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Sunday’s band line up was one of the best gatherings of doom and stoner bands I’ve ever heard of. However, the first band I saw that day was Coke Bust, a DC based grind band featuring members of Magrudergrind. They put on a fun show and even when the main microphone stopped working mid song they just started using one of the back up vocal mics instead. The vocalist said they hadn’t played in front of such a big crowd before as they usually play in places like people’s basements. I’m glad I got to see this fun local grind act play before all the doom started. Check out the video I shot of them below.
After Coke Bust played I headed outside to see Disma, a death/doom band featuring members of Incantation, including vocalist Craig Pillard. The band had been kicked off of the Choas In Tejas festival (article here) shortly after that festival’s line up was announced back in December because of Craig Pillard’s former Nazi ties, particularly him being in the openly antisemitic band called Sturmführer. Now supposedly he has recanted his racist ways but still, it makes me a bit conflicted about supporting the guy. Him wearing an iron cross on stage at MDF didn’t help either. Now I know an iron cross doesn’t make one a Nazi, it’s not a swastika, but if you’re trying to distance yourself from your Nazi past why would you wear that on stage? Their set was pretty crushing though, I have to give the band that, and you can see for yourself in the video I shot below as well as the great close up footage provided by Total Fucking Mayhem in the second video.
The next band I caught was the Richmond based doom band Cough, who was great, but I didn’t get close enough to get any video footage or decent photos of them so I’ll just skip to who I saw after them, a Swedish death metal band called Demonical. Demonical was alright. I wouldn’t call them bad, but compared to some of the death metal heavyweights that were also playing the fest they certainly weren’t a must see band for me. They were just OK I guess, and about half way through their set I went to the other outdoor stage so I could get up front for Morgoth. I do have a video of Demonical posted below, as well as two more from Total Fucking Mayhem, so check them out if you’re interested in more about Demonical’s set. At a metal festival with this many rare and special performances they just weren’t up to par for me.
Next up for me was Morgoth, a German death/thrash band. This performance was their first US concert in almost 20 years so as you might imagine fans of the band were pretty excited to get a chance to see them. They had a couple of albums that gained a cult following in the underground from back in the early 90s before they changed their sound and put out a rock album in what I’d guess was a bid at hitting the mainstream. It didn’t really take off though and they broke up in 1998 and didn’t reform until about 12 years later. Luckily they didn’t play anything from the rock album and stuck to their heavier material, which was pretty good. They were certainly more entertaining live than Demonical was. Check out the two songs I’ve posted below as well as another from Total Fucking Mayhem though the audio is a bit overloaded on that one.
Next I went inside and caught about half of Rwake‘s set. They’re a sludge/doom band from Little Rock, Arkansas, and I’d heard good things about them but I hadn’t ever seen them before. They were really impressive live, certainly one of the bands that I went in wanted to see and left being really impressed by. One of the things that sucks about Maryland Deathfest is that sometimes there are just too many good bands playing and you can’t see complete sets by all of them. I really wish I’d gotten a chance to see more of them, and even though I didn’t catch their entire set I have to say it was a highlight of the fest for me. Also, vocalist Chris Terry puked on stage during one of the songs which led to someone near me at the time mentioning one of my favorite quotes from MDF X: “I like it when they puke on stage because you know they’re giving it their all”. Haha! Anyways, footage of that is available from Total Fucking Mayhem in the second video below around 2:20 into it.
The next band I saw was the death metal band that I was most excited to get a chance to see at Deathfest this year, Ulcerate. They’re a tech death band from New Zealand with a drummer that’s pretty insane behind the kit. The band’s show wasn’t anything too wild, mostly just the band members standing there playing their songs in lighting that was dim and didn’t really change much. However the songs were incredible to see live and that band plays them very tight, it was quite impressive. Just check out the footage I shot below and the second video shot by Total Fucking Mayhem to hear what I’m talking about.
While I might never get another chance to see Ulcerate live I had to leave their set early to catch the tail end of another band I wanted to see that I may never get to catch again either, Church Of Misery. They’re a doom metal band from Japan with a heavy old school Black Sabbath influence and if you know me at all then you probably know I love Black Sabbath so that definitely appeals to me. Church Of Misery, like Macabre on Friday, also writes most of their songs about infamous serial killers. In all, I just had to make sure I’d at least catch some of their set while I had a chance. I really enjoyed their show, even though I got nowhere near the front. I took a few shots and a video but none of it is that close up, however you can see two videos of them that Total Fucking Mayhem shot from close up below as well.
The next band to play was Pentagram Chile, an old school death/thrash band from, you guessed it, Chile. They formed in 1985 and only ever put out a few demos and an EP before breaking up, however those recordings were enough to gain them an underground following even after their demise. They’ve gotten back together, added Chile to their name to end confusion between them and the legendary doom metal band Pentagram, and said they are going to finally release a full length album. While I’d heard of them I’d never listened to them much because their recordings were so scarce, but they were a hell of a lot of fun live. Totally mosh-friendly metal that was catchy and aggressive at the same time. Also, vocalist Anton Reisenegger did something I’ve never seen a band do before. Instead of shout out the wrong name of the city he was in he actually introduced his band with the wrong name! He said they were Criminal, another band he and the bass player are in together, and the rest of the band all started glaring at him until he corrected it, haha! I shot two videos of Pentagram Chile, the second of which shows them performing a song so new they didn’t even have lyrics for it yet. There’s also a super close up video by Total Fucking Mayhem.
