Vallenfyre tracks “Splinters” and “Savages Arise” performed so well. After their set Jason and I rushed to Soundstage to catch another of my must-sees for the day.

Flagitious Idiosyncrasy in The Dilapitation

Jason and I got to the venue just as these adorable Japanese ladies were setting up.

Cute pictures and image aside, they are one of heaviest bands from Japan. The energy these girls brought on was intense. I caught up with my friend Nick and his girlfriend Cheyenne as we watched them put on one of the best performances of the whole fest.

Nekrofilth

We stayed at the Soundstage to see Nekrofilth. When they were added to the bill, I checked out some of their material and though it sounded decent. After watching them for about half an hour, I was kinda bored. Something about their set just felt off so Jason and I decided to leave for Edison.

Aura Noir

When we got to Edison Lot, Aura Noir still had about 20 minutes left in their set. I had seen these Norwegian blackened thrash greats once before at MDF 2011. Again, like last time they put on a fun live show. The day would only get better from here on.

Suffocation

Suffocation has always been one of my favorite death metal bands. Their 1995 album “Pierced from Within” is one of my top 10 albums of all time. Before this, it had also been five years since I’d last seen them so they were way over due for another encounter. Suffocation blew me away just like they did five years ago. Between their perfect performance and vocalist Frank Mullen’s jokes, this set blew teveryone in attendance away.

Obituary

These death metal pioneers had been on my “to see” list for quiet some time.When I finally did, I was not disappointed.

While not as energetic as Suffocation, Obituary still delivered with their signature dirty Florida Everglades sound. While they didn’t play “Chopped in Half” (the song that first got me into them), I still greatly enjoyed them.

Bloodbath

The last band of the Edison Lot classic death metal triple feature was Sweden’s Bloodbath.

Many fans worried about this set because Bloodbath’s new vocalist, Nick Holmes had turned off many fans, causing the new album to get mixed reactions. Personally, I didn’t have a problem with that album and the band played a good mixture of songs from their entire career.

Holmes told some pretty funny jokes including asking “if we were sick of death metal yet” (as if).

Bloodbath encored with their two most well known songs, “Eaten” and “Cry My Name” as well as a short cover of the Phantasm theme. After Bloodbath, Jason and I rushed over to sound stage.

Napalm Death

This was the last band Jason, Matt and I watched that night. I had seen Napalm Death earlier that year with Voivod, Exhumed and Iron Regan (That show was killer and I got to interview Barney Greenway in person! ).

The British grind giants opened with “The Silence is Deafening,” which was the first hint that this set list was going to be very different from last time.The band had tons of energy and I enjoyed this performance a lot more due to the venue having better sound.

After Napalm Death was done, Jason, Matt and I left for our hotels while Josh and Nicole watched Aeternus at Rams Head. After stopping at 7-11 for some snacks and running into a homeless, schizophrenic version of Bill Cosby we made it back to the hotel and called it a night.

Click here for part 3 (Saturday).