Maryland Deathfestorganizers postponed this year’s festival. They have just announced new dates for 2021 (May 27-30, 2021) and revealed that almost the full 2020 lineup will play. The new dates for MDF XVIII are May 27-30, 2021. Also, take a look at our massive recap and photo set from MDF 2019 by Hillarie Jason.Continue reading →
Maryland Deathfest has announced its 2020 running order! Already featuring Dismember, Bloodbath, Exhorder, Monstrosity, Onslaught, Cadaver, Cancer, Graveyard, Vio-lence, Necrophobic, Demilich, Acid Witch, Fabio Frizi and many more, the eighteenth edition of MDF, taking place at Rams’ Head Live and Baltimore Soundstage. Check out the announcement and the full list of bands so far below. Also, take a look at our massive recap and photo set from MDF 2019 by Hillarie Jason. Continue reading →
Right on the heels of another incredible Maryland Deathfest, MDF 2020 has announced its first spate of dope bands! Dismember, Monstrosity, Onslaught, Necrophobic, Demilich, Acid Witch and many more are set for the eighteenth edition of the fest, taking place at Rams’ Head Live and Baltimore Soundstage. Check out the announcement and the full list of bands so far below. Also, take a look at our massive recap and photo set from MDF 2019 by Hillarie Jason. Continue reading →
From the team that brought you Maryland Deathfest, Quebec Deathfest, California Deathfest and, we now have a Scandinavia Deathfest! It makes almost too much sense, as the region has been the birthplace of some of the greatest bands and albums of the metal genre. Right off the bat, headlining the festival are the reunited original-LAEFS-lineup of Dismember are making an exclusive European appearance. Other bands confirmed are Benediction, Birdflesh, Centinex, Death Toll 80k, Demilich, Demonical, Entrails, General Surgery, Interment, Iron Lamb, Martyrdöd, Massgrav, Nuclear Assault, Purtenance, Putrid Vision, Rippikoulu, Rotten Sound, Sarcasm, Soils of Fate, Sorcery, Toxaemia, Unanimated, Undergang, and Wombbath. Taking over Stockholm on October 11-12 at Kraken Sthlm and Slaktkyrkan. , 2019, the ticket information can be found below. Weekend passes go on sale today!
Unfortunately, all great things must come to an end, but there was still a solid day of heavy metal left to enjoy! Once again my cohorts and I found solace (and assistance to hangovers for some) in our now traditional diner for breakfast. Having been up late the night before, and an early start over at Edison, we did not get to the lots until right before Goatsnake hit the stage.
Goatsnake, by Hillarie Jason Photography
Primordial, by Hillarie Jason Photography
Sunday may have been the hottest, temperature wise, of the festival and it hit most of the festival goers early. Next to the far end stage at the Edison Lot was a shaded area with picnic tables, many filled with metal heads with their faces on the table top. I held my head up while enjoying Goatsnake from afar and then got a few songs in from Primordial. Right in the middle of the Irish Black Metal band’s set, I did have to leave for a short while as I had an interview with Amorphis outside of downtown Baltimore. Fast forward a few hours and it finally hit me… I was exhausted, gained quite a nasty cough from one of the thousands in attendance, and was incredibly hungry/borderline dehydrated. Now at this point, feel free to point and laugh at your screens, but I went back to the hotel room, chugged some water, inhaled a fruit cup as well as a small sandwich, then took a power nap. Yes, at the young age of twenty-five, I took a nap on the final day of Maryland Deathfest. However, now energized, I nearly sprinted back to the Edison Lot to catch some sets by Demilich and Neurosis.
Neurosis, by Hillarie Jason Photography
Neurosis, by Hillarie Jason Photography
Fans at MDF, by Hillarie Jason Photography
Amorphis, by Hillarie Jason Photography
After coming down off of a journey like performance by Neurosis, I made my way over to the far stage to catch what would be one of the greatest sets all weekend, Amorphis performing Tales from the Thousand Lakes album in its entirety. The piano introduction of the album hit while the crowd went into hysterics as each member made their way to the stage. Track by track they played, right through to the end of the Tales masterpiece of an album. Having caught my second wind thanks to my power nap, I was able to get through these last few Edison Lot bands before the Lot was closed until next year. After a quick rest and a short chat with Dave Edwardson from Neurosis, my roommate and I ventured once more over to Rams Head Live to watch the mysterious, yet terrifying, Portal. I had to pinch myself a few times to comprehend what I was watching as, yes shame on me, I had never heard a single story about this band, all of which were masked and performed with stage names. Playing under dim red lights for the whole set with strange videos playing behind them, the Australian five piece brought the crowd into a trance like state. One of my friends in attendance actually described the experience as uncomfortable, but awesome at the same time. Portal did not show any signs of slowing down as curfew came and went. The house lights came on, the PA was shut off, but they just kept on playing until the final note. Then, just like that, MDF was officially over. We all walked back in disbelief of the live stage show that Portal had to offer, yet also the fact that this crazy pilgrimage had come to an end.
