The Top 5 Most Anticipated Sets at Maryland Deathfest

photo by: Josh Sisk

Maryland Deathfest‘s 16th year kicks into high gear tomorrow (or tonight if you’re attending the pre-fest) in Baltimore, MD and Decibel will be there (come say hello to us at our merch booth). Count on the annual collection of high-profile faves like Pig Destroyer, Eyehategod, Godflesh and the very recently-added Suffocation (who replaced Bloodbath on the bill) to rule faces, but don’t miss out of these five other acts that we’re already super-stoked to check out.

Master’s Hammer
In the ’90s, Master’s Hammer were largely ignored by the black metal hoi polloi. Although weighing heavily on post-death-metal Darkthrone and pre-Pandemonic Incantations Behemoth, most fans cringed at the thought of thrash, heavy metal and classical music colliding under the limitations of post-Cold War Eastern Europe. 1991’s Ritual or 1993’s The Jilemnice Occultist (as the Osmose license) just were too maverick in sound and scope. Certainly, Prague-based Master’s Hammer, featuring original members Franta Štorm and Necrocock, are poised to arch an eyebrow or two at MDF 2018, where such tracks like “Pád Modly,” “Jáma Pekel,” “Věčný Návrat,” “Géniové” and “Útok” are likely to be proffered as unorthodox gifts to longtime fans.

The longstanding Norwegians Satyricon just shared the news that their latest U.S. run will be their last. But before the duo—frontman/guitarist Satyr and drummer Frost—embark on the Nemesis Finale this spring, they’ll steal the black hearts and dark minds of kids who grew up on “Walk the Path of Sorrow,” “Mother North” and “Transcendental Requiem of Slaves.” For heshers who chanced upon Satyricon late in the game, there’s little doubt that “Black Crow on a Tombstone,” “Now, Diabolical,” “Fuel for Hatred” and “K.I.N.G.” will unfurl on corrupt wings from the Rams Head Live stage on Saturday night.

Up to pivotal Satanic Art, Norwegians Dødheimsgard were faithful adherents of the second wave school of black metal. To wit, 1995’s Kronet Til Konge and 1996’s Monumental Possession were adeptly deployed visions of a future nihilistic set to black and white. But somewhere, likely too many trips above and below Bifröst, the Oslo-based outfit went awry. When 666 International hit in 1999, Dødheimsgard (by then shortened to DHG) short-circuited black metal, finding new paths to evil bizarre. Ever since, they’ve flipped the rules fantastically, emerging as Norway’s premier avant-garde black metal in the process. For MDF 2018, expect Vicotnik, L.E. Måløy, Tommy Thunberg and John Vooren to confound on tracks “Midnattskogens Sorte Kjerne,” “The Ultimate Reflection” and “Sonar Bliss.” Maybe they’ll even break out “Architect of Darkness.”

Arkhon Infaustus
French black/death purveyors Arkhon Infaustus cast fire and ash upon an unsuspecting scene in 2001. The group’s Hell Injection debut was the ultimate bastard child of Conqueror, Angelcorpse and Impaled Nazarene. Reformed after seven years on the lam, the Paris-based duo—with vocalist/bassist DK Deviant leading the charge—are now two years into their death and destruction rampage. Their 2017 EP, Passing the Nekromanteion, is only now starting to adversely affect the youth of today. Expect no less than total chaos from Arkhon Infaustus should they let lose “Dead Cunt Maniac,” “When They Have Called” and “The Silent Voices of Perversion” in Baltimore on the holiest day of the week.

Faces will melt, jaws will dislodge and Chinese bootleg Discharge patches will be adorned by the “socially” conscious when German punk-sludge masters Mantar kick off MDF 2018 on Thursday night. Fiercely independent and solidly DIY, vocalist/guitarist Erinc and drummer Hanno face each other onstage, as if to prove there’s only two people running the Mantar show. Fans of Tombs, Graves at Sea and Unsane take note—Mantar are your new favorite band! The already converted will revel in faded cutoff Sacrilege T-shirts, patchouli oil and homemade tattoos to the gritty grooves of “Cult Witness,” “Cross the Cross” and “Astral Cannibal.”

Get your tickets to MDF here