Tag Archives: powerviolence

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.

 

The Vault: My Experience At Maryland DeathFest 2014 Part 2 – Saturday

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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 Fridays success, my friends and I were highly excited for Saturday. The lineup looked amazing as it’s usually considered to be MDF’s main day. After finding an awesome Japaneses place to eat, my friends and I headed back to the Edison Lot to see if Saturday was worth all the hype.

Goat Torment

Having no idea who this band was, I decided to watch them as they were the first band up for the day. By the name alone I made a wild guess that they were a black metal band (I couldn’t be more right).These guys couldn’t look more black metal if they tried. They even yelled “Hail Satan” after every song. With that said they were still an awesome band. Goat Torment played raw, straight-forward in-your-face black metal and made for a great warm up.

Diocletian

Next up on the stage was a black metal band from New Zealand known as Diocletian. Though they were of the same style as Goat Torment, their songs were not as interesting but were still enjoyable. Next up was the first band of the day I knew…

Entrails

Entrails are an old-school death metal band from Sweden that formed in the early 90’s, but made it absolutely nowhere until around 2010. Entrails’ performance had tons of energy, intensity and their sound was spot on. Before this set I had only known a few songs by these guys but now after seeing them I feel the need to explore their discography.

Machetazo

This was my second time seeing Spanish deathgrind greats Machetazo (the first time I saw them was at MDF 2011 in the small indoor stage). They killed then and this time as well. I always find it cool when a drummer is also the lead vocalist. Like last time, the crowd was very energetic and wild. Though I greatly enjoyed their set, I preferred the first time because I just think that indoor venues work better for this band.

God Macabre

God Macabre were a lesser known pioneer of the 1990’s Swedish death metal scene. This very same scene was known for greats such as Grave, Dismember and Vomitory. But how do these guys rank compared to those others? Decent but nothing too great.  God Macabre’s performance was that of a run of the mill death metal band. I wasn’t fully bored by them but didn’t really find anything memorable about their music.

Nocturnus A.D.

I was real excited for this one. For those who don’t know, Nocturnus was a death metal band formed by singer/drummer Mike Browning after he left Morbid Angel (after guitarist Trey Azagoth had and affair with his girlfriend).

Nocturnus’s debut album “The Key” was a very distinct old-school death metal album as it featured keyboards, shredding and lyrics about science fiction instead of the  violent and gory lyrics the genre was known for. The band performing was actually Browning’s  post-Nocturnus band After Death but were playing all of “The Key” so they played under the name Nocturnus A.D.(get it?).

“The Key” is the only album I really knew by these guys so hearing a set completely dedicated to the album made me excited.  They played the whole album in its entirety and sounded great doing it. The only down side was at times the keyboards were a little drowned out but it wasn’t too big a problem.

After they played through all of “The Key” they ended the set with an awesome cover of the Morbid Angel song “Chapel of Ghouls.” The entire crowd (including me) was screaming along to this iconic death metal classic. Nocturnus A.D. was definitely one of the best performances at the entire fest.

Tankard

German beer thrash classics Tankard were up next and the first old-school thrash band I saw at the fest. While not my favorite 80’s thrash band, I never had a problem with them and was curious to see them. The crowd turned into a gigantic drunken circle pit as the band played both old and new material. After every few songs the lead vocalist Gerre would ask audience members for a beer and after they played “A Girl Named Cervesa,” they got two girls from the audience to dance on stage as “Cervesa.” Both the band and the audience just got more and more drunk as the show went on, making it wilder and wilder. After being possibly the one non-drinker watching all of Tankard’s set it was time for me to head over to Soundstage.