Portal, by Hillarie Jason Photography
Portal, by Hillarie Jason Photography
The drive home the following day was bittersweet. I was bummed that the festival was over for the next year, but on the other hand I was happy to get home and return to the usual daily life I typically live. Maryland Deathfest was my first show outside of the New England area and it was everything I dreamt of and more. I urge every person who is reading this to find time and money to make this journey, this pilgrimage, to really understand how big of a festival MDF really is. Now the only thing left is to ponder what bands will be signed on for next year.
Blastfest will be held 18-21st February 2015 in Bergen, Norway and in case you missed this lineup announcement, here it is again:
At The Gates
Blood Red Throne
Dead To This World
Purple Hill Witch
The 3rd Attempt
+ more yet to be announced.
Norways Blastfest is expanding to a four-day festival with over 60 bands due to perform. The festival, located in Bergen will run from the 18th to the 21st February and will feature performances from the likes of At The Gates, Paradise Lost and Primordial.
Press Release: Blastfest Is Expanding!
Blastfest has accepted the challenge and has delivered! It is official, Blastfest will be even bigger! With very positive results and excitement of a recent poll, the Bergen, Norway festival have decided 3 days of metal madness wasn’t enough and have expanded the festival into a 4 day event with a total of 60 bands! That’s 4 days, 4 venues, and 60 bands! Yes. 60 BANDS! The festival is now running from Wednesday February 18th to Saturday February 21st.
And that’s not just the only announcement the festival will make today because just like the recent state of updates the festival are keeping form and have just confirmed another 4 bands to the already exploding poster! So without further adieu, we are pleased to report the addition of true Norwegian black metal veterans Gehenna, British symphonic black metallers Hecate Enthroned, Norwegian death metal titans Blood Red Throne and death thrashers Wyruz!
Gehenna All of our grenade prayers have been answered; the word became flesh! It’s with a shivering voice of the utmost excitement that Blastfest welcome Norwegian black metallersGehenna to the lineup of 2015! These purveyors of the dark arts have long been regarded as one of the most important acts to come out of the Norwegian black metal scene in the 90’s. It’s therefore with great delight that the festival welcome them back to Bergen for their first ever Blastfest performance.
Hecate Enthroned Back in the 90’s a band made its way to the forefront of the symphonic black metal scene alongside bands like Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir, receiving praise for their ability to be both extreme in their expression as well as incorporating symphonic elements. We are of course talking about UK act Hecate Enthroned. As of today the band is still going strong, if not turning towards an ever heavier expression with their now death metal-infused take on the black arts. Blastfest are very pleased to have them cross the North Sea to perform live in Bergen for the very first time ever, as part of the festival!
Blood Red Throne If you were asked to name a Norwegian death metal band, chances are that the first name to enter into your mind would be that of Blood Red Throne. Ever since the release of their first four-track demo back in 2000, they have been a household name in death metal circles. It’s therefore with great pride that Blastfest welcome the ravenous war machine, the primitive killing machine that is Blood Red Throne into the fold. Be prepared for blood spatter and arterial lust!
Wyruz Some say Blastfest needed to add more thrash metal to the lineup, so they have decided to include prime death/thrash act Wyruz! These guys have been going strong for over a decade now, and are dead set on destroying everything at Blastfest 2015.
Lineup Alfahanne | Asphyx | At The Gates | Baptism | Blood Red Throne | Bolzer | Borknagar | Byfrost | Craft | Crib45 | Cryptopsy | Dark Funeral | Dark Tranquility | Dead To This World | Decapitated | Demilich | Den Saakaldte | Djevelkult | Destroyer 666 | Destruction | Endstille | Esoteric | Finntroll | Gehenna | Hecate Enthroned | Impaled Nazarene | Melechesh | Moonsorrow | Morgoth | Paradise Lost | Primordial | Rotting Christ | Samael | Sarke | Sarkom | Satan | Saturnus | The Sickening | Tortorum | Tsjuder | Vallenfyre | Wyruz + more yet to be announced.
Blastfest will be held 18-21st February 2015 in Bergen, Norway.
4 Days | 4 Venues | 60 Bands | Exhibitions | Clinics | Stand Up Comedy | Tattoo Convention | Theme DJ’s
Tickets on sale now: http://blastfest.no/?page_id=60
After all the noise being made about the giants of Sweden and the USA, it’s about time the Finns got a look in. Although don’t look too closely as you may not escape with your sanity intact after any length of time exposed to Nespithe, the single album by Kuopio’s Demilich, a quartet who decided to take death metal, dissect it in the most painful and morbid ways possible before reassembling it with alien technologies. The riffs and guitar lines make Voïvod sound like AC/DC, so complex, mangled and downright weird are the time signatures. The percussion and bass guitar are restless and almost jazz like, and as for the bizarre, almost burped vocals (recorded with no effects) and long-winded sci-fi themed lyrics, no one apart from the band had any idea what was going on. Too weird to live, Demilich, have reformed and split several times since the release of this thirty-nine minute monument to madness and maybe, just maybe it’s for the best.
diSEMBOWELMENT – Transcendence Into the Peripheral (Relapse, 1993)
Surely the North of England, with its bleak moors, freezing temperatures and morbid ethos was the perfect setting for doom/death, especially when you take into account the impact of the Peaceville Northern Doom Trinity of My Dying Bride, Anathema and Paradise Lost, right? Well you’d be dead wrong, for the finest example of that genre, then and ever, crawled out of the Australian bush twenty years ago in the form of diSEMBOWELMENT, who with the utterly peerless Transcendence Into the Peripheralmashed death metal and doom together not in some harmonious accord, but more like a berserk Victor Frankenstein drunk on the horror of his own creation. Nightmarish, drawn out doom sections sap your energy and will before rabid grind-speed blasting parts appear out of nowhere to pin you to the wall and spit blood in your face before retreating back into the darkness, while the sinister melodies and tortured moaning vocals do their best to make things even worse. An endurance test that few make to the end of, Transcendence Into the Peripheralproved that location meant jack if you hated yourself enough to begin with.
Thergothon – Stream From the Heavens (Avantgarde, 1994)
Just when you thought that metal couldn’t get any slower or depressive sounding, along came a trio of Finns who had other ideas, all of them in different shades of black. They were known as Thergothon, and with the forty minutes of anguish and drawn-out misery they committed to tape in the beginning of 1994, they not only explored more of the abyss than ever before, but created an entire new genre; funeral doom. Characterised by one-note downstrokes, haunting, ethereal keyboards and vocals alternating between diseased death grunts and stark clean-sung laments, the music captured was so wrist-slashingly bleak it’s no surprise that the band called it a day soon after. The host of imitators spawned was inevitable, but none yet have come close to capturing the barren, disfigured beauty on offer here.
Mysticum – In the Streams of Inferno (Full Moon, 1996)
Black metal was in a tight spot in the late 90s with the old guard past their best and the new school more interested in vampires and bloodsucking than darkness and extremity so thank fuck for bands such as Norway’s Mysticum who decided that the way forward was to look to the future. However, this was a nightmarish, militaristic future of deadly guitar riffs, merciless programming in place of live drums and an aesthetic that was just as grim as anything the Helvete brigade could ever conceive of. In short, Cyber-Black Metal was born, and were it not for the utterly shoddy efforts of the bands that followed in Mysticum’s wake, the black metal landscape would look very different today. Doubt the quality of this recording? Then head over to the band’s website where it’s free for all to hear.
Floodgate – Penalty (Roadrunner, 1996)
If you thought that Down were the only stoner/doom band with a singer recruited from a thrash/groove act that mattered, then you’ve obviously never heard Floodgate, and shame on you. Featuring the mightily refined and recognisable pipes of Exhorder’s Kyle Thomas, Penaltyis a timeless classic that will appeal to anyone with a passing interest in rock and metal. The songwriting is stellar, with the effortlessly catchy grooves of ‘Through My Days Into My Nights’ and the loose, flowing rhythms of ‘Shivering’ lodging into your brain for days afterwards. Heavy without being abrasive and always enjoyable, it’s a tragedy and a mystery that Floodgate only ever recorded one album given the talents and resources at their disposal. As it is, we only have Penaltybut it’s a record that keeps on giving and will never let you down, and for that we should be thankful.
As any fool who follows the metal scene can tell you, there’s one hell of a lot of albums out there to listen to. New bands are emerging at an unprecedented rate, the old guard you thought long-dead are reforming quicker than you can say “Greatest Hits Tour” and bands that really should just lay down and die are instead locked into a seemingly never-ending cycle of record/tour/record, regardless of whether their fans have had enough. Grave Digger, Illdisposed and Paganizer have released forty albums between them. Does anyone own any of them? Thought not…
So, what about the bands who released just one full-length before disappearing into obscurity? What impact have these single-figured artists had on our beloved scene? The answer is quite a bit. More than quite a bit, in fact… With that in mind Ghost Cult is proud to present the fifteen essential albums by bands that only gave us one opportunity to hear their wares.
Read on and see if you agree.
Repulsion – Horrified (Necrosis, 1989)
Once regarded as the fastest band in the world, along with being one of the innovators of grindcore along with Napalm Death and Terrorizer, Flint, Michigan trio Repulsion released Horrifiedin 1989 to a largely unsuspecting public. Its light-speed, hideously ugly legacy has endured to this day, with the band still headlining festival stages on the strength of this one 29-minute recording. Featuring some of the most frantic, caustic riffage ever captured, along with suitably sickening lyrics and of course, that iconic goofy zombie on the front cover, Horrifiedis an extreme metal classic that you will never get tired of spinning. If you don’t lose your shit when the riff to ‘Black Breath’ begins you probably aren’t human.
Carnage – Dark Recollections (Necrosis, 1990)
When you think of Swedish Death Metal the obvious names that spring to mind are Entombed, At the Gates and Dismember, but there is one often overlooked act whose contribution to the genre is utterly essential. They were Carnage, five spotty oiks from Stockholm whose sole release Dark Recollectionswas perhaps the purest embodiment of the Sunlight sound that all bands of the genre strived for; buzzsaw guitars, twisted melodies and indecipherable barked lyrics concerning violence and death. Given the whiff of grindcore that imbued the recording it was unsurprising that guitarist Mike Amott soon jumped ship to join Carcass while the rest of the band merged with the remnants of Dismember. However, the spirit of Dark Recollectionswas absorbed into that band, a more than fitting legacy for an album of such macabre excellence.
Winter – Into Darkness (Future Shock, 1990)
Picture if you will, planet Earth devastated by a nuclear holocaust; a grey, rotting visage of sunless skies, obliterated cityscapes and blasted landscapes. Now imagine that some malign sorcery has resurrected the corpses of Celtic Frost to be this ruined world’s own house band, playing endlessly on only for the benefit of the endless piles of corpses that stretch to the blackened horizon. This is what Into Darknessby New York trio Winter sounds like. Arguably one of the most miserable, lifeless recordings of all time, this is a tortuous forty-six minute crawl through wretchedness via the medium of lethargic doom riffs, clattering percussion and gruff, indifferent vocals. You’re not meant to enjoy it and it’s no surprise Winter only managed one EP after committing this monstrosity to tape.
God Macabre – The Winterlong (M.B.R., 1993)
Another Swedish death metal act that lasted all too briefly, that isn’t to say that Vålberg’s God Macabre didn’t have the talent, as anyone who has spent time with the short but sick TheWinterlongwill enthusiastically tell you. Far more morose and bitter sounding than most death metal albums that were being released at that time, their sole release may have only lasted twenty-seven minutes but the songs on offer had ‘timeless’ stamped all over them, blending catchy yet savage riffs with mournful melodies and an innate disgust and horror at life. Recently re-issued with the band reforming last year, now is the time for those unacquainted with this forgotten classic to recognise one of the most important bands in death metal, in Sweden or anywhere.
Disincarnate – Dreams of the Carrion Kind (Roadrunner, 1993)
With death metal already beginning to show signs of creative stagnation in 1993, it took the twisted vision of one of the genre’s most talented and well-travelled soldiers to show that all was not lost and that where there was death there was life. Enter James Murphy, who after stints in Death and Obituary decided to take the lead, which he did with the utterly brilliant Dreams of theCarrion Kindunder the Disincarnate name. If you thought Death had started to sacrifice songwriting in favour of technicality, found Obituary a tad dull and Suffocation a bit too over the top then your prayers were answered, for Murphy somehow managed to filter all the plus points and none of the weaknesses from those aforementioned bands into one of the darkest, endlessly fascinating and still inherently listenable Death Metal albums of all time. Their split was a tragedy that often comes with an excess of talent but news that the band has reformed is a hopeful sign that more people will soon become aware of Dreams of the Carrion Kindand the brilliance of James Murphy.