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My Experience at MDF 2018 – Part 2: Friday

After waking up pretty damn late Friday morning I headed down to a local food mart with Genoveive to get ingredients to make chicken fajitas. After our nice home made dinner and some time hanging, I headed down with Matt at around 6 p.m. to catch the first band I wanted to see.

Morta Skuld

The only album I’ve heard from these guys was their debut which I always liked but never found too amazing. I figured I’d catch them live anyway. They played a very fun and energetic set that made for a nice warm up.

Lord Gore

After catching up with two of my Chicago friends for a short while, I headed to Soundstage for the one goregrind band I saw at the fest.

Like goregrind bands that tend to be at the fest, these dudes had a set of people moshing in circles with balloons and glow sticks everywhere.

Misery Index 

After Lord Gore’s set I went back to Ram’s head and caught the last twenty minutes of Misery Index’s set. I had seen these guys twice before, so I wasn’t so upset about missing here. What I caught was really fun in usual Misery Index fashion and few things beat “Traitors” played live.

Blood Incantation

Next up were the main reason I returned to Ram’s Head. Blood Incantation are one of my favorite modern death metal bands, so I was hugely excited to see them playing a set that both crushed and mesmerized. Blood Incantation were without a doubt one of the top bands of Friday.

Integrity

After chilling with Nick and Cheyenne, I went back to Soundstage to catch a bit of one of the most legendary hardcore acts to every exist. While hardcore was never a genre I was huge on, Integrity was always a huge exception, and as expected, they killed.

God Dethroned

Next up at Ram’s Head were the band I wanted to see most. After hearing their new album I was even more stoked. The band sounded great both when playing tracks of the new one and when playing their classics. They were without a doubt the best band to played that night until…

Eyehategod

I headed back to Soundstage for the band i was most there to see.I had been a fan of these guys since I bought take as needed for pain from high school.The band had a wonderful set that was both doomy and energtic. Not a dull moment went by and  I was so happy to finally see these guys. I stayed for the whole set as I wasn’t too keen on seeing Suffocation without Frank Mullen (I had also seen the band in general several times). All and all it was a nice end to a fun night. After their set the 4 of us got back together and headed to the hotel.

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My Experience at Maryland DeathFest 2017: Part 2 – Friday

After Thursday’s events, Matt and I woke up the next morning, which I felt had one of the most interesting line ups.

We hung around the hotel until around 2 p.m. and walked down to the venue. Outside I met up with Jason and Nicole, then went into Rams Head to catch Skeletal Remains.

Skeletal Remains

Out of all these newer old-school death metal throwbacks, Skeletal Remains is one of my favorites. Their sound is blatantly old-school Florida death metal-inspired while still maintaining their own memorable riffs and songs. They sounded great live and made for an awesome warm up act.

Organ Dealer 

After getting great food at Chicken Rico and hanging out with Nick and Cheyenne, we walked in to see Organ Dealer. I remember when Organ Dealer were just some local level band who would play shows with BillXNye. It was nuts to see them play to a larger crowd and as expected, they delivered.

Morbid Saint 

After Organ Dealer I headed back to Rams Head for to watch thrash legends Morbid Saint.  I had been a fan of these guys since tenth grade, so I was glad to finally see them.  They sounded great and the track “Assassin” was phenomenal live.

Sargiest

After Morbid Saint was one of the bands I was most stoked for and one of my favorite black metal bands, Sargiest. Like most black metal bands, they had an occult setup on their stage and it looked great. The venue’s sound was perfect for the guitarists signature riffs and atmosphere.

Gost

Gost were one of the bands I was most excited for as well and also the band I was most curious about since I never saw a synthwave act live. Gost had one of the most violent pits I have seen at this fest as well as plenty of people dancing awkwardly. The set was mostly instrumental and their stage presence fit the atmosphere of their set well.

Stormtroopers of Beer

After Gost I headed to sound stage to catch SOB (a Stormtroopers of Death cover band consisting of S.OD. member Dan Lilker and General Surgery’s Jocke, Kenneth and Adde). As much as I love S.O.D’s debut, I wasn’t in a rush to catch this version of the band as it lacked iconic vocalist Billy Milano. I got there and caught the last 15 or so minutes of their set – including my favorite S.O.D track, “Pussywhipped.”

Noothgrush

At MDF 2014 I skipped Noothgrush’s set due to a conflict with Unleashed, so I was glad I got another chance to see them. They played an awesome, slow and heavy set, and best of all, bashed Visas during their banter.