Dropdead

I returned back to Soundstage just in time for powerviolence pioneers Dropdead.  Just like Capitalist Casualties yesterday these guys played an awesome set of short songs and like CC I wasn’t bored for a minute. Towards the end of the set came a great surprise. Members of the hardcore punk legends Siege came onstage and with the members of Dropdead, finished the set with several classic Siege tracks. After this great two-for-one set I stayed at Soundstage for…

Birdflesh

Swedish comedic grindcore trio Birdflesh were by  far the wackiest band on this year’s fest. While they were setting up these two guys asked me and a bunch of other people to help inflate these balloon ghosts. When the band performed the two guys threw the balloons along with glow sticks at the audience who then threw them at each other and the band, who performed in their trademark over the top costumes.

Though this band is comedic they still put on an intense and powerful performance with the audience both moshing and throwing glowsticks and balloons. I didn’t stay for the whole set but I got to hear a decent amount of songs. The next band on was Noothgrush – a band I wanted to see but had to sacrifice as they played the same time as…

Unleashed

I rushed back to Edison just in time to catch these Swedish viking themed death metal masters. Unleashed’s set started out with lead vocalist Johnny Hedlund calling the audience warriors. Though I enjoyed their performance, I wasn’t too familiar with the songs they played. I only know Unleashed’s first and third albums (1991’s “Where No Life Dwells” and 1993’s “Across the Open Sea”) and they played virtually nothing from them. I was very confused by the set list in general as those omitted albums contained some of the bands most well known tracks such as “Before Creation of Time” and “The One Insane.”

Dark Angel

The time had come. The moment about 90 percent of people at this fest were waiting for. Not only were they the most hyped band of 2014’s Maryland Deathfest, it was also Dark Angel’s first U.S. show since 2005 and their ONLY U.S. appearance of that year.

As they were setting up, everyone was wondering if they would be able to live up to such hype. They did and you better believe it. Dark Angel delivered their aggressive and powerful brutal thrash metal just as good if not better then everyone expected. The intense guitar riffs, powerful vocals and crazy drumming by none other then Gene Hoglan himself translated perfectly from album to live onslaught. During their set it started to rain. Eventually it got real windy as rain blew towards the stage, adding to the atmosphere.

They had arrived.

After Dark Angel’s epic set Jason and I ran as fast as we could to Soundstage to make it in time to see the next band there.

The Extinction of Mankind

The two of us lucked out and made it just in time for these British crusties to start. Before seeing these guys, all I knew was their split with the legendary Doom. Like the other punk based bands on the bill they were filled with raw intensity and had tons of intense circle pits. After watching there set we walked over to the Ramshead stage.

Schirenc (playing songs from Pungent Stench)

Martin Schirenc

I will admit I was never a big Stench fan (always found them to be pretty mediocre death metal). When we got there, Schirenc had about 20 minutes left in his set and i just sat upstairs chilling with my friend Herb as Schirenc’s music was not interesting me one bit. Once he got off the stage things go more exciting as it was time for the nights last act.

Asphyx

Saturday night ended with Dutch death/doom legends Asphyx (as well as meeting Hoglan on the way to the bathroom). Dark Angel had an insane performance that I thought would be topped by no one else at the fest (I was wrong).

Asphyx had the most crushing performance of the night and of the entire fest. Like it had for Incantation the night before, the great sound system did justice for this bands intensity and Asphyx had a perfect setlist. I have always thought of Martin Van Drunen as of the best vocalists in all of death metal and this live performance showed that he’s even better live then in studio (Hell, this whole band sounds better live then they do in studio). I was pretty tired but even that wasn’t distracting me from watching every second of Asphyx’s magic. After their set we headed back to the hotel once again to rest for the final night at this massive fest.

The Vault: My Experience at Maryland DeathFest 2014 Part 1 – Friday

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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.”

Back in late 2013 when the full line up for Maryland DeathFest 2014 was announced I knew I HAD to go. Last time I went was in 2011 (I had no money in 2012 and in 2013 I came close but didn’t go due to being in the probationary period at a new job. By now I had been working for almost a year and was going to earn vacation hours, so I found a group of friends to go with, booked our hotel and we were ready. May 23rd came soon enough (wasn’t able to do the Thursday date) and the MDF journey began .

