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A Darker Shade of Black

MDF 2018 Recap

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First the bad: As usual many cancelations, some very late. A few big name bands I was looking forward to seeing which canceled were:

  • Bloodbath
  • Darkspace
  • Misþyrming

That said, I still enjoyed my time there and saw a range of bands I hadn’t planned (most of which I was unfamiliar with) which were at least enjoyable live, if not something I’d necessarily go out and buy. So here is a quick run down of the bands I recall seeing and that I have pictures of.

I had a late meeting on Wednesday, but left DC around 20:00 making to to the Ottobar for the pre-fest show after having parked my car at the hotel and checked-in (the Ottobar is in an area of Baltimore I’d not park my car) around 21:45. Got to see the last two and a half bands and chat with the NCS crew who had arrived earlier that day. Lord Gore was probably best band of the night, however I wasn’t close enough to get any pictures.

Thursday I slept in and then joined the group for lunch at their hotel, we ate and drank until it was time to meander over and get our festival wristbands and catch the days first bands. I didn’t really have any “must see” bands going into Thursday and ended up staying at Ram’s Head the entire day. The first few bands did nothing for me, the rest of the group all loved Khemmis, I just couldn’t get into them and went and got some food during their set. I returned to see Mantar which there had also been a lot of raving about. Here reality at least partially lived up to the hype, they were quite enjoyable live.

Mantar Live

Mantar Live

After Mantar Islander and I went out for some more food and refreshments, we ended up sitting out at the restuarant chatting until it was time for Coven to take the stage at Rams Head. In hindsight this was a poor descision, should have gone to see Incantation instead. However I’ve seen the latter before and had never seen Coven, so was curious what it was all about. Now Coven might be an occult band, but it’s by no stretch of the imagination a metal band. So seeing them at MDF was kinda weird, but people seemed to enjoy their 60s psychedelic rock. I shot a short video of their opening song.



Unable to sleep I started Friday morning with a jog around Baltimore’s inner harbour, it was a nice morning albeit a bit muggy. Once I had gotten back and showered it was time for lunch with the gang before heading down to the venue. I got to Rams Head around the time Perdition Temple were about to go on, before walking down to the venue I had quickly listened to a few of their songs, enough to figure I wouldn’t mind seeing them. They didn’t dissapoint live, the bassist/vocalist (which according if metal-archives is session) has a great set of pipes on him and being a fairly big guy was quite impressive on stage. Definately a band I’m checking out in more detail in the future.

Perdition Temple Live

Perdition Temple Live

Perdition Temple Live

Next up were Scorched a young band from Delaware, again a band I had no experience with, but which came highly recomended (by I think MetalBandcamp Max). Regardless they were enjoyable live, but I somehow managed to not get any pictures. After Scorched I decided to get an early dinner so I would be fed and ready for Misery Index which were one of my must sees of Friday. Needless to say they didn’t dissapoint, unfortunaltey my pictures do.

Misery Index Live

Misery Index Live

Misery Index Live

Blood Incantation were on after Misery Index and while we all thought they’d have a hard time matching the ferociousness of the Misery Index set they actually managed to hold themselves high and put on a good show, I somehow seem to have no pictures though.

Next band I caught was God Dethroned which put on a good show, once again I seemed to have been mesmerized by the show and forgotten to take any pictures.

The night ended with Suffocation who put on a decent high energy show, their live vocalist being so full of energy he often almost collided with the other band members.

Saturday started out with Ritual Necromancy followed by Phrenelith. After them Pessimist took the stage and while they put on a good show I think more attention was paid to the guy who came flying from the pit over the barrier and face-planted on the concrete floor between the stage and fence. As there was no security there this early in the evening it took them a while to even notice him, and he was finally trucked off by the paramedics at the end of Pessimist’s set.



I took a dinner break so that I could return just prior to Dødheimsgard taking the stage. Being only familiar with their early work I didn’t know what to expect but they were one of the stand out performances of the festival. They managed to go from their later era avantgarde material back to some earlier blasty stuff. It was quite the performance.

Ddheimsgard Live

Ddheimsgard Live



For the first time during the festival I moved over to Sondstage to see Pig Destroyer, having seen them before I knew it would be a fun and grindy time. No one was dissapointed.

I found some more food and beverage to kill some time before Satyricon were due to close out the the day’s festivities. Satyricon is a band I haven’t been into since they started being more of a rock band and less of a black metal band. That said I’d never seen them before so I figured it would be interesting. One thing is for sure that for a band with close to 30 years experience they sure know how to put on a live show. They were quite possibly the tightest band of the festival and despite being unfamiliar with much of what they payed they were very enjoyable live.

Satyricon Live





Sunday started with Suffering Hour while not my usual cup of tea live it was quite enjoyable with good energy despite being the first band out that day.

Suffering Hour Live

Suffering Hour Live

The Day continued with Ascended Dead which like Suffering Hour were nothing I knew anything about but were a pretty good live show.

Ascended Dead Live

Next up were my Sunday must see Thantifaxath who I’ve been a fan of ever since their first EP, finally getting to see them live was something I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. While some people I was with took offense to their annonymity and outfits I couldn’t really care less. They put on an absolutely blistering, but short, set playing songs from their full-length and latest EP, I was a little dissapointed not to hear anything from their first self-titled EP, would have loved to hear Violently Expanding Nothing, hopefully next time.

Thantifaxath Live

Thantifaxath Live



All the folks in my group were excited about Sinmara and while I wasn’t familiar I stuck around to see them. The little I remember of their set it was good, but didn’t necessarily make a huge impression, however I was interested enough to make a note to check out their back catalog.

Sinmara Live

After Sinmara it was time for Evoken to take the stage with their funeral doom dirges. I tend to like funeral doom, but live it’s always a bit of a gamble. However they did a good job in keeping it interesting, for the part of their set that I saw.

Evoken Live

Evoken Live

Evoken Live

Towards the end of Evoken’s set I walked over to Soundstage to see Wormrot who flew 22 hours from Singapore to play a 40 minute show. I hope they had some other shows lined up cause that’s a long god-damn flight. Forty minutes flew by as they grinded through more songs than I could count. Grindcore is still tons of fun to see live, and quite the change from the funereal experince at Rams Head.

Wormrot Live



After Wormrot we got some more grindcore from Enemy Soil who had been broken up for almost 20 years but reunited for some shows just this year. Another fun gridcore show, didn’t get any pictures though.

This years MDF ended with Godflesh at Rams Head, I’ve never been a huge fan and stopped in to see just two or three songs before deciding it was time to call it a night and head back to the hotel.

And thus ends this report from MDF 2018.

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