Austin Terror Fest has announced their full lineup for 2019! Lighting Bolt, Pig Destroyer, Goatwhore, TR/ST (Canada), Alcest (France), Panopticon, Bongzilla, Bongripper, Church of Misery (Japan), Full of Hell, Dalek, Black Cobra, Street Sects, Unearthly Trance, Dorthia Cottrell, Machine Girl, Pyrrhon, Genocide Pact, Dreadnought, Crowhurst, Echo Beds, Temple Of Angels, Mountain Of Smoke, Terminator 2, Deep Cross, and Taverner. Austin Terror Fest (ATF) takes place Friday, June 7 through Sunday, June 9 in Austin, Texas, Three-day GA badges are on sale now for $150 through ATF’s Official Facebook Event page, below.
The 2017 Hellfest Open Air Festival will be taking place from June 16th-18th in Clisson, France next year, and the final lineup has now been confirmed. Continue reading
Saturday at Psycho Las Vegas was no less impressive and perhaps the best single day of the fest band for band, especially if you were still able to stand after the first few days. Starting off with the public première of the Melvins documentary, The Colossus Of Destiny, followed by a Q & A by the director, Bob Hannam; this set the tone for the day. Continue reading
Sadly, here is where we start reaching the beginning of the end, the last day of Maryland Deathfest. After icing my foot, I hurried off with a friend over at the fest because we had another friend who had their car short out and we were coming to the rescue. Conveniently for them at least, they were parked right in front of the Edison Lot, so when their problem was dealt with, we power walked inside to catch the opener for the day, Australia’s Denouncement Pyre. I had been a huge fan of them since I had heard Almighty Arckanum in 2013, so when they were announced for MDF, I made their set a priority, and it was well worth the struggle of waking up early on a Sunday. From there came the band Shed the Skin, featuring members of Incantation and Ringworm, and other Australian black metallers Nocturnal Graves. During these bands, I went around on another food hunt, and found a stand in the lot that was selling deep-fried dumplings filled with different things. I spent almost the rest of my food budget on food just from this place, those deep-fried cheesesteak balls were some of the best food I could find during the fest.
Once I devoured those, I went up to the barrier to get a good spot for Wombbath to get my daily dose of Swedish death metal, and their début album Internal Caustic Torments was one of the first old school death metal records I heard, so I was very happy to find out they not only reunited, but were playing MDF! These guys haven’t missed a beat, I would not have been able to tell that they had broken up with how well they sounded and performed. When they were done, Desaster came thrashing out of the woodwork to the pleasant surprise of many, putting on a fantastic set and not missing a beat with their song. Around this point in the day, clouds began to form and the rain began to start, but that didn’t stop Bongzilla, or as frontman Mike Makela said during their set, “Weedeater without the Weedeater”, from busting out the fuzzy stoner metal that had been lacking from the fest since Thursday. We were then treated to even more delectable death metal courtesy of Sweden’s Interment, whose eerie guitar tone and almost d-beat style drumming makes the band sound like they could be the soundtrack of a horror movie, which is something I can really dig.
Once Interment finished, the rain began to really pick up, and instead of sticking it out, I decided to head over to the Soundstage, where I happened to catch Putrescence, some quality Canadian grindcore. I didn’t know much about him, and they put on a pretty decent performance, but unfortunately I went on to find out that MDF was their last performance as a band, so I’m kind of glad to have caught them when I had the chance. After them came Test, who were a two piece grindcore band from Brazil. They honestly blew me away with their performance, because it was so unique for a band like them. One minute they would just be noodling around and seeming like they were going to do some sort of an indie song, then the drummer would just start blasting as fast as he possibly could with the guitarist following suit. They would just flawlessly mix from sounding so light and smooth into relentless, muddy, disgusting metal, and it sounded just incredible. They definitely won over the crowd with their set. I proceeded to pound back some water and walk over to Rams Head to see Phobocosm setting up for their set. Even though their sound was a little muddy from the overbearing bass, they still put on a hell of a performance.
