Maryland Deathfest XII, Edison Lot / Rams Head Live / Baltimore Soundstage, Baltimore, MD May 22-25, 2014

Spread the metal:

Maryland Deathfest XII: DAY 3



Today will be a marathon day, and what better way to start it off than Sweden’s Entrails! They are an old school death metal band that recently had a rebirth. Back in the early 90’s the band recorded a few demos but never released a record. Fast forward nearly 20 years. In 2008 the band re-formed and decided to re-record their old demos with modern equipment. The result is old school Swedish death metal bliss in the vein of Entobmed if WOLVERINE BLUES had never been made. In other words, I love this band! Entrails have released 3 albums, TALES FROM THE MORGUE, THE TOMB AWAITS, and last year’s RAGING DEATH. MDF is only the second US performance for Entrails, (they played in NYC earlier in the week) so hardcore death metal dudes like me knew this was fucking special!


As “The Tomb Awaits” instrumental intro kicked in, the crowd hollered and screamed in delight, knowing that “Unleashed Wrath”, the opener from THE TOMB AWAITS was coming! Once the song started, the insanity in the crowd began! Frontman Jocke Svensson delivered sick growls while strumming a Rickenbacker bass like Lemmy! Awesome! Jimmy Lundquist churned out the old buzzsaw Swedish guitar sound, low tuned and crush your head like a melon heavy! New guitarist Penki was impressive with his solos and both he and drummer Adde Mitroulis provided killer backing vox, I suspected there were multiple guys doing vox on the albums but I wasn’t sure. The set was a great mix of all of their material, highlights included “Bloodhammer” (everyone was calling for that one!), “Crawling Death” (personal fave of mine from THE TOMB AWAITS), “Eaten by the Dead”, and the crushing closer “The Morgue”. Fantastic set, hope to catch these guys again in the future!


Entrails set list:

The Tomb Awaits (intro)

1. Unleashed Wrath
2. In Pieces
3. Eaten by the Dead
4. Blood Red
5. Berzerk
6. Bloodhammer
7. Voices
8. To Live is to Rot
9. Headless Dawn
10. Carved to the Bone
11. Crawling Death
12. The Morgue




















Since I didn’t have a photo pass and I’m just one man representing Metal Rules, there are some bands I was not able to get close enough to for pix. I was also waiting in line to meet Asphyx, who was doing a meet & greet between 4PM and 5PM. I got to meet the Dutch death metal legends and they were extremely cool! I got a pic with them and got to talk to Martin a bit, I am a huge fan of Asphyx and every band Martin has ever been in (Pestilence, Asphyx, Comecon, Bolt Thrower, and Hail of Bullets), so it was great to finally meet him and find out how funny and laid back he was.


At 5:00 Nocturnus A.D. played the second stage. Original Morbid Angel drummer Mike Browning formed Nocturnus in 1987 and put out a few classic releases in the early 90’s like THE KEY and THRESHOLDS. Since his departure from the band, Mike has been performing Nocturnus material with his bands After Death and now Nocturnus A.D. It was great to hear THE KEY live in its entirety! Final song was Morbid Angel’s “Chapel of Ghouls”; it was cool to hear a different take on the song, closer to the original version from ABOMINATIONS OF DESOLATION. It definitely got the crowd fired up!

German thrashers Tankard played the first stage right after Nocturnus A.D. finished. Great thrash that sounded like a mix of Overkill and Municipal Waste. I really dug the opener “Zombie Attack.”  They’ve been around 30 years but I don’t know much about them. I’ll have to check out some of their albums.



Sweden’s Unleashed have endured the last 25 years, consistently cranking out their brand of Viking / Norse mythology death metal. I had an opportunity to see them in 1994 but I missed the show and Unleashed does not hit the US often, so now was finally my chance! Frontman Johnny Hedlund was very interactive with the crowd as he introduced songs and the band just blasted though their set. My faves were “Never Ending Hate”, “Don’t Want to be Born”, and “The Triumph of Genocide”. Good, solid death metal!




Unleashed set list:

1. Blood of Lies
2. Never Ending Hate
3. The Longships Are Coming
4. Fimbulwinter
5. Don’t Want to Be Born
6. Wir kapitulieren niemals
7. Triumph of Genocide
8. Your Children Will Burn
9. To Asgaard We Fly
10. Hammer Battalion
11. Midvinterblot
12. Death Metal Victory








Like Cancer, California’s Dark Angel recently re-formed and is playing various festivals. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Gene Hoglan with Death, Testament, and Death to All, so I knew it was in for some sensational drumming! I did catch the beginning of the Dark Angel set and I was quite impressed with the musicianship. “Time Does Not Heal” was excellent. Unfortunately, due to set times and distances between venues, I had to head over to Rams Head Live to catch Pungent Stench in time, so I missed half of the Dark Angel set. Death metal takes priority over thrash for me.


