MARYLAND DEATHFEST XI: THE BRAVEST MAN IN METAL ADMITS HE HASN’T HEARD EVERY BAND EVER
Funnily enough, it all started at the Maryland Deathfest. As some of you know, I write for Decibel Magazine. One day, during MDF a couple years back, I was manning the Decibel table and wearing a Discordance Axis shirt. At some point, a woman going through the merch room like so many others sidled up to the table and struck up a conversation about, as you might expect, music, this album, that band and blah, blah, blah. Seeing my DA shirt, she then piped in with “Well, if you like Discordance Axis, you must like…” and proceeded to fire off a list of bands I had never heard of. To which I responded, “Nope, I’ve never heard of any of them.” Man, you should have seen the look on her face! The way she reacted to my ignorance you’d have thought I just reached up into her uterus, yanked out her second trimester fetus and snacked on its underdeveloped brain stem before her eyes while singing Waltzing Matilda.
Proving one’s worth in the world of extreme music has always been an issue. People are seemingly afraid to admit they don’t know it all and there are folks out there who will go out of their way to make you feel lesser for not knowing it all. Fuck, we’ve all done it and been there, and it doesn’t help that some will go out of their way to equate your admitting you haven’t heard so-and-so new band or this-and-that classic album with a crime against humanity. There comes a point when the dick swinging has to stop.
So, in accordance with my Metal Sucks guise as the Bravest Man in Metal, I’ve decided to go through the finalized line-up (well, until bands start with the cancellations anyway) for 2013’s Maryland Deathfest and admit to the world my dirty little secrets when it comes to what and who I do and do not know and my questionable listening habits. Point your fingers and laugh if you must, that just means you’re more metal than me. And I’m alright with that.
!T.O.O.H.! – I had never heard of this band before their name appeared at the top of this list. It’s kinda fucked how I hadn’t at least crossed paths with them since they were signed to Earache’s Wicked World at one point. This just goes to show how shoddy Earache’s North American PR has been since Curran Reynolds left the fold. Ba-zing-ga!
ABIGAIL – I love this band; totally ridiculous, over the top, hyper-metal masculinity!
AHUMADO GRANUJO – Never heard of them. I’m going to guess they’re a grind band.
AMBASSADOR GUN – I saw them live in their hometown last year, playing a truncated set in the back room of a coffee shop. Their latest album, Golden Eagle, is pretty sweet.
ANHEDONIST – Haven’t got a clue who this is. A couple weeks ago, I saw some guy in front of me in a line to get on a roller-coaster wearing a shirt that said “Hedonist,” but he looked like the sort of clean-cut jock type who uses it to signal that he likes to drink shitty beer and fuck skanky cheerleaders instead of listening to whoever this is.
ANTAEUS – Heard of ‘em. Heard ‘em once or twice.
AOSOTH – I think I have promo copies of a couple of their previous albums lying around my office somewhere. Damned if I can remember what they sound like.
ASCENSION – Ohhh, the Ascension from Germany you say?! No idea who they are.
ASTHMA CASTLE – Never heard of ‘em. Sounds like they might have a pack-a-day habit.
BENEDICTION – Being an old coot, Benediction is a name I’ve heard bandied about since I was a young coot. However, I’m not super-familiar with their body of work outside of the occasional track one of my co-hosts at our Sunday night radio show brings in to spin.
BOLT THROWER – Get your pitchforks, pillories and torches out now kids…I’ve never really listened to much Bolt Thrower. I’ve reviewed an album here and there when asked by various editors of the publications I write for, but the only Bolt Thrower I own is on the triple-disc Grind Madness at the BBC compilation and I only have the BT stuff because it came with the rest of the package. In all honesty, I’m just not into their style; I’m more intrigued by bands that sort of sound like them and have been influenced by them. Most of the band’s American fans will hate me, knowing that I did in fact witness them when they played twice at MDF two years ago. You should hate me even more knowing that I will be seeing them again this coming MDF and at Chaos in Tejas 2013. Who knows, maybe I’ll come out of all this with a greater appreciation for the band?
BROKEN HOPE – Their lyrics make me laugh. Sadly, so does their music.
