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So that was fun. Festival organizers estimated that some 2,700 people attended this year’s (incredibly well-run) Maryland Deathfest. I missed the first day, but will post more about Saturday and Sunday of MDF VII later. For now, here are a few photos and my thoughts in superlative form, after the jump.

  • Favorite performances: Crowpath did not disappoint this fanboy. Kill the Client was ridiculously amazing. Singers that crowdsurf and mosh = big fun. In the more traditional death metal vein, Bolt Thrower‘s two sets (they headlined on Saturday and then played an impromptu 45 minutes on Sunday to fill in for Pestilence, who were no-shows for visa reasons) were both crushingly awesome.
  • Worst performance: Despise You, whose music might have been ok were it not for the vocalists. Their female vocalist was shouting into the mic in a voice that sounded like your little sister whining at you at the top of her lungs, only amped to maximum volume by the sound system in a 1000-capacity rock club. No thanks.
  • Biggest surprises: Weekend Nachos, holy shit. The singer had a completely crazed look on his face for the entire set, which was a 15-minute blowout of epic hardcore intensity. Destroyer 666, who effectively headlined Sunday – wasn’t familiar with them beforehand but they put on a pretty amazing show.
  • Biggest disappointment: I was really looking forward to Brutal Truth, not having heard much of their stuff but knowing they are classic grindcore right up my alley. But they just seemed a little off and the sound was really muddy. Too bad.
  • Best theatrics: It’s hard to top Mikannibal of Sigh breathing fire to close out the entire fest (that’s the headline photo above). But Kill the Client’s singer crowdsurfing constantly was up there, or General Surgery‘s bloody lab coats (with the fake blood reapplied twice during their set by women in bloody nurse costumes), or Birdflesh‘s absurd costumes… there’s some competition here.
  • Coolest experience: Getting to watch Napalm Death perform (and rant against torture, Dick Cheney, homophobia, fascism etc) outdoors at dusk, with the sky turning a deep blue. See photo below.
  • Potentially great shows I was too fried to appreciate: Devourment, Wolves in the Throne Room, Antigama, Trap Them.
  • Most popular T-shirt color: Black.

More to come!