Dark Angel set list:

1. Darkness Descends
2. We Have Arrived
3. The Burning of Sodom
4. Time Does Not Heal
5. No One Answers
6. Never to Rise Again
7. Welcome to the Slaughter House
8. Death Is Certain (Life Is Not)
9. The Death of Innocence
10. Merciless Death
11. Perish in Flames





Here’s another band I love that I’ve never seen – Austria’s Pungent Stench! In the early 90s they put out some great sick / tongue in cheek groove laden death metal with FOR GOD YOUR SOUL FOR ME YOUR FLESH and BEEN CAUGHT BUTTERING. Subsequent albums and EP’s got a little weirder and the vox were cleaner. After breaking up and getting back together in the early 2000s, the band called it quits again. Luckily for us sickos, singer / guitarist Martin Schirenc wants to keep playing classic Pungent Stench material live (first 3 albums only). A lawsuit by drummer Alex Wank prevents Martin from using the Pungent Stench name, so now he tours under Schirenc plays Pungent Stench with a new lineup. This lineup was also briefly called The Church of Pungent Stench but the name got nixed due to the lawsuit. Thank you Martin for fighting through all this to deliver the stench to the fans!


I was dead center at the barrier, ready for some sick shit! Martin, Danny Vacuum (bass) and Mike Mayhem (drums) proceeded to crank out dirty, obscene death metal just the way we like it! I was immediately doused with beer as the band started and shit was flying everywhere, but I shook it off, banged my head, and sent a few people flying off my back into the pit! Martin just fucking shredded on his Gibson, and his new bandmates were tight, fast, and lethal. His voice was slightly less deathy than it used to be, but I was still quite pleased with how good he sounded, even if he did change the words to a few songs. The set was awesome, I got some of my all-time favorite Pungent songs like “For God Your Soul” (I WILL PREPARE YOU – YOU”VE GOT MY WORD OF HONOR!), “Shrunken and Mummified Bitch” (BITCH YOU WILL GET FUCKED AND KILLED FOR THAT!), “Bonesawer” (THE SAW IS RED AND YOU ARE DEAD!), and “Pungent Stench” (YOU KILLED YOUR CHILD AND NOW IT KILLS YOU!). Crowd was fucking nuts, lots of crowd floating. I think I lifted 15 people over my head; it was like I was working security! Incredible set, Asphyx had their work cut out for them, that’s for sure.


Schirenc Plays Pungent Stench set list:

1. Pungent Stench
2. Happy Re-birthday
3. For God Your Soul… For Me Your Flesh
4. Just Let Me Rot
5. Extreme Deformity
6. Shrunken and Mummified Bitch
7. Klyster Boogie
8. Rip You Without Care
9. Bonesawer
10. Viva la Muerte














We’ve been waiting all day for Holland’s best, and now we got it! Asphyx has really been on a tear since reforming in 2007, cranking out killer old school death metal albums like DEATH THE BRUTAL WAY, live album LIVE DEATH DOOM, and 2012’s DEATHHAMMER. What makes them so great? They are the epitome of Dutch death metal, tortured vox, brutal guitars, bass, and drums at fast, mid- range, and slow tempos, no fucking compromise. Martin Van Drunen has one of the best voices in the history of death metal, and they have tons of classic material from must own albums like THE RACK, CRUSH THE CENOTAPH (EP), and THE LAST ONE ON EARTH. I’ve never seen them before as Asphyx rarely plays in the US, so I was really pumped they were closing Saturday’s lineup.


Still holding fast at the center of the barrier, the intro “The Quest for Absurdity” started and I knew right away we were gonna get torn apart by “Vermin” (RED EYES LEERING!). Asphyx just rolled over the crowd like a tank, hell it was like being in battle! The band was like a fucking killing machine, guns blazing! Martin’s howl was just feral, insane, cut through your ears like a fucking razor. He stalked the stage, constantly moving, gesturing to the audience, screaming his lungs out! Guitarist Paul Baayens can do the ultra-heavy riff, the slow doomy grind, or the blistering assault with ease, bassist Alwin Zuur provided the thunderous low end, and new drummer Stefan Huskens hammered us with blast beats! THIS IS FUCKING INCREDIBLE!


The set was damn near perfect and I loved every minute of it. In addition to “Vermin”, my favorites included “ M.S Bismark” (heavy, powerful, moving – 71 TORPEDOES COULDN’T SINK THE BATTLESHIP!), “Wasteland of Terror” (fast and vicious), “Death…The Brutal Way” (great crowd singing), “Deathhammer” (BOW DOWN TO THE DEATHHAMMER – great crowd participation on this one, Martin gets everyone riled up!), “The Rack” (tons of tempo changes, INSIDE THE TORTURE CHAMBER THE SMELL OF BLOOD AND DEATH!), “Scourbutics” (means scurvy but sounds way cooler, SEAGULLS SWALLOWING DEAD GAZING EYES!) and the devastating closer, “The Last One on Earth” (I’M THE LIVING WITNESS OF THE TORMENT AND THE PAIN!).


The crowd was completely nuts throughout and after the set my friend Doug and I had completely spilled out buckets in the scrum. It’s really hard to sing, take pictures, headbang, lift crowd floaters over our heads, and hold the line at the same time but we endured. We survived the onslaught and lived to tell the tale! Asphyx fucking rules, best band of MDF XII and one of the best live bands I’ve ever seen! Death THE BRUTAL WAY indeed!


Asphyx set list.

The Quest of Absurdity (intro)
1. Vermin
2. M.S. Bismarck
3. Death the Brutal Way
4. Asphyx (Forgotten War)
5. Deathhammer
6. We Doom You to Death
7. Wasteland of Terror
8. The Rack
9. Scorbutics
10. Last One on Earth