Maryland Deathfest X Recap

Maryland Deathfest is the area’s biggest metal event every year and while it has taken me a few weeks to get through the mountain of photos and videos I shot at Maryland Deathfest X but I’m finally done! There’s so much stuff that I’ve actually broken this post up into several posts, this one and then one for each of the four days. You can see all of my MDF X photos and videos, including things that aren’t posted here, by going here for photos and here for my videos on YouTube. Also, I came across a site run from Las Vegas called Total Fucking Mayhem (check it out here) and they’ve got some quality video footage, sometimes much better than mine, that they’re are allowing me to use in this post as well. They also have some from bands I didn’t see so check out their YouTube page for those videos here.

Keep in mind I didn’t get a press pass for the fest so all the footage I shot was from the audience, moshers and crowd surfers going overhead just like everyone else. I did a lot of waiting to get up front for specific bands so I could get some good shots, but even so there are some I simply couldn’t get up close for since I still haven’t figured out how to be in two places at once. Also, I was pretty much stationary so I had to shoot whoever was on the side of the stage I was most of the time. Some bands I took more time to shoot for whatever reason, usually because they are a personal favorite of mine, and for some bands I don’t really love any of my shots of but hey when you shoot this many bands at once some are going to be much better than others.

I had a lot of fun at this years Maryland Deathfest, it was great meeting some fans of the site and handing out stickers, meeting people from all over and talking metal with them, and of course getting to see some rare and just plain kick ass performances. If you’d like to read the whole post you’re awesome and please start here, but if you’d just like to skip ahead to any one day you can do so below, or you can even just click on a band’s name below to read my paragraph about them and see my photos and videos of them as well.

Day 1: Thursday
Rorschach
Dying Fetus
Absu
Eyehategod
Agalloch
Autopsy

Day 2: Friday
Macabre
Napalm Death
Godflesh
Unsane
Setherial
Nasum

Day 3: Saturday
Looking For An Answer
Dragged Into Sunlight
Hellbastard
October 31
Morbid Saint
Archgoat
Horna
Brujeria
Morbid Angel
Tsjuder
Haemorrhage
Winter

Day 4: Sunday
Coke Bust
Disma
Demonical
Morgoth
Rwake
Ulcerate
Church Of Misery
Pentagram Chile
Saint Vitus
Electric Wizard
Sargeist
Bethlehem
Mortuary Drape

Maryland Deathfest X Day 1: Thursday

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When I arrived at MDF on the sold out first day, Thursday, the band that was playing was Rorschach. They’re an old school hardcore band from New Jersey that broke up in 1993 and didn’t reform until 2009. I didn’t get close enough to get any decent photos but I did shoot this video of them covering King Crimson’s 21st Century Schizoid Man. They were good but I didn’t really get into the show until the next band.

The next band to play was Maryland’s own death metal kings Dying Fetus. Their set wasn’t super long but they did play two songs from their upcoming new album, Reign Supreme. The band recently released a music video for the song From Womb To Waste featuring live footage shot at Maryland Deathfest that you can see here. I happened to shoot video of the same song, posted below, so think of it as a sort of preview for the official video. The song is good but really picks up at about 2:42 into the video when they launch into one of their famous break downs. I’ve seen Dying Fetus several times and while this set was a bit short it was still enough to get me into the whole MDF weekend mode.

John Gallagher of Dying Fetus

Sean Beasley of Dying Fetus

The next band to play was Absu, a black metal band from Texas and one of the staples of American black metal (or USBM for short). Their drummer, Proscriptor, is the main man of the band and it always cracks me up a bit how he constantly uses his “metal” voice on stage, even when addressing the audience between songs. Regardless, they put on a good show but were really just a small tease of the epic black metal that would be coming up later in the weekend. I shot a video of them playing Earth Ripper, the first song off their 2011 album Abzu.

Ezezu of Absu

Ezezu of Absu

Absu at Maryland Deathfest X

Ezezu of Absu

Vis Crom of Absu

Next was the New Orleans based sludge metal band Eyehategod. The crowd had been turning over a lot as I stood on the rail for band after band, and when Eyehategod was coming on the black metal heads made way for the crusties who got really rowdy for this performance. It was fun to be in the middle of but hard to shoot much so I didn’t get a lot of shots off. The show was good but I don’t think they played anything special really. I shot the first two videos below but the next two are from Total Fucking Mayhem.

Mike Williams of Eyehategod

Eyehategod at Maryland Deathfest X

Brian Patton of Eyehategod

Brian Patton of Eyehategod

The next band to play was Agalloch, from the Pacific Northwest, as they put it, though I think they’re from Portland more specifically. I thought their performance was the best of the night, and their set list was mostly songs from their first two albums, which was great if you ask me. The only real problem I had with their set was that John Haughm’s clean vocals were just off. Regardless, they played one of my favorite songs of theirs, Hallways Of Enchanted Ebony, and they also played You Were but a Ghost in My Arms for the first time ever live, even though it is from their second album, Mantle, that was released in 2002. I’ve got video of both of those songs below, so check em out. They certainly weren’t the heaviest band playing MDF but they got people moshing anyways.

Jason William Walton of Agalloch

John Haughm of Agalloch

John Haughm of Agalloch

Agalloch at Maryland Deathfest X

The final band of the night was the headlining act, Autopsy, a death metal band from the Bay Area. They had their reunion show at Maryland Deathfest two years prior, but since that show they aren’t a touring band and only play one off gigs here and there. I’m sure there were people who came out Thursday just to get to see them. Unfortunately there were technical difficulties that led to them starting their set 45 minutes late. They ended up getting cut off by the venue before their set was done, which was pretty shitty. The delay was pretty unprofessional, the MDF guys should have any and all back up gear ready for a headlining act so this lengthy of a delay doesn’t ever happen. However, they wouldn’t be the only headlining act to be delayed over the weekend and it was probably my one big complaint with the fest this year. Anyways, check out the four videos I shot of them below, as well as one more by Total Fucking Mayhem.

Eric Cutler of Autopsy

Eric Cutler of Autopsy

Joe Allen of Autopsy

Chris Reifert of Autopsy

Eric Cutler of Autopsy

Continue to day 2: Friday here.
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Maryland Deathfest X Day 2: Friday

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Friday I got to the venue and picked up my pre-ordered merch and went around taking photos of things like food menus and exclusive merch items that were available for my MDF X Survival Guide. I had to head back to the hotel to upload all that stuff and post it to the site. When I got back to the festival the first band I caught was one of my favorite bands, Macabre! I hadn’t gotten to see them in years and it was awesome seeing them play on one of the big outdoor stages. They’re always entertaining live. They tell stories between songs of the various serial killers their lyrics are about and for this show they even had some extras come out on stage for a couple songs. A guy dressed up as the Zodiac killer (video of that below) came out with pistols aimed at the audience and on another song there was someone wearing an Albert Fish costume who was being chased around by some woman on stage with a stick. Glad to see they’re keeping their show as uniquely bizarre as their music. I love this band and seeing them was definitely one of the highlights of Maryland Deathfest X for me. I’ve posted three of their more interesting videos that I shot of them below, including their cover of Venom’s Countess Bathory, but I’ve got more on my YouTube page here.