Once they were done, I went back to Soundstage to catch one of my most hyped sets of the weekend, Tragedy. Now, I have been a Tragedy fan for years, but unfortunately missed every chance I have had to see them when they have come around, so I was not letting this opportunity slip through my fingers. When those first notes to ‘Conflicting Ideas’ came in, I knew I was gonna be in for a rowdy time. After getting out my elation in the pit, I left to Rams Head, because they unfortunately had to put Mitochondrion on at the same time, and I’ve been waiting to see them even longer than I have wanted to see Tragedy! Mitochondrion were destructive, and somehow sounded even cleaner live than on record, which for their style of death metal, is rather impressive to pull off. Once their set ended, I decided to finally have dinner at the most illustrious of establishments: Subway. Once I got my fuel, I went to Soundstage to prepare myself for the crust overlords Doom to take the stage. As soon as they started, the whole front area turned into mass chaos, with beers, bodies, and objects just flying all over the venue, the pit turning into an ice rink from all of the spilled drinks. Mysterious odors aside, Doom’s set was incredible and probably the funnest of the weekend. Once they finished, I went to Rams Head to catch the last band of the weekend, Brazil’s own Mystifier. Mystifier falls into the category of bands I have heard of before, but know nothing about musically that blow me away, which is something that MDF seems to have a plethora of. Their fast and angry style of black metal is the type that is always right up my alley, and even though I was absolutely exhausted, I got really into their set.
With the last note of Mystifier’s set, MDF XIV had officially come to a close. This year, they had a post-show matinee as well, but for many of us, that was the end. At least until next year, for the 15th anniversary of Maryland Deathfest! I can only wonder who they are going to book for next year, but regardless of who they get, I’m gonna work my hardest to make my way down again, and I encourage anyone to do the same. If you even have the thought “Maybe I should go down this year…”, just do it, it’s worth the trip.
WORDS BY JASON MEJIA
Not wanting to miss a thing, I woke up bright and early to go on a hunt for food then head to the Edison Lot. Roaming the streets, I went to a restaurant called Big Apple Tree café, which offered deliciously cheap food and some of the best fries I’ve ever had. After gorging myself, I sped over to get myself a decent spot for South Carolina OSDM revivalists Horrendous, who opened their set with their rager “The Stranger” and were one of my personal highlights of the weekend. After them came some actual old school death metal courtesy of Sweden’s Centinex and Chicago natives Novembers Doom. Alien death metallers Wormed came out after the finished and went straight in, with their technical yet brutal riffing and robotic voices throwing the crowd into a frenzy. Their set consisted mostly of material from their new album, Krighsu, but they did play some older tunes like ‘Nucleon’ as well, which really god the crowd going.
When they finished, I went to buy myself a delicious sno-ball from the snowcone truck set up in Edison, which was a refreshing way to fuel up considering how hot it was outside on the concrete. I then sauntered over to the Soundstage while on the hunt for some fine dinner, which I found at downtown spot Chicken Rico, right across the street from the Soundstage. A fat burrito and fries for $8? Sign me up! After eating, I went inside to the venue, which essentially became my second home for the 4 days, and The Afternoon Gentlemen were getting ready to start. Having seen these guys just days earlier opening for Weekend Nachos, I was excited to see them again, and their set at MDF was even better, albeit less crazy of a crowd. Ohio grinders Hemdale went on after them, and their grimy style of deathgrind got the crowd moving hard, and their preachings between songs of “Fuck The Internet” being echoed throughout the rest of the night.