CARCASS – Everyone loves Carcass and I’m no different, though admittedly I didn’t really get into them until Necroticism and I still enjoy Heartwork and Swansong more than I do Reek of Putrefaction.
CARPATHIAN FOREST – I’m pretty sure they have something like five or six albums out and available. Unfortunately, I’ve probably seen photos of the bass player’s gelatinous buttocks more than I’ve heard the band.
COBALT – With repeated listens, I’ve tried and tried to get into them, but I just don’t get it.
CONVULSE – I remember them and their World Without God album from back in the day. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t somewhat excited about seeing the reformed band. I’d also be lying if I said I listen to them with any sort of regularity.
CRUCIAMENTUM – Stumped me there.
DEIPHAGO – I’m very familiar with Deiphago. I love the satanic ramshackle-ness of their Filipino Antichrist album. I interviewed them once and their guitarist refused to answer half of my questions, claiming he didn’t consider my queries worthy because he thought I should already have known the answers pertaining to their band history and what life is like for a band who moves from the Philippines to Costa Rica. What a charmer. He probably selects his friends based on how many Celtic Frost bootlegs they have in their collection.
DOWN – Lots of people love this band. I haven’t really listened to them enough to be able to say whether I do or not.
EVOKEN – Despite all the hype, I still haven’t gotten around to checking them out.
EXODUS – Bonded by Blood is still my fave, and I will always indirectly blame them for thrash jumping the shark with that whole “Toxic Waltz” fiasco, but they consistently have brought it over the years. Hell, I can even go back and listen to Force of Habit today without dry heaving.
GLORIOR BELLI – Ah, the black metal band that sounds like Converge. I was just listening to them last week.
GRIDE – For years I’d heard Gride’s name kicking around and I think they might have played a previous version of the MDF, but I honestly can’t remember. Either way, I recently picked up their discography and it’s pretty awesome, though it’s a chore to listen to that many songs in one shot.
IHSAHN – The guy from Emperor. No care.
INGROWING – The name sounds familiar. I’m pretty sure they’ve played MDF previously, but I have no recollection as to who they are and what they sound like.
INIQUITY – With a moniker like Iniquity, this could be anyone. MDF organizers Evan and Ryan were kind enough to let us know this is the Danish Iniquity, but I still don’t know if I’ve heard of them before.
INTEGRITY – Never really been a huge fan as their material has always been hit and miss with me.
KOMMANDANT – I think I’ve heard one of their albums once, but I couldn’t tell you the first thing about them other than I think they wear gas masks. Total in-one-ear-and-out-the-other metal.
LOSS – I have one of their records. Not my bag.
MANILLA ROAD – While it will be good to see the geriatric legends live and in the flesh for the first time ever, I can’t say that I’ve really followed their music and history over the years. Still, I don’t think I’ll have lived a life any less fulfilled because I only own the Invasion album (and a reissue of it, to boot).
MELVINS – Love ‘em, even though I admit that I haven’t loved everything they’ve ever released. They are one of the most irreverent and iconoclastic bands in underground music and you gotta respect their track record at the very least.
MIDNIGHT – I’ll admit it: I didn’t hop on Midnight’s bandwagon until they released Satanic Royalty. It’s a killer album with some basic bread-and-butter song writing, but I still can’t believe how popular they are. I guess it’s true that if you take metal that sounds like Venom and Motorhead and have the offending parties wear masks so as to create some sort of mystery, metal people will flock to it in droves.
MORGION – They’re OK. I’m not a huge fan, but their Solinari album kicks ass.
NECROPSY – Umm, there are about 20 Necropsies out there and I probably haven’t really paid attention to any of them.
THE OBSESSED – I know the name. And seeing as they formed in the ’70s and that Wino is a member, I can guess what they sound like. But I’ve never really heard them or followed their history.
PAGAN ALTAR – I recently got sent a reissue of theirs and it’s pretty good ’70s-style hard rock/metal that actually came from the ’70s. However, I can’t say I knew much about them before The Time Lord showed up in my mailbox.
PELICAN – One of my favorite instrumental bands ever.
PENTAGRAM – I only care if Bobby Liebling is going to be wearing those blinding glitter pants and platform boots again. Or if this is the Chilean Pentagram.
