Yesterday, the first batch of confirmed bands were announced for Maryland Deathfest XIII. Sure, the event won’t be starting until May 21, 2015, but we Americans don’t often get the opportunity to ogle a monster lineup that’s within our boarders. (Europeans call these announcements “Tuesdays.”) And it is an impressive list, bringing together the old and new, as well as finding a musical friend for nearly every kind of metalhead. Interest piqued? That’s the idea. Early bird tickets go on sale July 19 at 3 PM EST at the Maryland Deathfest website.
Over the years, Maryland Deathfest has turned into something of an American metaller‘s rite of passage. It’s a place for reaffirming your love of the heavy along with getting intoxicated and stumbling around. So, we wanted to take a closer look at all of the announced bands because. . . well, it’s summer and there’s not a whole lot going on. That, and it’s a hell of an excuse to make a list. Finally, it’ll give us something to debate (besides the album picks, that is): Who else should make the MDF bill? Let us know.
— Ian Chainey
Aeternus | Blackened death metal | Norway
Album to check out: …And So the Night Became (1998)
Many have united the timbres of black metal and death metal, but few have done so with as much atmosphere as Aeternus. The band’s “dark metal” period is worth your time, so add The Dark Sorcery EP (1995) and Beyond the Wandering Moon (1997) to your list.
Arcturus | Avant-garde, prog metal, black metal | Norway
Album to check out: The Sham Mirrors (2002)
Spacey, complex, and totally out-there, yet they rarely release a song without a hook to hang everything on. Has supergroup credentials with links to Ulver, Borknagar, Emperor, Mayhem, and so, so many more.
More: Metal and the stars.
Aura Noir | Blackened thrash | Norway
Album to check out: Out to Die (2012)
Black Thrash Attack (1996) is the kvlt choice, but Out to Die simmered with a Slayer-ish sort of evil. Features Carl-Michael Eide of Ved Buens Ende, Infernö, and Virus.
Bulldozer | Speed metal, thrash | Italy
Album to check out: The Day of Wrath (1985)
Considered a progenitor of black metal depending on who you ask. The band’s brand of extreme metal was ahead of its time for the mid-’80s. Though it’s kind of forgotten, the tighter, thrashier Neurodeliri (1988) deserves to be jammed, as well.
Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult | Black metal | Germany
Album to check out: Nocturnal March (2004)
Big in Europe, sort of obscure in the States, these unexpectedly dynamic German blasters deserve a true breakout.
More: Say hallo to Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult.
Demoncy | Black metal | USA
Album to check out: Joined in Darkness (1999)
An USBM pioneer with a career stretching back into the late ’80s. Joined in Darkness is vantablack bleak but death metal dense.
Dragged into Sunlight | Blackened death, death/doom | United Kingdom
Album to check out: Hatred for Mankind (2009)
In a genre of really heavy things, these ‘mysterious’ batterers are HEAVY.
More: Live Report: Dragged Into Sunlight, MAKE in Brooklyn, Hatred for Mankind.
D.R.I. | Crossover, thrash, hardcore | USA
Album to check out: Crossover (1987)
Hugely influential Texans arguably responsible for the blast beat. Also, how do you piss off a bunch of people? By tapping Crossover when Dirty Rotten (1983) and Dealing With It! (1985) exist. Sorry.
Einherjer | Viking metal | Norway
Album to check out: Blot (2003)
Plopped down on this planet to play “Ironbound” and rouse dormant Viking feelings within all of us.
Funebrarum | Death metal | USA
Album to check out: The Sleep of Morbid Dreams (2009)
Big and burly, Jersey’s Funebrarum have been an underground USDM gem for over a decade.
More: Live Report: Autopsy w/ Funebrarum, Unearthly Trance, Undergang.
Goatsnake | Stoner doom | USA
Album to check out: Flower of Disease (2000)
Imagine the Obsessed‘s rhythm section with huge Greg Anderson riffs and Pete Stahl’s cocksure crooning. Wait. . .
More: Group text: Goatsnake – “Flower of Disease”.
Impetuous Ritual | Death metal | Australia
Album to check out: Relentless Execution of Ceremonial Excrescence (2009)
Massive, lurching, and monstrous. Lumped in with the caverncore bands, but more primal and bloodthirsty. Contains members of Portal and Grave Upheaval.
More: Impetuous Ritual – Relentless Execution of Ceremonial Excrescence, Impetuous Ritual & Separatist: dirty chaos, clean chaos.
Lock Up | Grind | United Kingdom
Album to check out: Hate Breeds Suffering (2002)
What do you get when you combine Shane Embury, Nicholas Barker, Tomas Lindberg, and Anton Reisenegger (Pentagram Chile, you know him)? These grindstars.