FRIDAY

I arrived just in time for the doors to open. Even when standing right in line I was greeted by friendly metalheads from around the world. I met up with a few of my concert going friends from my area as well as some people I hadn’t seen since 2011 – all before the first band got on stage who turned out to be…

Castevet

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First up was this “hipster” black metal/hardcore fusion from New York City. For the most part, bands who fall under post-metal or post-anything genres generally tend to bore me and this band was no exception. I could barely pay attention as the band just sounded like Deafheaven with a small bit of punk influence. After a few songs, I just walked over to the other Edison lot stage awaiting something unholy.

MGLA

Hailing from Poland comes the unholy two-piece (a four-piece during live onslaughts) known as MGLA. This band played an intense set of raw drawn out black metal that reminded me a bit of Darkthrone during their most acclaimed era. If someone introduced me to this band as part of the 90’s Black Metal Inner Circle I would believe them. Though their sound fits well into that style, they did not sound like a carbon copy “kvlt” tribute band. MGLA was the first of many raw black metal bands to play the fest for the second time.

The Ruins of Beverast

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First of the bands on my MUST SEE list for the fest was The Ruins of Beverast. If you read my previous blog on my top ten albums of 2013 then you know I LOVE this band. I was in such disbelief when I found out they were added to the bill. I had no idea this one man act from Germany played live shows at all, let alone that I was actually going to see them. This band killed. Though Ruins atmosphere works a little bit better in studio (and probably at indoor venues), the band still sounded pretty damn creepy live and they played a great set of songs – including my all-time favorite Ruins track “I Raised This Stone as a Ghastly Memorial.” After their set my friend and I headed out of Edison to go get a bite to eat as well as walk over to sound stage to see…

ACXDC (Anti-Christian Demoncore)

Laugh at the name all you want, these guys kick ass. Originally I wasn’t planning on seeing this band as I had not heard a single song by them, but my friend Jason was heading over to Soundstage and I had no idea how to get there – plus a band I wanted to see was scheduled on the same stage right after so I figured why not? ACXDC sound nothing like AC/DC (though that would have been awesome). Instead, they play a modern take on 90’s powerviolence. Their set was intense with the pit going wild and Jason stage diving like crazy. All and all, ACXDC was a pleasant surprise and since I was already at Soundstage i didn’t have to worry about being late to…

Coffins

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Japanese extreme giants Coffins were one of Fridays two outliers for Soundstage (the venue was mostly a punk line up). They play a style of death/doom that leans more towards death metal similar to Asphyx and Autopsy. Originally they were scheduled to only play Thursday and missing them would have been the only reason I was regretting not getting a Thursday ticket (I had already seen Crowbar twice and  Tryptikon would eventually drop off the bill),  but when when The Secret dropped and Coffins took their time slot my regrets went out the window. Whether its games, movies, music or anime, Japan is known for making things energetic and over the top and Coffins’ live performance was no stranger to this. For a band that falls under doom they had tons of energy and it reflected in the audience as the pit transformed from punk rock circle pitting to extreme metal moshing. Sound-wise Coffins were definitely one of those bands that sound better live then in studio. I left their set 10 minutes early so I didn’t miss a minute of…

TAAKE

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Heading back to Edison (while hanging with a girl I met at the 2011 MDF and the bassist from ACXDC), I got back just in time to see Hoest’s crazy outfit. This was Taake’s first US show so there was no way in hell I was going to miss this. Hoest has always been one to get attention from the black metal crowd whether it be saying “Go suck a Muslim,” performing with his penis exposed or making out with the lead vocalist of Sweden’s Shinning and here he performed in a costume that made him look worthy of a Sith lord. This of course did not distract from the intensity that the band brought on. They had a great set list playing favorites from both old and newer albums. Taake blew both Ruins and MGLA out of the water but even their extreme intensity was no match for …