German fastcore juggernauts Yacopsae kept the party going, with circle pits and stage dives abound. Unfortunately, this was where things went a little over the top, and I ended up trapped at the bottom of a 20-man pile up, ending up with a pretty gnarly foot injury. However, I wasn’t gonna let that stop me, so I got out, put some ice on it for about 30 minutes, then hopped right back into the fray for both Magrudergrind (who brought out Joe Denunzio from Infest to do guest vocals at the end) and Finnish HM-2 maniacs Rotten Sound, with their buzzsaw guitars and relentless blasting making the venue into a warzone. When they finished, the adrenaline began to wear off, and I’d become a hobbling flamingo all around the streets. Due to my injuries, I opted to head over to Rams Head and see Angelcorpse since they had seats, and while many were ecstatic to see them, I was only really familiar with them by name. They tore into their set with aggressive solos and nonstop in-your-face death metal, and they were only a three-piece, which caught me off guard considering how intense their sound was. They brought night 2 to a close, and I limped and skipped the way back, getting myself ready for day 3.
Waking up and seeing that my foot was multiple shades of purple and yellow should have been more alarming for me, but I decided it wasn’t gonna keep me from enjoying myself, so I iced it then went back for round 3 of shenanigans. Kicking off day 3 were Australia’s Hellbringer, whose fresh mix of black metal and thrash was a good way to wake up the crowd! After them came Sweden’s own Demonical, who I caught much of, but the Pad That I bought from one of the vendors unfortunately did not agree all too well with me, and I fled over to the Soundstage for some relief. After, I ended up hanging around for a little while and caught Whoresnation from France and Priapus from North Carolina, two bands from two different areas, both providing their own 1-2 punch of grind to the face.
Once they were done, I decided to head back to the Edison Lot and ee what was going on and find friends. Luckily I made it just in time to see California thrash legends Hirax take the stage and deliver a blisteringly fast set in equally as hot weather. The thrash didn’t stop there, with Arizona’s Atrophy coming out and delivering their own style of thrash metal. I personally wasn’t into their set, so I decided to head over to HeadBangin Hot Dogs and got myself a Vegan hot dog to help curb the hunger pangs along with a strawberry lemonade from the Asian food stand to cool off from the heat. I eventually went back to the Soundstage and caught the last bit of Severed Head of State, featuring Todd Burdette of Tragedy/His Hero Is Gone fame, while waiting to the reason I came back, Despise You, to come on stage. The powerviolence OG’s came out to a rabid crowd, and their fast, angry, unrelenting style of hardcore brought everyone to go insane from the first note until the very end.
The insanity didn’t stop there, with General Surgery coming out and busting out the chainsaw sounds with their HM-2 tinged deathgrind while dressed up and coated in fake blood. As soon as they stopped, I ran to Rams Head to catch Vancouver’s Auroch, who shares members with fellow contemporaries Mitochondrion, and sonically it is very easy to see, with the overwhelming, dark guitar tone and nonstop blasting, but slightly thrashier than them. I then went back to the Soundstage to catch the crazy Spaniards Haemorrhage, who were all decked out in doctor’s outfits and scrubs except for the lead singer, who was coated in fake blood running around with a plastic bloody leg. From there, things just went to the next level, with Infest just going absolutely bonkers. Even though they started about 20 minutes later than planned, they just went right into things and did not stop at all, with trash cans and people going flying. I unfortunately had to leave before it ended to catch the second half of Grave Miasma’s set, whose doomier approach to recently growing trend of cavernous death metal was much welcome, and incredibly heavy, with the band having a very dominating stage presence, playing with little lighting and letting the music speak for itself.
