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Maryland Deathfest 2014 early-bird tickets go on sale Aug. 7

mdflogoHey folks. If you have not noticed this update from Maryland Deathfest, here is the latest on those early-bird tickets. Copied and pasted:

Early-Bird tickets will go on sale August 7 at 3pm EST. Cost will be $199 and these tickets will be good for all days/bands/venues. This is a special offer, only 150 will be sold! General Admission tickets for all 4 individual days as well as multi-day ticket packages will go on sale sometime in October, after the full line-up has been announced, so don’t panic if you miss out on the early-bird special!

All confirmed bands are listed below. Click on any bands name for more information on the artists.

If you think this website looks unfinished, well…that’s because it’s not done yet!! We are still working on features, functionality, and style, so please bear with us while we work to make your Maryland Deathfest experience better!

Check out our FAQ before contacting us with any questions you might have.

NOTE: Early-Bird tickets will not be mailed until sometime in October.

I have not decided what I plan to do yet. But I sure hope the MDF servers are ready to handle the onslaught when ticket sales begin.

Confirmed bands so far include:

At the Gates



Excruciating Terror






The MDF website is here.


Ratscape: an interview with the founders

Baltimore recording engineer Mike Franklin thinks that Baltimore is essentially one big family that just hasn’t met yet. He hopes his festival, Ratscape, a celebration of underground local music which he organized with his friend Josh Schleupner, could be one way for all those talented “family” members to get to know one another.

Josh Schleupner and Mike Franklin, founders of Baltimore's Ratscape Festival. (Photo by Mary Spiro)

Josh Schleupner and Mike Franklin, founders of Baltimore’s Ratscape Festival. (Photo by Mary Spiro)

Held July 19-21 at The Hour Haus studios at the corner of North Ave. and Howard St., Ratscape is only on its second year — festival infancy by Baltimore standards. Ratscape occurs the same weekend as the city’s infamous Artscape, which is billed at the America’s largest free arts festival. And while folks at Artscape will be jamming to the sounds of more well known national performers,  Ratscape festival goers can listen to music from more than a dozen different and obscure subgenres, representing just a just a tiny slice of the artistic depth of the region. For $5 per day, Ratscape features 47 bands. In keeping with the DIY spirit of the day, the event is also BYOB. So other than the extra cash you’ll want to bring for band merch and one of those exclusive Ratscape t-shirts, Ratscape is a musical bargain.

I spoke with Mike and Josh the other night about their philosophy behind the fest, who is playing, and what to expect. So pop on some headphones and click play on the link below. Set times for the bands for each day are listed below. Watch this space in the coming days for links to music samples from every group performing.

RATSCAPE 2013 running order and set times

2pm – 2:30pm———- Eze Jackson
2:45 – 3:15pm———- Something Complex
3:30 – 4:00pm———- Seaglass
4:15 – 4:45pm———- Expert Alterations
5:00 – 5:30pm———- Matrimonials
5:45 – 6:15———- Choke Motel
6:30 – 7pm ———-Hot God
7:15 – 7:45pm———-Nice Guys
8:00 – 8:30 ———-Pleasant livers
8:45 – 9:15 ———-USSA Pleasuredome
9:30 – 10:00pm———- Special People
10:15 – 10:45pm ———-Shining Mirrors
11:00 – 11:30pm ———-Raindeer
11:45 – 12:15am ———-Arboretum
12:30 – 1:00am ———-Flying Eyes
1:15 – 1:45am ———-Sterling Sisters

Saturday, July 20th

2pm – 2:30pm———- Dead Whale Ramblers
2:45 – 3:15pm———- Blood Horses
3:30 – 4pm ———-Et Al
4:15 – 4:45pm ———-Voodoo Pharmacology
5:00 – 5:30pm ———-Gutterhooks
5:45 – 6:15pm———- Foghound
6:30 – 7pm ———-Lazlo Lee
7:15 – 7:45pm———- Bobby E. Lee & The Sympathizers
8:00 – 8:30pm ———-Wet Brain
8:45 – 9:15pm ———-Hollywood
9:30 – 10:00pm ———-Ravagers
10:15 – 10:45rpm ———-Advlts
11:00 – 11:30 ———-Christopher Nobody & The Nothing
11:45 – 12:15———- Slow Jerks
12:30 – 1:00am ———-Hard Dads
1:15am – 1:45am ———-Baklavaa

