Tag Archives: Suffocation

020 Maryland Deathfest 2015

Chris and guest host Billy discuss the brutality of Maryland Deathfest 2015. Billy had an all-venues pass, so he ended up seeing many more bands than Chris did. Hanging out with Chris Dick and the gang made another Memorial Day weekend even more memorable! We were sad that Spence couldn’t join us, but next year will be different, he assured us. Here’s a smattering of our top picks of the weekend:

Tombs at Deathfest 2015

Tombs at Deathfest 2015

Vallenfyre, “Splinters” from Splinters (2014, Century Media)

            Paradise Lost guitarist Gregor Mackintosh is certainly exorcising his demons in Vallenfyre, replete with mega-doom chordage and guttural vocals. We thought their 2011 debut A Fragile King was pretty swell, but the recent Splinters album pushes the gloom envelope even further into doomdeath territory.


Master, “Smile as You’re Told” from The New Elite (2012, Pulverized)

Paul Speckmann may be the ultimate death-metal musician. Having recorded a handful of albums in the ’90s, he began working with the guys in Krabathor and ended up moving to the Czech Republic to join the band—how metal is that?!? This DM king was hailed loudly ‘n’ proudly on the Edison Lot stage.


Triptykon, “Tree of Suffocating Souls” from Melana Chasmata (2014, Century Media)

The mighty Celtic Frost lives on in Thomas Gabriel Warrior’s Triptykon, a doom/thrash/death amalgam that puts the “e” in extreme metal. With a limitless audience in the Internet age, Warrior is now more legendary than he ever was before, and his band slayed with effortless abandon in Baltimore.


Suffocation, “Entrails of You” from Suffocation (2006, Relapse)

Death-metal institution Suffocation delivered the goods like they always do, with frontman Frank Mullen hilariously chatting it up between songs and doing a blastbeat motion with his hand that was mimicked by the crowds for the entire weekend.


Obituary, “Violence” from Inked in Blood (2014, Relapse)

            One of the headliners that we were the most excited to see, Obituary did not disappoint, in a way. They covered a few new songs plus the usual suspects from their back catalog with dark, chugging riffage and John Tardy’s famous growl, yet they just didn’t seem as tight as we expected.


Razor, “Sucker for Punishment” from Open Hostility (1991, Relapse)

Other than seeing huge Razor backpatches on fans’ battle vests throughout the crowd, we really didn’t know much about Razor. This Canadian thrash band only gets together for festivals and one-off appearances, so the crowd was beyond stoked to see them. Kudos to Relapse for their reissued albums!


Goatsnake, “Elevated Man” from Black Age Blues (2015, Southern Lord)

Despite having the most gilded pipes of the weekend, Goatsnake vocalist Pete Stahl was the only band member at the fest who wore a Polo shirt onstage—which made him more metal than the unwashed hordes. This set was the only one to feature both harmonica and tambourine as well.


Winter, “Servants of the Warsmen” from Into Darkness (1990, Nuclear Blast)

What happens when a ’90s band is asked to play MDF but has only one album? They play that one album, and Winter has become experts at reproducing their sole release. Influential doom from a truly cvlt band, but we wish they had—at the very least—a sophomore album in the works!


Neurosis, “At the Well” from Honor Found in Decay (2012, Neurot Recordings)

Since they announced their retirement from extensive touring, Neurosis has become extremely sought after to play festivals. They’re also one of the few metal bands that started in the ’80s that have actually gotten better over the years without simply retreading their back catalog. Smothering doom!


Amorphis, “Black Winter Day” from Tales from the Thousand Lakes (1994, Relapse)

Sunday’s headliners brought the frigid folktales of Finland to us sweaty festivalgoers. Amorphis played their pivotal Tales album in its entirety, and frontman Tomi Joutsen entraced the crowd like the professional that he is. All this, plus an urgent cover of “Vulgar Necrolatry” from their early days as Abhorrence for those Privilege of Evil adherents!


Cacophonous shout-outs to Chris Dick, Billy Gamble, Kevin Stewart-Panko, Sean Palmerston, Gordon Conrad, Ian Christe, Magnus Henriksson, bootleg patch vendors, and the lovely staff at Crazy John’s and Zombie BBQ! Here’s to MDF 2017!

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006 Maryland Death Fest 2012

Chris attended the Maryland Deathfest this year over Memorial Day weekend, while Spencer stayed at home and wept over missing the live sets of over 50 metal bands from all subgenres from around the world. This was the tenth year of the Deathfest’s existence at the Sonar in beautiful downtown Baltimore, and it continues to be the greatest place for people-watching and buying rare metal merch! We chose ten of our favorite bands that played the Deathfest, with songs from their actual setlists:

“Everyday Pox,” Napalm Death’s Utilitarian (2012) – Century Media

This may be the first ND tune to feature a saxophone, played by none other than John Zorn! The greatest thing about seeing Napalm play here was that as soon as they finished, we walked across the lot to see Godflesh, their old labelmates back in the Earache days—plus, Justin Broadrick of Godflesh used to be in Napalm; he played on side one of their 1988 debut album, Scum.

