May 302018


(Here is Andy Synn writing about his excursion with other members of the NCS crew to the just-completed 2018 edition of Maryland Deathfest in Baltimore. Photos by Islander, except the one above by Andy.)

I don’t know what you’re up to, dear reader, but I’m currently sat here decompressing and trying to recover (both physically and mentally) from another weekend spent enjoying the sights and sounds (and smells) of Maryland Deathfest.

But, rather than put together a straightforward write-up of each day in a purely linear fashion, I’ve decided to echo what I did last year and provide a slightly more irreverent insight into the weekend’s festivities.



Number of bands seen over the weekend (at least to an appreciable extent)



Most commonly-consumed beverage

Beer. Specifically cans of Natty Boh from the Soundstage bar.



Most commonly heard music-style



Style of music I don’t really *get* for the most part



Style of music I still kind of enjoy seeing live



Number of people comically falling over when attempting to stage-dive during Pig Destroyer



Number of on-stage proposals witnessed




Favourite performances of the weekend

3. God Dethroned
2. Misery Index
1. Satyricon


Favourite songs which those bands DIDN’T play

3. “Under the Sign of the Iron Cross”
2. “Thrown Into The Sun”
1. “To The Mountains”


Best new discoveries of the weekend

3. Bound by the Grave
2. Destroyed in Seconds
1. Khemmis


Other honourable mentions


Defeated Sanity

Suffering Hour



Award for perseverance in the face of adversity



Award for nicest person I met at the festival

Steve from Horrible Earth



Award for most soul-crushing performance

Two-way tie between Thantifaxath and Evoken


Award for secret performance that most people found out about after the fact



Theme of the weekend




Additional thoughts and musings

  • Jet-lag is a bitch, and meant I missed a few of the late-slot bands I wanted to see early on (particularly Incantation).
  • Still not a huge fan of Grindcore, as WAY too much of it sounds really interchangeable, however when it’s good it can be a lot of fun, and I particularly enjoyed both Wormot and Horrible Earth.
  • The drumming this year really stood out, and it was awesome to be able to see Adam Jarvis (Misery Index/Pig Destroyer), Michiel van der Plicht (God Dethroned), and Frost (Satyricon) so clearly from where we were standing. Jarvis in particular hits unbelievably hard for the speeds he’s playing at.
  • Extra-special mention for the drummers from Suffering Hour and The Ruins of Beverast, who also really impressed me.
  • I know I’m late to the Khemmis train, but damn… those guys have a very bright future ahead of them in my opinion.
  • Also, I’ve already seen Begotten once this year… I didn’t need to see it again (thanks Evoken)!
  • Oh, and… HIGH SPEED!!!



Predictions for 2019

  • Hypocrisy and Kataklysm
  • Cattle Decapitation
  • Anaal Nathrakh


  16 Responses to “WHAT I DID ON MY VACATION”

  1. SATYRICON>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

  2. Thanks much for doing the re-cap! I had a blast and remain a completely destroyed human three days later (which, btw, makes me a real “hero” at home after vanishing all weekend…) .

    I agree with Satyricon at (1) – such an awesome set and was pure joy to get to see Satyr and Frost play at MDF! No disappointments whatsoever! And, I, too, loved both Misery Index – I am pretty sure this was the 4th time I have seen them at MDF, and it was by far the best set they have done (really blew me away in a manner I was not prepared for) – and God Dethroned (wow – even with some guitar difficulties for Henri, it was such an intense and masterful set!).

    I would also add Dodheimsgard (a dream come true, even without Aldrahn – and why you go to MDF, to finally see bands such as DHG live), Opera IX (what a revelation they were live – another pure MDF get), Ruins of Beverast, and Godflesh (I know I am in the minority on this last one – but I just love how f’ all and iconoclastic Justin is at all times…Godflesh on downers…yeah!)…

    And, yeah, Evoken was heavy in a really good way but, man, having “Begotten” in the line of sight for 50-ish minutes was rough…. I went over to Soundstage a bit, but was just not in the grindcore mindset this weekend (and have seen Incantation and Eyehategod numerous times — did dig the front end of the Integrity set, before bailing for God Dethroned, fwiw).

