No. 24

June 01, 2015

The thirteenth edition of the Maryland Deathfest took place last weekend to record crowds. What started as a small metal showcase has now become a large festival with over 100 bands on four stages, over four days, and reaching internationally. The annual Maryland Deathfest, which takes place Thursday through Sunday, is filled with great bands spanning the genres of death, grindcore, thrash, doom, hardcore, and much more. The festival was founded in 2002 and is organized by Evan Harting and Ryan Taylor., who have made the event a staple of metal music in Baltimore. The event is host to not only metal music, but vendors selling all kinds of merchandise , food, and more. Some of this years vendors included Black Mess Record Shop, Crucial Blast Records, Decibel Magazine, Lock-n-Shock, Nuclear Blast Records, Relapse Records, Season of the Mist Records, Warlord Clothing, and others. Single day tickets were selling for $65, while 4-day passes were going for $180.

Pre-Festival Party ....
Baltimore’s Ottobar was host to this years pre-party festival warm-up featuring bands such as Gath Šmânê, Funerus, Drawn and Quartered, Massacre, and Incantation. Drawn and Quartered vocalist Herb Burke took on bass duties which was an interesting change for the band, but one cannot argue that the Colombian death metal band Masacre stole the night. The band had never played in the US before\ but they still had what it took to pull off after one killer performance after 27 years as a band. Vocalist Alex Oquendo growled and screamed at his best, talingto the crowd in broken English, “We are from Colombia. Fucked up violence country.” Awesome". Last on for the night was seasoned veterens Incantation, who closed the festival last year.

Day 1 : Thursday, May 21st 2015 ....
The promoters started out on Thursday with a brutal death lineup at Baltimore Soundstage including Origin, Internal Bleeding, and Devourment. One of the most anticipated bands from the night was the recently-reunited Skinless who were as brutal as would be expected. They have a new album, Only the Ruthless Remain, to be released on Relapse this year. Frontman Sherwood Webber was both appealing and comedic, asking those in mascot costumes to come to the stage, then having the crowd film a song with their smartphones. There were a wide of variety of costumed mascots roaming the event, such as the penis man, chicken man, the cow man, and the guy with the crab hat. At the same time, Rams Head was onleasing metal more on the doom side with bands such as Usnea, Mantar, Conan, and YOB. This year the promoters took a gamble and ventured into new territory with their first hip-hop show, booking the controversial NYC hip-hop group Mobb Deep, Havoc, and Prodigy. It was of some concern that mixing hip-hop and metal might no go over well with the recent racially sparked protests and riots in Baltimore, but the gamble paid off and it was well received.

Day 2 : Friday, May 22th 2015....
The first band on the Edison Lot stage was Artificial Brain who put on a solid performance to get the night started. Singer Paolo Henri Paguntalan from Andromorphus Rexalia made a guest appearance and performed to everyone's satisfaction. Among the highlights of this day was the first time performance from Aura Noir with Aggressor, one of the best sets of the entire festival, with a great sound and metal attack. There were many bands who playing the festival for the first time. Bloodbath had never played in the USA before and were met by a swarm of fans anxious to see them live. It was there first show fronted by Paradise Lost singer Nick Holmes. I would have loved to stay for their whole set but that would have meant missing Suffocation and Obituary, so I was off to the Edison Lot stage to catch these favorites. Obituary were in their glory stomping the stage with their brand of death metal that has


Feature Pics

Triptykon - Day 3 : May 23rd 2015

Arcturus - Day 3 : May 23rd 2015

permeated my mind since I was a kid. Obituary cranked out their classics satisfying the legion of fans who were all stoked to see the band. They did just a few songs from their latest release Inked In Blood, which was one of years great releases. The Baltimore Soundstage again had a great lineup with performances by bands such as Homewrecker and Japan’s Flagitious Idiosyncrasy in the Dilapidation (FID). The all female metal act were the pinnacle of the night early on and left nothing to be desired with their delivery of a furious and brutal set. There were several women metallers at this years fesitval including Jex Thoth, Kat (Agoraphobic Nosebleed), Onielar (Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult), Yasuko Onuk (Melt Banana), and Vanja Šlajh (bassist of Triptykon). It is nice to see more and more women musicians each year at Deathfest to even out the testerone field.

Day 3 : Saturday, May 23rd 2015 .....
If you made it to Day Three from the start of the festival you were probably dragging ass most of the day. Despite the cancellation of Sodom, this didn't stop the onslaught of great bands from continuing on with performances by bands such as Twilight of the Gods, Arcturus, Blood Red Throne, Bulldozer, Razor, Agoraphobic Nosebleeed, Vulcano, and others. Solstice played and sounded good but we were utterly preoccupied with seeing Arcturus who delivered an amazing set in costume. Tom G. Warrior's band Tryptikon took the stage and delivered a tight performance shuffling through his long discography and ended their set with a whopping twenty minute song on top of their nearly one hour set. Inter Arma drew a large crowd at the Baltimore Soundstage and Martyrdöd tore it up with their set. Then it was on to Rams Head for Demoncry who left fans in awe with their black metal. All the running between stages took its toll on me and by the end of the night I was wiped out.



Day 4 : Sunday, May 24th 2015 ....
Sunday’s lineup was filled with great bands, starting with Tombs, Goatsnake, Prosanctus Inferi, and fan favorite Primordial from Ireland, whose strong material is weaved with celtic overtones. Frontman Alan Averill delivers their brand of Irish black metal with power and verocity. Anaal Nathrock took the stage and tore it up, focused more on their newer material despite their older hits. The rowd was packed tight and the band ended with a warm reception. One of the highlights of the day was the overwhelming performance by Neurosis and if it is any idication of their upcoming US tour, it will be worth seeing. Amorphis, whose set was a Egyptian pyramid, put on an impressive show that also captured my imagination. Down at the Rams Head venue, were other notable performances by Melt Banana, D.R.I. , Impetuous Ritual, Knelt Rote, and Portal, who closed the festival with their theatrical stage presence that seemed more of a cliche. The thrill of the weekend was over when they killed the lights and sound on Portal.

Feature Pics

Neurosis - Day 4 : May 24th 2015

Obituary - Day 2 : May 22th 2015

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