Macabre at Maryland Deathfest X

Corporate Death of Macabre

Albert Fish with Macabre

Albert Fish with Macabre

Albert Fish with Macabre

Albert Fish with Macabre

Corporate Death of Macabre

Nefarious of Macabre

The next band I caught that day was British band Napalm Death, one of the fathers of grindcore. They always put on a great show and this was no exception, even if the sound mix wasn’t very good for them. They attempted to play a song from each album, but I know they didn’t play anything off of Fear, Emptiness, Despair for one, and probably not some other albums either. Still, they did play some old songs they don’t usually play any more and even played the song Scum with a guest appearance by Dan Lilker on bass. They included their Dead Kennedys cover of Nazi Punks Fuck Off in the set too, which made me wonder how many NSBM fans were in attendance at MDF and if any were paying attention. Anyways, Napalm Death put on an excellent grind show that was going to be tough for anyone at the fest to top, or so I thought. Again, I shot a lot more video than I’ve included below on my YouTube page here, and I have also added the three videos that Total Fucking Mayhem posted for you to enjoy as well.

Shane Embury of Napalm Death

Shane Embury of Napalm Death

Napalm Death at Maryland Deathfest X

Barney Greenway of Napalm Death

Napalm Death at Maryland Deathfest X

Barney Greenway of Napalm Death

Napalm Death at Maryland Deathfest X

The next band to play was the day’s headlining act, Godflesh. They’re an industrial two piece who are also from England and I don’t think they had played the US since reforming in 2010 until this show. I’m really not a huge fan of theirs, or industrial in general, though I know they are one of the most influential bands of the genre. For many people this band was the main reason they came to Maryland Deathfest this year. I shot very little of them, just a couple courtesy photos and a video of one song, however I’ve also got more footage from Total Fucking Mayhem posted below for those that are more into them than I am.

Justin Broadrick of Godflesh

While Godflesh was keeping everyone mesmerized outside, I decided to head indoors so I could get a good spot for the final three bands of the night. The first of these was Unsane, one of the pioneers of the noise metal genre. I don’t really know a whole lot about them, other than they are from New York City, but they were entertaining and I didn’t mind checking out their performance. I shot a couple videos of them from early in their set though they finished with a cover of the Flipper song Ha Ha Ha, which you can see video of below thanks to Total Fucking Mayhem.

Chris Spencer of Unsane

Chris Spencer of Unsane

Dave Curran of Unsane

Dave Curran of Unsane

Unsane at Maryland Deathfest X

Chris Spencer of Unsane

The next band to play was Setherial, a black metal band from Sweden. They were the first of several foreign black metal bands that were making appearances at this year’s Maryland Deathfest and I was glad I had staked out a spot in the front to watch them from. The song selection was pretty good and I felt lucky for the chance to see them play live, though they seemed like they would have fit better with some of the bands on the next two days. Still, it was nice to get some black metal in on each day of the fest. I shot three videos of them that you can check out below.

Setherial at Maryland Deathfest X

Infaustus of Setherial

Alastor Mysteriis of Setherial

Infaustus of Setherial

Setherial at Maryland Deathfest X

After Setherial finished it was time for the final band of the night, Nasum. Nasum is a Swedish grindcore band that broke up when their vocalist/guitarist, Mieszko Talarczyk, died in the giant tsunami in 2004 while he was vacationing in Thailand just after his 30th birthday. They decided to reunite in 2012, the band’s 20th anniversary, to do a special tour of farewell shows with Keijo Niinimaa of Rotten Sound doing guest vocals. This show was part of that tour and while I knew Nasum was a very influential grind act I simply wasn’t prepared for what I witnessed that night. They put on what was absolutely one of the most intense performances I’ve ever seen any band metal perform, regardless of genre. I don’t say that lightly, I’ve seen A LOT of extreme heavy metal bands over the years and this was definitely one of the most crushing shows I’ve ever seen. They had a couple come out in a suit and wedding dress, both wearing gas masks, while an air raid siren played to start the show but once they left the stage and the band started it was pure brutality from then on out. They had Jason Netherton of Misery Index come up on stage and help out on vox for a few songs with them (I’ve got video of that below) and Travis Bacon, guitar player for the band Grudges, jumped up on stage to do a song with them as well. The pummeling was relentless until Nasum left the stage, however they came back and did a couple more songs as an encore. I cannot stress enough how impressed I was by their show, it was definitely my favorite of the entire festival. I walked out of there feeling like my hair was sticking straight up because I’d just been struck by lightning and I fucking liked it.

Urban Skytt of Nasum

Jesper Liveröd of Nasum

Keijo Niinimaa of Nasum

Jesper Liveröd of Nasum

Nasum at Maryland Deathfest X

Nasum at Maryland Deathfest X

Nasum at Maryland Deathfest X

Continue to day 3: Saturday here.
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Maryland Deathfest X Day 3: Saturday

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The first band I caught on Saturday was Looking For An Answer. Usually I’m wary of bands with that many words in their name, but these guys were actually pretty good. They’re a grind act from Spain and I have to say they were pretty impressive live, plus I was still in a mood for grind after last night’s killer Nasum performance ended the night. This wouldn’t be the last nor best grind act from Spain I’d see that day though. I wasn’t really close enough for good pictures but I did shoot a video of them live that I highly recommend watching the whole way through as it gives a good perspective of what their sound and live show were like. There’s also a video by Total Fucking Mayhem here too, enjoy!

The next band I saw was the UK based Dragged Into Sunlight. I had heard good things about these guys but they exceeded all my expectations. If I had to pick a band that I was unfamiliar with that most impressed me at Maryland Deathfest X it would be this band. I guess they’d be called a black metal band but they were pretty unorthodox musically. Also, the entire band faced away from the audience pretty much the entire show, and all the lights were turned way down except for a strobe that would go off in time with the music sometimes. It was a creepy effect that really helped set a mood that fit perfectly with their sound. I was very impressed and they were a great way to start what was the most black metal loaded day of MDF X. I shot a decent video of the first song of Dragged Into Sunlight’s set that should give you an idea of what they were like live.

Dragged Into Sunlight at Maryland Deathfest X

Dragged Into Sunlight at Maryland Deathfest X

I caught part of Hellbastard‘s set next. They’re a crust band from the UK and in fact they are the band that coined the term “crust” to begin with. This band was highly entertaining, mostly due to frontman Scruff Lewty’s wild stage presence and overall enthusiasm to be playing. This man is passionate about his music and it really showed! They were also really fun to photograph live as he was constantly running around on stage making faces and doing all kinds of shit like, uh, biting his guitar. I’ve got video of them playing but Total Fucking Mayhem posted footage of the same song so I’ve posted that video instead because it is higher quality than mine.

Scruff Lewty of Hellbastard

Paul O'Shea of Hellbastard

Scruff Lewty of Hellbastard

Scruff Lewty of Hellbastard

Scruff Lewty of Hellbastard

The next band I caught was October 31, a band from Northern Virginia and featuring King Fowley of Deceased fame on vocals. October 31 plays a more traditional style of classic heavy metal, though they certainly have some thrash elements as well. Sticking with the Halloween theme, King even threw candy at the audience during their set, among various other goofy stage antics. They were entertaining but I think Deceased would probably have fit on the bill better, although this was the same day Anvil was playing so perhaps the MDF organizers put October 31 on this day for Anvil fans who probably didn’t know a lot of the other bands playing this year. I shot a video of October 31 playing a couple songs and I’ve also posted a video from Total Fucking Mayhem.