When they finished, the stage crew then began to set up for Dragged Into Sunlight. I had heard a lot about their live performances, and I was a big fan of their music, but nothing could have prepared me for what I was to witness. 5 minutes of feedback and noise, with the solitary lighting coming from strobes behind the drummer, the dimmest red stage lights possible, and the candlelight from the animal skull candlestand at the front of the stage. Then, the samples start, the first notes of ‘To Hieron’ begin, and they kick in to what may well have been the heaviest thing that I have ever witnessed. I felt like I was slowly being driven into a state of insanity watching them, with the vitriolic screaming of the vocalist, the lack of lighting, how loud and abrasive they were, and the lack of acknowledgment of the crowd, playing almost entirely with their backs turned. Besides the one drunk guy trying to bombard to the front who eventually got carried out by a multitude of people for his behavior and the pit going on, everyone else was just entrenched into the performance going on in front of us. Near the end, the lights were cut, so the only source was the strobe going off behind the drummer. Their set was easily the highlight of the fest, and may very well have been the best set I’ve seen from a band. Craft went on after them, and while they were good sonically, they didn’t really have much of a stage presence, which really dampened their performance, and after Dragged Into Sunlight, as far as my brain and ears were concerned, we were done for the day.
WORDS BY JASON MEJIA
Ahhh, Maryland Deathfest, one of the most wonderful times of the year. Nothing but a vacation consisting of metal, drinking, debauchery, eating deliciously unhealthy fest food, and raging with friends. For those of you not in the know, Maryland Deathfest (abbreviated as MDF) is a 4 day heavy metal festival held over Memorial Day Weekend in Baltimore and is often called the biggest metal festival in America, bringing international bands and fans alike for the metal fueled weekend. For many of these bands, MDF is their first time playing in the United States, and some who would otherwise never play the States will often do one-offs just for the festival, with past acts including Asphyx, Ihsahn, Godflesh, and Electric Wizard. The fest is held across 4 different stages, 2 outdoor and 2 indoor venues, Baltimore Soundstage and Rams Head Live, with the former being more for grind and hardcore, while Rams Head is more for black and death metal.
My first exposure to MDF was in 2012, but it was always just a pipe dream until 2015 when I finally made the pilgrimage along with thousands of other metal fans to the mystical land of Baltimore, and it was one of the best weekends of my life. I got to meet a multitude of people from all over and made friends with a variety of characters, many of whom I had gotten to reconnect with this year, go on hunts throughout the city to find cheap food, and see bands I thought would never play again, let alone play the states (it still blows my mind that I got to see Demilich, Anaal Nathrakh and Portal, all in the same day, no less)!. After the time I had, I just knew I needed to come back next year. It almost didn’t happen, but I manage to put together the trip at the last-minute, and boy, was it worth it! I’ve been to multiple festivals across a variety of genres, but none of them compare to the intensity and pure joy that MDF brings, and my experience this year was no different! Now, on to my actual fun at the fest!
Day 1 is very different setup wise compared to the rest of the fest. Normally, there’s a mixture of different genres sprinkled on every stage each day, but this day is set up where only the 2 indoor venues are open, and one is exclusively stoner/sludge/doom, while the other is in-your-face brutal death metal. Opening up the festival were Baltimore hometown heroes Visceral Disgorge on the Soundstage, making their MDF début. I had been hyped to see these guys since they released their début (and currently only) album Ingesting Putridity back in 2011, and they absolutely did not disappoint, ripping through their set with ferocity as well as hilarity, with the vocalist cracking jokes about their song titles such as “Spastic Anal Lacerations”.
After their set, I made my way over to Rams Head to catch a bit of Crypt Sermon, a Philly-based doom band that reminded me a bit of Candlemass mixed a little with Warning. Personally, not my style of doom, so I ended up leaving to go catch scum grinders Waco Jesus. I wasn’t too familiar musically, but they caught my attention and I was pleasantly surprised. They ripped through song after song, with the vocalist making the occasional joke about the amount of women in the crowd and quips about having them flash them, or at the least show them a foot.
When they finished, I retreated back to Rams Head to catch part of Buzzoven’s set, but mainly to get a good spot for Chicago’s Bongripper, who were one of my most hyped bands of the fest. Flying through a crushing 3-song, 45-minute set, they were easily the loudest band of the day, with the bass in particular being able to level the venue on its own. Opening with “Hail”, the band just dominated that stage and did not stop until the last note of their song ‘Worship’, then gave their thanks and walked off. One thing I took note of was that they were the only band there that were selling their own merch, going back after their set to hang out with the fans after the bombardment their merch table received. Proceeding them were North Carolina natives Weedeater, whose fuzz-fueled set included hits such as ‘God Luck and Good Speed’ and ‘Weed Monkey’, and after their set I went to see California slammers Disgorge, where their set turned into a party, with circle pits and glow sticks flying everywhere.