Sunday, July 21st

2:pm – 2:30pm ———-Neverthought
2:45 – 3:15pm———- Last of the Vallorians
3:30 – 4:00pm———- Disorder
4:15 – 4:45pm———- Pallid
5:00 – 5:30pm ———-Phantom Lanterns
5:45 – 6:15pm———- Mountainwolf
6:30 – 7:00pm———-Big Mouth
7:15 – 7:45pm ———-Nude Massacre
8:00 – 8:30pm———- Urine
8:45 – 9:15pm ———-Sexgender
9:30 – 10:00pm ———-Barbelith
10:15 – 10:45pm ———-Melungeon
11:00 – 11:30pm ———-Cemetery Piss
11:45 – 12:15pm ———-Rukut
12:30 – 1:00pm———- Noisem

Photo highlights of Days of the Doomed III – day 1

Here are just a few of my favorite photos that I took during the first day of Days of the Doomed Fest III in Cudahy, Wisc. at The Blue Pig Tavern. No review now; actually I don’t feel qualified to do that. But I did enjoy every band I saw on Friday, which was a surprise for this black metal wretch.

POLL: Vote for your must-see Maryland Deathfest bands!

Everyone has their favorite MUST SEE bands for the 2013 Maryland Deathfest. Listed below are all the bands with Thursday’s bands listed first and so on. Tell me which bands you must see. You can choose as many bands as you like. Let’s see who the popular kids on the block are going to be this year.

Don’t know what everyone sounds like? No problem. Check out the MDF event radio station over at and find out which bands are your favorites.

INTERVIEW: Ahumado Granujo brings groovy grindcore to Maryland Deathfest

Cybergrindcore may not be a metal subgenre hybrid that you have heard before or that is easy to explain, until you listen to Ahumado Granujo. Take the danceable heart pumping synthetic beats you might hear at a downtown rave and mix them with the grinding riffs of grindcore and the throatiest vocals of death metal and you have this amazing and weirdest addition to the 2013 Maryland Deathfest lineup.

Ahumado Granujo (Facebook image)

Ahumado Granujo (Facebook image)

Czech Republic import Ahumado Granujo plays MDF on Friday, May 25. Rarely does one encountered such an intentional collision of dissimilar musical styles so expertly executed.  I sent my standard questions to Ahumado Granujo and their drummer Pete, aka Kazeto, kindly replied.

Who’s in the in current lineup?

We have a fresh meat at the mic – MDF is going to be his third show with our band. But don’t expect any vocal changes, it should sound pretty much the same as the fans are used to.

So the current line up is:
Wokatej – vox
Jurgen – guitar
Beherit – bass
Pete – drums

What do you consider to be one of your band’s most essential recordings? And why?

I think it’s the first album SPLATTER TEKK because it combines some violent blasts with nice dancey grooves.

How does your band feel about playing Maryland Deathfest? What have you heard about this festival?

It’s a big honor for us to play at MDF for I guess it’s the most famous metal festival in the USA.

What other bands playing MDF do you hope to see perform?

My personal must-see is the Melvins

Will you be doing other shows as part of your stop at MDF or is this appearance exclusive?

We’ll play two more shows in New York and New Jersey and then we head down to Mexico with another Czech band INGROWING. (See tour listing below.)

Will there be any unusual or special merchandize you will be selling while at MDF?

As long as we haven’t released anything new recently, the merch should be standard.

Is there anything else you hope to do while you are in Maryland? Eat crabs? Go to the Chesapeake Bay?

This is going to be my first visit to the USA ever so it strongly depends on the suggestions of the people we’re about to meet.

Is there anything else you want people to know about your band? Any new records coming up? Special tours? Etc. Anything at all?

