Heads up, Charm City: Decibel Magazine will infiltrate Maryland Deathfest like a plague from May 26th to May 29th. If you're gonna be there catching the likes of Mayhem and Samael, come soothe your neck trauma for a few minutes and visit Decibel's booth, within screaming distance of the Edison Lot. Legendary artist Dan Seagrave will be signing prints and Editor in Chief Albert Mudrian will be on hand with copies of Choosing Death (when he's not catching Paradise Lost, Exciter, Satan, and Interment) while the magazine's staff rotates in and out between their favorite sets. Here are some set suggestions and pro tips from the Decibel staff who'll be headbanging among the masses:
Three sets he's pumped for: Okay, so can I do three for each day? How about six for each day? Okay, okay, so the three bands I'm most excited to see are Mystifier, Repulsion, and Paradise Lost. But look: I've forsaken Venom, Mayhem, fucking Nuclear Assault. Plus, I'm super excited to see Mitochondrion, Wombbath, Hemdale, Angelcorpse, Discharge, Demolition Hammer, Wormed, DOOM, Incantation for the hundredth time, Shed the Skin because that debut album is killer, Skullshitter cuz they just D-stroyed here in Pittsburgh. Wait a second--fucking Satan's playing?! Hell yeah, fuck yeah! See what I mean? It's MDF, ya know? How can I pick three? But if somebody held a flamethrower to my shirt collection and told me I had to pick only three . . . yeah, I'd say Repulsion because I've never seen them, Paradise Lost because they're gods, and Mystifier because there's no way that can't rule the world and conjure the eschaton.
Why you should buy him a drink: Because hydration is crucial, intoxication mandatory, and I'll get your band's demo in the hands of Chris Bruni of Profound Lore. (*Writer's note: Decibel Magazine does not endorse this guarantee. Maybe you'll get in the "Demo:Listen" column, though.)
Why someone should slap that drink out of his hand: Because I'm tall and shameless about standing in front of people. In fact, I get a little thrill out of it. But hey, at least I won't be vaping.
MDF tips: Definitely hit up The Land of Kush, even if you're not vegan; stay hydrated, like if you're feeling tired and irritable, you may just be dehydrated; don't blow all your merch money on the first day, but def don't sleep on stuff either because if it rules somebody's going to buy it.
Three sets you're pumped for: Stoked to visit the colorful, oxygen-starved dimensions that Wormed will fold into their show, as well as November's Doom deathly doom, and... hell, let's say Horrendous, because I didn't pay enough attention at Choosing Death Fest and I need another dose, pronto!
Why you should buy him a drink: Because between recently purchasing the Neurosis vinyl/CD box set, a couple of Dayal Patterson's voluminous volumes on black metal's history, and still attempting to feed and clothe my children ("Son, you're fucking ten years old already, get a damn job!"), I clearly can't afford beer. And since this kind of financial situation begs for inebriation... well, you get the picture. Buy or (I'll) die!
Why someone should slap that drink out of his hand: My entire body of music "journalism" consists of internet research and a dark-adjective roulette wheel. Seriously, I haven't listened to a metal record since Chuck Schuldiner died, and I don't plan to. My battle vest is covered in Marvel superhero emblems, so I look bad-ass to all 12-year-olds.
MDF tips: Tip for the long-haulers: Bring varied snacks and water, to be stowed in the nearby vehicle. The food and drink offerings at the Edison Lot are amazing – tasty and filling and perfect for an outdoor metal festival – but a 3-day feast of these foods gets expensive, and some fresh fruit can really cleanse the palate.
Sets you're pumped for: Claudio Simonetti’s Goblin: Because it’s fucking Claudio Simonettti’s Goblin. Interment/Demonical: Both are Swedish style HM-2 death metal bands that I hadn’t heard until recently and both have blown me away upon discovery. I’ve been listening to a veritable pant-load of both bands over the last couple of months and can’t wait to feel the well-worn buzzsaw caress my eardrums. Excel/Atrophy: Both bands are two I spent way too large a portion of my teenage years with and it’ll be good to see if the old farts can still bring it.
Why you should buy him a drink: Well, seeing as I don’t drink and have a real, honest-to-Satan issue with food wastage, it might be interesting to buy me a drink to see if I’d actually drink it out of obligation and show some respect for the person who went out of their way to track me down and spend their hard earned money on me. The correct answer is: Probably not, unless you buy me a water.
Why someone should slap that drink out of his hand: Because I won’t drink it unless it’s water. Or because I will continue to defend Lars Ulrich as a person and drummer no matter what any of you yokels have to say.
MDF tips or etiquette suggestions: It might be too late for some of you who jumped on booking hotels within walking distance of the fest, but don’t do it. The downtown hotels have their prices jacked up ridiculously; remember, in addition to MDF, it’s also Memorial Day weekend and there’s always some big-ass NCAA lacrosse tournament being held the same time. Plus, with the amount of time you spend scurrying between the venues, watching bands, and hanging out, all you basically end up doing is spending a few hundred a night for a place to store all the merch you buy. Also, eat pizza at Joe Squared, next to the Ram’s Head, as much as you can. Fucking rules.
Three sets he's pumped for: Can’t cut it down to three, just can’t do it! Mayhem (De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas!), Craft (Fuck the Universe!), Wormed (alien tech insanity), Dragged Into Sunlight (pure audio misanthropy), and Exciter (I’m a recently converted Heavy Metal Maniac).
Why you should buy him a drink: The Decibel table, where I’m most likely to be found, will be shared by Dan Seagrave. Grab a beer for yourself, one for me, and one for Dan. I know that’s three beers, but seriously, Dan Seagrave!
Why someone should slap that drink out of his hand: I own no less than a dozen Mushroomhead shirts, all their CDs, and four LPs by them (which is all the albums they’ve released on vinyl). In contrast, I’ve never owned any music, in any format, by Maiden, Metallica, or Mercyful Fate.
MDF Tips: If crashing in a small room with a handful of other exhausted metal fans (as I’m sure many of you may be doing), be careful not to start playing footsie with anyone during the night. Your foot may be mistaken for a rat, which would most certainly result in everyone waking up at an ungodly hour, and, more relevantly, could potentially result in dismemberment.
Sets he's pumped for: I've already put my obsessive Google calendar schedule together and have one set highlighted for each day. Thursday: Goblin. Friday: Paradise Lost. Saturday: Discharge. Sunday: Bongzilla.
Why you should buy him a drink: Because I fractured my elbow saving a pink inflatable porpoise from being trampled during a Birdflesh's MDF set in 2014. Not all heroes wear capes (but if you're going to find capes at MDF, it's probably during Birdflesh).
Why someone should slap that drink out of his hand: I must atone for trading Monster Magnet's Dopes to Infinity for a shitty N64 game called Shadow Man when I was in junior high.
MDF tips: Water and sunscreen. There's a bunch of shade with the picnic tables. Crust punks sell $1 shots of whiskey outside the gates. I buy one for them also and watch them drink before me, in case it's turpentine. If you go to Score's (the gentleman's club next to the Edison Lot) they probably won't let you in with bullet belts on. Tip the dancers well.
For the full schedule, visit the Maryland Deathfest site and peruse the awesomeness awaiting at each venue. See ya at MDF, fellow mutants!