Italian maestros Goblin led by Claudio Simonetti then took the Rams Head stage, and knowing nothing about him besides that they composed soundtracks to horror movies, I was immediately sucked into their performance. The visuals they had came from the different movies, such as Dawn Of The Dead and Suspiria, and they synced everything flawlessly with what was going on, and I was kicking myself for not knowing more about them earlier. Catching the beginning few minutes of Severe Torture, I closed out my night with Earth, and their droning, minimalistic, yet loud riffs was a perfect way to unwind and end the first day of MDF.
WORDS BY JASON MEJIA
More excellent news from our favorite music festival in the world this week. First Enslaved and Wardruna announce they will jointly perform Skuggsjá, an original piece dedicated to the 200th anniversary of Norway’s constitution. The Roadburn performance will be the first outside of Norway.
Then the festival released the original artowrk, by Arik Roper (Sleep, High on Fire, Earth, Weedeater, The Black Crows).
And the festival also announced the addition of more great bands such as Bongripper, Floor, Sólstafir, Virus, White Hills, Messenger, Junius, Skeletonwitch, Svartidaudi, Mortals & more.
Ticket Pre-Sales Start Thursday, Oct 16th 2014 at 21:00 CET; Pre-Sales Party at The 013 Venue (NL)
From The Press Release:
Roadburn Festival 2015 Ticket Pre-Sales Start Thursday, Oct 16th 2014 at 21:00 CET; Pre-Sales Party at The 013 Venue (NL)
Bongripper, Floor, Sólstafir, Virus, White Hills, Messenger, Junius, Skeletonwitch, Svartidaudi, Mortals, The Osiris Club and Zoltan also confirmed for the 20th edition of Roadburn Festival.
We’re elated to announce that Enslaved and Wardruna will perform Skuggsjá, the sound of Norway’s Norse History at Houses of the Holistic, Ivar Bjørnson‘s and Einar “Kvitrafn” Selvik‘s curated Roadburn event on Friday, April 10 at the 013 venue inTilburg, The Netherlands.
Written by Bjørnson and Selvik for the 200th anniversary of the Norwegian Constitution and premiered this past weekend at the Eidsivablot festival, this will be Skuggsjá‘s first performance outside of Norway, and will certainly be one of the highlights of the 20th edition of Roadburn Festival.
Skuggsjá translates into ‘mirror’ or ‘reflection’ in the Norse language, and the commissioned piece not only contextualizes harder music’s role in the democracy in Norway in 2014, but also joins threads from the country’s ancient musical history and solidifies harder music’s position as Norway`s most important cultural export.
By highlighting ideas, traditions and instruments of their Norse past, Skuggsjá will tell the history of Norway and reflect relevant aspects from the past into the present day. In light of this they will reflect on themselves as a people and nation. In a magnificent tapestry of metal instrumentation, a wide variety of Norway and Scandinavia’s oldest instruments, and poetry in Proto-Scandinavian, Norse and Norwegian, Skuggsjá will be a fusion between past and present, both lyrically and musically.
We simply can’t wait to experience it ourselves, to hear how how Norwegian metal has developed from its rebellious roots into the highly acclaimed artistic expression of a complex music genre, under Norway’s constitutional right to freedom of speech.
In related news, Virus, Junius, Skeletonwitch, Svartidaudi and Icelandic heathensSólstafir, who are currently making huge waves with their latest release, Ótta, are also confirmed for Houses of the Holistic, Ivar Bjørnson‘s and Einar “Kvitrafn” Selvik‘s curated Roadburn event on Friday, April 10 at the 013 venue.
