Eric Cutler of Autopsy
Bullet belts, flip flops, studded gauntlets, chicken suits... yep, its Maryland Deathfest time again. Though it was milder this week, in true MDF fashion the first of the four day Baltimore music festival (on 5/24) kicked off with high temperatures, humidity and unrelenting sun, making for a strong contrast to the pitch black indoor room at Sonar. Luckily, escape from the sun also meant catching some of the best heavy music out there.
The day started with sets by Extermination Angel and Die Pigeon Die, both of which I missed unfortunately, so the "opening" set by Needful Things was a fierce blast of grind that was a great perk-me-up for the rest of the day's activities. For the most part, a lot of the bands on Thursday I had seen in recent months: Eyehategod at A389 (dudes, please... we need new songs... the set is getting tired), Absu and Agalloch at Inferno, and Autopsy at Inferno and in Brooklyn. All delivered excellent, though familiar (to me) sets with the exception of Agalloch whose focus was on their earlier material (no Marrow of the Spirit here). Excellent way to cater to the crowd and make it special.
Of the remainder of the bands, Dying Fetus's death metal-slam style has never been my cup of tea but Rorschach... that's another story. Rorschach's unique noise/metal/hardcore sound was the clear winner for favorite set of the day for me, coming out with unmatched energy and playing their cover of King Crimson's "21st Century Schizoid Man" as well as material from their Protestant/Remain Sedate release (which was available in exclusive colors just for this show)(wow). I remember being floored when I saw them at Santos and The Charleston way back when, but this might have been their best set yet. I could watch them play forever, but I'm guessing there's a short window of time left for this band... don't miss them. Rorschach pictures are HERE.
More pictures from Day 1 at Maryland Deathfest including Autopsy's setlist are below.