Now in itâ€™s eleventh year, Maryland Death Fest has a long history of bringing a wide assortment of heavy bands to the city, from mainstream acts to obscure cult favorites, and everything in between. On May 23-26th, MDF returns to the former home of Sonar (407 E Saratoga Street) and expands to take over even more of the street and parking area as well as a satellite stage devoted to hardcore and punk, located at Soundstage (124 Market Place). There will be dozens of bands performing, letâ€™s take a look at some things you shouldnâ€™t miss:
Pentagram & the Obsessed on the same bill
Both bands formed in the 70s (Pentagram in Alexandria, VA, the Obsessed in Potomac, MD), both are extremely influential, and both have iconic frontmen – Pentagramâ€™s troubled Bobby Liebling and Scott â€œWinoâ€ Weinrich of the Obsessed, as well as St Vitus and many other projects. There probably arenâ€™t two metal bands from the DMV that have as enduring of a legacy as these two acts, and while they have reunited before, each tour has a â€œthis could be the last timeâ€ vibe. (Disclosure: this author released two records by one of Weinrichâ€™s later bands, the Hidden Hand)
One of the early and defining bands of the 90s powerviolence scene, Infest were a SoCal hardcore band with a reputation for great live performances, strong political stances and a small handful of influential releases on labels like Slap-a-Ham and Deep Six. They disbanded in 1996, before the peak of their sceneâ€™s popularity, so this MDF appearance will be many fansâ€™ first chance to see them play.
Exclusive US Venom performance
Formed in the late 70s, Venom are an extremely influential band (they coined the term Black Metal, now a dominant genre), though arguably more for their use of dark, satanic imagery and over-the-top stage costumes and personas than their music. This is their only US show in 2013, and probably for the foreseeable future, and should be a fun experience, if only for frontman Chronosâ€™ stage banter and showmanship.
Rare U.S. Bolt Thrower appearance
This is a rare US show for this long-running UK band who are apparently reluctant to come to this side of the pond. Their two appearances at 2009â€™s MDF (one announced, one by surprise) were the highlights of that yearâ€™s fest – full of energy and fun. This will be your only chance to see them on the east coast, so donâ€™t miss it.
California stoner metal band Sleep specializes in droning, meditative, weed-soaked Sabbath worship. Their hour-long set on Sunday is just shy of long enough to play their epic 63-minute song, Dopesmoker. Hereâ€™s hoping that the organizers will let them squeeze the whole thing in. Either way, this will be a set that stands out from most of the other acts at the festival.
For more information on tickets, a full running order, and more go to: http://www.marylanddeathfest.com/