    Another fabulous weekend for metal fans. Thank you, Ryan and Evan! Even with the numerous scheduling and visa problems, it was a blast and first-rate expeirence…

    Bet we get the reschedule on Bloodbath next year. Would also bet on seeing Yob…

    • For me seeing Satyricon with my US friends was extra special, as I’ve obviously seen them live umpteen times (heck, the set they played at MDF was just a truncated version of the one I saw them play at Inferno this year), but to be able to finally point to them, on a big stage, with Frost behind the kit, and go “there, THAT is why they’re one of my favourite bands” was fantastic.

      It was also my first time seeing Misery Index, who’ve long been one of my favourite bands (and influences), and my first time seeing God Dethroned since… 2005?

      It was quite amusing though that all of Henri’s guitar “difficulties” were entirely his own fault… why oh why did he have such an obnoxiously long cable connecting to his wireless pack?

      I did love Dødheimsgard too, though fortunately I did get to see them with Aldrahn previously. I thought their MDF set was tighter though, and more fun overall, than last time I saw them.

  3. And I totally missed that Goatwhore played out in Bmore!! (Was wondering why they were not added at some point, similar to Prong viz a viz Helmet). Would have been cool…

    • I happened to be chatting to one of the guys from Season of Mist, who told me that Goatwhore were doing a free show of their own in about five minutes… but apparently the place was already so ridiculously packed you coldn’t see the stage, plus they were up against Dødheimsgard… so I thought I’d just wait and catch them next time.

      I’m sure it was a cool show though.

  4. Thanks for checking out DIS and for the mention! We got a new LP coming out soon on Deep Six Records – stay tuned!

    • My pleasure buddy. It was actually DGR (who’s commenting below) who recommended you and dragged me along to check you out, and I’m really glad he did. Looking forward to the new LP!


    • also blame it on me being in the extremely privileged position of being able to attend Northwest Terrorfest as well but it allowed me to spend a lot of time at Soundstage this year. That and not really being into Blood Incantation, so I got to see Sublime Cadaveric Decomposition, whose drummer is a goddamned hero.

      • He was WAY too happy and enthusiastic… it conflicted with my dark and cynical British sensibilities.

        (Mostly joking there… mostly…)

  6. Great meeting you at the fest again Islander! That spot on the balcony at the Ram’s Head is the best.

    • Great to see you again too man. And yes, that is one sweet spot to watch from. Didn’t seem as crowded this year either, which might be not-so-good news for the fest but nice for those of us who were able to make it.

  7. I hope the footage of me banging a blowup doll on stage for Wormrot never surfaces on Facebook. Or maybe I do.

  8. Plenty of highlights. I’m still recovering and adjusting back to daily life (particularly since I also got to see 90s faves Bloodlet on Monday in Brooklyn, just to ward off live music withdrawal symptoms).

    I tried to make a point of skipping bands I’e already seen this year, but I’m glad I made it to Soundstage in time for chicken man’s proposal. I’m also glad I check out Viscera Infest on a whim (apparently I’m the only one who didn’t know what was coming).

    Other personal highlights included Defeated Sanity (killer show, didn’t realize the singer was American [or Canadian?]), Integrity (another 90s fave I never managed to see before), Blood Incantation (sounded huge at Rams Head), Phrenelith, Thantifaxath, Sinmara and Wormrot. Good line-up all around though, I barely took any breaks.

  9. Anyone who missed Mortem should have their metal card revoked. They completely stole the show on Saturday.

    R.o.B. and Phrenelith were also top 5 five worthy. I’d round out the other slots with Evoken and Blood Incantation

  10. LOL..agreed on Begotten. I couldn’t look away, but it turned my stomach.

    My favs:

    Coven was a fun break from the bleakness.

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