Vader

I headed back to Rams Head to catch one of the bands I was dying to see, Vader. These Polish legends were one of my first-ever death metal bands so I knew I needed to see them. The band played their first album The Ultimate Incantation in its entirety. The tracks all sounded great and the band had one brutal pit. It felt so great to hear a band you grew up with kill it live.

Autopsy 

The last band of Friday was Autopsy,  the band I wanted to see most of all. Jason and I sat at the highest part of Rams Head as we needed to see every second of this set. They took forever to set up (leaving us in suspense), but once they started it was magic. “Fleshcrawl,” “Torn From the Womb,” “Voices” and all kinds of awesome tracks were played. This was the perfect way to end the night and Autopsy remained one of the best of the fest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bonesaw Podcast – Episode 34: Exhumed and Gruesome’s Matt Harvey

2364_artist

Things get heavy when we sit down with death metal mastermind Matt Harvey. Harvey talks his bands Gruesome and Exhumed, singing for Exodus and much more in this brutal podcast.

 

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.

My Experience at MDF 2015: Part 2 – Friday

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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).

My Experience at MDF 2015: Part 1 – Thursday

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Memorial Day Weekend was back yet again which of course means another Maryland Deathfest.

The fellowship consisted of Josh (a.k.a. Heavy Metal Horseman), his then-girlfriend Nicole, our friend Matt and I. We spent Wednesday at Josh’s so we could all head out on Thursday to venture into Baltimore for the first day of the fest’s amazing lineup.

On day one (Thursday), Edison (the main stage) wasn’t open but the two smaller stages, Soundstage and Rams Head were. Thursday’s Soundstage was all brutal death metal (and one rap group) while Ram’s Head had all doom bands. Thanks to traffic caused by a baseball game, we arrived at our hotel late. When we finally got there, we met up with our friend Jason who would room with us for the duration of the fest. After checking in and getting everything in order, we walked down to Soundstage.

Mortal Decay

The first band up was Philly’s brutal death metal band Mortal Decay. Because of the traffic, I missed 20 minutes of their set, which wasn’t too sad since I didn’t know this band too well. Brutal death metal is a subgenre that was always hit or miss for me. Mortal Decay was pretty hit and had a very enjoyable set.

Origin

Next up was the ultra technical death metal band, Origin. I’d seen Origin a few times before and they’d always delivered. As always, Origin had tons of energy and vocalist Jason Keyser would crack jokes about everything – including Mobb Deep not fitting the bill and the Baltimore Riots. These guys never disappoint.

Internal Bleeding

Next up were New York’s “slam” pioneers Internal Bleeding. This band never fully interested me and even live I just found their songs boring. Their set was slightly redeemed when they let everyone get on stage. This included Josh wearing his horse mask, a guy in a penis suit and the MDF chicken (yes, there is a man in a chicken getup at MDF). After Inernal Bleeding’s set I went to Seven Eleven for some cheap food then back to Soundstage for the next band.

Skinless 

Like Origin, I’d seen Hudson Valley brutal death masters Skinless a few times (including MDF 2011). Like Origin, they always kill. Skinless had tons of energy and an amazing set list. My favorite part was seeing Keyser again, singing on songs from “Trample the Weak” (the album he appeared on). This gave me memories of when I first saw Skinless back when he was in the band. Without a doubt Skinless were my favorite band to see Thursday night.

Devourment

This was the third time I went to a show with Devourment on the bill.The first time was at MDF 2011 and the second time was on tour with Dying Fetus and Exhumed. Devourment dropped both of those shows. This time however, they actually played. As someone who mostly enjoys older Devourment, I was glad they had a mostly retro set list. The crowd was nuts and got even crazier when they played the classic heart warming song, “Babykiller.” After their set I headed over to Rams Head.

Conan

I walked into Rams Head and heard Jex Thoth play the last minute of their final song. I relaxed on one of Rams Head’s couches as these British stoner doomers set up. Conan was super slow and super heavy, which as a stoner/doom fan I was impressed greatly.

Mobb Deep

After Conan I went back to Soundstage for the Mobb Deep bonus show. When this was first announced as part of the MDF package, a lot of people complained. As a fan of old-school hip hop, I was stoked.

