Monthly Archives: April 2012

2012 Maryland Deathfest set times spreadsheet

The 2012 Maryland Deathfest has posted the set times for all the bands over the four days, May 24-27, at Sonar in Baltimore, MD. This is great news! I can’t wait for this festival. This is also horrible news, because now I must make choices about who I will and won’t see.

The set times can be found at this link on the MDF X website OR because I am such a nerd and need to see things differently, I recreated the list in a Google  spreadsheet which you can see here. Actually four sheets, one for each day. Go ahead and say it, I am a nerd.  For some reason this helps me see the schedule better.

My spread sheet only gives the start times. That’s because once I commit to  seeing an act, I don’t plan to wander off and see what is happening at another stage half way through. I am there for the duration.

Either way, I hope the links will help you plan your days. Remember, all the bands are being profiled here at Metallomusikum. 

Countdown to MDF X: (23) Tsjuder

Norwegian true black metallers Tsjuder (pronounced shoe-der) have a mission statement posted on their Facebook page: “to create the rawest form of Black Metal, and continue that for the lifetime of the band.” No doubt, Tsjuder plays relentlessly raucous, blasphemous music designed to promote all that is evil, impure and brutal. The fact that the songs are as catchy as “helvete” only helps their cause.

Tsjuder actually sometimes sounds like some kind of awesome hybrid of black metal and speed metal. The pace is breakneck, the riffs furious and the vocals shrill, but dammit if  those blazing guitar solos don’t put a smile on your face. I dare you not to want to clutch some invisible oranges to the sky during the guitar solo in “Ghoul”. You will not want to stop head banging! The melodies are literally spine-tingling! Listen to “Mouth of Madness.” You will hear some Motorhead in there. You will hear Slayer and Anthrax. This music was built on the best and purest of metal foundations.

I know this joyous response may not be the intended effect, since Tsjuder takes their music and performances super seriously. This is all done for the glory of their Dark Lord, you know. But their songs just kick major ass, and that makes me happy. I don’t care what mythology their lyrics support. It should be evident by now that I really like this band.

Performance-wise, expect some spikes and corpse paint. Like many black metal bands, the members use pseudonyms. The current line up includes Nag on (frighteningly harsh) lead vocals and bass, Draugluin on (amazing) guitars and vocals, and AntiChristian on (phenomenal) drums. Unlike a lot of black metal bands, however, Tsjuder is cyber-active. They maintain a Facebook page, Facebook fan pages for each band member and someone representing the band even participates in Twitter. Hails the Tsjuder Tweet!

See Tsjuder live Saturday night, May 26, at the 2012 Maryland Deathfest.

Countdown to MDF X: (24) Confessor

Strong harmonies, melodies filled with pregnant pauses, usual time signatures and interesting lyrical subject matter make Confessor’s progressive technical death metal an interesting choice for MDF.  I played a song by the group for a friend. He’s impression was that they were a little Queensr├┐che-like. I thought they seemed a bit Alice in Chains-y. Either way, this North Carolina group should get a reaction from the audience Saturday, May 26, at the 2012 Maryland Deathfest.

The current lineup includes Cary Rowells (bass), Steve Shelton (drums), Brian Shoaf (guitar), Chris Nolan (guitar) and Scott Jeffreys (vocals). Founded in 1986, Confessor developed an underground following. Even when they split up in 1994, interest was sustained in their music. Their final recording sessions eventually resulted in the post-breakup release of the album, Unraveled, from which the song “Wig Stand” in the video clip below was taken. I’ve also included a clip from their 1991 full-length Condemned that perhaps more clearly demonstrates their progressive leanings. The group reunited in 2011 and is ready to hit the road.

Countdown to MDF X: (25) Winter

I love Winter, and I don’t mean the season (although I love that, too.) No, I mean New York’s, slow-as-molasses doom metal band founded in the late 80s. Named for an Amebix song, you can hear some of that band’s influence on Winter, but it is not overwhelming.

