Tony’s #4: Belephegor, Shining and Origin at the Gramercy Theater
Tony’s #4: Belephegor, Shining and Origin at the Gramercy Theater
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cannibal Corpse and Cattle Decapitation are two bands I always make the effort to see when they come around. When a show was announced featuring both bands at a venue near me, I had no excuse not to go.
I went to pick up my buddy Jay (aka Keyboards) and we were off. After a ride that consisted of getting stuck in traffic and blasting Vomitory and early Samael, we arrived at “The Chance Theater” in Poughkeepsie, NY and bought our tickets from Will of Necroptic Engorgement. Many friends were at the show (including people I had no idea liked death metal) and Jason Keyser from Origin.
First up were local favorites Necroptic Engorgment. I’ve seen these guys open for many bands including Macabre, Dying Fetus, the previous time seeing Cannibal Corpse as well as previous times seeing Cattle Decapitation. They’re always fun and this time was no exception. They played greats such as “Born in the Morgue” and “Blow Torch Castration” as well as a new song called “Sandpaper Masturbation” (which is now one of my new favorites).
Out of the four bands, this was the only one I hadn’t seen before. I had never heard of this band before this tour was announced, but Jay’s friend Ralph told us they were “brutally good.”
Soreption is a Swedish technical death metal band. They were really heavy and had an awesome performance. Most modern tech-death bands tend to be forgettable song writers but this band was an exception as their songs tended to have more variety and didn’t sound too similar at all.
I had seen these death-grind legends at the buildings upper venue “The Loft” two months ago with tech-death greats Beyond Creation. I was worried of their set here not being as good as that one since they weren’t headlining. The band ended up topping that set due to better sound. As always, their set was very energetic mostly due to Travis Ryan’s incredible stage presence.
Cannibal Corpse were the band that got me into death metal. Though I’ve explored the genre since then and found many hidden gems (such as Timeghoul), Cannibal is still a band I love.
What I noticed was their set was mostly later songs (except for “Stripped, Raped and Strangled”). I didn’t mind this as I enjoy all eras of the band, but there’s always the purists that only want the old material. Towards the end of the set they included more Chris Barnes era songs such as “I Cum Blood,” Skull Full of Maggots” and of course, “Hammer Smashed Face.”
The crowd was wild, the band had tons of energy with George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher twirling every chance he got as well as singing in a Broadway-esque voice between songs (not making this up). After the show, Jay and I got pics with his friends Ralph and Candy and we headed home after yet another kick-ass Cannibal Corpse show. This is my third time seeing both Corpse and Cattle but I know it wont be my last.