Jun 272015


Yesterday the organizers of Maryland Deathfest announced the first group of bands for the 2016 edition of North America’s best metal festival. They also released 350 “early bird” passes for on-line sale — which sold out in approximately 15 seconds. Your humble editor wasn’t quick enough on the draw to get one of those. But more tickets will be released for sale after MDF finishes announcing the bands for next year’s event. For now, let’s talk about the first group of 30 bands revealed yesterday.

There’s a lot to talk about.

About three weeks ago, NCS contributor KevinP rolled out his own wishlist for MDF XIV (here), and that led lots of readers to roll out their own lists in the Comments. There were tons of good bands in those lists, and many people got at least some of their wishes granted yesterday. KevinP, for example, is a happy camper because his Number One pick — Hail of Bullets — were included in yesterday’s announcement. On the other hand, none of the rest of his wishlist of 10 bands was included. But of course there’s still time.


Following on the heels of this year’s complete performance of a classic album from front to back (Amorphis performing Tales From the Thousand Lakes), next year will see Samuel performing their 1994 album Ceremony of Opposites, an album that many would identify as marking the beginning of the band’s divergence from the second-wave pack of Scandinavian black metal.

There’s a tip of the hat to first wave black metal, too, as Venom are making another MDF appearance — somewhat surprisingly, as they appeared at MDF not long ago (in 2013). Their live performances these days seem to produce more cat-calls in reviews than standing ovations, but they’re on my bucket list of bands to see, so I’m glad I’ll get the chance. I mean, shit, it’s Venom, right?

I didn’t see The Haunted coming, but it makes a lot of sense, given the festival’s expansion in recent years into the realms of melodic death metal. The Haunted have never appeared at MDF before, and I bet the band’s current line-up is going to tear shit up on stage.

You’ve also got a tip of the hat to old school Dutch death metal with an appearance by Sinister, which reminds me that I haven’t heard their 2015 album Dark Memorials, which was released yesterday. Anyone out there heard it? And speaking of old school, those venerable Canadian speed-metal freaks in Exciter are on the bill, too.


Bong metal is well represented, with Bongripper and Bongzilla. Not exactly MDF meat-and-potatoes, but I’m not complaining. What gets me a lot more excited, however, are names like Haemorrhage and Wormed from Spain, Nocturnal Graves and Denouncement Pyre from Australia, and Mitochondrion, Phobocosm, and Auroch from Canada — first-time appearances by those last five bands.

Speaking of Mitochondrion, let’s begin the chant right now:  Free Mitochondrion! Free MitochondrionBecause I’ve heard they’ve had some border-crossing issues in the past — though Mitochondrion did sneak into Seattle for a show in 2012 at Highline that I was lucky enough to catch (and it fuckin’ destroyed). They’re a big draw for me at MDF XIV. As are another band who I gather may have some border-crossing issues — Deströyer 666.


I’ll mention a couple of other names that have got me very excited for next year’s fest, and then I’ll shut up and invite you to share your own thoughts. First, Iceland’s Svartidauði. Just two days ago I added one of their songs to our delayed roll-out of the list of 2014’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs (here), and to see them on the initial MDF list yesterday was a very welcome coincidence.

And second, Germany’s Thulcandra. Among the best current practitioners of Dissection worship, they’re a band I’ve admired from afar since their first release. The chance to see them live is something I’m really looking forward to.


Okay, now I’ll shut up. Here’s the complete list of the 30 bands announced yesterday, followed by an announcement last night by MDF from their Facebook page about tickets. After that, please feel free to share your thoughts in the Comments about this initial line-up.

May 26-29, 2016

Auroch (Canada)
Denouncement Pyre (Australia)
Destroyer 666
Haemorrhage (Spain)
Hail of Bullets (Netherlands)
The Haunted (Sweden)
Jungle Rot
Khold (Norway)
Lord Belial (Sweden)
Malignant Tumour (Czech Republic)
Mitochondrion (Canada)
Nocturnal Graves (Australia)
Phobocosm (Canada)
Putrid Pile
Samael (Norway) – “Ceremony of Opposites” set
Saturnalia Temple (Sweden)
Severe Torture (Netherlands)
Sinister (Netherlands)
Svartidauði (Iceland)
Svarttjern (Norway)
Thulcandra (Germany)
Tulus (Norway)
Venom (UK)
Visceral Disgorge
Wormed (Spain)


When will you announce more bands?
No exact date for this. Maybe as early as 1 or 2 weeks from now.
Is MDF sold out?
NO. We released 350 early bird passes and they sold out in approximately 15 seconds.
When will tickets go on sale again?
ALL ticket options will go on sale after we finish announcing bands. This includes more 4-day passes. We’ll keep you posted on an exact date.




