Obiligatory Maryland Deathfest XVI post

Maryland Deathfest XVI starts Thursday and while I’m not doing my Survival Guide this year I still wanted to make a post about MDF. This year I’m going to focus on things you don’t want to miss, including a big section and the end highlighting two bands from each venue on each day of the fest. None of the highlighted bands are headliners so hopefully you’ll check out some bands that you might not have otherwise.

First things first, below you’ll find the most current set time schedule I’ve got. It’s a link so click/tap it to see it full sized. Of course it’s subject to change but as of this writing it is the most up to date.

Be sure to check the official Maryland Deathfest Facebook page (here) which is usually the first place they post updates on things like cancellations, though I really hope there aren’t any more. Also be sure to follow their official Instagram account (@deathfests) for beautiful live photos of the bands while the fest is still running. And of course be sure to follow my Instagram account (@dcmetalchris) and/or Twitter account (@MetalChris) for unofficial photos and commentary throughout the fest.

The official Maryland Deathfest Pre-fest show is tonight at the Ottobar! Headlined by the meme-tastic Mortician, an old school death/grind band originally from Yonkers, New York. Their sound is defined by its ultra downtuned guitar tone, programmed drums and the extensive use of clips from horror movies. However the band is having a recent resurgence in popularity, if you want to call it that, due to the massive amount of memes that have sprung up around the band (you can get in on the fun here). The pre-fest show is already sold out but you can get all the details about it on the Facebook event page here. Just know that if you are in town and don’t have a car, the Ottobar is not within walking distance of the other venues that MDF will be happening at so you’ll need to get a ride/cab/Uber to get there.

If you’re not going up to Baltimore a day early for the pre-fest show but still want to see a metal show tonight be sure to head over to Atlas Brew Works and catch Howling Giant, Borracho and Caustic Casanova. Howling Giant is a doom/stoner band from Nashville, Tennessee and this is the DC stop of their tour. Also, it’s a rare chance to see Borracho live. You may have noticed they haven’t been playing as many shows lately and that’s because their drummer moved to Peru for work. On the rare occasions he’s back in town they tend to play a show so see them while you can! It should be noted that the brewery will have the Capitals/Lightning game 7 on the TVs so you won’t have to miss the game if you’re at the show. Get all the details about this show on the Facebook event page here.

Pentagram Pancake Brunch is back this year! Nurse your bangover on Saturday and/or Sunday with brunch at Baltimore Soundstage starting at 10am and running until 1pm (Sat) or 2pm (Sun). It’s an all you can eat breakfast of bacon, pentagram pancakes and eggs plus bottomless Bloody Marys, blood orange mimosas or Irish coffees. There will also be guest DJs playing metal. Each day is $20 or for just $30 you can get a 2 day pass. Buy at the door or in advance. Tickets for Saturday can be purchased here and tickets for Sunday can be purchased here. Both links will let you buy the 2 day pass if you’d prefer. More details about the Pentagram Pancake Brunch can be found on the Facebook event page here.

Speaking of food, there’s plenty around the venues but if you want some of the best craft beers and American food in town try walking over to the Pratt Street Ale House at 206 W Pratt St, Baltimore, MD 21201. They’ll be giving a 10% off all food and drinks discount to all Maryland Deathfest attendees during the entire fest, just show them your wristband for the discount.

On Saturday Goatwhore will be playing a free show at Angels Rock Bar, located inside the Powerplant area across from Rams Head Live and just upstairs from the Leinenkugel restaurant/bar. It’s a matinee show and the local Baltimore band Emerge A Tyrant will be performing as well. It will be ages 21+ only. The doors open at 4pm, Emerge A Tyrant plays at 5pm and Goatwhore will go on about 5:45pm. If you RSVP to the Facebook event page (here) you can get $3 Miller Lite drafts, $4 Smirnoff cocktails and $5 Smirnoff bombs from 4pm to 7pm on Saturday.

Maryland Deathfest XVI ends on Sunday night but Monday you can still catch a few grind bands that played the fest doing a post show at Atlas Brew Works. Sublime Cadaveric Decomposition, Viscera Infest and Pulmonary Fibrosis will be goregrinding the night away with support from Myxoma, a band fronted by Evan Harting, one of the MDF organizers. SCD and PF are both French bands and VI is from Japan, so it’s a rare chance to catch these international bands here in DC.

