Original published on 05/16/2015, this is an updated version of the original article.
Every Memorial Day weekend, thousands of Metalheads and punks make the journey to Baltimore Maryland Deathfest (aka MDF). Starting in 2003 as a small fest that only booked death metal and grindcore, MDF eventually grew into one of America’s biggest extreme music festivals, adding a huge plethora of different metal(and some none metal) sub genres with over 80 bands playing in three different venues (Edison Lot, Ramshead Live and Baltimore Soundstage) over four days.
The line ups have always been pretty impressive, with many bands who don’t play in the US (and some that don’t even normally play live) always on the bill. Alternative Nation’s Anthony Carioscia has some suggestions for the festival down the line…
Black metal band from the mythical land known as South Jersey. The band is known for its distinct mix of fast, raw energy and atmosphere. The band is also known for their cover of “Venus in Furs” by the Velvet Underground.
Yes, it’s been along time since post-punk/noise rock outfit Swans have been MDF friendly, but the same could be said about Amorphis, who were on last year’s bill. Like Amorphis, Swans could play one of their older albums in full. A set based on Filth or Cop would have a huge draw.
The horror-themed death metal band Necrophagia has been around as long as death metal founders Death and Possessed, but did not get the credit those bands received. Many old school death metal bands have played the fest… the time is now for Necrophagia to be among them!
It’s a surprise California’s experimental grindcore outfit never played MDF. The band’s distinct sound, devoted fan base, and over the top stage shows are sure to bring in heads.
Rudra are a Singaporean band who mix blackened death metal with Singaporean folk music. They call their style “Vedic metal”. With a sound similar to Israeli band Melechesh (who have played the fest) and MDF’s love for booking Asian bands, Rudra would be right at home at this fest.
One of the best supergroups in all of metal. This awesome stoner doom band is commonly thought to be broken up, but they are actually just on hold. Three of the bands that make up this band have played the fest before (Melvins, Neurosis and Saint Vitus), so it shouldn’t be too hard to get this project on the bill.
A horror punk band with metal influences. The band has been getting a lot more attention recently with the release of their latest album, Workin’ for the Devil. They played the Hell’s Head Bash Festival last year. The band’s unique sound and over the top look would make for a fun set at MDF.
Blut Aus Nord
France’s acclaimed black metal /ambient/industrial fusion who, despite popular belief, actually does play live shows once in a blue moon… next year that blue moon should shine over Baltimore!
From the Czech Republic comes this nice hidden gem, Root, a black metal band from the first wave of black metal. Their early material influenced a lot of the old Norse bands( mainly Burzum, who used one of their riffs). On their later albums they changed to a more epic-sounding heavy metal band.
Toxik are a thrash metal band from Westchester, New York. The band mixes speed with technicality and falsetto vocals. Their first album, World Circus, is one of the best NY thrash albums out there. Every year, MDF has a few classic thrash bands on the bill. Toxik deserves to be one of them.
Brazilian black metal pioneers, Sarcofago, have been broke up since 2000. As of 2006, members of the band have been playing Sarcofago tribute shows. Over the years, MDF had several people play tribute shows to their old bands (such as Nocturnus), and this would be a great tribute on the MDF bill. If they get them in 2017, they could even play an anniversary show for their first album, INRI.
Chicago’s Nucleus plays a Demilich/Timeghoul influenced style of death metal. The band spent several years as just a local, the band has been getting much attention and acclaim ever since releasing their debut album Sentient.
Does Mercyful Fate even need an introduction? The band that’s been requested for this fest for many years, it was rumored that MDF tried to get King Diamond but couldn’t because King was not ready to perform again. As of 2014, he’s been touring again, played Fun Fun Fun Fest in Texas, played Mayhem Fest a year later as well as toured again celebrating the Abigail album. MDF should one up these fests by getting all of Mercyful Fate to play. The band would obviously have to play the Edison Lot on Saturday with a 90 minute set. This would make a flourishing fest even bigger.
Humming Bird of Death