Tickets for the 20th edition of Roadburn Festival, set for April 9 – 12 at the 013 venue inTilburg, The Netherlands, will go on sale on Thursday, October 16, 2014. Set your alarm and get ready to score your tickets at 21:00 CET!
The majority of Roadburners live outside The Netherlands, which is why ticket pre-sales will start at 21:00 CET. This should be convenient for most time zones. Apologies to our friends in Oceania who will have to wake up early (or just stay up late)!
We are pleased to report that there will be NO price increase this year. Three-day tickets will be available for 165 Euros (excl. servicefees); four-day tickets will cost 185 Euros (excl. service fees). Afterburner-only tickets will cost 32.50 Euros (excl. service fees). Please note that one-day tickets are not available for the Thursday, Friday or Saturday Roadburn dates. Online buyers can order a maximum of four tickets.
For everyone in the Netherlands and Belgium: we are aware that your local ticket outlets will not be open when pre-sales start, which is why we are throwing another pre-sales party at the 013 venue in Tilburg (NL). From 19:00 CET – 20:30 CET you will be able to purchase a maximum of four paper tickets for Roadburn Festival 2015. Guaranteed!
In addition to making it easy to get tickets, the pre-sales party is going to be a blast! This year, we have invited The Machine and Radar Men From The Moon to provide the soundtrack.
The live music part of the evening starts at 20:30 CET. Roadburn’s artistic director/promoter Walter Hoeijmakers will be on hand to share the latest festival updates, too.
Chicago instrumental band Bongripper will make a welcome return to the 20th edition of Roadburn Festival with two sets that feature their unique brand of devastating doom. The first will see them play their latest album, Miserable, in its entirety at the main stage onThursday, April 9. The second will be later that weekend (more info about the date to be determined).
If you are a fan of stellar riffs and molasses-thick distorted guitar tone, Floor has everything you want in music. These Floridian sludge/pop pioneers get a lot of comparisons to lead singer/guitarist Steve Brooks other band, Torche — and rightfully so — with his instantly recognizable singing style and guitar tone. Floor, however, is the essence of pure heaviness, with just a nod to the pop melodies that have spurred Torche on to crossover success. Come feel the downtuned thunder of Floor’s bassless power trio attack when Floor plays the main stage of the 013 venue at the 2015 Roadburn Festivalon Thursday, April 9.
Combining many of the essential themes of Roadburn music in their volatile sonic elixir — psych, space rock, stoner rock, kraut rock and noise — have made White Hills one of Roadburn‘s favorite bands. Their bespangled and energetic live shows have a life and chaotic energy of their own that reshapes their music and creates powerful sonic programming driven by pure energy, exactly the kind of thing that Roadburn celebrates, and fans seek. White Hills will make a very welcome return to Roadburn for a main stage performance on Sunday, April 12.
After winning the limelight category for the brightest young rising stars in the progressive sky today at this year’s Progressive Music Awards this past weekend, Messenger will bring their acid folk/prog and psychedelica to the 20th edition of Roadburn on Saturday,April 11.
Mortals, The Osiris Club and Zoltan have also been confirmed for the 20th edition of Roadburn Festival.
Curated by Ivar Bjørnson (Enslaved) and Wardruna‘s Einar “Kvitrafn” Selvik, Roadburn Festival 2015 (including Skuggsjá, Enslaved, Wardruna, Fields of the Nephilim, Claudio Simonetti’s Goblin performing Dawn of The Dead and Susperia in its entirety, Zombi, Sólstafir, White Hills, Bongipper,Floor and The Heads as Artist In Residence among others) will run for four days from Thursday, April 9to Sunday, April 12 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands.