While a band like Backslider might be one of the fastest you’ve ever heard, Winter may be among the slowest. Even their faster songs, such as The Hour of Doom, are restrained by the low, echoing vocals of bassist John Alman.  Drummer Joe Goncalves makes every beat deliberate and contemplative and guitarist Stephen Flam marinates every riff in sludge-y goodness. Just when another band might pick up the pace, Winter slows it down even further.

Winter disbanded for many years, reuniting only a couple of years ago to perform for festivals such as Roadburn. Apparently, like another famous (though fictional) New Yorker, Rip Van Winkle, they have awoken from long a Winter’s nap to find the music scene ready to receive them. Let Winter lull you into a pleasant, yet slightly disturbing, dream-like state on Sunday afternoon, May 27, at the 2012 Maryland Deathfest.

Countdown to MDF X: (19) Backslider

Need a small band to play you some big, fast music in under a minute? Philadelphia’s grindcore, fastcore, something-core act Backslider should fit the bill quite nicely. This two-piece, comprised of Logan on guitar and vocals and Patrick on drums, will kick off the final day of the 2012 Maryland Deathfest, Sunday, May 27.

Backslider put a smile on my face because they reminded me of all those un-named punk bands I watched tear up smokey clubs and basements in the late 80s. All the spit and vinegar is there, except these guys are, at times, just a bit doomier and sludgier.  Don’t plant them too deep, water them just a little, and they might grow into something like Dragged Into Sunlight.

Check out their Bandcamp here. Don’t worry, it will take less than two minutes.

I am not sure, but this video seems to be sped up a little. Either way, it’s totally worth watching as the moshers and the drum set nearly collide on several occasions.

Countdown to MDF X: (20) Morbid Angel

Morbid Angel has seen some controversy of late, what with the mixed reaction by fans and critics to their most recent album, Ilud Divinum Insanus. However, this does not take away the fact that this Florida band helped shape the sound of death metal. They close out Saturday night, May 26, at the 2012 Maryland Deathfest.

All references to their most recent recording aside, Morbid Angel dominates when it comes to crushing riffs, ear-splitting leads, heavy vocals and impressive live performances that more than make up for any concerns anyone might have had about them becoming a techno industrial metal band. I am sure that bassist and vocalist David Vincent will whip the crowd into a sweaty frenzy before the night is over. Morbid Angel founding member and death metal guitar god Trey Azagthoth won’t disappoint either, as I expect him to set the stage ablaze with his mighty solos.

Pete Sandoval is Morbid Angel’s phenomenally talented drummer, however, it has been confirmed that Tim Yeung will perform with them live as Pete’s back is still recovering from surgery. Also touring is guitarist Destructhor (Thor Anders Myrhen), who has done live work for 1349.

Here’s a charmingly creepy track from Morbid Angel’s first full-length recording, Altars of Madness, and a clip from a live show in 2011.

Countdown to MDF X: (26) Horna

I would like to think that Horna is the music that would have been created, had early pagan cultures had access to electrified instruments.  The roots of this Finnish group’s music certainly dates back to bygone centuries and old “country” ways.

Formed in 1993, this highly melodic black metal group stays true by singing in their native language and sticking to themes like paganism, the occult and satanic philosophy. Their music has evolved over the years. I particularly like this quote in their Facebook bio, which sums it up well: “Throughout the years the lyrics of Horna ventured from harsh anti-christian hatred, paganism and fairy tales to severe exultations of the occult, the mysteries of the dark side of mankind and Satanism – from youthful outbursts of anger to ever more maturing inner enlightenment.”

Horna plays “trve” black metal in the traditional sense. The vocals are harsh, the guitar picking fast, the drumming relentless. But they write thoughtful, contemplative melodies that are accessible and memorable, too. It’s not all about blast beats and growling, but much more complex. And somehow, the music is meditative and comforting. Another thought, I think this black metal must be how all rock music sounds to the infant in the womb: filtered and distorted by the mother’s own heartbeat and breathing. I know, weird, but I am funny like that.

The current lineup for Horna (which means abyss or hell, by the way) includes founding member guitarist Shatraug with vocalist Spellgoth, drummer Vainaja, guitarist Infection, and bassist Qraken. Their “ritual” will be performed Saturday night, May 26, at the 2012 Maryland Deathfest. If some of the early satanic acts have chased you away, Horna should invite you back in.

