MDF XV - Most Anticipated

Hangovers and Bangovers

posted on 5/2017   By: Last Rites

This Memorial Day Weekend, May 25th through the 28th of this, the year 2017, the 15th iteration of Maryland Deathfest will be happening in Baltimore. Last year, the Last Rites crew mostly skipped the fest, largely due to what we viewed as a lackluster lineup. This year, however, a much improved lineup has us returning en masse. The much improved lineup, and the desire to unite like the worst dressed Voltron possible and party like crazy.

But friends can party anywhere. A music festival needs to have a great lineup to make it a desireable arena for such shenanigans (and expenditures), and MDF XV has plenty of reasons for us to make the trek to downtown B-more. The fest is loaded with legends, grizzled vets, young upstarts, and relative unknowns, in addition to providing metal fans of most preferences with plenty of thrash, death, goth, grind, crust, black, and doom. There’s been a little bit of worry among our group that some bands might not be granted entry into the U.S., but with notorious piece of garbage N*klas Kv*rforth having no problem getting past CBP, maybe they’ll be easy on ol’ Big Boss.

Below you will find some of our most anticipated bands. If you are also heading to MDF, post your most anticipated, and maybe come find us at Max’s Taphouse in Fells Point every afternoon before we head to the shows. We’ll be the large group of doofuses arguing about metal, the very thing that brought us all together.




In Wildhoney, Tiamat made what is likely a top 20 metal album of all time for me. It was hugely important in my development and has stayed with me many years later. In Clouds and A Deeper Kind of Slumber, the band buffered their greatest classic with two other massive but very different albums. The fact that their set will likely only be about a third from these albums doesn’t bother me, I’m more than willing to hear plenty of their cheesed up goth metal if I get to hear “Gaia” or ”Cold Seed.” Heck, I kinda love their cheesed up goth metal (I choose to “Vote for Love,” and so can you), and I’m sure it’ll be plenty of fun live.

...and then there is Vader. I have seen Vader live already, twice in fact, which is exactly why I am including them. Anyone that has seen them knows that they are not only dependable, they are a party. This is a band named after a genocidal cyborg wizard, playing unrelenting Polish death/thrash, and frontman Piotr “Peter” Wiwczarek has a huge grin on his face pretty much the entire time. Few bands find such a great balance between fun and brutality. Fewer still translate that balance to a live show. A lot of bands like to throw parties, but Vader is the party.




With Maryland Deathfest sporting a loaded lineup, it’s tough to select one band that’s on my “most anticipated” radar. But forced to choose (editorial staff has a gun to my head) it’s most likely In the Woods. After 17 years of silence the boys enticed our doomy palettes with Pure, igniting a spark deep in my loins to hear those tracks live. Certainly, they will mix in just enough Omnia and other releases to keep the audience on their toes, but it’s their new energy, their renewed vigor, that has Manny reeling with dizzying excitement to see these Norwegians bless the crab-splattered stage in Baltimore.




When Insect Warfare split up in 2009, I figured I’d never get to see them live. Their sole full-length, 2007’s World Extermination, is an absolute monster-work of killer classic grindcore, all old-school early Napalm Death / Brutal Truth worship updated for a new day, stout as hell and absolutely positively destructive in the best possible manner. World Extermination was the perfect distillation of the vintage sound in a modern time, and it’s rightly and often cited as among the greatest grind albums of all time. And then the band split, and that seemed to be the end of it… for four years, until the reunion… Insect Warfare hasn’t released anything new since then, but I can hold out hope that maybe that’s coming, too, and if nothing else, at least I get to finally get my ears smashed in by “Enslaved By Machinery” and “Street Sweeper” live and in person…

And speaking of classics and bands I never thought I’d get to see, there’s also Boston legends Siege, whose Drop Dead EP was originally released way back in 1984. It’s only six songs and just under 13 minutes long, but it helped lay the groundwork for all the grind and powerviolence to come. They’ve been cited as an influence by the heavy-hitting likes of Napalm Death, AxCx (whose Seth Putnam briefly fronted a reunited version of the band), Intense Degree, Heresy, and Dropdead, and the historian in me knows it’s a show I can’t miss…




Grave has been reliably chugging along for decades now, rarely outshining, but ultimately outlasting the other two members of the Stockholm sound’s big three. I doubt many people are making the trek to Baltimore specifically to see Grave, but personally I’m very excited to see the band again. The last time I saw them was in 2008, in a strip joint/rock club in New Hampshire. There were 50 people in attendance at most, and Grave was playing as a trio because Jonas Torndal had immigration problems, couldn’t get the time off from work, or maybe just didn’t feel like playing to fifty people at a titty bar in East Bumfuck New Hampshire. Nonetheless, the band crushed, and I banged my head as hard as I ever have, to the point that I literally gave myself whiplash. I want to do that again, but this time with my Last Rites pals. Strippers optional.




This will be my first MDF. Not really sure why I’ve waited so long to bust my cherry, but it probably has something to do with the direct correlation associated with my rising age and a general annoyance I’m sure will become attached to navigating a multi-day festival brimming with metal nerds. Wait, no… I like the idea of that, right? Do I like the idea of that? Sure, whatever. At least it’s likely to be a thousand degrees inside the venues.

Ahhhh, Sweden to the rescue. Breathe the ultimate doom into my prehistoric lungs, Candlemass. I don’t even care if Mats Levén opts for an embroidered doomblouse over the preferred monk’s robe for belting out “At the Gallows” and “Samarithan,” I just want to hear Nightfall from beginning to end at peak decibel levels.

But yeah, please wear the monk’s robe, Mats…