The soreness had began to set in by this time, yet my body had no say in preventing further torture. There was yet more on the plate for this exercise session from hell. Luckily for my muscles, a one-two-three heavy handed slap of stoner/doom in the form of Windhand, Bongripper and Graves At Sea was how the Sabbath day was to begin. Wouldn’t it be hilarious if the former two bands practiced and recorded stoned and played sober?
My next gym coaches in Misery Index, however, demanded a few proverbial pushups, despite the lack of shade. How cruel of them to play ‘Traitors’ when they know that it’s impossible for me to stand still during such a thing.
The new track(s) from the newest opus The Killing Gods (Season of Mist) were business as usual; brutalising politically conscious death/grind the way Misery Index has delivered it to their hometown of Baltimore and the world for 13 lucky years. I’m assuming they all walked home after Deathfest, since they probably live up the street.
Pseudogod, they existed, and Wrathprayer from Chile played Blackened Death Metal that was surprisingly not too generic, though little stuck out in particular from their performance. The wizardly dissonance of Colombia’s (now based in Seattle, WA) Inquisition was much needed following these two noble, if not uninspiring acts.
Dagon’s trademark croaks take some getting used to if you’re not already into that thing, which I found out some years ago when I first heard ‘Those Of The Night’. I thought, “How the fuck are these Black Metal vocals? Weak shit, kid”, and fell in with the camp that didn’t enjoy the Popeye With Throat Cancer treatment. However, with time, I came to see them as an integral part of their sound, as important as the spiraling, dark melodies and atmospheres that blanket their deceptively simple aural landscapes. The tastefully militant blasting and appropriately placed groove sections provided by drummer Incubus are done well enough to the point that variety is not of great concern. Dagon even had the foresight to have two mics set up so he wouldn’t simply stand in one place the entire time, and that somehow made it a lot less likely to be bored while watching their ministrations. Clandestinely keeping you titillated since 1989.
A smorgasbord of Louisiana’s most metal featuring members of Goatwhore, Crowbar, and Eyehategod; Soilent Green are an unexpectedly well-done mixture of blues-tinged sludge metal and blasting deathgrind. I’d go so far as to say they’re one of my ‘favourites’ among bands I had gone in not expecting to be good, much less pretty darn good. Makes for good BBQ eating soundtracks. Because, y’know, the South. Following them were the band voted least likely to have anything to do with gore or guts, Gorguts, who are equal parts surrealist staircase-to-nowhere artists and death metal.
Reanimating ‘Orphans Of Sickness’ from The Erosion Of Sanity (complete with slamdown) and ‘Inverted’ from From Wisdom To Hate, Gorguts shows that they’ve not gone entirely soft on us. That is, if you consider the fact that they’ve run with the avant-garde angle from Obscura onward going ‘soft’. Opening with two songs from Coloured Sands (Season of Mist) as if to say “now that we’ve got that out the way”, they proceeded to blow some minds the way they have been for a quarter century. Damn, they’re old. Luc Lemay’s stage banter will tell you that much. Why isn’t he my uncle?
Yet another fuzzy treat for my unaware ears were Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats, who got my vote this year for the category of “Why Is This Band Playing Deathfest?” in the same way Anvil did two years ago. Good old fashioned psychedelic doom rock worship aside, they should seriously consider changing their name to Sharp Dressed Man: The Band. Sure beats the hell out of Ghost and Bigelf as far as semi-metal 70s hard rock goes. Just out of curiosity: why do none of these bands ever wear ‘normal’ clothes?
And now came the apex of sadness: Having to abandon the truest Sabbath worshippers in Sweden’s Candlemass after their opening song, ‘Mirror, Mirror’ to go catch Japan’s legally insane grind outfit Unholy Grave at the Soundstage. Mats Levén of Therion fame handling vocals and the fact that I missed ‘At Gallows’ End’ just makes me want to cry forever. Ancient dreams of an alternate reality where this was an easier choice. Almost makes me wonder; was it worth it? I don’t like to ask myself these questions, because regret is an unproductive state of being.
