Maryland Deathfest 2014 is a wrap (our highlights, Taake, Bolzer, Dark Angel, the Crowbar kick incident & more)
by Ian Chainey (and Jonathan Dick, Wyatt Marshall & Scab Casserole)
Cancer at Maryland Deathfest
The 12th annual Maryland Deathfest, not to be confused with Maryland Deathscape, wrapped on May 25, bringing an end to another headbanging blockbuster. Though there were unforeseen cancellations -- Mitochondrion and Aeternus encountered visa/boarder issues, Triptykon attended H.R. Giger's funeral service -- the fest was another success, providing a four-day-long release for lucky metalheads and those following them on Twitter.
In fact, half the fun for vicarious attendees was keeping tabs on the travel to and from Maryland. Jonathan Dick, making his first trip to MDF, wrote a hilarious dispatch for Invisible Oranges detailing his experience with an eccentric woman aboard one of his connecting flights.
It was the greatest flight in the history of US Airways thanks to a passenger who I can only refer to as 33C. She essentially brought everyone on board into her conversational dimension of pretzel descriptions, the inadequacy of Subway sandwiches, and genuine concerns over who was "driving" the plane.
His trials were paid back in full by a Thursday bill at Ram's Head Live that focused on the slow and low. Seven Sisters of Sleep, Whitehorse, Sourvein, Torche, Coffins, and Crowbar all crushed. Crowbar's Kirk Windstein even delivered a kick (see video below). It was a great way to grease the fest wheels, but IO editor Scab Casserole sensed a void. "Everyone's psyched, but the consensus on yesterday was that Triptykon was truly supposed to be the gem of last night. Their absence was felt." More from Scab's memories will appear later on this week at Invisible Oranges.
MDF got rolling on Friday, splitting bands up on four different stages -- Edison Lot A, Edison Lot B, Rams Head Live, and Baltimore Soundstage. The set-up was an improvement, according to Scab. "The new lot is impressive. Expansive, and comprehensive stage-wise. But it's super-hot."
This day, the blackened acts garnered the greatest response, as social media was flooded with kudos for Mgla, Taake, and the two-man Bölzer. Scab later said, "Taake fucking OWNED it. They might have been the best band of yesterday." Wyatt agreed, "Many wondered if the Norwegian band would make it into the US -- it was fortunate for those who were there that they encountered smooth sailing."
Agalloch played a set beloved by most, though the sound was mentioned to be muddy. Better things should be in store when they hit the road with Jex Thoth in June.
But, the death metal one-two punch of Cancer followed by At the Gates was an undeniable pinnacle. It had been a bit since both acts played the States and fans weren't left disappointed. And, lucky us, At the Gates' singer Tomas "Tompa" Lindberg was down to shed light on the status of the new album. All systems GO!
Speaking of fans, the event brought out its share of oddballs. If you had time between sets, people-watching was an attraction. If a Slayer trampstamp didn't display dedication, windmilling while holding crutches was a sure sign of devotion. Of course, then there were the Symbolic speedos:
MDF recap, photos & video continued below...
Saturday brought out more rarities to the stage. Norway's Sarke made their US debut. New Zealand's Diocletian and their ripping blackened death/thrash logged a hell of a lot of miles to get to Balitmore. And reformed thrash legends Dark Angel shook off retirement and member fluctuations to spread their wings across another successful night.
On Sunday, the blowout continued, with some of the fests' heaviest hitters getting a chance to leave their mark. Gorguts, Candlemass, the mighty Immolation? It was like a metalhead's ultimate wishlist come to life. Punks, too. Brazil's Ratos de Porão jammed before heading back up the coast to New York to play another show. Everyone left with a favorite moment or two. Jonathan Dick, in his wrap-up, had eight.
When the final chord rang out, fans spent Memorial Day Monday migrating back to their real lives. As a souvenir, they took with the ringing ears and plans to return next year. Plus, sunburns. Big, body-covering sunburns. Looking at you, speedos.
Here's the infamous Crowbar video:
Crowbar kicks a stagediver that security rammed in to him, rants about people on stage/Lamb of God incident
Kirk has since respnded:
"In regards to the fan jumping onstage during our set at Maryland Death Fest. The MDF organizers/venue do not allow fans to run on stage uninvited. That's their policy. They had barriers and security in plain sight to prevent that. If someone chooses to go against their policy, I have no control over that and at a show like this I'm not expecting anyone to run onto the stage, especially during Planets Collide. So I'm rocking out, my eyes are closed and then I guess security tackled the fan into me. I was already on edge having driven 15 hours straight through the night without sleep to play the gig. We had no back up guitars or techs with us so If we broke a guitar or even a string, the set would have been seriously delayed or ended. At shows WITHOUT security or barricades if you decide to run on stage or dive off it, at least be respectful, get up and dive off and try not to hit into the band or break their gear and try not to break your neck or the neck of someone else. Thanks for understanding! - Kirk"
Less controversial videos and some more of our Instagrams below:
Dark Angel - May 23 2014 - Maryland Death Fest - Edison Lot
Taake - May 23 2014 - Maryland Death Fest - Edison Lot 2
BÖLZER live at Maryland Deathfest XII
NECROS CHRISTOS live at Maryland Deathfest XII
Sarke - "Too Old Too Cold" (Darkthrone cover) -
Coffins - Maryland Deathfest 2014
Torche live at Maryland Deathfest 2014
Cancer - May 23 2014 - Maryland Death Fest - Edison Lot
At The Gates - Slaughter Of The Soul @ Maryland Deathfest
At The Gates