  1. Was wondering when you’d post this…So many bands I wan to catch already…off to a strong start

    …and congrats to Kevin P for calling the Hail of Bullets announcement

    Auroch (Canada)
    Denouncement Pyre (Australia)
    Deströyer 666…goddamn, fucking finally
    Hail of Bullets (Netherlands)
    Khold (Norway)
    Mitochondrion (Canada)
    Nocturnal Graves (Australia)
    Phobocosm (Canada)
    Samael (Switzerland) – “Ceremony of Opposites” set
    Sinister (Netherlands)
    Svartidauði (Iceland)
    Svarttjern (Norway)
    Thulcandra (Germany)
    Tulus (Norway)

    Its too bad someone decided to add The Haunted to the lineup…thats a beer break if I ever saw one

    • I had too much shit to do yesterday to post about the announcement in a timely manner. Also, I was moping because I missed out on the early bird sale. I figured you wouldn’t be tumescent over The Haunted, but as you say, there’s lots of other reasons to get stoked.

      • Definitely…Im way more pumped about the initial bands this year than I was for last year, and since they brought back Venom to make up for 2013, I now have an outside hope that I’ll get to see Bolt Thrower play the Rams Head (seriously, did anyone else get chills just thinking about that)

        • Well, Bolt Thrower would be a tremendous addition. Saw them last weekend in Vancouver, and that was a hell of a show.

          • Ugh…jealous of that…Im still disappointed the one time I got to see them in 2013 they got shoved into that shitty tent. Their sound wasnt great (though better than a lot of bands in the tent) and their set got cut short because of the noise ordnance laws (which is what happened to Venom that year). I want another shot at seeing them and the Rams Head would be insane

  2. I’d love to go to this year’s MDF. I’ve been wanting to go for 3 years now.

  3. Bongripper will kill. Pretty sure they played a free show in Chicago last night, just as I left. They’re also playing San Diego this summer in a venue I can’t get in to. Such is life.

    Destroyer 666, Gruesome, Hail of Bullets, The Haunted, Saturnalia Temple, Svartidaudi, and Thulcandra all have me quite excited as well. And I will say that Venom seem to be hit or miss – I’ve heard tell of the horrors of their 2013 MDF appearance, but they killed it when I saw them last summer at Fall of Summer.

    • Now, if only I can bring it upon myself to just fuck it all and buy a ticket and hope that my spring quarter class schedule and transportation/lodging accommodations all work out to let me go this year.

      • I’m better able to afford gambles like that than you are, but that’s eventually what I did. If you wait to the last minute until you’re sure your schedule will clear (as I used to do), it’s just too tough to make it work, getting tickets and lodging.

  4. Besides HOB, there isn’t single band I’m all that jazzed about. I like Mito, the Sameal “ceremony” set, Svartidaubi & Saturnalia Temple but none of which I would travel to see.

    Yes, I’m greedy, I need more wishlist bands, even those outside my Top 10.

    That being said, I’ll fly to Maryland for the day just to see HOB if it comes to that 🙂

  5. I would hazard a guess that the reformed God Dethroned might be a possibility for this.

    Also, fun fact, one of the early iterations of my band played a show with Thulcandra,

  6. Stoked, as always. KHOLD is a fucking steal, as is The Haunted, whom I have adored for some time.

    They’re kind of the unofficial NCS staff band (them and Aborted). Maybe I cang et Andy Synn and DRG to join this year? 😉

  7. a bunch of bands i picked actually made it on there, nailed it 🙂

  8. Editorial nitpicks, last I checked Samael were from Switzerland, and Deströyer 666 from Australia/Netherlands.

    Of the bands announced, Deströyer 666 should be a blast if they make it and I wouldn’t mind seeing Lord Belial even though I haven’t really paid attention to them since the late 90s.

    • I copied and pasted the line-up list from the MDF Facebook page announcement, so those parentheticals identifying geographic location came from the festival. Doesn’t necessarily mean they’re accurate, I suppose, but I am blameless if they aren’t. 🙂

  9. Super pumped that I made it in to get my buddy and I early bird tickets!

    Most excited for Mitochondrion, Destroyer 666, Svartidaudi, Auroch, Hail of Bullets, Wormed, and Samael.

    Does anyone else have a feeling that Abbath will be playing this year? Maybe it is just wishful thinking…

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