PIG DESTROYER – This is like the 12th time they’ll be playing MDF and despite that I can never get enough of ‘em.
REPULSION – Fuck yeah!
REVENGE – I know the name. I know they’re fellow Canuckleheads. I know all their album titles are three word triptychs. I had a promo sent to me once. It was black metal, maybe blackened war metal. That’s about all I know.
RIGHTEOUS PIGS – You’d have to be delusional if you think the main reason for any interest here goes beyond the Napalm Death connection. How many of you have actually heard the band? I know I haven’t.
SLEEP – I’ve never been a huge fan. Consequently, I don’t own any of their albums and my favourite Sleep moments are the extended frame shots of the guitar amps in the “Dragonaut” video and the drummer’s afro.
SPEEDWOLF – There’s a dude who kept pimping this band to me, bringing their Ride With Death album down to our radio show each week. It sounded OK, so I checked it out and, yup, they’re OK.
UFOMAMMUT – These Italians are one of those bands who I never listen to despite owning all their records.
VENOM – While Black Metal is easily their best work, I still think At War With Satan is better than Welcome to Hell (despite what anyone says).
VINTERLAND – I don’t really know who this is.
WEEDEATER – You don’t even have to have heard of Weedeater or actually heard Weedeater’s music to have a pretty good idea of what they sound like and what they’re all about. You don’t need me to hold your fucking hand.
Confirmed for Baltimore Soundstage (no barricade shows!):
CITIZENS ARREST – Dude, they’re a classic era NYHC band. Present-day indie rock hero and beard-farming icon Ted Leo used to be their vocalist.
CONVERGE – One of my favorite bands of all time. So, yeah, I know ’em a little.
DISCIPLES OF CHRIST – No idea, though I’m going to guess that, despite their moniker, they aren’t a Christian band. If they are, well, good luck…
EDDIE BROCK – Ironically, their debut album is staring at me right now from across the room.
FEASTEM – You got me, you really got me.
FULL OF HELL – Awesome, awesome band! They try to be all mysterious and whatnot, but you can’t be this good at violent powerviolence and holy terror hardcore and expect to exist in anonymity forever.
HEARTLESS – No idea who they are.
HELLSHOCK – Aren’t there like three Hellshocks? Which Hellshock is this?
ILSA – I’ve only heard of them because my friend’s label is releasing an album of theirs and because I enjoy shitty B-movies with sadistic, pneumatic-breasted women in the lead role.
INFEST – I know the name. I’ve seen their logo adorning crust punk wardrobes for years, but I don’t know if I’ve ever heard a single note of their music.
IRON LUNG – Love ‘em and their on-stage sense of humour.
KROMOSOM – Never heard of them.
LIKE RATS – I wrote something on them for Decibel’s website a month or so ago, so yeah, there’s a pretty good chance I know who they are.
MAGRUDERGRIND – I’m what you would call a longtime fan and supporter.
MASSGRAV – Another band of whose albums I own a release or two but never listen to. I don’t know why I do this.
OLD LINES – Doesn’t ring a bell.
ROTTEN SOUND – Probably the best grind band around these days. So there. I’ve been looking for a reasonably priced HM-2 pedal shirt for a couple years now. Maybe they’ll have them at MDF. *hint, hint*
SETE STAR SEPT – Haven’t got a clue.
TINNER – I have less of a clue about Tinner than I do about Sete Star Sept.
VITAMIN X – Will there be a Full Scale Assault?
WAKE – Is this Wake from Alberta? If so, I’m quite familiar with them. If it’s some other Wake, then I’m not so familiar with them.
WEEKEND NACHOS – I still love how some people get freaked out about the photo of the two dudes being all amorous with one another in the booklet of their Worthless CD.
So there you have it. Of course, MDF offers an amazing opportunity to become even-more acquainted with bands that you know little to nothing about, and seeing as I’m the sort of person to give everything the ol’ college try (and will be checking out most of the bands I haven’t heard of beforehand on the interhole), chances are that I’m going to be a lot more familiar with those I’m presently not so familiar with after the MDF weekend next May. See you there!