Thank you for your support! I hope you’ll have fun at MDF!! If you’re interested about AHUMADO GRANUJO or INGROWING, here’s the complete list of USA/MEX tour dates:


TOUR 2013


May 21 New York, NY Saint Vitus Bar
May 22 Secaucus, NJ The Blue Room


27 Mayo Pachuca De Soto Salon Alcatraz
28 Mayo Monterrey Bar Montezuma
29 Mayo Toluca Beat Club
30 Mayo San Luis Potosi Tio Mich
31 Mayo Leon After Revolution Bar
01 Junio Mexico City Billiar Billis

Bands named for New England Metal and Hardcore fest

The 2013 New England Metal & Hardcore Festival have confirmed the dates and preliminary list of bands for this year’s annual event, so put in for your vacation days now. The festivities begin with a pre-party on April 18th, and the three official days of the fest following on the 19th, 20th, and 21st at The Palladium. Tickets for the event will go on sale next Wednesday, January 16th.


Suicidal Tendencies
After The Burial
Alpha & Omega
Antagonist AD
Ark Of The Covenant
Black Breath
Born Of Osiris
The Contortionist
Dead By Wednesday
Death Before Dishonor
Fit For An Autopsy
Holy Grail
I Declare War
The Mongoloids
Mother Of Mercy
Municipal Waste
No Mercy
Power Trip
Rude Awakening
Saving Grace
Shadows Fall
Suburban Scum
Those Who Fear
Trap Them
Twitching Tongues
Within The Ruins

Days of the Doom 3 tickets on sale Dec. 1

Unless you are planning a wedding, June 2013 might seem pretty far off. But for the organizers of Days of the Doomed 3 (or III if you like your numerals Roman), June can’t get here soon enough.

Billed as the biggest doom fest in the midwest, DOTD3 will take place on June 21 and 22 at the Blue Pig in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Tickets for this two day celebration of the riff and distortion go on sale December 1, 2012 and are expect to move swiftly! A two day pass is $50 and single day tickets are $30.

The lineup so far includes Penance, Victor Griffin’s new group In-Graved, Dream Death, Iron Man, Pale Divine, The Gates of Slumber, Chowder, Kings Destroy, Orodruin, Earthen Grave, Argus, King Giant, Whaler, Beelzefuzz, Venomous Maximus, Moon Curse, Hollow Leg, and Gorgantherron. According to organizer Mercyful Mike Smith, one more band will be announced sometime in January. You will just have to trust him that whoever it is will be killer.

I can’t think of a better holiday gift for the doom metal aficionado in your life or yourself than some tickets to this event. Besides, Milwaukee in June is reportedly quite lovely. Check out a preview of some of the bands playing in the video below. And then go over to this link and grab a ticket for yourself and a 21+ sexy loved one.

By the way, I wrote about DOTD2 last year. This thing is legit.

Maryland Deathfest XI: more awesome every day

Hole in the sky left when my mind exploded.

Announcements about who will be performing at the 2013 Maryland Deathfest XI have come in fits and spurts over the last few weeks. And the venue has not been announced yet. But organizers have just updated the list of confirmed performers and my mind has exploded! Seriously, come clean up this mess!!!

Confirmed bands are as follows:

!T.O.O.H.! (Czech Republic)
AHUMADO GRANUJO (Czech Republic)
ANTAEUS (France)
AOSOTH (France)
CONVULSE (Finland)
GRIDE (Czech Republic)
IHSAHN (Norway)
INGROWING (Czech Republic)
INIQUITY (Denmark)
REVENGE (Canada)
According to the MDF Facebook page: “It looks like we’ll be announcing the venue info sometime next week. It’s impossible to put a precise date on that announcement, but everything is coming together. The final announcement of bands will be sometime between October 8-10. Until we get to the end of the booking process and see what comes together or not, we don’t know who is headlining other than Venom (between Fri-Sun) and Bolt Thrower (Thurs). Tickets will go on sale by mid-October. We’ll keep you posted on a precise date. NOTE: The Thursday show will be inside only, so once again, 4-day passes and Thursday only tickets will be extremely limited.”
I am super curious about where in Baltimore this will be held. So please continue to visit the MDF page and Metallomusikum for more details on the festival. Like last year, I plan to interview or at least profile every single band slated to perform. That was fun, wasn’t it? Well, it was for me. Carry on….