Thursday Band Suggestions

Gateway to Hell Thurs 5:25pm Rams Head Live – The first band to go on stage at this year’s MDF is a great local stoner/doom band called Gateway to Hell. They band has a real sense of rhythm and they jam out some sweet riffs. Don’t miss the chance to see this local Baltimore band on such a big stage. Check out their song “Scorched Earth” from their 2017 EP Clovers.

Khemmis Thurs 6:20pm Rams Head Live – Khemmis is a band from Denver that really broke out in 2016 with the release of their sophomore album Hunted. The band sounds like something of a cross between older Opeth and Pallbearer. Their songs use both clean and harsh vocals, like Opeth, and they play some really great doom riffs too. Also of note, their drummer, Zach Coleman, is the head brewer at the black metal themed brewery Trve Brewing out in Denver. Khemmis has a new album coming out in June titled Desolation but for now give a listen to their song “Three Gates” from Hunted.

Gutted Thurs 7:45pm Baltimore Soundstage – Gutted is technical death metal the fast and brutal way. This relentless Hungarian band gets their name from the Cannibal Corpse song on the Butchered At Birth album. Maryland Deathfest XVI gives us a rare chance to catch this underground band live. Check out their song “Into Oblivion,” featuring guest backing vocals by Attila Csihar of Mayhem, from their 2016 album Martyr Creation.

Defeated Sanity Thurs 10pm Baltimore Soundstage – Defeated Sanity is a tech death band from Germany that is really brutal yet they’ve also got a very strong Focus era Cynic influence. The influence is so strong that they even have former Cynic vocalist Max Phelps doing vocals for them now. You may also recognize Max from his days filling Chuck Schuldiner’s role on the Death To All tours or from his locally based band Exist that was direct support on the 2017 Gorguts tour. Check out the song “The Mesmerizing Light” from the Dharmata section of their 2016 release.

Friday Band Suggestions

Sublime Cadaveric Decomposition Fri 6:25pm Baltimore Soundstage – SCD is a death/grind band from Paris, France. They manage to write catchy songs despite being so fast and heavy and you know that’s going to result in some crazy pits at MDF. Note that they are also playing Atlas Brewery in DC on the Monday night after Deathfest. Check out the song “Apostate Angels (Ritual And Taboo)” from their album Raping Angels in Hell which was released in September of 2017.

Blood Incantation Fri 8:45pm Rams Head Live – The new style of “cavernous death metal” is all the rage right now in the world of underground metal and Blood Incantation is one of the hottest bands of the trend. Rightly so I might add, they have managed to blend that crushingly heavy gloominess of the cavernous style and combined it flawlessly with the technicality and excellent songwriting that every death metal fan craves. Check out “Chaosplasm” from their 2016 instantly classic album Starspawn and do not miss these guys live, they always put on an excellent performance.

Integrity Fri 10:30pm Baltimore Soundstage – Integrity rose out of the Cleveland hardcore scene in the 90s and is noted for being one of the pioneers of blending hardcore with heavy metal. Locals will recognize Domenic Romeo, formerly of the band Pulling Teeth and the owner of A389 Recordings, on lead guitar for Integrity these days. It should also be noted that Integrity worked with Baltimore brewery Oliver Ales to make an official beer (that you might still be able to find cans of at Pratt Street Ale House during MDF). Check out the song “Die With Your Boots On” from their 2017 album Howling, For The Nightmare Shall Consume, showing that they still got it!

God Dethroned Fri 11pm Rams Head Live – The Dutch band God Dethroned was a rather middle of the pack death metal band in the 90’s. Then in the late 00’s they shifted their focus from blasphemy to military history similar to fellow Dutch band Hail Of Bullets. In 2009 they released their album Passiondale about the bloody World War I battle of the same name. This was a massive shift for the band, in all the right directions as the album marks not just their change in lyrical direction but better songwriting and production as well. Listen to “Poison Fog” from Passiondale, a song about the horrors of mustard gas in trench warfare during WWI.

Saturday Band Suggestions

Blurring Sat 5:05pm Baltimore Soundstage – Blurring is a death/grind band from Rochester, New York, that is the current project of a quite familiar face at Maryland Deathfest, Dan Lilker. Dan has graced the MDF stage with bands like Nuclear Assault, Autopsy, Brutal Truth and probably others I’m not remembering right now. Blurring might be the most intense of all these bands, their speed and brutality make them a stand out even at Maryland Deathfest. Check out their song “November” from their 2017 EP Cloud Burner.