Lycanthrophy | Grind, fastcore | Czech Republic
Album to check out: Lycanthrophy (2010)
An irresistible mix of breakneck speed and grindy grooves.
Master | Death metal | USA/Czech Republic
Album to check out: On the Seventh Day God Created… Master (1991)
Death metal pioneer Paul Speckmann’s baby. Hard to go wrong with anything in their discography, though Unreleased 1985 Album deserves a special shout out. And yep, that’s Paul Masvidal on Seventh Day.
More: IO Exclusive Track Premiere: Master’s “New Reforms”.
Melt-Banana | Experimental, punk, noise rock | Japan
Album to check out: Cell Scape (2003)
Utterly unique. Worth catching live to see how guitarist Ichirou Agata coaxes those sounds from his rig.
Metal Church | Heavy metal, thrash | USA
Album to check out: Metal Church (1984)
Cited as an influence on Bay Area thrashers to come due to their harder-edged heavy metal. Their three ’80s LPs are key (’86’s The Dark and ’89’s Blessing in Disguise).
Noisear | Grind | USA
Album to check out: Subvert the Dominant Paradigm (2011)
New Mexico’s underappreciated dealers of dissonance. Linked to Phobia, P.L.F., Gridlink, Maruta, and Kill the Client.
More: Noisear – Subvert the Dominant Paradigm.
Neurosis | Neurosis | USA
Album to check out: Times of Grace (1999)
Anything written here will be hotly debated. Know, though, the live stage is truly their element. If you don’t like the records, it’s a different experience in the flesh. This will also be hotly debated. #hotmetaltakes
More: Neurosis’ Souls at Zero: A Retrospective, Neurosis’ Souls at Zero Turns 20, Neurosis: The future of death metal?, Neurosis: Live at CBGB 1995.
Portal | Death metal | Australia
Album to check out: Swarth (2009)
Divisive form-experimenters you either love or hate. Discordant, rhythmically inventive deep dives into madness.
More: Album Review: Portal – ‘Vexovoid’, Interview: Portal (Aus).
Serpentine Path | Death/doom, sludge | USA
Album to check out: Emanations (2014)
Members of Unearthly Trance, Electric Wizard, and Winter make like the latter and stretch death metal to crawling tempos.
More: Premiere: Serpentine Path – “House of Worship”.
Skepticism | Funeral doom | Finland
Album to check out: Lead And Aether (1998)
The epitome of Finnish funeral doom misery.
Splatterhouse | Death metal | USA
Album to check out: The House That Dead Built (2004)
Gore-soaked and belchy brutal death that’s like a nuttier Impetigo.
Suffering Mind | Grind | Poland
Album to check out: At War With Mankind (2009)
A total grind speedfest that keeps busy.
Triptykon | Gothic, doom | Switzerland
Album to check out: Melana Chasmata (2014)
Tom G. Warrior’s latest outlet for despair and darkness.
More: Triptykon – Melana Chasmata, Triptykon – Eparistera Daimones, Interview: Tom G. Warrior (Triptykon, Celtic Frost).
Tsjuder | Black metal | Norway
Album to check out: Desert Northern Hell (2004)
Built to blast and blast and blast and blast.
Twilight of the Gods | Heavy metal | Earth
Album to check out: Fire on the Mountain (2013)
The international supergroup started as a Bathory tribute and eventually evolved into an ’80s throwback of true metal muscle.
More: Interview: Primordial’s Alan Averill (A.A. Nemtheanga).
Ufomammut | Doom, stoner doom, psych, experimental | Italy
Album to check out: Eve (2010)
Deep, dubby, totally stoned. Ufomammut’s third eye is pryed open, allowing them to go anywhere.
Vallenfyre | Death metal | United Kingdom
Album to check out: Splinters (2014)
Another metal supergroup that brings its members back to buzzy, occasionally doomy ’90s death. CV: At the Gates, Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride.
Vulcano | Blackened thrash | Brazil
Album to check out: Bloody Vengeance (1986)
One of Brazil’s first forays into extreme metal. Bloody Vengeance is just unhinged. The band would go on to become a steadier thrasher.
More: Interview: J. Neto (Greyhaze Records).
Winter | Death/doom | USA
Album to check out: Into Darkness (1990)
Overlooked in their time, Winter’s bassy bashing has nonetheless built up a cult following. Newer heads, give this one time and let it get its hooks into you.
Wolfbrigade | D-beat, crust | Sweden
Album to check out: Lycanthro Punk (1997)
An institution, and one of the most recognizable groups of Swedish punkers that followed Anti Cimex. The split with Skitsystem is a scene classic. 2012’s Damned is damned catchy.