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Maryland Death Fest 2011 Day One

I’ve only heard half-remembered memories about this festival. I really had no idea what to expect about the stage lay-out, the area of town, the people, or the bar situation. As I walked down the hill to Sonar, I gradually saw the small bunch of metalheads walking in to see the first band Witchaven. I entered the main hall and followed the crude, hand-written signs explaining where the stage was in the dark, labyrinthine building. Entering into the main room for the first time was like stepping into a metal dream; coming from the hot, sunny outdoors to a cold, pitch black massive room with seemingly no end and seeing an awesome band already in progress with ultra bright flashing lights interrupting your vision and furthering the illusion of this chamber.

Witchaven was the opener of MDF. Fueled by early thrash influences such as Voivod, Sodom and Slayer, Witchhaven storms the stage in a metal homage to said genre and offers a mixture of early 80’s hardcore via the likes of “Discharge” and Doom (U.K.), high pitch screams layered with sonic riffs and noise piercing destruction.

A fusion that of the likes of Motorhead, Bathory & classic lead guitar solos, Miasmal is definitely a stand out band at MDF. Good structured songs, raw talent and stage presence all provide a great slap in the face to listeners un-aware of this band, memorable hooks and devastating percussion give this band the tools to rise above the competition.

The first of my hometown boys played this night. The chaotic and always fun grindcore band Flesh Parade hopped on stage. And just as vocalist Scott Leger started warming up the crowd, things got interesting. Flesh Parade got the honor of being picked the receive the royal treatment when a group of people dressed in costumes like Santa Claus and various fruits walked in. Scott knew just who they were and said, “Oh yeah. Now it’s a party.” The group threw tons of glowsticks and inflatable animals and genitalia as they moshed recklessly to the band’s fastest and most offensive songs. As Scott shrieked in “Backstabber” and “Mason Dixon,” original member and drummer Todd Capiton rapidly pounded the insane beat of the grind. The pit was quite possibly the largest I saw for the whole fest. Favorites such as “Bout Had It” as well as songs from the latest release “Dirty Sweet” ripped through Baltimore like a shotgun blast from the deep south.

Buzzov*en was heavier than ever, real punch to the music with the bass, very distorted and disoriented in a great way. Buzzov*en is by far one of the best kept secrets to the broader world of metal, this north Carolina band was ahead of the curb and make their return to the scene to prove their talent and showcase their chaos once more. Ranging back to the mid 90’s with the tour they did with New Orleans legends EyeHateGod, Buzzov*en brings a live show to proceed their sounds of down tuned devastation and hardcore ethics to the masses. Kirk fisher and Dixie Dave still deliver a anything goes dangerous stage presence and execute the southern sludge punk anthems to pure perfection.

The opening song proved to be a noise shattering groove influenced battle hymm. Tragedy won fans over with their wide arrange of sounds dating from drop tuned feedback violence to east coast riffs and circle pit numbers reminisant of NYC hardcore legends “Sick of it All”. Low guttural growls and shouts bellowed into the pit, low distorted bass shaped this well formed and tight sounding band.

This band to me is a unsung hero of the doom/sludge world. Cathedral was doing the now very highly imitated styles of Sabbath and evil rock before it was a trend to be used by hipster metal bands. For their only U.S. appearance, Cathedral had much mysterious anticipation and expectations for those who never got to see the pioneers live. Although much of us would prefer to hear tracks off “Equilibrium” or more of the classic catalog, Cathedral did represent the more rock based anthems they have done later in their career, fans cheered and people indulged in the material they provided, still wishing however we got to hear that half beat tempo we all know and love.

Day One got me so excited to see what would happen the rest of the weekend. Keep reading for more MDF mayhem.

buickmckane's avatar

Emily is an avid supporter of the New Orleans scene, often filming shows and conducting interviews with local bands to help promote their music. She also runs her own site dedicated to the New Orleans scene, Crescent City Chaos.

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