Capitalist Casualties

Ever since my buddy Nick first showed me them a few years ago I had been curious to see them. CC is a pioneering West Coast powerviolence band that has been around since 1986. These guys may be old timers but they had more energy the most bands half their age . This set  had the most intense mosh pit I had ever seen. Old-school powerviolence bands were known for their intense pits but were balanced out by the fact that they played small shows with a limited crowd. Here we had those same intense PV pits but at a huge fest.  The pit area became a battlefield which, along with seeing Nick live his childhood dreams made the show even more entertaining. They played a 45 minute set of short songs. As much as i enjoy grind and powerviolence bands with short songs, I feel bands like that are meant to have short sets. CC was though a huge exception as not a minute went by where I was bored. After their set I headed back to Edison yet again to see…

Agalloch

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I had been a big fan of Portland’s Agalloch ever since I first heard “Not Unlike the Waves.” Call it, dark metal, black metal, folk metal, etc., Agalloch’s unique sound has been labeled as so many things and on every album they have evolved and seem to always put out quality work. Their album “The Serpents and Sphere’s”  is destined to make my top ten of 2014 and is my second favorite album of there’s next to 2002’s “The Mantle.” Like Ruins, they were one of the bands I was most stoaked for on Friday. Sadly, they were the biggest disappointment on the whole fest.When I got to the Edison stage I noticed that they were already playing though they were not scheduled for another 10 minutes. At first that sounds cool like, “Yeah more Agalloch, right?” But in reality, it meant they rushed their soundcheck. The bass overpowered every other instrument. Since Agalloch were never much of a bass-driven band, this just made them sound like a mess of noise as they butchered not only their new album but their classics as well. Hopefully next time they will do better. After Agalloch it was time for the last Edison band that night.

At The Gates

Along with Ruins, Agalloch, and Incantation, Sweden’s melodeath creators At The Gates were one of the top of the must-see bands criteria for Friday. I have been a fan of At The Gates since I was in the 10th grade and felt extremely nostalgic when watching their set. Their set list was mostly songs off of “Slaughter of the Soul” with a few older tracks. To some that sounds disappointing (I even heard a drunk dude in the back say it’s “metalcore without breakdowns”), but personally, I greatly enjoyed that album and as for the litany of bands that ripped it off…not so much. There was a big rumor going around that they were going to debut songs from there then upcoming album “At War With Reality” at MDF, but it turned out to be false. Either way, I didn’t care as I was just happy to finally see these guys live. They ended their set with “Kingdom Gone” – my favorite track off the debut. The gates of Edison were closing and it was time to go to return to SoundStage to see…

Impaled

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Carcass worshipers Impaled  are mostly known for being the unmasked members of the crossover thrash band Ghoul. They were the 2nd outlier on the Soundstage that day as well as the headliner. I did not get to watch too much of their set as their delayed sound check pushed them set back 15 minutes. From what I did get to watch (about like 20 minutes) they were pretty fun and I kind of wish I could have watched more but i had to leave for Rams Head at 12:30 to make sure I caught…

Incantation 

The time had finally come  for the band I wanted to see the most on Friday; the nights feature presentation: Pennsylvania classic death metal act Incantation. I absolutely love this band. They have been around since the early 90’s and still are able to put out killer releases (the album “Vanquish in Vengance ” was one of my top ten 2012 releases). I had once seen guitarist/vocalist John Mcentee’s other band Funerus play with Krisiun and Abnormality up in my area code last year but now was time to see his main band. Jason and I met up with my New Jersey friend Herb and we chilled as we awaited this moment. Once Incantation started we were all blown the fuck away. Rams Head by far had the best sound system of all three venues. The bands powerful sound was given great justice and they were loaded with energy. Incantation’s set list was great as they played plenty of songs from both the old and new eras. Incantation won the night and was a perfect closer for MDF Friday. After the set Jason and I went back to our hotel for some sleep after a successful night of metal. After all, we were just warming up, things were only going to get better.

Read Part 2 here.