October 31 at Maryland Deathfest X

October 31 at Maryland Deathfest X

Brian 'Hellstorm' Williams of October 31

Brian 'Hellstorm' Williams of October 31

October 31 at Maryland Deathfest X

Matt Ibach of October 31

King Fowley of October 31

Next up was Morbid Saint, a thrash band that only ever officially put out one full length album, Spectrum Of Death, though they did have another that was never released make the bootleg rounds after their break up in 1994. Morbid Saint is from Wisconsin and they reunited in 2010 though really it’s only the singer and one of the guitar players who are still the same from the old days. Regardless, their 1988 release is considered an underground classic of thrash metal and for this show at Maryland Deathfest they played it from start to finish. They put on a pretty damn good show and the band was tight, however I think they mentioned their merch being for sale about 1,000 times between songs. Check out these two videos I shot of songs they played early in their set.

Pat Lind of Morbid Saint

Pat Lind of Morbid Saint

Pat Lind of Morbid Saint

The next band I watched was Archgoat, a black metal band from Finland. With a name like Archgoat you sort of know what to expect, and while they were pretty grim and kvlt and all that, and they had some cool songs, I still felt they were the weakest live performance of the black metal bands I caught at this year’s Maryland Deathfest. I wouldn’t go so far as to say they sucked, but they weren’t that spectacular and didn’t really do anything that stood out much or really grabbed me. They definitely had the typical imagery down, they wore corpse paint, they had fake blood dumped on themselves, however they didn’t really play anything that stood out or really grabbed me that much either.

Lord Angelslayer of Archgoat

Lord Angelslayer of Archgoat

Lord Angelslayer of Archgoat

Lord Angelslayer of Archgoat

After Archgoat I kept my place on the rail so I could be sure to see another black metal band from Finland up close, Horna. I had wanted to see this band play live for years and I’m glad I finally got the chance, however I wasn’t expecting that at the beginning of their song Piina that vocalist Spellgoth would squat on the stage, whip out his dick, piss in his hands and then wipe it all over his face and hair. The band kept playing and the audience didn’t seem to even notice much, but I’ve got video of it posted below (the second video). All watersports action aside, they did put on a great black metal performance and played some of my favorite songs of theirs too.

Spellgoth of Horna

Infection of Horna

Qraken of Horna

Spellgoth of Horna

After Horna I went outside to catch Brujeria, a Mexican metal band that has two vocalists reciting Spanish lyrics about stuff like running drugs over the border and revolutionary politics. The band all wears bandanas on their faces to hide their identities, and while they are said to be from Mexico most of the “mystery” members are actually from England, including Shane Embury of Napalm Death, Jeff Walker of Carcass and Nick Barker of, well, too many bands to list here. They’re a band I used to listen to back in my high school days and I never thought I’d ever get to see them live. It was pretty fun, even if I was getting a Mexican flag whipped in my face most of the time while I was trying to shoot! They seemed to mostly just play older classics, which was fine by me since those are the songs I know. Check out the two videos I shot of them below.

Fantasma of Brujeria

Brujeria at Maryland Deathfest X

El Brjuo of Brujeria

Brujeria at Maryland Deathfest X

The next band I saw was the day’s headliner, Morbid Angel. They’re one of the big three American death metal bands and they haven’t played on the east coast in quite some time. The last time I saw them was in 2006 for their big tour when David Vincent had just rejoined the band. I suppose a long of younger people have never gotten the chance to see them play live, and even though their last album was laughably terrible, they still got the audience to go crazy. Well, at least for the three or four songs I was there for. The crowd got really rough during their set and as I was shooting video of them playing Rapture a stage diver landed directly on my head which I didn’t even see coming. So I didn’t get a lot of great footage of them but I decided I’d get inside to get up front for the final three bands of the night. Besides, I’ve seen them play before and I didn’t want to taint my memories of Morbid Angel live by catching them play any of their new material. I heard guitarist Trey Azagthoth had a rockstar moment and after an equipment failure during their second to last song he walked off the stage leaving the rest of the band to play their final song without him. Also, their set started about 20 minutes late due to more technical issues. At least this time there was some hilarious banter from the head sound tech yelling at the guys on the stage who were supposed to be “fixing” the problem.

Trey Azagthoth of Morbid Angel

David Vincent of Morbid Angel

David Vincent of Morbid Angel

David Vincent of Morbid Angel

After waiting by the rail for a while during Morbid Angel’s set I was ready to see yet another black metal band I’d been wanting to see for many years play, Tsjuder! This was the only actual Norwegian black metal band at MDF this year, and this was their first US show ever. The three piece was fucking excellent live, and played a set with plenty of my favorites from their album Desert Northern Hell, the album they are probably best known for as well as my personal favorite of theirs. The three piece was pretty entertaining on stage, the guitar and bass players switching sides of the stage multiple times. They ended their set with two covers, which seemed a bit excessive since they have plenty of good original material to choose from. The first was Sacrifice by Bathory and the last was Deathcrush by Mayhem (video of that below). They didn’t really add anything special to the songs so I don’t know why they felt the need to play two typical songs for black metal bands to cover but whatever, they were still fun crowd pleasers. Despite the double cover ending, I still think they were my favorite set to watch on this day of the fest.

Nag of Tsjuder

Tsjuder at Maryland Deathfest X

Tsjuder at Maryland Deathfest X

Nag of Tsjuder

Nag of Tsjuder

After Tsjuder ended the day’s excellent black metal line up, the next band to play was Haemorrhage, a goregrind band from Spain. They put on a hell of a show, coming out in their various medical themed costumes: a surgeon, a nurse, a doctor and vocalist Lugubrious played the blood soaked patient. It has been a long time since Haemorrhage has played in the US and fans of the band were psyched to see them. They played a lot of songs from their latest album, Hospital Carnage, as well as some of their classic older songs, which was fine by me as I like most of their material. The show was a hell of a lot of fun to watch and you can see that for yourself in the footage I’ve posted below.

Luisma of Haemorrhage

Lugubrious of Haemorrhage

Lugubrious of Haemorrhage

Ramón Checa of Haemorrhage

Lugubrious of Haemorrhage

The final band of the night was Winter, a recently reformed doom band from New York City. They broke up in the early 90s after releasing just one album, Into Darkness, back in 1990. It wasn’t until they had broken up that they gained a cult underground following, meaning most of their fans had never gotten to see this band live. For this show they played the album live from start to finish, and overall it is a very slow paced ordeal. I can get down with some ultra slow and heavy doom but by this point in the evening, well after midnight, the amount of time I had been spending on my feet the past few days was starting to take its toll. I did enjoy their set but unlike the night before’s Nasum set, it didn’t leave me with a lot of energy. Still, I wasn’t about to walk out on such a rare performance. Vocalist John Alman seemed surprised that so many people had stayed around to see them play, which was kind of funny. I think they’d have been a better fit somewhere in Sunday’s killer doom line up and not at the very end of the night, but I’m still glad I got to see them. Check out this video I shot of their opening song.

