My Hell in the Harbor photos and videos

Hell in the Harbor Fest really was a hell of a way to spend Memorial Day Weekend. The entire block of Market Street in front of the Baltimore Soundstage was blocked off and fenced in for the festival. The single outdoor stage located on the northbound lane of Market Street faced North with East Pratt Street to its back which lead to lots of pedestrians hanging around gawking and the bands performing there. The event was sold out and it got pretty crowded in the street near the stage when the more popular bands were playing there, especially since some of the food and drink vendors were located very close to the outdoor stage. That said, it def had the feel of that era of Maryland Deathfest with the single stage outside of Sonar back in the day. Everything went off pretty well it seemed, only one band canceled out of the entire line up and there was even a surprise set by Jivebomb atop a shipping container located inside the fenced in area of the fest. Big props to Adam Savage for putting this all together and to Mike O’Brien at Baltimore Soundstage for letting me cover it (and give away tickets to one lucky DCHM fan!). Below I’m posting just some of my favorite photos and videos that I shot at Hell in the Harbor Fest but you can see all of my photos from the festival on Flickr here and all of the videos I shot at the fest and other shows on my YouTube page here. And if that’s not enough for you be sure to check out other coverage of the fest by people like Melissa Suarez Photography, Hillarie Jason Photography, Return to the Pit / Aaron Pepelis, and Misery Cartel Photos.

Friday the 26th of May was the pre-show for the fest at Baltimore Soundstage. Nothing took place outdoors that night and I only shot a bit of the set of the headliner, the Swedish doom metal band Candlemass. Below is my video of their final two songs, “Solitude” and “Demon’s Gate,” but I also shot footage of their song “The Bells of Acheron” which you can see here.

The first full day of Hell in the Harbor Fest was on Saturday the 27th and the weather was sunny and warm. The first band I caught was the Ohio based death metal band Sanguisugabogg on the outdoor stage. They

Georgia based sludge band Black Tusk put on a super high energy set on the Baltimore Soundstage’s stage. It’s been a while since I have seen them live but their live show has really improved in that time, I was definitely impressed. They also played a new song, titled Brush Fire, which I shot video footage of that you can see below.

Next I saw Maryland’s own Dying Fetus perform their style of slam death metal on the outdoor stage.

The main headliner of day one was the most famous death metal band in the world, Cannibal Corpse! This was my first time catching them live since Erik Rutan joined the band and I’ve got to say they seemed even tighter with him in the line up. In the video I shot below lead vocalist George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher challenged the audience to best him at head banging (I don’t think anyone beat him tbh).

Eventually I found my way over to Angel’s Rock Bar inside the Power Plant area to catch Tombs play. They were solid but they had the stage lights turned down low and a ton of fog so the conditions we’re pretty poor to try to shoot anything in.

Sunday the 28th of May was the final day of Hell in the Harbor Fest but had what I considered the best line up of the weekend. The first band I caught was the chainmail wearing blackened speed metal band Demiser from South Carolina inside Baltimore Soundstage. I shot the below video of them including an epic stage dive by DCHM contributor Vivek at the 4:11 mark.

After Demiser I went outside to catch Misery Index on the outdoor stage. They’re always a fun band that is mostly local (founding member Jason Netherton now lives in Sweden) and they always do a good job of song selection for their live shows. Their drummer, Adam Jarvis, had an intense day as he also played with Pig Destroyer, the next band to play on the same stage that day.

I saw Michigan based grind band Cloud Rat perform next inside Baltimore Soundstage, but their set was really short (even by grindcore standards) due to technical issues causing them to start about when their allotted time was supposed to end. Luckily I’ve seen them before but next up I headed outside to catch local grindcore legends Pig Destroyer on the outdoor stage. By this point there were a lot of normies hanging around the outside of the festival watching what was going on not just on the street but even in the nearby stores such as the second story of the Marshall’s. Pig Destroyer vocalist even gave a shout out to all the onlookers on the street and in the IHOP and Marshall’s. The crowd surfers were starting to show up during their set and there’s something very Baltimore about witnessing the Chicken Man crowd surf in front of a Popeye’s. It was a fun set as always

The next band I caught was the Toronto based black metal band Spectral Wound. I had never seen them before and they put on a spooky show with lots of fog. The band came ready to play and their set was tight and very high energy as well. I shot a video of them playing their incredible song “Frigid and Spellbound” followed by a new song that I don’t know the title of, check it out below!

I really wanted to catch all of Spectral Wound’s grim and frostbitten set but I left about four songs in because one of my all time favorite bands to see live was on the outdoor stage at the same time, the legendary Napalm Death! I don’t know how they continue to do it but one of the oldest bands on the bill still puts on one of the best live shows of any metal band in the world. Always intense and fun, Napalm Death blasting out into the Inner Harbor of Baltimore was just awesome. The crowd surfers went wild during their set, the most I saw for any band the entire fest. I shot video of the last nine minutes of their set, which includes their cover of the Dead Kennedys classic Nazi Punks Fuck Off! which you can see below.

By the time Napalm Death ended their set Richmond’s Inter Arma was already on stage inside the Baltimore Soundstage. Another band that I love to see live, this was the first time I’d seen them with a theremin player on stage.

When Inter Arma’s set ended I had just seen several killer sets back to back to back and it was time for a bit of relaxing (read: tailgating) during High on Fire’s set. It’s not that I don’t like Matt Pike’s thrashy sludge band but I have seen them a ton of times in the past. I made it back in time to catch Undeath‘s wild set inside Baltimore Soundstage. The stage divers were going nuts during their brutal set and played a new song, titled “Brandish the Blade” (see it here). The Chicken Man was up to his normal antics and managed to get up on stage with a flag during “Enhancing the Dead” that I captured on video that you can see below.