After the hype man had the crowd yell “Mobb Deep” over and over, the legendary New York duo got on stage (fun fact: Mobb Deep were celebrating the 20th anniversary of their classic sophomore album, “The Infamous”). To my surprise, the crowd had more metalheads then rap fans. I watched the set for a little over half an hour before leaving for Ram’s Head due to what looked like a fight starting.

Yob

Next up was the Thursday band I wanted to see the most. Yob is one of my all time favorite stoner/doom bands and my second favorite band from the Portland metal scene (next to Agalloch). Jason and I went in to watch these guys while the rest of our group (due to not being big doom fans) went back to the hotel.

Yob’s set was amazing. The band would draw you in its atmosphere and as soon as you’re calm, the songs crush you with their overbearing heaviness. After they were done we went back to the hotel to get some rest for the next day (one that would blow us away even more).

Check out part 2 here.

The Vault: My Experience at Maryland DeathFest 2014: Part 3 – Sunday

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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 the amazing experiences on Friday and Saturday, it was time for the final day of 2014’s Maryland DeathFest.  This day was mostly doom and sludge metal at the Edison lot, which is why I chose to watch Edison’s entire lineup.

Windhand

First up were Virginia’s female fronted stoner/doom metal outfit Windhand.  They were the most melodic band I’d seen at the fest which felt distinctive after two days of extremities. “Soma,” their latest release at the time was one of my favorite albums of 2013 and it was great to hear it performed live. I loved the way the clean vocals sounded live and thought Windhand’s sound translated well live as a whole. Next up was another stoner/doom band.

Bongripper

I’d been a fan of Chicago’s instrumental stoner/doom crew ever since an old friend of mine decided to randomly show me one of their songs on FaceBook a few years ago. The lack of vocals might turn some people off but I feel Bongripper’s psychedelic atmosphere is perfect on its own. I just sat back and enjoyed the atmosphere’s big change from the intensely violent shows of the past few days for 45 minutes. After Bongripper came yet another doom band.

Graves at Sea

Graves at Sea are a sludge metal band from California. As a big fan of sludge I have always heard of these guys but never got around to listening to them until now. After seeing them I couldn’t believe I hadn’t. The first thing I noticed was the singers unique voice. The music also reminded me quiet a bit of New Orleans sludge greats Eyehategod. All and all it was a fun surprise and after Graves at Sea the days period of slowness ended.

Misery Index

Baltimore’s grindcore three-piece brought the moshing back to MDF. I had seen Misery Index once before open for Cannibal Corpse (with Hour of Penace, Goatwhore and Necroptic Engorgement as well) and they put on a pretty kickass performance. Since I had already seen them before and was getting hungry, I skipped a good amount of their set. I watched the first 20 minutes and then left for the nearest meal.  However, I did get back in time to hear “Traitors.” The next band would continue the intense mosh pits.

Pseudogod

Puesdogod are a Russian black metal band. Like Graves at Sea, they were another band  I’d always heard good things about but never actually got around to. Just like Graves at Sea, I’m glad I finally did.  The Pseudogod’s sound was like a fusion of Incantation and old Morbid Angel with a blackened touch. The rapid-fire drumming was also crushing. Next up was another very blackened band.

Wrathprayer

Puesdogod started the shift in the days genre from sludge/doom to black metal and Wrathprayer continued it. Like Psuedogod, they played blackened death metal. Unlike Psuedogod, these Chileans weren’t very interesting. They just sounded like yet another “kvlt” band who want nothing more than to appeal to the “trve” fans in that market.

Inquisition.

I had seen this Colombian black metal two-piece twice before. The first time was at MDF 2011 (though I only watched two songs due to it being 1:35 A.M.) and the second was as an opener for Marduk and I must say Inquisition owned that show.

Now it was time to see one of my all time favorite black metal bands play a full 45 minute set. Like the other times I had seen them, Inquisition played an in-your-face set with a haunting feel and little talking between songs.A major complaint a lot of people had was that they did not perform there most famous song “Crush the Jewish Prophet.” Although that is a great song, I wasn’t bothered by this as I sometimes feel people forget that’s not the only song in Inquisition’s catalog. Next up was a brief return to sludge.

Soilent Green

At this point I had never seen Nola’s sludge/death/grindcore band live but I had seen Goatwhore several times (which Louis Ben Falgoust II also does vocals). Though their sound is usually considered more sludge than death, their performance defiantly leaned towards death metal. It felt like I was seeing Goatwhore again but playing different songs, which is a good thing. I always loved the energy Goatwhore brings to the stage as well as Ben’s over the top stage moves. While I always found Soilent Green to be average, they put on a great show and the crowd went wild. While I do like Goatwhore more, this live set increased my respect for Soilent Green.