Countdown to MDF X: (27) Morbid Saint

UPDATED WITH COMMENTS FROM THE BAND

The recently reunited Morbid Saint plays Saturday night, May 26 at the 2012 Maryland Deathfest. The group is a member of the “old guard” of death metal bands that formed in the early to mid 1980s in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. They are Milwaukee Metalfest veterans.

The group broke up in the mid 1990s and went their separate ways. But in 2010, guitarist Jay Visser and a couple of the other original members got back together.  Morbid Saint has been getting back on track and has started playing shows across the US and plans an appearance at the Keep It True festival in Germany next year. The band reports, “We do not have any shows in the States confirmed after the Maryland Death Fest, but are planning to tour next fall, no other (tours) have been confirmed at this time.” Along with Visser, the current lineup includes Pat Lind on vocals, Bob Zabel on bass, Kevin Koski on guitars, and Randy Walls on drums.

They may be a little older and and paunchier, but Morbid Saint sounds and relevant and powerful as they did back in the day. As one of the groups that helped define the sound of death metal and thrash, their older songs sound as fresh as any you might hear from bands like Autopsy or Cannibal Corpse. Their performances still burst with frenetic energy and Visser still hides behind curtains of long curly locks. The band says to expect “songs off of Spectrum of Death, and Destruction System.”

In terms of merch, Morbid Saint say they will have “shirts, hoodies, can coolers, and a few copies of our Thrashaholic 3-disc set due to be released in May.”

The members of Morbid Saint say, “We appreciate the overwhelming interest, and support we have been receiving since returning to the scene. For the fans of Spectrum of Death…….THIS SET IS FOR YOU!!!”

Enjoy three videos: one from the Milwaukee Metalfest III (1989), one from December 2011, and a studio song from their first full-length recording.

Gojira releases NEW song, earth pauses to listen

How long have we waited for French death metal monsters, Gojira, to release a new song? (And I am not counting that excellent “Of Blood and Salt” song that was part of the Sea Shepherd EP that never really got off the ground because most of the recordings were lost.) It’s been four years! FOUR YEARS!!! That’s like, forever and ever in music entertainment time. Today on Pitchfork they have posted a new track, “L’Enfant Sauvage,” from an album set to be released on Roadrunner June 26.

My love for Gojira is deep and wide and incredibly hard to explain. Somehow Gojira engenders the kind of love and devotion and pure fucking metal mania from their fans, the likes of which you will not see for many death metal bands. One simply does not listen to Gojira  and say, “Meh.”

The first exposure I had to this group was from their last album, The Way of All Flesh.  The power and anticipation that built with every track there is evident in this new song, too. This group does not rush its composing and recording schedule, they take their time and it shows.

Listen to the new track here.

Countdown to MDF X: (28) Black Witchery

Somehow in the sunny, Disney-fied, land of Florida (or perhaps because of it), one of the most wretched, satanic, and brutal black metal bands in existence has been spawned. Listen to Black Witchery and you’ll be convinced that they have crept directly from the pit of hell. I think this is the effect they are going for. But of course, this is no effect. Black Witchery means business.

Originally founded in 1991 as the band Irreverent by singer and bassist Impurath, the group became Witchery for a short while. Later, due to confusion with another band, the group changed their name to Black Witchery in 1999.  Along with Impurath, the current line up includes drummer Vaz and guitarist Tregenda. The mission of Black Witchery, as stated by their founder Impurath in an interview on their website, is simple: to spread death and terror. Fair enough. I think they will succeed.

Ok. But how do they sound? What about the songs? Somehow, in the 21st century, Black Witchery has managed to capture that massive brutality and raw evilness that originated with their “trve kvlt” brethren across the pond decades earlier. Musically, this is straightforward black metal in its most stripped down form: rapid tremolo guitar picking, practically inaudible bass, blastbeat drumming, growled vocals. Lyrically, Black Witchery is all about “vicious desecration upon the feeble, broken flock of Jesus Christ” and similar.

Black Witchery plays Saturday evening, May 26, at the 2012 Maryland Deathfest.
Here’s a taste from the studio and live. Not for the weak.

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