The Ruins of Beverast Sat 7:40pm Rams Head Live – The Ruins of Beverast is a German black metal band started in the early 00’s. The band has a dark atmospheric and shamanistic bent to their sound. They have played MDF before back in 2014 but they played on the outdoor stages and I’ll be honest, their sound mix was pretty awful that day. It will be great to see them on a proper stage this time around and I’m sure it will sound better. Check out the long build up in their song “Towards Malakia” from their 2017 album Exuvia.

Pig Destroyer Sat 9:20pm Baltimore Soundstage – Local band Pig Destroyer became one of the premiere grindcore bands with the release of their boundary pushing 2001 album Prowler in the Yard. The band has continued to innovate with each new album and the intensity of their live shows is legendary. They’ve got a new album coming out later this year and while I don’t have any insider knowledge of their MDF playlist, maybe we’ll get lucky and hear some new material. For now check out their song “The Diplomat” from their 2012 album Book Burner.

Master’s Hammer Sat 11:10pm Rams Head Live – Master’s Hammer is one of the oldest black metal bands from eastern Europe, they predate the 2nd wave from Norway. The Czech band formed in the late 80’s and is one of the first bands to bring symphonic elements to black metal. They also incorporated Czech folk elements and their lyrics are still entirely in Czech. I don’t think they’ve ever been to the US before and this is a rare chance to catch one of the genre’s early underground innovators live here in the US. Check out the song “Geniové” from their classic 1991 album Ritual.

Sunday Band Suggestions

Neolithic Sun 4:40pm Baltimore Soundstage – Let’s face it, Neolithic is probably on this bill because their vocalist is Evan Harting, one of the two main organizers of Maryland Deathfest. However Neolithic actually fucking rips and this new death/crust band is definitely worth seeing at MDF regardless of their ties to the organizers. Check out their song “Cult of Ignorance” on their just released EP of the same name.

Thantifaxath Sun 6:40pm Rams Head Live – Thantifaxath is a mouthful to say but the Toronto based black metal band that is just… eerie. They were added to this year’s MDF line up when Darkspace was forced to drop off. Even so, they’re a great band that is worth seeing even if they weren’t originally meant to play MDF this year. Be sure to check out their song “The Bright White Nothing at the End of the Tunnel” from their 2014 album Sacred White Noise.

Wormrot Sun 10:40pm Baltimore Soundstage – Wormrot is a band that came out of left field, or more accurately, they’re from Singapore. To date they’re released three albums of some top notch grindcore. It’s kind of amazing how they keep this level of quality up in their releases and right now I think it’s safe to say they’re one of the premiere grind bands in the world. You won’t want to miss the rare chance to see them live here in the US. Listen to their song “Fallen into Disuse” from their 2016 album Voices.

Opera IX Sun 11:15pm Rams Head Live – Opera IX is an Italian melodic black metal band once fronted by the enigmatic Cadaveria before she went solo. The band continued on and added folk elements to their sound over the years. I remember going to the Tower Records in Tysons Corner in 2000 to pick up the Behemoth album Thelema.6 and I picked up this Opera IX album on a whim. I have been a fan ever since and to say I’m excited to see them at MDF is an understatement. Check out the epic song “Act I: The First Seal” from that album I bought in 2000, The Black Opera: Symphoniae Mysteriorum in Laudem Tenebrarum.

Maryland Deathfest XI Survival Guide

It’s that time of year again, Memorial Day Weekend is coming up and that means another Maryland Deathfest. This is the festival’s 11th year and as usual there’s a ton of great bands on the bill from old classics to hot up and coming acts and of course some rare appearances by some exotic and/or obscure bands. There’s local and regional bands playing Deathfest as well as some coming from around the country and even other continents. I have been updating this post as MDF goes on with things like drink and food prices, photos of exclusive merch being sold by vendors, and anything else that might be of interest to those attending. You can skip to the updates by going here. If you’re only coming one or two days then check this post before you leave to know what to expect! Now to start things off, here’s some links you will find useful if you’re attending the fest.

Official MDF sites:
Maryland Deathfest’s official website:
MDF’s official Facebook:
MDF’s official Twitter: @mddeathfest

I put together these handy full schedules and band running orders for each day of the fest (they load quick on phones too!)


Other stuff:
Baltimore Yellow Cab: 410-685-1212 (website)

MDF main grounds address: 407 E Saratoga St, Baltimore, MD 21202
MDF main grounds parking lot entrance address: The Fallsway & N High St, Baltimore, MD 21202
Baltimore SoundStage address: 124 Market Pl, Baltimore, MD 21202

I made this custom Google map with things like the location of both venues, the path to walk between them, the closest places to buy booze and smokes, and other stuff. Just click the below image to load it.