Gorguts

This was my third time seeing Canadian “avant-garde” tech death legends Gorguts.

My first time they were headlining with Origin, Nero di Marte, Necroptic Engorgement and BillxNye. At this show they only played songs from “Colored Sands,” their latest release at the time. While that was a great album (on my top ten of 2013), I wanted to hear more material. The second time I saw them was on 2014’s Decibel magazine tour with Carcass, Noisem and The Black Dahlia Murder. Here they only played three songs.

I figured I would give these guys a third chance to put on a fulfilling set and this time they finally delivered.  Rather than just one, they played songs from all of their albums. Gorguts must have finally gotten promoting only “Colored Sands” out of their system. Next up was the biggest misfit on the bill.

Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats

For these three days I’d been watching a lineup of mostly extreme metal bands and extreme forms of punk. Now it was time for something completely different and not extreme at all.

Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats are a British psychedelic rock band, making them the only non-punk or metal band on the whole fest (not saying it was a bad thing as I do love a lot of psychedelic/classic rock). The bands sound reminded me a bit of Blue Oyster Cult and Uriah Heep.When they ended I went over to the next stage to see the oldest band on the Edison Lot.

Candlemass

I have been a fan of this bands older work since I was 16 years old. They were my introduction to non-Sabbath doom metal (and where I first heard the term).

As excited as I was, I was also a little worried. To me, Candlemass has not had a decent album after “Tales of Creation” and since a lot of the members they have now are from after that album, I was wondering if they would even play much of the classic Candlemass tracks at all. They started their set with “Mirror Mirror” (the first Candlemass song I ever heard). This was my first clue that they’d be awesome. Right after that song, their vocalist Mats Levin announced that they were going to play an old-school set (though one later song was played). When I heard him say this I knew I was going to greatly enjoy this.

Candlemass was up there along with Asphyx and Dark Angel for best bands of the fest. Every song they played was a song I knew and unlike the next band, I’d give them the award for “best setlist.”

My Dying Bride

First off I will admit I’m not a fan of goth doom (I don’t have a problem with it just isn’t for me). I enjoy some Type O Negative and Katatonia every now and then as well as the early albums by this band, but I just wasn’t too thrilled to see these guys.

I decided to give these British goth-doomers  a shot anyway as there second album “Turn Loose the Swans” is one of my favorite death/doom albums. I watched them for a few songs, two of which I saw were from that album while the rest of the set was mostly boring. I wound up getting Subway with two people I met at the show before venturing back to Soundstage .

Ratos de Porao (Basement Rats)

Ratos de Porao is an obscure Brazilian crossover/thrash band similar in style to early D.R.I. I was only going to watch about 30 minutes of their set mainly because Ulcerate was going on shortly after them at Rams Head, but half an hour for a band like this is a lot of songs. Like any thrash show, the crowd was circle pitting hard.

Ulcerate

The New Zealand tech-death giants were probably the most technical band I’d seen on this year’s fest. Unlike most tech-death bands today whose main focus is just showing off, Ulcerate focus more on atmosphere, giving them a sound similar to later Gorguts.

Ulcerate was overpowering and loud thanks to the help of Rams Head’s live’s sound system. The band played a lot off their latest album “Vermis,” an album I greatly enjoyed (though not enough to put it on my top of 2013). Next up was the final band of the fest, who could not have been more brutal.

Immolation

Being from the Hudson Valley (Montgomery specifically), I found it pretty awesome that my areas biggest death metal band was ending this year’s MDF.

I saw these dudes three years ago in Kingston, NY with Gigan and Jungle Rot. It was a powerful show and the crowd tore the place apart (literally). Now it was time to see them decimate again in a bigger venue.

Immolation’s set was very different from the last time I saw them. Between then and now, they had a killer new album called “Kingdom of Conspiracy” and they played a lot of awesome old songs that they didn’t play last time. Like always, vocalist Ross Dolan had amazing stage presence and the crowd (or over-crowd really) was going nuts. After watching a few songs, I started to feel tired (a combination of the heat and watching bands all day). I went upstars and lay down on one of the seats and continued watching from one of the TV monitors. Even watching from a screen the performance was still brutal. After Immolation it was time to go back to the hotel one last time. MDF 2014 was a huge success and I do plan on returning as soon as possible.