John Alman of Winter

John Alman of Winter

John Alman of Winter

Stephen Flam of Winter

Continue to day 4: Sunday here.
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Maryland Deathfest X Day 4: Sunday

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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.

Coke Bust at Maryland Deathfest X

Coke Bust at Maryland Deathfest X

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.

Bill Venner of Disma

Disma at Maryland Deathfest X

Disma at Maryland Deathfest X

Craig Pillard of Disma

Disma at Maryland Deathfest X

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.

Demonical at Maryland Deathfest X

Widda of Demonical

Martin Schulman of Demonical

Widda of Demonical

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.

Marc Grewe of Morgoth

Morgoth at Maryland Deathfest X

Harry Busse of Morgoth

Marc Grewe of Morgoth

Morgoth at Maryland Deathfest X

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.

Christopher Terry of Rwake

Rwake at Maryland Deathfest X

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.

Paul Kelland of Ulcerate

William Cleverdon of Ulcerate

Paul Kelland of Ulcerate

Ulcerate at Maryland Deathfest X

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.

Tom Sutton of Church Of Misery

Church Of Misery at Maryland Deathfest X

Church Of Misery at Maryland Deathfest X

Church Of Misery at Maryland Deathfest X

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.

Anton Reisenegger of Pentagram Chile

Pentagram Chile at Maryland Deathfest X

Anton Reisenegger of Pentagram Chile

Anton Reisenegger of Pentagram Chile

Juan Pablo Uribe of Pentagram Chile

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.

Wino of Saint Vitus

Wino of Saint Vitus

Wino of Saint Vitus

Wino of Saint Vitus

Dave Chandler of Saint Vitus

Saint Vitus at Maryland Deathfest X

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.

Electric Wizard at Maryland Deathfest X

Electric Wizard at Maryland Deathfest X

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.

Vainaja of Sargeist

Hoath Torog of Sargeist

Hoath Torog of Sargeist

Hoath Torog of Sargeist

Hoath Torog of Sargeist

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.

Jürgen Bartsch of Bethlehem

Rogier Droog of Bethlehem

Rogier Droog of Bethlehem

Rogier Droog of Bethlehem

Rogier Droog of Bethlehem

Rogier Droog of Bethlehem

Rogier Droog of Bethlehem

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!

SC of Mortuary Drape

SC of Mortuary Drape

Mortuary Drape at Maryland Deathfest X

Wildness Perversion of Mortuary Drape

Wildness Perversion of Mortuary Drape

Wildness Perversion of Mortuary Drape

Daniele Cagnotto of Mortuary Drape

Back to the MDF menu page here.

Maryland Deathfest X Survival Guide

Maryland Deathfest X is almost here and I’ve created another Survival Guide for this tenth installment of the festival. This post is full of info you can use regardless of how many days you spend at this year’s fest or whether you are visiting Baltimore or a resident. First, I’ll post a few handy links for you to have all in one place:

Maryland Deathfest’s official website: MarylandDeathfest.com
MDF’s official Facebook: Facebook.com/MarylandDeathfest
Sonar’s official website: SonarBaltimore.com
Sonar’s Address: 407 E Saratoga St, Baltimore, MD 21202
Baltimore Yellow Cab: 410-685-1212 (website)

Quick loading set time schedules to bookmark on your smartphone:
Thursday Schedule: http://bit.ly/mdfthursday
Friday Schedule: http://bit.ly/mdffriday
Saturday Schedule: http://bit.ly/mdfsaturday
Sunday Schedule: http://bit.ly/mdfsunday

Click the image below to see a custom interactive Google map of the area around Sonar with some places of note like where to eat or buy cigarettes within walking distance. Click on the points or lines and more info will pop up. You’ll have to zoom in a bit since Google sets that.

Before You Get To The Fest

You can order your tickets online (here) if you haven’t bought them already. They will be will call only at this point, which means they’ll hold them at the door for you. Thursday is sold out so you can’t get tickets for that day nor four day passes any more. If you really want to go Thursday you can try looking at the MDF Facebook event page (here) for people selling extra tickets or the MDF Message Board’s thread for buying/selling tickets here, and maybe you’ll get lucky. You could also try getting cheaper tickets for other days there from people desperate to sell. You can order merch for pick up at the fest here. You don’t have to order merch online but if you do you can guarantee they will have your size in stock when you pick it up at the fest. They have decent prices, their shirts are $13 and the zip-up hoodies are $27. This year they also have a poster for sale for $12. There is another poster for sale (see image on left) by Warlord Clothing, who has made posters for the fest the past two years as well. It is also $12 and is limited to just 150, you can preorder that here. If you are flying into BWI airport for Deathfest, the city has set a flat rate for a taxi to or from Baltimore at $30. From the airport you can also order a Super Shuttle ride for around $12 – $15 per person each way here. Alternately, you can ride the Baltimore Light Rail system to or from BWI to several downtown stops for $1.60 one way. Most downtown hotels will be near the Convention Center through Centre Street stops (two maps, one here and another here). More info on Baltimore’s mass transit systems can be found here. You might want to bring some sunscreen with you if you are going to be at the fest for Friday, Saturday or Sunday as you’ll probably be spending a large portion of the day outdoors. Bring shoes you like wearing because you will probably be on your feet a lot while you’re there. You may want to bring a cheap plastic pull over parka in case it rains, especially if you’re packing a lot of electronics. You can bring a backpack or other bag in if you’d like to use it to hold merch you buy there, just know that they will search it when you enter. They do allow you to bring in cameras, including “pro” SLR cameras with detachable lenses however they will not be issuing photo passes to anyone. They do allow you to shoot video on your pocket cameras and phones but not on pro video cameras. Crowd surfing and moshing is allowed so be aware of what is going on around you, particularly if you’re bringing expensive equipment, and especially if you are up close towards the center of the stage. I recommend bringing some extra cash as there will be all kinds of vendors selling CDs, vinyl, cassettes, demos, t-shirts and other merch, and even some MDF exclusives (I’ll update the end of this post with photos and prices of the exclusives once the fest starts). There is an ATM inside the Deathfest area but it will of course have service fees.

Arriving At The Fest

When you get to Maryland Deathfest you’ll see that they’ve blocked off the street in front of Sonar. They’ll build the stages there Thursday night so if you want to park in the parking lot in front of the venue, you’ll have to enter from the other entrance on the back of the lot. You can see where that is on the map I made (here). The lot across from Sonar was free in previous years but now the City Of Baltimore has decided to meter the lot. I shot a photo of a sign in the lot with the rates that you can see here. It’s 40¢ an hour from 4am to 6pm. Any amount of time from 6pm to 4am is a flat rate of $7. Yes if you do the math that means they jack up the rates at night specifically to screw over people going to Sonar, but that’s the city’s doing not the guys who run MDF or the venue. At least you don’t have to bring quarters, the meters accept debit and credit cards as you can see in this photo of one here. It will print a receipt that you will need to leave on your dashboard. I got a parking ticket there when it first switched over because I didn’t realize it had become a pay lot and the ticket was for $32. There will probably be a long line to get in during peak hours and if there is a band you definitely want to see I’d plan on getting there at least 45 minutes before they go on to make sure you get into the fest on time. You may end up getting in early but then you can always check out a band or two if you do, or scope some of the wares of the vendors. There’s often a bunch of junkies that hang out around the festival and I recommend you avoid them. Sometimes they find ways into the fest and try to pull admission bracelets off of people in crowds like when everyone has their hands up supporting a crowd surfer. They take these and give them to friends of theirs so they can get in as well and who knows what they’re doing, maybe picking pockets or something. They may seem nice and friendly but you really shouldn’t trust homeless drug addicts, call it common sense. Your ticket will get you a wrist band, and depending on how many days it is valid for will determine its color. Once you have your wrist band you can leave and re-enter at will and skip the line as well. Deathfest is all ages but you will also get a drinking age wrist band if you’re over 21 and show them your ID. Note that by law all bars in Baltimore stop serving at 2am, which is about when the Fest will probably end each night.