New Info For This Year

This year there will be no bands playing inside the venue formerly known as Sonar (now it is called Paparazzi Nightclub). The main stage has been removed from inside the venue and the bands said to be playing “inside” this year at MDF will actually be in some sort of large tent on the street outside the venue. There will be bars and merch vendors inside the Sonar building however, and it is my understanding that the bathrooms will be open as well. Why did they put a tent outside instead of just making another outdoor stage? I don’t know, but I’m betting this is the last year they’ll be at this location. I’ll try to get a photo of it when I see it and add it to this post once the fest starts.

Also note, if you are just attending the main Sonar grounds, which means you’re not going to see any of the bands at the Baltimore SoundStage, then the fest ends earlier this year. The two main outdoor stages are all finishing up at about 10pm, and the tent “indoor” stage is wrapping up at midnight each night, and 11pm on Thursday. This may have something to do with noise ordinances but also to keep the headliners from the Baltimore SoundStage from going on at the same time as bands at the main Deathfest grounds. Note that the opening door times are the same at both venues on all all three days (Baltimore SoundStage is not part of MDF on Thursday).

This year will have a signing area where members of many of the Maryland Deathfest bands will hang out and sign merch and meet fans. This does not cost extra. How many bands have you seen charge ridiculous prices for a meet and greet VIP ticket package? Very cool that MDF is making this something anyone can do. They said they would post a schedule of when different people are doing the meet & greets, but I haven’t seen it yet. I’ll post it when I find out more info but right now all I know is that Bobby Liebling of Pentagram will be there at 4pm on Sunday.

There will be a FREE Maryland Deathfest XI program near the gates when you enter. You can see the cover image below so keep an eye out for it as you enter, the cover looks like this. It’s packed with info on the bands playing and other cool Deathfest related stuff and is great for passing the time between bands.

MDF XI program

Good To Know For Every Year

Wear comfortable shoes and try to bring a cheap parka in case it rains. You’ll be doing a lot of standing and walking so dress accordingly. Maryland can get very hot and humid this time of year so be careful wearing all black and drinking and moshing in the sun all day. Crowd surfing is very much tolerated at MDF so if you don’t like being kicked in the head repeatedly, don’t get up front. Also, bring some sunscreen, not only will it keep ya from getting burnt but you want to keep those tattoos from getting sun faded!

Bring cash! There will be a ton of vendors with all kinds of rare and obscure vinyl, CDs, merch, patches and all kinds of other stuff. There’s usually a couple ATMs inside but I’m sure they have some shitty service fees so stop by the bank before you head up. Some of the stuff you’ll see here will be Maryland Deathfest exclusives, and some of it will be just so rare you’ll probably never find it anywhere again anyways. Relapse Records has put together a video showing some of their wares, including some MDF XI exclusive vinyl, which you can see below. There will be tons of other vendors with booths as well, which are: Acid Queen Jewelry, Bazillion Points, Black Mess, Century Media, ChopoBrujos, Dave’s Metal, Deathgasm Records, Decibel Magazine, Deepsend Records, Forever Plagued Records, Haunted Hotel, IndieMerch, JSR Direct, Largactyl Records, Lock and Shock, Old Cemetery Records, Relapse Records, Salvation Distro, Sevared Records, Speaks Volumes Records, Thrash Corner Records, Vienna Music Exchange, Warlord Clothing, Willowtip Records

There will also be many food vendors, several with vegetarian and vegan options on their menus. The diner just across the street from Sonar will be open. The list of known food vendors is:Nader’s Bistro, Sangtawan Thai Food (curry, pad thai, spring rolls, etc), Golden West Cafe (variety of options, including vegan friendly food), Smokerhead Barbeque, McCabe’s of Baltimore, Heavy Metal Hot Dogs (vegan), Totally Hot Dogs, The Loaded Potato.