At this point I had to make a tough decision and decided it was time for me to get some food. I wanted to see Yob and Suffocation, who would both be playing soon, but I also needed to eat and there wasn’t another band the rest of the day/night that I would want to miss. I decided to go find food during those bands’ sets because I had seen both within the past 12 months, so I figured that if I have to miss someone, at least it is bands I’ve seen recently. I heard Yob played some really rare like 20 minute song they never play live so that was a bit frustrating, and Suffocation is always killer live, but again, I had to eat. I made it back and Suffocation was still playing on one of the main stages but I decided to get up close for Saint Vitus who would be playing on other outdoor stage next. Wino, their singer, has roots in Maryland so it was cool getting to see them play one of the big stages at MDF. They’re one of the most influential doom metal bands ever and it was great seeing them play a bunch of their classic older songs mixed with some of the material from their new album, Lillie: F-65. They really put on a great performance that was a perfect lead in to the next band playing, Electric Wizard, and you can check out my two videos of Saint Vitus that night below, as well as one more from Total Fucking Mayhem.
Next was Electric Wizard, the headliner of the final day of Maryland Deathfest X and a major draw for the event. For a lot of people, the chance to see this band was the main reason they came to the festival, and MDF later announced (here) that they played to the largest crowd in Deathfest history. There was a bit of rain as Saint Vitus was finishing up and I started to worry there might be another big delay but the rain passed quickly and Electric Wizard went on to perform a killer set. The band hasn’t played in the US in 10 years or so and while the line up has changed a lot since then, they’ve only got one original member left, they still put on a near flawless performance of doom. People were going crazy and I’ve never seen such a wild mosh pit for a stoner/doom band that wasn’t named Black Sabbath. The crowd was far too violent for me to get up close and get great footage, however I did shoot a couple songs of their excellent set, including my favorite song of theirs, Satanic Rites Of Drugula. Total Fucking Mayhem got some great close up footage though and I highly recommend you check that out as well.
Since I wasn’t that close up for Electric Wizard I was determined to get up front for the final three bands of the fest starting with Sargeist, another black metal band from Finland. The band shares two members with Horna, who played the day before, and Behexen, who wasn’t playing at the fest. Sargeist did not have anyone whip out their dick and piss on themselves, however they did play a great set of black metal to the people trickling inside after Electric Wizard finished. The band came out in black robes and vocalist Hoath Torog had this bizarre look on his face most of the show, like he was engaging in some sort of creepy staring contest with the audience. Also, he was walking around barefoot on that stage which is something I would not have done considering all the piss and puke I’d seen on it earlier in the weekend. Anyways, their set was great but by the time they finished I could really start feeling the festival coming to an end. Check out the videos I posted of them below.
The next band to play was Bethlehem, a dark/black metal band from Germany. The band is very influential to the suicidal/depressive black metal scene consisting of bands like Xasthur and Shining, and in 1998 Bethlehem released their magnum opus, Sardonischer Untergang im Zeichen irreligiöser Darbietung. The band playing this night only had one of the members left from those days, the bass player Jürgen Bartsch, however they still put on a very disturbing performance. The band’s vocalist, Rogier Droog, put on quite a show for those close enough to see him. He shifted through a very wide range of facial expressions going from horror to pain to shock to loathing and too many more to list here. His shrieks, moans and wails were haunting as well. He really stole the show for this band, which is sort of surprising since he has only been in the band since 2011. I’m glad I got to see them close up, it was a unique show and one that definitely stood out at this year’s fest for me. Check out the three videos I shot of them below. They’re probably a bit too dark/small to make out his face that much however it should give you an idea of the mood set by their performance.
The final band of the night was Mortuary Drape, an old school black metal band from Italy. This is a band I really wanted to see heading in to the fest and even though they would be the last band to play, I was still was excited to see them live. They were supposed to be one of the headliners at the big Rites Of Darkness festival in San Antonio last winter, however like several other bands they pulled out when they realized that the festival organizers were in fact not organized and they didn’t have all their money together right either (more info on that here). This also made Mortuary Drape cancel their short tour which was scheduled to have a date in Baltimore that I had planned on attending. So this performance was one I’d sort of thought would never happen, and they didn’t disappoint either. The band is not really the band they once were, frontman Wildness Perversion is the only original member of the band and the only one who has been with them since before 2011 even. That didn’t really bother me though because it’s not like I was going to get a time machine to see these guys in their glory days and it was fun getting to hear many of their old songs live. While the previous two bands had vocalists that stayed pretty stationary and used very dramatic facial expressions Wilderness Perversion was very active and mobile on stage, often engaging the audience directly. The rest of the band were draped in red robes with black hoods as he worked the audience from every angle of the stage. Check out the video I posted below to see what I’m talking about, I only shot one of them but it is over 12 minutes long. Mortuary Drape put on a really fun performance and ended Maryland Deathfest X on a high note for me. Also, nobody was pepper sprayed this year after they finished playing!
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