A dozen years of doom: SHoD fest celebrates pearl anniversary

Twelfth anniversaries are supposed to be celebrated with pearls, a priceless item that takes years of hard work and grit to make. Likewise, it has taken years of determination and musical grit to keep Stoner Hands of Doom (otherwise known as SHoD) festival on track for so long.
SHoD 12 takes over the El ‘n’ Gee Club in New London, CT from Aug. 30 through Sept. 2. Bigger and doomier than ever, this year’s festival features heavy metal hitters such as EarthrideThe Skull and Iron Man, along with  37 others. I was able to chat with festival creators Cheryl Williams Levey and Rob Levey about their annul destination event for fans of doom and stoner metal that they created out of pure love for the genre. Rob and Cheryl, former husband and wife, remain bonded by a mutual love of doom. This interview was conducted via email on two separate occasions.  Responses have been edited for length.
How and why did the festival begin?

CWL: The first SHoD was in August 1999. Rob and I had been talking about it for a number of years and it was one of those “why don’t we just do it?” sorts of things. He had been thinking about doing something big to promote the doom scene ever since the Hellhound heyday when he fronted Iron Man and that band along with other DC doom bands were on the German Hellhound record label (Wretched, Revelation, Internal Void, Unorthodox). At that time, I was doing a DC-Balt area hard rock newsletter called Word of Mouth, and that is how Rob and I met. Anyway, in 1999, Hellhound was no more, he wasn’t in Iron Man any more, and I hadn’t done Word of Mouth in years, but we both still wanted to promote the music in some way, and SHoD was born.
RL: The festival was something I had talked about and actually worked on with others for maybe 15 years before SHoD happened. For me I wanted to highlight the scene in DC with so many great bands for so many years. It evolved into the whole scene from all parts of the the US and even parts of the world. 
How do you go about selecting the bands that will play?
CWL: We do it in two ways, primarily. The first is that we both make a list of our first choices, and then we invite those bands to play. These are bands we wanted on previous SHoDs but couldn’t for whatever reason, bands we’ve discovered since the last SHoD, bands who’ve played before that blew us (and everyone else) away, etc. As we fill the bill with the bands we invite, the gaps are closed with other bands who contact us who have the right sound. We do try to stick to a doom or stoner sound, though we have had some interesting offshoots in sound. Sometimes really good bands contact us that sound great but just aren’t the right sound for the blend of bands we have. If you look back through our history, you’ll see that SHoDs done in the east tend to have a much more Doom sounds, while SHoDs done further west were more influenced by the stoner-fuzz sounds.
RL: Partly it is bands I know I contact to see if they are interested in doing it. From there we receive tons of requests especially after we announce where and when it will happen in that particular year. I usually will add bands that I dig, ones that are different and unique. Sometimes there are regional reasons. They need to have some melody and if I hear or see them live, they have to give it all they got, whether playing in front of five or 500.
Why do you hold the festival in different locations each year? 
CWL: So that we can attract different bands to play. Different areas of the country have different scenes and different sounds. If you look at the history, doom is concentrated here around DC, like grunge was concentrated in Seattle, psychedelic concentrated in San Francisco, glam in Los Angeles, the southeast has a heavy southern rock flavor, southwest has the fuzz, etc etc. And every one of those genres has a sub-genre/sub-culture that injects the heavy sound. We want to keep it heavy, but promote these different sounds around the country.
RL: In the beginning it was out of necessity. When we were doing the second one we needed somewhere to have it and Nyabinghi (former club in Youngstown, Ohio) was the bar closest to where we lived that would do it with reasonable terms. From there though we wanted to start having it in different locations to see and hear more variety and energy from different locations. Now we are trying to do it in places we haven’t before. Hopefully it is appreciated.
What is is that you like specifically about doom metal?
CWL: Wow, this is a very hard question. This is a better question for Rob, really. As for me, the first doom band I ever heard was Internal Void. And the thing is, it just grabs you. There is something about the sound, the way it vibrates up your legs from the floor, the way everyone who is part of this scene is just so cool. People talk about mosh pits and stuff like that, but at a doom show, mostly what you see is the entire audience headbanging in unison. No violence, no pits. Every now and then someone gets too drunk, but for the most part it’s very cool when you think about it. 
RL: I have listened to doom since late elementary school and just always have loved the almost gut feeling of the sound the tempo and the atmosphere. I loved  early Black Sabbath and Judas Priest. Then I was was lucky enough to hear bands like The Obsessed and Pentagram (previously known as Death Row), Legend, Angel Witch, Witchfynde and Witchfinder General, then lucky enough to be part of Hellhound Records with Internal Void, Unorthodox, and Blood Farmers. Anyone who has seen me at shows knows that it is in my blood and soul. I love it.
What is your most cherished memory about a past festival? 

