MDF Day One

The annual Maryland Deathfest takes place in Baltimore. It's like spring break for extreme metalheads, who travel from all over the world to watch underground bands for three days straight. The loud party started with grinders the Communion, Putrescence and Defeatist.

Malignancy gave girls tips for touching tips -- if you know what I mean. "Do that thing," frontman Danny Nelson said before giving the signal for a circle pit to start. The New York-based death metallers were the first to point out that the side stage was located on the corner of North Gay Street. "You know what that means: anal sex in the pit. Sorry guys," Nelson added while shrugging his shoulders. The current version of the band includes former drummer of Mortician Roger J. Beaujard.

The blood-drenched and as equally smelly Watain played to screaming fans. The black metallers brought the shock rock to the fest while Gorguts -- now revitalized with members of Dysrhythmia and Origin -- brought their powerful death metal melodies. Gorguts, like Autopsy and former MDF headliners Bolt Thrower, are the kind of band that most fans thought they would never have the chance to see.

The night was meant to end with Gride, Coffins and then D.R.I., but Coffins was the heaviest band of the day. After stealing away Friday's show, the band played another set the following night, but they didn't go on until 5 AM ET. Believe it or not, people stuck around and watched the sun rise behind the members.

MDF Day Two

"Is anyone drinking yet? F---ing awesome!" F--- the Facts bassist Marc Bourgon told the crowd at Sonar. The band played at 1 PM ET on Saturday, when most of the festival's heshers were still recovering from heavy drinking and a late D.R.I. set.

Obliteration members may look young, but they have a classic sound: Slayer galloping beats, Death riffs, Incantation breakdowns. Their short set had some tributes to fellow Norwegians Immortal and Darkthrone, too.

"Are you ready for some true underground death metal?" Chasm frontman Daniel Corchado said. And yes, we were ready.

Impaled went on at the same time as Sadistic Intent and Possessed -- who were supposed to play the day before but missed their flights -- but that didn't take away from either band's draw. The crowdsurfing and headbanging went on strongly.

Incantation won over the Melechesh and Verbal Abuse crowds. They played a new song -- which is available on their seven-inch picture disc called 'Scapegoat.'

"Without [Ronnie James Dio's] music, a lot of stuff would suck," frontman John McEntee told the crowd before the band played Black Sabbath's 'Mob Rules' and Rainbow's 'Stargazer.' They also did a Death cover, making their set more of a tribute to their heroes than a promotion for their new music.

Asphyx called out Mayhem for shortening their set the previous year's Maryland Deathfest. There was name calling and swearing, but mostly their were smiles because the band was able to put on the show they had hoped to put on before.

"This is also the part where we drink beer. We like this part a lot," Autopsy drummer Chris Reifert said while other members tuned their instruments. He is the perfect example of a frontman behind the kit, taking the double duty of drums and vocals. The band -- which formed in 1987 -- was the reason why most people attended the festival this year.

Deceased -- who played in honor of their 25th anniversary -- like Incantation and many other bands that weekend also covered a Dio song.

Despite Portal vocalist The Curator leaving his grandfather clock headpiece behind in Australia, he still exhibited the Portal themes of time. "The clock is ticking," Portal frontman warned his fans. With a late night performance in the dark and large room of Sonar, Portal used their ghostly riffs and odd drumbeats to put the audience in a trance.

MDF Day Three

Mexico's Rottenness had guest vocals from Maruta singer Mitchell Luna. The tequila lovers -- lovers as in they were downing shots just a little after lunchtime -- dedicated 'Pugent Stench' to the drunk Germans at their hotel. In Spanish, the guitarist thanked all the Latinos and people who came from all over the world to support extreme metal.

"You having a good time?" Pestilence frontman Patrick Mameli asked the crowd.

When everyone cheered, he replied, 'Cool.' It was the band's first time playing the States in 16 years. Bassist Jeroen Paul Thesseling -- who also plays in Obscura -- played a fretless six-string that made heads spin.

Black Breath dedicated their last two songs to "every goddamn lady at the fest" -- which was a relief from Devourment's excitement for "death metal sluts" the previous year.

Converge gave thanks to their favorite band of all time, Entombed -- who played to the largest crowd at the festival just before Converge stepped on stage.

Obituary got a 'Slowly We Rot' chant for an encore. They came back with a couple more songs and a drum solo that made one of the security guards clap and cheer Donald Tardy on.

For those with enough energy, the night ended with new and old core masters Magrudergrind, Capitalist Casualties and From Ashes Rise.

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