The misery continued with the U.K.’s masters of the maudlin, My Dying Bride, with front man Aaron Stainethorpe sporting a newly shaved dome after my only having ever known him with perpetually soggy lachrymose locks. Sadly (word choice?), ‘Deeper Down’ and ‘My Body, A Funeral’ didn’t make it onto their set list, and I’m woefully (word choice?) unacquainted with much of their discography, though ‘The Dreadful Hours’ and ‘Turn Loose The Swans’ rang somewhat familiar. Hymns to never ending grief, complete with the mourning, sobering sound of a violin, though unfortunately (word choice?) no rain to complete the ambiance. If it can rain during Neurosis, Electric Wizard, and even Pelican, why no appropriate weather this year? You sicken me, skies. To compound my consternation, I noticed the beginning sign of an oncoming suckfest; that sensation of having a patch of permanently dry skin at the back of your throat, the messenger of death, the common cold. It only got worse from there.
All sordid business with the Edison Lot now done, I had a hot date with the Soundstage and Ratos de Porão, who play fucking fast.
Brazil’s Ratos don’t play no bossa nova, fool. It’s balls-to-the-wall with no breaks at all crossover thrash meets the rawer (or rawwwwwwrrrrrr) sounds of 80s hardcore. Think Suicidal Tendencies in their Join The Army days if they took more cues from Charged G.B.H.’s City Baby Attacked By Rats, and you’ve got an approximation of how this beast sounds. Pure energy and speed, but always on the right track, like a studded train full of crusties hitting you with a fist made of metalheads. Someone eventually decided that a trash can would have more fun near the pit, and the result was a lot of beer cans and empty food containers on the floor that was once just covered in beer and sweat.
Perfect way to cap off the Soundstage skullduggery.
Meanwhile at Ram’s Head the progressive death metal Kiwis in Ulcerate serenaded all present with uplifting tunes such as ‘Confronting Entropy’ and ‘Clutching Revulsion’ from their newest opus Vermis (Relapse). Packed full of enough angular riffs to make your head spin, and heavy enough to make it flatten itself, they and Immolation provided an ideal closing combo for this year’s Maryland Deathfest. Emphasis being on the death, Yonkers’ Immolation packs a firestorm of riffs that haven’t died down in over 28 years as a band. From their debut Dawn Of Possession to their most recent Kingdom Of Conspiracy, all eras were covered as they burnt the fest to ashes.
Yours truly got kicked out of a hotel (rather, kicked himself out) because someone decided smoking a cigarette in the hallway was a good idea. To be fair, I tried to help them by putting it out, but what’s common sense? Some people just can’t hang, and those people are hotel security. Oops.
Then on the walk ‘home’ I found some people being obnoxious and singing random metal songs at the top of their lungs on the front porch of a hotel. Naturally I go over and join them. I found some beers and a girl that’s sexually attracted to snakes or someshit, and she stole the inflatable dinosaur that the guy dressed as a doctor during Impaled’s set gave me. Presumably to fuck it.
Then I drank with said doctor and he showed me the horror show that was his hotel bathtub. Thing was a mess of fake blood and empty beer cans. We drank some whiskey for our faces and peaced out. He had a D.R.I. cigarette case, which was rad.
Thrashers, meet your king, passed out on the steps of said hotel at 6 in the morning. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s still hungover to this very day, because that kid was literally drunk the entire weekend. And I saw him a lot (he was in just about every pit at Edison), so you know I’m not bullshitting.
Then, just in time for me to get onto a cold 4 hour bus to New York and a subsequently cold 4 hour bus to Boston, my cold reaches fruition, and I die in my seat. Somehow I came back to life to write this review, and all I can say after this glorious headbanging, circlepitting, beer drinking, weed smoking, not-drug-doing, skirt-wearing, awkward-socialising weekend is: Fuck the common cold. Maybe I’ll do this again next year.
WORDS BY SEAN PIERRE-ANTOINE
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