CWL: Again, a very hard question, because they all held special memories! Let’s see… The first SHoD was held at an outdoor venue in August after an entire summer of drought, not a drop of rain. At the moment Bobby Liebling (singer of Pentagram) arrived, the storm clouds appeared out of nowhere so suddenly that no one could even prepare, and we got what felt like a hurricane. One of the memories of that one was Wino on stage desperately trying to hold tarps down over the amps and everyone crowded under the tent we had and then the incredible coolness of everyone as we moved the whole thing to a club in Wheaton (Phantasmagoria). SHoD Two in Ohio,  Bottom did a mind-blowing set! SHoD Seven in Arizona,  Golden Godz. Shirtless fur-wearing frontman and straight up San Fran fuzz/rock, wow. SHoD Eight in Arizona – this one had way too many, this one was incredible. Electric Magma, Against Nature, Supergiant, Sasquatch, Ol Scratch, oh yes. And then there was SHoD 10 in Maryland. Internal Void, ’nuff said there. The surprise set of the weekend for me was Elder. These young boys show up at my door to stay for the weekend and they were so sweet and respectful and then they got on stage and it was like Jekyll and Hyde and absolutely KILLER! They are a band to watch, definitely. SHoD 11 – the best memory of that one was just the feel-good feeling that prevailed the entire weekend. Before 11 was over, we were discussing doing SHoD 12 in New England. We had noticed a surge of doom sounds and bands coming out of that area, and wanted to focus the show there to give those bands some exposure. So that’s where we are now! At each show, one band would just rock my world. I want to emphasize that at our SHoD shows, I think ALL of the bands are good – Rob and I do handpick them, and so many of them I love SO much, and the specialness of seeing some of them is not diminished by being able to see them more often than other bands because they are local. So please do not take that I mentioned specific bands above as meaning I think they are better than others – at the time of their set, they were just really ON and I had just the right mind frame, and all the stars aligned to make that particular set magic. For more info on the history, you can check out
RL: That’s not fair. I have so many met so many great people so many great performances. Saw awesome cooperation from people. It’s really an accumulation of moments that I have. Plus I think the best feeling or worst are on Sundays around dusk when I realize its only got a couple hours to go. I will leave it at that and look forward to making many great memories for years to go.
What are some important things that you want people to know about this year’s festival? 
CWL: Well, one of the biggest things is that this is the first SHoD that is ALL AGES. We really want to get the word out about that because we have always had to turn people away because of the age restraint. 
RL: Just expect one awesome weekend with a ton of great performances.
Anything else you want people to know?
CWL: We love this music and we love the scene!
RL: As long as this is fun and the music fresh and exciting we will be here to be our tiny part of this awesome scene. We really appreciate every one’s support and hope they will support their local scene go see some great music and just have a blast.

For more information about SHoD and to buy tickets for one or all days, visit the SHoD fest website. At just $60 for all four days, it is among the least expensive festivals you can attend. Below is a list of all bands play each day. The first band listed will likely play last (or headline) each day.

