Maryland Deathfest XII
Edison Lot / Rams Head Live / Baltimore Soundstage
May 22 – 25, 2014
Review and Photos by InfamousButcher
It’s Memorial Day Weekend again and you know what the fuck that means to us underground metalheads – time to go certifiably insane at Maryland Deathfest! Now in its 12th year, the festival has become an institution for metalheads all over the country as fans come from near and far to experience the best metal festival in the United States. Hardcore guys like me wait all year for this fucker and it always delivers! What makes it the best? How about consistently getting foreign acts that rarely tour the U.S. like Asphyx, Tankard, Candlemass, and Unleashed? Do you like getting special reunion performances like Cancer, Dark Angel, and Pungent Stench? How about vendor tables from record labels like Relapse, Century Media, and Season of Mist? Lastly, how about the ability to meet & greet bands for free and hang out with like- minded metalheads for 4 days? Metal overload people! BRING IT!
The set up for MDF was completely different this year compared to the 2 previous ones I attended. Instead of using Club Sonar and the parking lot near Saratoga Street, we had the huge Edison parking lot at High Street that was at least twice the size. There were separate sections for vendors, food, and bathrooms (port-a -potties) and nothing felt cramped. The 2 stages were close enough so that you could easily walk to the other and the surrounding buildings provided better acoustics instead of the Sonar lot, which was like an alley way. In addition to the Edison lot, bands were also playing at Rams Head Live and Baltimore Soundstage in the Inner Harbor. Initially, Rams Head Live seemed too nice for MDF; the place was clean rather than gritty. Great set up though, large stage, big pit area, 3 levels, optional seating on the second level, and plenty of bars and bathrooms. Best of all, even at its most crowded (Asphyx) it was never hot, so air conditioning worked well.
Sludge metal veterans Crowbar headlined the first night and tore it the fuck up! I saw Crowbar 20 years ago and the only remaining original member is frontman Kirk Windstein, but they have lost none of their crushing power! Kirk’s and Matthew Brunson’s lead heavy riffs mixed perfectly with Jeff Golden’s thick bass and Tommy Buckley’s slamming drumming. Laid on top of all this was Kirk’s bellowing, pained vocals which rose above the slow grind. It was like a slow motion sledgehammer to the noggin! Set was a mix that spanned their entire catalog, my faves were ones off the self-titled CROWBAR album, “High Rate Extinction”, “Self-Inflicted” and Headbanger’s Ball / Beavis & Butt-Head staple, “All I Had (I Gave)”. Surprisingly, there was no material from new album SYMMETRY IN BLACK. Late in the set, someone got up on stage and ran into Kirk! While security tackled the guy, Kirk kicked him in the head, but it was really just a tap to let the guy know he was a douchebag. Kirk could have stomped the shit out of the guy, but he held back. Kirk then stopped the song and said to the crowd that after the Randy Blythe incident in Prague, we can’t have this kind of shit. The stage is his office, show some respect and stay the fuck off it. He doesn’t come into your office and mess with your computer! I liked what he said and I agree. Let’s show each other some respect people and know your boundaries. If there are barriers up and stage diving is not permitted, stay off the stage. Conversely, if stage diving is permitted (Union Transfer in Philly comes to mind), have at it but don’t touch the musicians or their gear. Overall great set, good kick off for the fest.
Crowbar set list:
2. The Lasting Dose
3. High Rate Extinction
4. Sever the Wicked Hand
5. Liquid Sky and Cold Black Earth
6. New Dawn
8. The Cemetery Angels
9. Let Me Mourn
10. Burn Your World
12. All I Had (I Gave)
13. Planets Collide