What To Expect Inside The Fest

Maryland Deathfest X starts on Thursday, May 24th and the doors open that day at 4pm. This day has a bit of downtime between bands because it is the only day that is indoors only, and they only use one stage (the main stage). Thursday is completely sold out and MDF has stated (here) that there is no such thing as a downloadable or electronic ticket, despite their appearance on sites like StubHub. Don’t be lured into buying such a ticket as it is certainly a scam. They probably won’t have most of the vendors set up until Friday so if you ordered merch to pick up at the event, you’ll probably need to get it later in the weekend. All weekend long you’ll be able to pick up, for free, a program for this year’s Maryland Deathfest provided by Invisible Oranges. I’ve been lucky enough to get a peek at its contents and it looks pretty cool. It has a short bio on bands playing and some bands, such as Electric Wizard, Tsjuder, Brujeria and Mortuary Drape, will have expanded features on them with lots of quotes from the members of the bands. Check out the cover art on the left and keep an eye out for it. Friday, Saturday and Sunday there will be three stages going most of the day, so be sure to check out my quick schedules for each day that show which bands start on which stage in chronological order (linked at the top of this post). Because of the multiple stage set up, usually when a band finishes their set on one outdoor stage the band on the other outdoor stage will start immediately. This means if you really want to see a band up close you will have to camp out there a bit as they set up while most other people are watching bands on the other stages. Due to noise curfews, the outdoor stages have to be done each night by 11pm, however the indoor stage will continue to have bands well past midnight. There will be a food vendor who sets up shop inside the fences, same one as last year. Apparently they will expand the menu to have at least three styles of food, as well as some vegetarian options. There is also some food available within walking distance of Sonar and you can check out the map I made (here) to figure out where that is. One cool thing about Deathfest is all the vendors there. There will be vendors where the indoor second side stage normally is at Sonar, as well as some outdoors in tents and booths. You can find all kinds of rare and obscure releases, bootlegs, merch and other stuff here and most of them will only accept cash. The list of vendors at this year’s fest is: Black Mess Productions, ChopoBrujos, Crucial Blast Records, Dave’s Metal (I couldn’t find a link), Deepsend Records, Deathgasm Records, Emetic Records, The End Records, Forever Plagued Records, Handshake Inc., Ibex Moon Records, IndieMerch, JSR Direct, Largactyl Records, Lock And Shock, Old Cemetery Records, Relapse Records, Season Of Mist, Sevared Records, Thrash Corner Records, Utterly Somber, Vienna Music Exchange, Warlord Clothing and Willowtip Records. Last year they also had a corpse paint face painting booth (photo here) but I don’t know if that will be back this year or not. Relapse has even made a video commercial for their booth at this year’s fest and you can watch that below.

Other Things Going On

If you get into town Wednesday and you’re looking for something to do that night, there will be a couple pre-fest metal shows going on. The Sidebar, a place that is walking distance from Sonar, will be hosting Xeukatre, Horde Of The Eclipse, Palkoski, Wolfnuke and Weed Warlock for just $8. The venue’s address is 218 E. Lexington St, Baltimore, MD 21202 (map) however the doors are actually just around the corner on Guilford Avenue. This show is ages 18+ only and the doors open at 8pm. You can see its Facebook event page here. This show looks to be pretty awesome with a range of styles including black metal, stoner, grind and speed metal. You can check out any of the bands by clicking their names. Also, for the four days the fest is going on the Sidebar will not be having bands play but will instead have DJs playing metal and punk music with tons of drink specials and no cover. Sounds like a cheap place to knock a few back before heading in to the fest. Doors open Thursday and Friday at 8pm and Saturday and Sunday at 4pm.

Another metal gig going on Wednesday the 23rd in Baltimore is at the Ottobar, located at 2549 N. Howard St, Baltimore, MD 21218 (map). This show’s line up will be The Hackish, Visceral Disgorge, Seventh Chaos, Universal Remonster, SwampHög and Infidel, a group of bands definitely leaning toward the most brutal side of metal. Death/grind band The Hackish has come up from Florida to play this show. It’s also $8 to get in and is open to all ages. Doors open at 7pm. It’s a bit farther away than the Sidebar show, however it is open to all ages.

There are also two metal shows going on in Baltimore during Maryland Deathfest that are totally unrelated to the event. Power metal is a sub genre that doesn’t get much love at MDF and if you want to take a break and get some of that in then head over to the Baltimore SoundStage on Saturday the 26th for a spotlight on three power metal bands. Rhapsody Of Fire is coming from Italy to headline this show with their Australian touring support Voyager. Washington DC natives A Sound Of Thunder will kick off this show which is located at 124 Market Pl, Baltimore, MD 21202 (map). It’s $29.50 to get in and this all ages show has doors open at 6pm and the first band start at 7pm.

Just down the street from the Baltimore SoundStage and also on Saturday the 26th, Rams Head Live will be hosting a metalcore show of mostly local bands headlined by Sky Came Burning and Serial Attraction. Also appearing will be The 10th Hour, Beyond Dishonor, GI9 and Blameshift. It will be $12 to get in. The venue’s address is 20 Market Pl, Baltimore, MD 21202 (map) and this show is open to all ages.

Baltimore’s Inner Harbor is the most tourist friendly area of the city and it isn’t too far south of Sonar either. There are lots of dining options in that area, plenty with Maryland’s famous crab cakes, and you can also find Baltimore’s world famous aquarium there (link). It’s pretty impressive and worth checking out if you’ve got some extra time. There are a few record stores of note in Baltimore. Black Mess, which will have a booth at Maryland Deathfest this year, is located at 3853 Falls Rd, Baltimore, MD 21211 (map). Black Mess is a new store and they specialize in underground heavy metal. A reader mentioned that within walking distance of Black Mess is Celebrated Summer Records, another indie record store that has metal for sale though they seem to specialize in punk and hardcore. Their address is 3620 Falls Rd,
Baltimore, MD 21211 (map). There is also The Sound Garden, a large record store that is pretty famous even outside of the city. Last year I saw Lee Dorian of Cathedral browsing the records there one afternoon. Their address is 1616 Thames St, Baltimore, MD 21231 (map). And if you want my recommendation of the best place to eat in town it’s Joe Squared. They are a gourmet pizza place with great beers on tap and even outdoor seating. It’s a bit pricey but where the hell else can you get things like avacado, lamb, corned beef, artichokes, or calamari on a pizza? Plus they’re open til 2am every night. Highly recommended! They have two locations, one near Rams Head Live and the Baltimore Soundstage at 30 Market Pl, Baltimore, MD 21202 (map) (I’ve never been to this location) and one at 133 W. North Ave, Baltimore, MD 21201 (map) which is a few blocks south of the Ottobar.

Wrap Up

I’ll be at this year’s Maryland Deathfest for all four days and if you see me walking around be sure to say hi. I’ll be handing out free DCHeavyMetal.com vinyl bumper stickers to anyone who wants one (and maybe some people who don’t). Recently I interviewed Evan Harting, one of the two organizers and co-creators of Maryland Deathfest and you can read or listen to that interview here. Shockwave Magazine recently conducted an interview with both of the guys who run Deathfest and you can check that out here. Baltimore blogger Mary Spiro has been counting down to Deathfest on her blog by listening to and posting short profiles of each band at this year’s fest and there are even some interviews in there with some of them too. Check out her MDF band profiles on her blog Metallomusikum here. NPR has posted a discussion about this year’s MDF with Bob Boilen, Lars Gotrich (NPR’s metal writer) and Kim Kelly (freelance metal writer) that you can listen to here. The Washington Post Express ran a preview piece, which I’m quoted in, that you can read here. Invisible Oranges made a short post about the fest, with a download of their guide, that is posted here.

I hope this survival guide helps you enjoy the best four days of heavy metal in the area. I’m excited and I hope you all have fun whichever days you are going. Stay brutal everyone!

Updates

Here’s the alcohol price list for the bars inside the main room, you can click it to see it larger.

MDF X Alcohol Price List

There are two food tents inside the MDF grounds this year. One has some pretty standard American food and the other has “Italian” and Latin food. The three menus are all posted below, and you can click on them to see them larger if you want.

MDF X American Food Menu

MDF X Italian Food Menu

MDF X Latin Food Menu

Also, there are some MDF exclusives but I’m trying to get back to the fest to catch one of my favorite bands, Macabre, play so I don’t have time to post the pictures yet. I’ll try to do that tonight. However, there is an exclusive Brujeria shirt, an exclusive Morgoth shirt (both shown below), and for some reason a vendor had exclusive shirts for a bunch of bands that aren’t even playing including: The Black Dahlia Murder, Aborted, Pig Destroyer, Brutal Truth, Misery Index, Cattle Decapitation, Rotting Christ and Devourment. There was also an exclusive Nasum shirt but that is now sold out. Oh, and Black Mess has a free to enter raffle to see Marduk, 1349, Wither and Weapon at Sonar on Saturday June 2nd. Winner gets a free pair of tickets to the show. You don’t have to buy anything to enter but check it out cause that show will be cool.

MDF X Italian Food Menu

MDF X Morgoth Shirt

Interview with Evan Harting of Maryland Deathfest

Evan Harting is one of the two co-founders and organizers of the annual Maryland Deathfest, the biggest heavy metal festival not only in this area but in all of North America. I thought he would be a great subject for the first interview on DCHeavyMetal.com and he was cool enough to speak with me on the phone for a bit on Tuesday the 24th of April 2012. You can download and listen to an mp3 of our 20 minute conversation (here) or you can simply read the transcription below (my words are in bold, Evan’s are not). Extra fun if you read along as you listen! We covered a lot of subjects like which bands he is most excited to see this year, what the food options will be like, what he thinks about people downloading music online, what happened with the pepper spray at last year’s fest, what the future holds for the event after this year and even what Morbid Angel might play during their performance. I hope you all enjoy it and if it is received well I want to do more interviews in the future.

Hey what’s up? This is Metal Chris from DC Heavy Metal and I’ve got Evan Harting here on the phone. He’s one of the promoters and creators of the Maryland Deathfest which is coming into its tenth year and is starting Thursday, May 24th over Memorial Day weekend up in Baltimore, Maryland at Sonar and I’ve got him here to ask him some questions for DC Heavy Metal.

First I wanted to ask, how did you and Ryan Taylor get to start up the Deathfest? How did you guys come up with the idea and how did you guys meet each other and just how did it get going?

We actually met in high school. We became friends through just being into the same kind of music and going to the same shows. Then eventually we started working in the same places. We were both cooks at the time. We were working at this place in Perry Hall, Maryland, when the blue prints for the fest came up and it just started from there. In 2001 we went to the Ohio Deathfest. I think that kind of got the gears moving a little bit and got us thinking about doing something similar on the East Coast.

Do you guys have any other day jobs you’re doing or are you just kind of doing this full time or are you doing promotions or what do you guys do otherwise when you’re not doing the Deathfest?

Well the Deathfest is definitely our main job, definitely our main focus throughout the year, but we do have other jobs sometimes. It really depends on the part of the year and how busy we are during the fest. Every once in a while I’ll do other shows and stuff but definitely the fest is the main thing and other jobs kind of we’ll work a few months out of the year but that’s basically it.

Cool cool, so Deathfest is definitely the main priority. That’s cool man. So as far as this year’s line up, you know this is the tenth show so it’s sort of like the big anniversary and I know you guys have an awesome line up. I mean you guys always have really good line ups but this year you guys really pulled out all the stops. Which band, personally, are you most excited to be seeing this year at the fest?

Well it’s kind of hard to say because part of how I book bands is also bands that I want to see. I would say most of them but if I had to pick out a few of the top ones I would say Electric Wizard, Sargeist, Church Of Misery, Bethlehem, Tsjuder, Confessor, Godflesh and Napalm Death. I mean I’ve seen them a few times before but they’re definitely one of my favorite live bands so they’re always good.

They’re playing the same day as the Nasum reunion thing or whatever is going on and I know Nasum announced that they were going to have guest vocalists on some of their sets that they were playing at different fests around the areas this year so I was wondering do you have any idea if Barney [Greenway, vocalist of Napalm Death] is going to be doing some songs with Nasum because that would be kind of awesome.

I don’t know if it’s… I thought I read something about a guest vocalist as well. I don’t remember who it was. I don’t think it’s Barney but don’t quote me on that I’m not sure.

Well I know they’re going to have different surprise guests come out so I was like, they’re playing right around the same time. I know you haven’t announced the times yet. What day do you plan on announcing the times for the actual running order?

We’re working on it now. Within the next couple of weeks we’ll announce it. It’s just that stuff changes at the last minute so we just tend to wait until kind of late to announce the set times.

Is it going to be the same kind of set up as it’s been the last couple years where you have the two outdoor stages facing each other in the middle of Saratoga Street or do you have another set up this year for the stages?

Yeah, it’ll be the same. Yeah that seemed to work out the best the same way we did it last year. We thought that worked out pretty well.

Now one thing I wanted to ask is, you know the big parking lot that everyone parks in, that’s now a metered lot. Baltimore City has changed that this year and you’ve got to pay to park there now. So do you know if that’s going to be lifted at all for the Deathfest or what people are going to have to do to park there?

I’m not quite sure yet. We’ve been trying to see what we can do it’s just that that’s completely separate from our operations. You know that’s the city and what they do. I’ve talked to the head of security at Sonar who is in close with the city and he’s trying to see if something can be done but it’s not going to be easy. But also I figure they’re going to have a hard time coming in to the parking lot and towing cars and giving tickets anyway. All the meters I think it’s until 6 or 7 you have to put a certain amount in, but after that it’s a flat rate of $7 or something like that.

Now usually Sonar has a small garage that you can park in for free now. That’s something they’ve been advertising on other nights when they have shows. But I’m going to guess that’s probably going to be blocked off as part of the back stage area for the Deathfest.

If it’s what I’m thinking of they have been advertising the parking lot that’s kind of on top of the venue…

Yeah, yep.

…when there’s like other shows going on but during the fest we kind of use that mainly as the staff parking lot because there’s so much staff that even including myself I park up there. Usually it’s pretty full.

Another thing I was going to ask you know last year after Ghost‘s set there was that big incident with the pepper spray or mace. I know somebody tried to start a fight with one of the security guards or something. So I was wondering are they going to be walking around with pepper spray and stuff again this year or is it the same security guards or what’s going to go on with that stuff this year? I’m assuming something has changed.

I mean that definitely never should have happened. I just heard kind of through the grapevine what happened from different people. From what I understand this guy was picking a fight with one of the bouncers and attacked him or something and then the bouncer used the pepper spray on him but since it was outside the pepper spray kind of floated around and got some other people at the same time. And they definitely should not be using that at all unless completely necessary. And that’s never happened before so, I certainly would not expect that to happen again.

What’s going to go on with food this year? I know they had vegetarian options last year and so is there going to be more of that kind of stuff cause you know a couple of years ago I had gone and there were a few different food vendors. And that last year I think, or maybe two, there was only like one actual in the fest vendor selling food. Now is it going to be the same kind of thing set up this year or are there going to be more options or what’s up?

Well in the past when we had a few different ones, that was when it was up to me and Ryan to hire food vendors from outside. And now the owner of Sonar, he owns a restaurant in Hampden, and he has wanted to work out a deal with us regarding the rental and everything so he would be the only food vendor. So that’s why it’s been that way for the past year or two. But we definitely have gotten like a lot of feedback regarding the limited options that were available and we talked to him for a while about it and it’s going to be his stuff again but there’s going be at least three different sections, like three different types of food.

Different kinds of menu styles or something right?

Right. He’s supposed to be able to give me some menus that we can post online but I don’t know we’ll see about that. Either way he knows that we need a much more extensive list of options for people.

There’s a few places you can walk to around that area too. So that’s one thing too is that it’s in a nice part of the city where you can actually walk to a couple places and get some food too. Now I wanted to ask, what’s the official photo/video policy of Maryland Deathfest this year?

People can bring in cameras and do whatever they want but if someone’s bringing in a huge professional video camera then that’s when we’ll tell them they gotta relax but otherwise we don’t care. Regarding press passes we don’t give them out to anyone. Obviously there’s a couple that we work with and we give it to them but other than that we do not. People ask us constantly like oh we have this web blog or whatever this little magazine can we have a press pass and we always say no because otherwise we’d have thousands of people in the press pit and back stage and stuff and that’s just ridiculous. So yeah we have our movie crew and maybe a couple of others that we have every year that are shooting pictures from the photo pit but that’s it.

So there is going to be a Maryland Deathfest: The Movie shot again this year also?

Yeah, this will be the final one.

Ok. Because I know there was an issue with some of the footage last year or something.

Yeah, it was a bunch of drama that I didn’t quite understand or have the time to try to comprehend but having something to do with one of the guys stealing some of the footage or a laptop with a lot of the footage on it so a lot of it wasn’t recovered. I don’t know. But it’s part of the same crew that’s coming this time and [we] decided it would be worth it since this is the tenth year to do a final one from those guys.

Yeah the line up is pretty incredible this year too.

Yeah. Hopefully it’ll end up looking pretty good.

Here’s one thing I wanted to know, now you’ve got Morbid Angel headlining I believe Saturday and that’s going to be with David Vincent. Now I saw them when they first got back together with David Vincent back in, I don’t know, 2004 or somewhere around there. All the songs they played were from Domination and earlier. Now do you know if they’re going to be doing that kind of thing again, or are they going to play some of their songs in the years he was gone or do you know if it’s going to be a heavy focus on the new album because, heh, because I know a lot of people were not impressed with their new album, heh, to say the least.

Yeah, heh, I’ve gotten a lot of comments about that too. Actually, when I’m out at shows and stuff like that a lot of people ask me, they say that they’ve heard that we have a contract with Morbid Angel to where, they can’t play any new songs and, heh, I don’t know where that started but that’s definitely not true. However, from what I understand, they only play one or two songs off of the new album and then mostly old stuff.

So probably Domination era and earlier.

Yeah. I ran into Dave Witte last night actually and he said he saw them not long ago and he said he was very impressed with their live show now and he thinks people will be stoked.

Now do you know who is drumming for them when they’re going to be at Deathfest?

It will be Tim Yeung.

Ok. Do you have any idea who’s going to be drumming for Suffocation?

Um… Oh I’m drawing a blank on his name right now. Um… Dave Culross I think.

Now here’s another one that I thought was kind of weird on the Fest this year was Anvil. I mean I know they’re a pretty big band they just don’t seem to fit with the other bands on the bill. So how did you guys decide to put them on because they seem kind of out of left field.

Kind of, but not really. They’re just an old school, legendary band. They’re not quite to Metallica status or anything but they’ve been around for a long time and have influenced tons of bands. There’s some people that think that it’s crazy that they’re on this but I think there’s also a lot of people, a lot of old school heads especially, that will appreciate seeing them.

And they’ll be playing on one of the bigger outdoor stages right?

Yeah.

I remember last year when Neurosis was getting ready to play a thunder storm started to roll in. Is there going to be kind any of preparation for that or what happens when we get another thunder storm like that this year or if there’s a longer one? Are we just going to have to just push stuff back because I’m sure there’s noise issues at a certain point where you just can’t keep having the outdoor stages play.

Our outside stages are going to be slightly different. They’ll have a slightly more boxed in feel to them but that doesn’t affect a whole lot as far as that’s concerned. It can rain all night long and that’s fine but if there’s lightning then that’s when we can’t because it becomes an issue.

Yeah, a safety issue there.

So basically we just have to hope for the best, really, and the noise curfew goes until 11 o’clock so we cannot run any bands past that point.

Outdoors at least.

Outdoors, yeah.

Cool, now one thing I always thought was really cool is every year you guys seem to get a few of the local bands from sort of the DC, Baltimore and Philly area and even just the Mid Atlantic region in general and I thought that’s kind of cool how you guys get these big bands coming from all over the world and doing these exclusive appearances and you still have some local bands. You’ve got like Coke Bust on there this year, Extermination Angel, Dying Fetus, they’re pretty big but they’re a Maryland band too. Is that something that you guys really try to keep is some of the local bands coming in too?

We don’t want to lose that feel completely you know? Even if the fest continues to grow we kind of want to look out for some of the local acts and some of the little guys. There’s tons of bands from around the area that are awesome and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t help showcase that.

