Alas, our revels now are ended. Maryland Deathfest XIII is over and in the history books, and it was an amazing experience. I’ve got to pack up and vacate my hotel room soon, and I don’t have nearly enough time at the moment to say everything I want to say. For now, I’ll show you some photos I took from the first three performances I saw yesterday (the last day of the festival), with a few words about each of those first bands I saw on Sunday. More pics and words will come in the next few days.
I arrived late to the Edison Lot and missed the first four bands of the day, but caught all of Primordial’s set — which floored me. Alan Averill is an amazingly intense and charismatic front man, and his voice is an instrument of incredible power and passion. In the category of clean vocals, he probably took the prize for the fest, though ICS Vortex performing with Arcturus the night before was a very close second.
I only heard Winter’s set from a distance while talking with some old and new acquaintances and buying some more merch. Among the people my friend MaxR (Metal Bandcamp) and I talked with were DECIBEL’s Albert Mudrian and one of my favorite metal artists, Dan Seagrave, both of whom were very welcoming to us. They also both inscribed the revised and expanded edition of Albert’s book Choosing Death that I bought. Here’s Dan Seagrave’s addition to my copy of the book (Albert’s used my real name, which is a State secret, and therefore may not be shown):
I did manage to get myself well-positioned for the beginning of Anaal Nathrakh’s set. It was nuts. I had seen Dave Hunt in the flesh once before, when he played in Seattle with Benediction in a bill headlined by Bolt Thrower, so I had some idea of what to expect from his fierce stage presence and between-song banter (which this time included a serious question to the audience: “What is evil?… (pause)… I can’t make out many of your individual words, but I can tell you’re speaking with conviction”). But goddamn, his vocals were like being hit in the face by a blast furnace.
Mick Kenney was as self-possessed as Dave Hunt was on fire, but just as riveting to watch. The music was obliterating. So was the pit.
When I discovered the existence of Skepticism during our “Finland Tribute Week” series (here) four and a half years ago, I didn’t know what funeral doom was, and I didn’t know who Skepticism were. That was the beginning of an education. I’ve learned a few things, but Skepticism are the progenitors, and I was very excited to see them. Man, were they good.
Beautiful, glacial, moving, profoundly forlorn music, performed by people in formal wear. It has been remarked by many others, and rightly so, that it was strange to see Skepticism and hear their music in bright sunlight. It would have been better in pitch black darkness with candelabras.
At one point the vocalist (Matti) disappeared from the stage during an instrumental movement. I was standing close to the stage over to the far right next to a chain-link fence. I noticed movement out of the corner of my eye, and there was Matti, solemnly handing the pale flower from his lapel to the woman standing next to me across the fence, and then slowly walking back toward the stage, head down. Perfect.
MDF WEED SMOKE EXHAUST MECHANISM WORKING PROPERLY