I headed over to Angel’s Rock Bar for Philadelphia’s Sonja. I had caught them at a house show in Takoma Park back in December but that show suffered a bunch of technical issues so the sound was not idea. That’s fairly typical for house shows but their performance at Angel’s definitely seemed like more of a real show this time.

After Sonja played it was time for New York City’s Tower to close out Angel’s Rock Bar. I wasn’t familiar with Tower but they played an energetic style of traditional metal lead by frontwoman Sarabeth Linden. They were one of those bands that you can just tell is having a blast performing together, really fun to watch. Unfortunately they blew an amp head and while they were figuring that out I headed over to catch the end of Hulder‘s set at Baltimore Soundstage. Luckily I had seen Hulder in NYC back in February with Blackbraid because they cut their set short by about 15 minutes. Kind of a weird way to end the fest but as the lights came on I started doing my goodbyes to people I’d seen there. In all Hell in the Harbor Fest was executed really well. Aside from a few issues about crowding near the outdoor stage, there really wasn’t much to complain about (ok drink prices were pretty high too). I got to see some great performances by great bands, some that I’d seen before and some that I hadn’t, and of course the best part was getting to see a good chunk of the people I typically run into at Maryland Deathfest despite no MDF this year.

I hope you all enjoyed my photos and videos, remember you can see more of my pics from this fest here and of course all of my videos are up on YouTube here. Be sure to check out other people that covered the fest like Melissa Suarez Photography, Hillarie Jason Photography, Return to the Pit / Aaron Pepelis, and Misery Cartel Photos.

Metal Chris’ favorite death metal albums of 2020

It’s the end of the year so it’s time for my end of year album lists! I’m posting several lists, each for a different subgenre/category, and ordered by release date instead of ranking them. 2020 has been a unique year with unique challenges, to say the least, and I fully expect that to be reflected in my lists. This death metal list is my third of these lists and you can find my black metal list here and my stoner and doom list here.

Black CurseEndless Wound
Released on 2 April 2020 by Sepulchral Voice Records
I guess you could call Black Curse a Denver based “super group” since the band members are from bands like Blood Incantation, Khemmis, Primitive Man and Spectral Voice, but honestly they don’t sound like any of those bands. This blackened death is brutality combined with some great songwriting that keeps it from getting monotonous and boring.

Funeral LeechDeath Meditation
Released 17 April 2020 by Carbonized Records
This debut full length from New York City based Funeral Leech takes that creeping cavernous death metal sound of bands like Blood Incantation, Tomb Mold and many others but slows it way down creating a death/doom sound with a big emphasis on the doom. Perfect music to listen to while relaxing after a long day of digging graves.

Ripped to Shreds – 亂 (Luan)
Released 17 April 2020 by Pulverised Records
Ripped to Shreds is based out of both California and Taiwan as band leader Andrew Lee has different line ups in each location. They play a death metal that has a strong Bay Area thrash element to it that keeps things both fun and brutal as Lee shreds away.

UlcerateStare into Death and Be Still
Released on 24 April 2020 by Debemur Morti Productions
The new Ulcerate has appeared on many year end lists and while I debated adding the newest Cytotoxin album as the tech-death entry on this year’s list, I simply couldn’t ignore just how killer this new direction for Ulcerate is. They have streamlined their sound to keep the heaviness intact while still giving (arguably the best drummer in metal) Jamie Saint Merat plenty of room to show off. Despite being an hour long Stare into Death and Be Still somehow manages to always end too soon.

DehumanautDust in the Giant’s Hand
Self-released on 21 May 2020
This is probably the most fun album on this list. Guitarist Katy Montgomerie has packed this album full of catchy riffs that are held together by an underlying groove that never comes across cheesy. I really can’t wait to see what this three piece from England does next after this killer debut.

BattlemasterGhastly, Graven & Grimoireless
Released on 26 June 2020 by Forcefield Records
Richmond’s Battlemaster is obsessed with the most brutal parts of combat in Dungeons & Dragons and their first release in five years is no different. The riffs are as catchy as ever but what is different is the production on this album is a lot better than their previous. This is a perfect album to play your favorite RPG to.

UndeathLesions of a Different Kind
Released 23 October 2020 by Prosthetic Records
Undeath from Rochester, New York, released one hell of a slamming death metal album here. Undeath’s debut full length blends elements of modern cavernous death metal with old school NYDM style grooves and perfectly balances those sounds.

Of Feather and BoneSulfuric Disintegration
Released 13 November 2020 by Profound Lore Records
This is the most brutal release on this list! High energy, intense and almost relentless pummeling best describe this third release by this Denver band. They’ve stepped up their game on Sulfuric Disintegration so if you’re into death metal (and why else would you be reading this post if you aren’t?) then don’t sleep on this one!

Glorious DepravityAgeless Violence
Released 27 November 2020 by Translation Loss Records
Based out of Brooklyn and featuring members of bands like Mutilation Rites, Woe and Pyrrhon, you knew Glorious Depravity was going to get some attention. Ageless Violence lives up to expectations and I’d dare say even exceeds them. The album is packed with sick riffs and some of the most mental lyrics on this entire list.

UndergangAldrig i livet
Released 4 December 2020 by Dark Descent Records
Danish death metal band Undergang returns with another filthy album of down tuned riffs and those infectious rhythms they have made a name for themselves doing. There’s nothing too unusual about this release compared to their earlier albums, but they’re perfecting that death metal from the sewer sound more and more with each release.