Other Metal Shows Going On

  • Wednesday the 22nd, the night before the first day of Maryland Deathfest, the Sidebar will be hosting a cool pre-MDF show with six bands total. Be sure to catch Raw Radar War (from Boston) and Wake (from Calgary). The Sidebar is just around the corner from the main Maryland Deathfest grounds, check the map (here) for its location. Full details on that show are listed here.
  • Also on Wednesday, there’s a show a little farther away at the Windup Space, which is actually a photo exhibit reception of Baltimore photographer J.M. Giordano’s photo series “Killer Angels: Faces Of American Death Metal.” Part Death and Coffin Dust will be playing that show, details are posted here.
  • On Thursday there is an early matinee show at Sidebar as a pre-fest warm up featuring the all female death/doom metal band Derketa. They put out a fucking sick album last year and you will be sure to find me there! This show will sell out so if you don’t have a ticket yet (online sales are closed already but they wanted to save some for walk ins) then get there early to be sure you can get one of the 50-60 remaining tickets. Doors are at 2pm, Derketa takes the stage at 3:30pm. Details on this show are here. It looks like they have posters made for this show too.
  • Friday night there is an “after show” (I use the term loosely since the doors open at 8pm, well before MDF ends that day) at the Sidebar which is being headlined by Coliseum, one of the best bands from the legendary Louisville, Kentucky hardcore scene. It’s $8 to attend however you can get in for just $5 (assuming it isn’t sold out) with an MDF wristband on your arm. Details on this show are listed here.
  • Saturday night the band Baroness will be playing at Rams Head Live, which is a few doors down from the Baltimore SoundStage. This is the first appearance by Baroness in the area since their line up change due to their awful tour bus accident. Also playing is the excellent Richmond band Inter Arma. It’s a great show, I would probably go if it wasn’t right in the middle of Deathfest. Details on this show are listed here.
  • Sunday there is a show at the Sidebar featuring Glorior Belli (who is playing MDF earlier the same day!), Krieg and Wolvhammer. This show is actually going on while bands are still playing at Deathfest, so you’d be missing Pentagram, Ascension, Venom and Carpathian Forest. Anyways, details are listed here.

If you know of any metal shows I missed, leave a comment on this post or email me at and I’ll add them if I have enough info. There are often little makeshift after shows that pop up around the fest as well but I won’t list those here, I don’t want to get anything shut down by the cops or whatever. You’ll just have to talk to the right people at the fest to find out about those.



I stopped by the main fest grounds real quick and shot this photo of stage 3, the “inside” stage, which is really a big tent. This is looking east on Saratoga Street and that’s Sonar/Paparazzi on the right and the parking lot is to the left out of sight. I zoomed out a bit so you can get a sense of perspective. You can click this image to see it larger.

MDF XI Stage 3

It’s Thursday as I write this and all day the line to get in has been VERY long. They are taking longer than in previous years to get people through the door so get here very early if you want to make sure you see a band. I’d say at least 45 minutes before they are scheduled to go on, maybe even more time than that during peak hours. The lines might be worse on later days as the fest will have more people in at that point. Once you do get your wrist band you can skip the line though. They are being very meticulous about what you can bring into the fest this year and really going through everyone’s bag. However they haven’t hired any extra door people so the process is causing a lot of delays.

There aren’t many food and drink vendors set up yet, but here’s four pictures I shot showing prices. I’ll have more when I can on Friday. The first image is a list of the prices for the booze at the bars inside Sonar/Paparazzi. Click the images to see them larger.

MDF XI booze prices

MDF XI beer tent

MDF XI booze tent

MDF XI Headbangin Hot Dogs Menu

I went to the diner in the fest grounds and it wasn’t very good. They don’t have a full menu, in fact, I shot a photo of the entire menu which you can see below. I asked and they said this would be the same menu for the entire weekend.
MDF XI Diner Menu

It looks like Carpathian Forest is the first band to cancel their MDF appearance this year because of visa issues. They were set to play Sunday night. I haven’t seen an official schedule update from MDF yet but I’ll update the Sunday schedule once that announcement is made. You can see Carpathian Forest’s statement here.

Here’s more photos of some of the food vendors menus and prices.







Below is the food menu at the Baltimore SoundStage. They said the veggie burger is vegan. I asked but they said they didn’t have a menu with the alcohol prices on it.



Merch booths are a bit of a cluster fuck this year. Inside Sonar/Paparazzi I saw one vendor with a bunch of bins just on the floor selling CDs and DVDs. Outside there are some mud issues, as you can see in the two pictures below.

MDF XI Vendor

MDF XI Vendor

MDF XI Vendor

I looked around for the signing area but I couldn’t find it anywhere. Also, still no word on how Carpathian Forest pulling out of the fest will affect the Sunday schedule.

The signing area will be inside Sonar/Paparazzi’s smaller room (to the right as you enter the building). The signing schedule has been posted and I’ve updated the Sunday schedule to include it, which you can see here: