Hitting the halfway point of Maryland Deathfest is usually a milestone that no one really notices and those who do will actually not speak of it. No one wants to think the weekend is going to end nor that the end is already halfway here. Instead, hangovers are nursed, more questionable food is consumed, and everyone marches back to Rams Head Live and Baltimore Soundstage for another day of partying. Fortunately for myself and my party of friends, we know how to party but dodge the hangovers. So, we made sure to be on time for Soundstage opening up with the first band playing slightly before four in the afternoon. That included polishing off a bottle of vodka left behind by the previous renters of the Air BnB. Thank you to those unnamed heroes! Continue reading
Memorial Day weekend in the United States is a time to remember our veterans who have served in the country’s military and most will commemorate such an occasion with cookouts. In Baltimore, Maryland, the partying starts a few days before the weekend but the celebration is about extreme music. This weekend is known to the fans as simply, MDF, or in full, Maryland Deathfest. Doom metal, black metal, grindcore, punk, and of course, death metal, take over multiple venues in the Inner Harbor area of the city all weekend long as the streets run black with hideous, graphic band t-shirts. For me, this is my sophomore year of the festival and could not be more excited to return. Continue reading
Maryland Deathfest 2017, sure to be North America’s metal event of 2017 has already announced its daily lineups. Headlined by Morbid Angel, Candlemass, Autopsy, Tiamat, Cryptopsy and others, according to a post to the MDF Facebook, there are now less than 100 4-day passes available and less than 200 Rams Head 3-day passes available for MDF XV. Once these are gone, they won’t be releasing more. Full details are below. Continue reading
With a final salvo of bands, 2017’s Maryland Deathfest XV is set at last. Added to the final line-up are legends like Candlemass (Nightfall set), Tiamat (Exclusive U.S. Appearance), Grave (Exclusive U.S. Appearance), Root (Exclusive U.S. Appearance), Oranssi Pazuzu, Acheron, GosT, Samothrace, and more. Continue reading
2014 has been a ground-breaking, redefining year for doom, almost overriding the fact that many of the genre’s female-fronted outfits have produced some mesmerising music for a couple of years now. The unique qualities of Harriet Bevan‘s Leeds quintet Black Moth have been setting tongues wagging for some time and second album Condemned to Hope (New Heavy Sounds) reaffirms their particular status of a sassy, doom-rooted outfit whose satirical outlook is augmented with biting lyrics on modern life.
The colossal groove of opener ‘Tumbleweave’ lends gravity to whimsical lyrics about “porkers from the Daily Mail”, paper tiaras and burger queens, all delivered in Harriet’s laconic, incanting yet quintessentially English voice. Riffs crash rather than rumble yet still carry weight, with variations between trad doom and the stoner currents of ‘Looner’, whilst Jim Swainston‘s lead-work is flashing, emotive, and carved from the finest slabs of 70s heavy rock.
Atmospherics abound with the threatening fizz of amps during hushed moments of the stellar, sexy ‘The Undead King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’, resonant tub-thumping heightening the sinister effect and slower sections possessing a bewitching sway that’s difficult to resist. Guitars occasionally have shimmering pedal effects similar to those of The Wounded Kings‘ Steve Mills, more often applied to the lead but muddying Nico Carew‘s riffs deliciously on the cascading, swirling ‘The Last Maze’, which is also graced by one of Swainston’s more memorable solos. Aside from those waggish phrasings other styles are infiltrated, with the indie-punk of ‘White Lies’ and ‘Room 13’ blending with a reverberating low end and complementing the Britpop feel of the lyrics and delivery. ‘Slumber with the Worm’, meanwhile, marries a Pulp Fiction-esque spaghetti twang with lead riffs verging on black metal.
This may not wield the same portentous mass as some of its contemporaries, and Bevan’s voice occasionally shows limits, save for some soaring notes on the hypnotic closing title track. All of this, however, enhances Black Moth’s charm and identity. They’re a little bit different and, in the quirky fashion of oddities from these shores, unmistakably ours. Quite frankly this rips, and deserves some serious investigation.