Maryland Death Fest IX Day Four
Band Photo: Gravehill (?)
Fatigue had definitely begun to set in by Day Four. Through the beer belly, muscle ache (everyone’s hotel was up the hill), blown-out senses, and heat I thought could only happen in the south, I persevered though badly worn. The venue was getting pretty rough also. Everyone was tired, but still partying hard. Inside it was sticky and stinky like it had not been before. But that didn’t stop anyone from enjoying the rest of the great lineup on the last day of the mighty MDF.
Bright and early in the afternoon (although it seemed like night in the main room), hometown boys Visceral Disgorge began the festivities. They brought to mind the early works of death metal. Trauma and gore galore, this band encompassed the snarl inhaled low growls, din-destroying high tuned snare, gallop picking guitar done by Eric.
Bad acid Trip’s singer Dirk Rogers opening question to us was, “Is everyone drunk?,” and by just the sight of the crowd through the hours it was obvious that we all were. Crazed rock riffage and grindcore led this band to a energetic frenzy. Dirk was like Ian Curtis and Johnny Rotten; a twisted love child onstage. This band had true dynamic ranging from guttural blasts to hardcore breakdowns to strange, psychotic circus dementia.
Strobe lights were burning my retinas as Repugnant took stage. The controlled chaos of blackened thrash and Amebix-fused crust music soared beyond the p.a. above the slippery black, booze-covered floor, and right into the skulls of all who were fortunate to have their ears still working by this point in the fest. The intensity could be measured by the carnage that bestowed upon the crowd for this performance.
Just a few minutes after Orange Goblin began, Skinless was beginning their last show ever, so unfortunately, Orange Goblin was sacrificed. In the dark, sweaty room, vocalist Sherwood Webber and Noah Carpenter, veterans of Skinless since the early 90s, put all of their energy into the set to give their fans one last thrill. The quick punk-thrash-hardcore-grind-metal adolescent-themed craziness was highlighted by Sherwood’s jumping off stage and leaning into the crowd often, and they loved every second of it. Every song title was announced, just to make any squeamish attendees blush: Tampon Lollipops, Pool of Stool, Extermination of My Filthy Species, and many more. He also put on an airplane life vest and jumped into the crowd. He taunted the crowd with the fact that they would not be on stage together again to the audience’s boos. And that’s all, folks.
Bastard Noise played a truly unique blend of early throbbing Psychic T.V. and Merzbow mixed with brutal screams, ear shattering distortion and metal fusion. Perhaps one of the most stand out bands of the entire fest, it was hard to say if this crowd truly understood the concept and artistic expression with the unconventional stylings of this truly talented group, especially with the beer-goggles and occasional cry for “Freebird.”
There weren’t too many three-piece bands, but Doubled Over definitely sounded better than some of the five-pieces. This power violence band, consisting of drums, guitar, vocals, stunned the crowd with their fast anger-driven anthems, keeping them engaged in their drunken stupor. The highlight might have been at the end of the set when a naked drunk man danced with a mic stand onstage then passed out in the corner curtain.
Hailing from Madrid Spain, Wormed is a band putting in work since 1999 with their sonic assault of decay to the word, playing internationally and with many line up changes, this band is going strong and delivers a very tight set.
Last Days Of Humanity; the title says it all. With song titles such as “Born to Murder the World” and “Necroic Eruption,” one can feast upon the rotten pleasures of gore that is LDOH. The crowd was into the performance as fans threw a inflatable toys onstage, and one that appeared to be a dinosaur with a shark taped to its head. But I believe that everything sounds better with some inflatable toys being thrown around in the mosh.
A dark eerie intro set the mood as a skeletal pope emerged onstage among creepy chants heard over the p.a. Ghost combines a Candlemass style of doom metal with haunting symphonic textures and dark theatrics. Soaring operatic vocals, catchy riffs and horror movie organ notes made this another stand out performance for this fest where everything is heavy, hot, and uncomfortable.
Even though it was mid afternoon, sun bright, heat rising, Gravehill still fought head on with leather jackets, spiked bracelets, corpse paint and fake blood, oh so rock n’ roll in spirit. To perhaps state the fact that they mean and believe in what they do down to the last detail, even a fog machine could be seen used, they came to deliver a show.
NYC hardcore alumni Citizens Arrest has been paying dues since the 80’s. It’s obvious that a lot of people are familiar with them judging by the good turnout and crowd reaction, punks and metal heads alike threw down for this band, and moshed violently and chaotically. Time for a beer, I think.
The last performance on the outdoor stage, Nuclear Assault hosted an onslaught of musicians and fans onstage, singing along to the gang vocal choruses. Massive circle pits spawned from the center, you were in the mouth of madness from every corner. Nuclear Assault’s set list was “Rise From the Ashes,” “Brainwashed,” “F#,” “Critical Mass,” “Game Over,” “Butt Fuck,” “Price of Freedom,” “Betrayal,” “After the Holocaust,” “Wake Up,” “When Freedom Dies,” “Trail of Tears,” “My America / Hang The Pope / Lesbians,” and “Technology.”
Aside from the security guard’s look of perplexity as Nokturnel pummeled their blackened spikes into their guitars, The feedback from this band seemed positive. Since the beginning, this band has went through line-up changes, they pulled a good show off and are rumored to be writing new material.
A band as this needs to introduction, Coroner launched into “No Need to be Human” to the cheers of longtime fans, and those that were about to become fans. Coroner continues to be a staple among the metal community, having first been roadies for the legendary Celtic Frost, and, of course, Tom G. Warrior doing vocals on their first demo. The legends also delighted us with “Golden Cashmere,” “Sleeper Part 1,” “Serpent Moves,” and “D.O.A.” Coroner continues to rip apart audiences since they got back together, this Swedish thrash outfit is in top form once again.
My first metal fest, Maryland Death Fest IX, was fun, but so exhausting. The parking lot just outside the fest full of fans and the omnipresent and omniannoying gutterpunks also put on quite the show with fights and other attractions that police love. I came back to my New Orleans tired, smelly, and ears blown out. Would I do it again? If I can buy a twenty-four pack of energy shots.
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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