It’s really cool that you guys do that and I’ve always noticed that every year. Now last year Sonar had some sort of snafu where they lost their liquor license and were closing and that happened about three weeks before the fest was supposed to take place last year. I know you guys were kind of scrambling at the time to try to find another venue and I was thinking it was going to be Bourbon Street, which is just across the street from Sonar. Well that venue is closed now so I was wondering do you guys have any other kind of back up plan in case something ridiculous like that happens again or they lose their liquor license or something?

Well last year it was an issue with the liquor license because the liquor license was still in another guy’s name and there’s just a lot of drama regarding that but this year it’s not going to be an issue. In the long run of what’s going to really happen with Sonar I don’t really know. I can’t say but I know for sure it will be around during the fest and even after for a while at least.

Have you been to some of those festivals over in Europe like say Wacken or Hole In The Sky or any of these big festivals they have over there. Has that influenced the way you guys try to run Deathfest at all if you have?

The only kind of bigger festival I’ve been to, overseas, has been the Obscene Extreme fest in the Czech Republic. I’ve been to that a few times. It’s all outdoors in the middle of the woods. I’m actually pretty good friends with the guy who organizes that and he’s now coming to Maryland every year for the fest. Ryan has been to a couple of others because you know over the years he’s been traveling to Europe a lot more than I have. At least the past few years he has so I think he’s been to a couple more but I don’t think it really affects too much how we do this because I would say that Deathfest is probably most similar to those in the States but in Europe I think it’s not that similar. Most of those fests are all outdoors and there’s camping and all that stuff going on and it’s pretty different.

Have you ever thought about trying to make Maryland Deathfest bigger like something like that? Maybe move to a larger location or a field or something where you could do that?

Well it’s not so much try to, but it would be like, well this is happening because there’s so many people trying to come. We definitely have been looking into those options. We don’t have anything set in stone yet but we realize that it may happen actually pretty soon here so we’re exploring what kind of options we can use. But we also don’t want to have it lose the indoor deal as well because the good thing of having it at Sonar is we have a stage inside and there’s the lounge area, stuff like that. [I] think that having part of it inside is really cool and certain bands in that kind of setting is just perfect. So if we were to move it somewhere else I think it would be important to have an indoor… at least like tents or something to give more of an indoor kind of feel.

Like a club kind of setting.

Right.

Now here’s something I’ve always wanted to ask you. What do you think about a lot of this, you know the peer-to-peer bit torrents and the other mp3 downloading because I know on one hand a lot of the bands and the labels obviously they don’t like a lot of that. They don’t want people downloading their music for free. However on the other hand, a lot of these bands at Deathfest nobody in America would even know some of these bands if it wasn’t for the availability of their music online.

Right.

So where do you fall on that line because I’d imagine lots of bands on Deathfest probably wouldn’t even be able to come over here and play that just because people wouldn’t even know who they are. But now we’ve got like Electric Wizard headlining and stuff so what’s your take on all of that?

I don’t know I kind of fall in the middle. I can see both sides of it. I think having at least some of your music available online for free is great and it gets your word out there. If you’re in metal to make money then you’re doing something wrong anyway. But that’s kind of the way it’s becoming now. More and more people are just downloading for free so if you want to make some money off of your releases it’s going to be more difficult. When I talk to bands they say that most of the money they make is made off merch now. There’s only so much you can really do about that because one way or another people will find a way to download your music free. I personally like to do both. I like to check out a band first by like downloading it and if I’m really into it I’ll go out and buy it next time I see it at a store or something like that.

Yeah you’re starting to see a bit of a resurgence in vinyl from some of that too because you can’t really download the vinyl experience you know whereas a CD is kind of easily copied.

Oh yeah, I definitely see vinyl coming back big time.

Anyways, speaking of free stuff, I know that you just put out the list of all the vendors and who are going to have tables and booths so I was wondering, what if you’re not one of the vendors? Are you allowed to hand out flyers, stickers, CDs of your band if you’re just walking around? Is that ok or is that not cool or what are people allowed to do as far as that goes?

Yeah that’s fine. People can feel free to promote their band and show or whatever. There’s nothing we can do about that and it’s no big deal. Every once in a while someone will come and set up a little table and try to like sell stuff and that’s when we’ve crossed the line. If you’re going to sell something then that needs to be worked out in advance. If you want to give stuff away, feel free.

One thing I’ve noticed over the years too is back when you guys started the fest it was mostly a bunch of grindcore bands and you’d have a few bigger death metal headliners like say a Suffocation or Zyklon or something like that. And now it definitely covers a lot more genres. You’ve got black metal and sludge bands and doom bands and there’s still some death and there’s thrash and there’s old school bands coming back and so like you were saying earlier a lot of the bands are just the stuff you like. Now is some of the line up changes just how you and Ryan’s tastes have evolved over the years to maybe expand more or is it just you’re now a bigger fest and you can get different genres or maybe you’re getting out of some of the death and grind metal some and you’re just more into some of these other genres now? How has that progressed and why?

It’s actually all of those things. The first couple years, actually a lot of it was brutal death metal and then some grindcore and goregrind and stuff. That’s what we were mainly into at the time and that’s just what we decided to book. But as the fest has matured over the years I feel so have we and our musical tastes as well so we’ve decided to expand not only our tastes but the bands that we get, the genres that we get at the fest. The more that we do that the more that we realize that no one wants to see one genre of metal all day long. You know you gotta mix it up. Even from a fan’s perspective I wouldn’t want to go to a fest and see all brutal death metal or all doom or something it gets boring.

Yeah well even one day is one thing. You start making it four days, that’s a lot. Haha. That’s a lot to take in.

Oh yeah, definitely. So I think people definitely appreciate the mix of genres as do we.

I think it’s kind of cool that some of these bands get to play on a bigger stage that they wouldn’t necessarily get to if they were just touring around the area you know.

Yeah definitely.

So that’s always something that’s really nice too. Not only do you get to see Electric Wizard this year but you get to see them on a big outdoor stage so that’s pretty cool. Is there anything big you’ve got planned for say, the next year? I know you guys are working on this stuff always pretty early and you start announcing bands usually about a month after the fest for the next year. So do you have any kind of stuff in the works already yet you might want to leak or anything? Maybe you’re adding an extra day or add an extra stage or I don’t know, change the venue, anything like that?

We have a little bit in the works and a little bit that we’re brainstorming on right now but it’s nothing that we can really say at this point. Basically we’re going to have to decide, you know after this one we’re going to have to decide if it’s too big to hold at Sonar first of all and then just kind of take it from there.

You guys want to keep it in Maryland though or…? Like you wouldn’t have any plans to move it somewhere else is what I’m asking.

Everyone knows it as the Maryland Deathfest so we definitely would not plan on moving it.

Alright well thanks man. Thanks for your time. It’s been cool getting to chat for a little bit here and thanks a lot. Have you ever checked out my site DCHeavyMetal.com?

I have a couple times briefly, yeah.

Ah cool man. I’m trying to cover everything in the area from Baltimore to Northern Virginia you know and get the word out. Deathfest is definitely one of the biggest metal events every year as far as festival things it’s pretty much the only one in this area. This was the first interview I’ve done for the site. I thought it would be really cool to talk to one of you guys as the first interview. Thanks a lot for doing this man and I guess I’ll see you in about a month.

Alright, I appreciate it man. I’ll see you soon.

Ok take it easy.

Bye.