Thursday Aug 30thRoadSaw
Black Thai
Raw Radar War
Birch Hill Dam

Friday Aug 31stPilgrim
Junior Bruce
Wizard Eye
When the Deadbolt Breaks
Stone Titan

Saturday Sept 1stThe Skull
Pale Divine
Devil to Pay
Earthen Grave
Admiral Browning
One Inch Giant
Black Cowgirl
Kin of Ettins
Curse the Son

Sunday Sept 2ndIron Man
Black Pyramid
Negative Reaction
Gypsy Chief Goliath
War Injun
Fire Faithful
Insano Vision

INTERVIEW: Maryland Deathfest organizer Evan Harting

Think about all the bands you like to listen to. Now imagine bringing a few dozen of those groups together to perform for you and a few (thousand) of your friends. That, in a sense, is exactly what Ryan Taylor and Evan Harting created when they created the Maryland Deathfest in 2003.

Over the last 10 years the Maryland Deathfest has grown into the largest and most well known metal festival in the US. This year Maryland Deathfest celebrates its tenth anniversary and takes place from Thursday, May 24 to Sunday, May 27 at Sonar on 407 E. Saratoga St. in Baltimore. Sixty-one different bands will perform on three stages over those four days.  Up to 1,700 people are expected for the Thursday night show and as many as 4,000 each day on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Saratoga Street between Gay St. and Holliday will be completely blocked off. The event will include vendors and food tents. It’s a pretty big deal. 
Evan explained that he Ryan take care of every detail of the festival pretty much by themselves, from booking to scheduling to ordering the MDF t-shirts and working with vendors to the fulfillment of each band’s concert contract rider. The project takes an entire year to plan and execute, Evan said, and has grown so much over the last decade that the two men don’t really have other full-time jobs.

“THIS is our main job,” Evan said.

Evan and Ryan began thinking about a festival when they were just 18 and 20-years old, respectively, and both working in the restaurant industry. It was after a trip to the now defunct Ohio Deathfest in about 2000 that the notion first occurred.”

Boxes of MDF mech ready to go. (Harting)
“That was the only festival we had been to, but I think that kind of stated the gears rolling,” Evan said. This was also around the time that the Milwaukee Metal Fest began to fall out of favor, which used to be popular in the 1990s. Apparently, Evan said, the organizer of that fest charged the bands to perform.

The team didn’t have a budget to work with, in fact, Evan said, even now they don’t have a budget set aside for the event. Instead, the money comes from ticket sales.

“We figure if we announce a lineup like this, and we get a minimum of this many people, then we will estimate that we will get this amount,” Evan explained. And so far, their formula has worked. “People appreciate the fact that we have done this for 10 years without any financial help.”

Of course, a little help from your friends does not hurt. Evan said that despite the fact that they have never organized a huge event before, they were not entirely unknown in the metal scene.

“We had both been in bands and had played out, especially Ryan,” Evan said. “The first Maryland Deathfest was initially only supposed to be a day-long fest with bands from the East coast. But as soon as we announced it, it went viral, and bands started writing to us from all other the place. It ended up being a 3-day fest the very first year,” Evan said. “I think people were just happy that someone was just giving it a shot.”

In addition to fulfilling an apparent hunger for live death metal, the team’s networking also led to a significant headlining act that first year.

“We ended up getting the reunion show of Suffocation, and that really helped things to start off. We had some other cool names on there, but having the reunion of Suffo really pushed it to the next level,” Evan said. (By the way Suffocation will play again this year on Sunday at 7:20 p.m.)

Over the years, the bands asked to play MDF have reflected the organizers’ somewhat obscure musical tastes. Essentially, they put together a lineup that does not mirror market trends but instead, demonstrates their deep knowledge of the genre and all its subgenres. The lineups at MDF over the last decade also seem to have become more diverse.

“As the festival grows, we still try to have an underground touch to it,” Evan said, “We listen to some obscure bands, so we like to keep that as part of it. And even before this current festival is over, we will already be talking about who we are going to have next year.”

Evan said that he has developed long lasting relationships with some of the groups that have played MDF. “It is really cool when we have bands come back and they aren’t even playing but they just come and hang out. We also know that we have friends all over the world; if we needed a place to stay, that would never a problem. For some of these big name bands, it has been cool to meet them on a personal level.”

Although they have been at it for 10 years, Evan said he and Ryan have no intention of calling it quits. “We will continue to do it for as long as people keep coming and without selling out and as long as we aren’t getting washed up bands.”

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