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My Experience at MDF 2016 – Part 3: Sunday

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After two days of straight-up metal and hardcore we woke up to the last day of this year’s Maryland Deathfest.

Jason,Herb,Matt and I headed to Panera Bread for lunch. After everyone made jokes out of the fact that the name sounds like Pantera, we went over to Edison Lot.

Author’s Note: Due to the schedule no longer being up and not remembering  what order they played, the bands for the day are surmised according to memory and not time.

Denouncement Pyre

First on were black/death band Denouncement Pyre. I decided to give them a look since they are an offshoot of Nocturnal Graves. The band was pretty decent in both sound and performance.

Shed The Skin

Next on was death metal band Shed the Skin. As soon as I saw Kyle Severn from Incantation and his mustache playing the drums I knew this was going to be good. Thankfully I was right.

Nocturnal Graves

Blackened thrash masters Nocturnal Graves were one of the must-see bands of the day for me and they did not disappoint.

Wombbath

Classic Swedish death metallers Wombshedbath were anther one of the bands I wanted to catch the most on Sunday. While their sound was lacking, they were still fun to see.

Desaster

These German black thrashers put on a very fun and energetic performance (although they didn’t top Nocturnal Graves).

Bongzilla

While I do enjoy stoner doom, I always found Bongzilla to be one of the more boring and generic bands of that genre. Live they were no different as I sat in the shade bored.

Interment

As a big fan of Swedish death metal, I always found this band to be a more generic entry and similar to Bongzilla, their live performance didn’t do them any favors.

Incantation

Being one of my favorite death metal bands, seeing Incantation is always a charm. The last time I was able to catch them was at MDF 2014 and they were one of the best performances of that year. While I feel they sounded better then due to playing at the Rams Head, they still killed like always.

Demolition Hammer

Along with Venom, they were one of my top must-see bands of Sunday (and the whole fest!) and they ended up being the best band of the whole Edison Lot. They sounded great and played all of their classics. It was raining a lot on Sunday but this didn’t stop the crowd from circle pitting as hard as they could.

Satan

The second to last band on the bill was the New Wave of British Heavy Metal band Satan. While traditional metal was never something I was big on (outside of the main bands and a few other exceptions), I can appreciate it when it’s good – and Satan were really good. They had a great sound, great energy and their songs were pretty catchy and memorable.

Venom

The last band of the Edison Lot was a band I was really interested in seeing. Earlier this year, I saw the offshoot Venom Inc. and they had an amazing set. Now it was time to see how Cronos’ band measures up to that version of the band.

While Venom didn’t have as good as a set list as Venom Inc. (Venom’s set kinda had too many later songs), they did play classics like “Buried Alive” and “Warhead.” These staples sounded amazing thanks to Cronos’ vocals. This made both Venom and Venom Inc. experiences pretty even. After Venom finished with “Black Metal” (of course), Herb and I headed down to Sound Stage. After chilling with his friend Greg, I made it in time for the last band.

Doom

I had seen crust punk legends Doom back at MDF 2011. It was about time I’d hear them play a longer set. Just as 2011, they ruled and were a nice end to the fest.

After Doom’s set Jason and I headed back to the hotel (while Herb watched Mystifer). We all went to sleep and already wondered what next year will hold.

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 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.