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