Godflesh live at Maryland DeathFest 2012

Mechanized metal at its finest. Godflesh, y’all.

“Crush My Soul,” Godflesh’s Selfless (1994) – Earache/Columbia

One of the most influential industrial metal bands, EVER. They reunited for this show and three other European festivals this summer, and they hadn’t toured the USA since 1996. “Crush My Soul” was the latest song they played; the rest were older (“Like Rats,” “Christbait Rising,” “Mothra,” et al.). Check YouTube for the video for “Crush My Soul”: one of my all-time favorites!


Confessor live at Maryland DeathFest 2012

Both killer and confounding. Confessor live at Maryland DeathFest 2012

“Uncontrolled,” Confessor’s Condemned (1991) – Earache

This version of “Uncontrolled” is taken from this year’s Uncontrolled demo compilation on Divebomb Records (thanks to my good buddy Matt!). Once promoted as a doom metal band from Raleigh, North Carolina, Confessor are more like progressive thrash. They recorded only one album, 1991’s Condemned, and were on the European leg of the famous Gods of Grind tour with Carcass and Entombed. They broke up before their second album in the early ’90s but reunited in 2002 after guitarist Ivan Colon passed away. Scott Jeffreys’ Geddy Lee-esque vocals put the band way out in left field, but live they crushed the crowd!

“Upon the Sight of the Other Shore,” Yob’s Atma (2011) – Profound Lore

Doom metal from Eugene, Oregon. Vocalist/guitarist Mike Scheidt is mesmerizing in concert; the band completely smothered the inside stage. To show his softer side, Scheidt also has an all-acoustic album out on Thrill Jockey, titled Stay Awake, if Yob are too much for you.

Morgoth live at Maryland DeathFest 2012

Das Morgoth! Ist gut!!

“Resistance,” Morgoth’s Odium (1994) – Century Media

One of the earliest German death metal bands, Morgoth were also one of the first bands signed to Century Media. They broke up in 1996 but have reunited for this show and a bunch of European festivals. Odium is one of Chris’ all-time favorite metal albums, plus they have a brand-new DVD out now!



Que onda, Brujeria!? Live at Maryland DeathFest 2012

“Raza Odiada (Pito Wilson),” Brujeria’s Raza Odiada (1995) – Roadrunner

The famous Mexican metal band, back again! Dino Cazares of Fear Factory isn’t in the band anymore, but playing live at the MDF was Shane Embury of Napalm Death on bass and, I think, Jeff Walker of Carcass on guitar. All of the in-between-song banter was in Spanish, and all band members wore kerchiefs over their faces like banditos!

“Boiled Angel,” Dragged Into Sunlight’s Hatred for Mankind (2011) – Prosthetic

Liverpool, UK’s Dragged Into Sunlight play awe-inspiring blackened doom/sludge metal. They go by one-initial pseudonyms, and they played at the MDF with their backs to the crowd until the last few minutes of their last song! Weird voice samples are placed throughout the songs on the album (came out in 2009 on Mordgrimm, a small UK label, and re-released by Prosthetic in 2011), but I don’t recall hearing any in concert, due to the deafening volume.

“Despise the Sun,” Suffocation’s Despise the Sun (1998) – Relapse

Pioneering death metal from Long Island and one of the first bands signed to Relapse Records in the early ’90s, Suffocation are also one of the only influential death-metal bands to boast two African-American members: guitarist Terrance Hobbs and former drummer Mike Smith. They have a new album due out next year!

Noothgrush live at Maryland DeathFest 2012

Mr. Rogers’ favorite doom band. Noothgrush.

“Useless,” Noothgrush’s Failing Early, Failing Often compilation (2001) – Slap A Ham

Stunning doom/sludge from San Jose, CA, Noothgrush released only one full-length album in their lifetime but 10+ splits/compilations! They broke up in 2001 but reunited for a few shows to promote the Live For Nothing live album, released in 2011 by Southern Lord. I was dumbfounded that sooo many younger people in the crowd knew their songs and were screaming the lyrics at the top of their lungs. One of my favorite sets of the weekend!

“Existo Vulgoré,” Morbid Angel’s Illud Divinum Insanus (2011) – Season of Mist

What more can be said about Morbid Angel? They made Tampa the death metal capital of the world. This track is taken from their newest album, Illud Divinum Insanus (the Latin doesn’t make any sense here), the first with founding member David Vincent back in the fold since 1996. Tim Yeung from Hate Eternal (who’s filling in while founding drummer Pete Sandoval heals from back surgery) was a whirlwind of arms, sticks and cymbal crashes. This is a controversial album because of the techno leanings in some songs, but they only played this and “Nevermore” off the new album; the rest were classics from Blessed Are the Sick, Covenant, and Domination.

Next episode, we’re back to the one-band format, so stay tuned!

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