I love making lists. In fact, that probably why I was offered the role of Oskar Schindler, in Schindler’s List. I said, “Steven [Spielberg], I make lists all the time.” And he said, “That’s exactly what I’m looking for.” (My next list will be HBO shows that I quote from too often, starting with this quip from Liam Neeson in Life’s Too Short.)
Before I let the rabbit out of the hat or the cat out of the bag or whatever other animal cliche fits here with my TOP 50 EXTREME ALBUMS OF THE YEAR, I wanted to start with a list of the bands I’m looking forward to seeing most at Maryland Deathfest. It’s my first year attending, so I’ll be targeting international bands who don’t tour often, and a few North American bands who have evaded me thus far:
10) Noothgrush. Recently missed them playing in Brooklyn, and you never know how long it will be before these West Coast sludge-slingers visit the borough again. If there was a split album you enjoyed over the last 17 years they were probably involved.
9) Bongripper. I love the Chicago doom scene, and there’s nobody in the Midwest who can touch the bleakness of Hate Ashbury and Satan Worshipping Doom.
8) Crowbar. I traded Monster Magnet’s Powertrip album for Crowbar’s Obedience Thru Suffering back in junior high school, and it went down as one of the best trades of all time.
7) Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats. With so much screaming and growling, this UK band’s brand of macabre doom rock will be a reprieve from extremity. Great songs that avoid that lazy “retro” tag people love and just provide great hooks and a sense of mystery.
6) The Secret. I still think Solve et Coagula is one of the more underrated albums out there, and I’ve missed my chance at seeing this Italian band several times in Brooklyn. NOT THIS TIME.
5) Coffins. Blurring that line between death metal and sludge, their music seems like the perfect soundtrack for swimming through a pond of entrails. With the government holding up work/travel VISAs to the point where Church of Misery cancelled their NYC show earlier this year, any time a band I dig from Japan heads this way I make sure to attend.
4) My Dying Bride. I always loved the sense of sophistication and drama they brought to doom, and Turn Loose the Swans was one of the first albums that persuaded me to embrace slower-tempo genres back when I was a grindcore maniac in high school.
3) Gorguts. Unfortunately I’ll be missing their show at Saint Vitus in Brooklyn in December, so MDF offers me a chance to see a band whose comeback has given us Colored Sands, an album I feel even surpasses the legendary Obscura in terms of vision, focus, and grandiosity.
2) At the Gates. Since the first time I heard an old Earache records sampler, I was infatuated with Tomas Lindberg’s bark and the melodic savagery of Slaughter of the Soul.
1) The Church of Pungent Stench. Not only does the Been Caught Buttering album art adorn my battle vest, but Martin Schirenc is the culprit for igniting my adoration for death metal. I love his Hollenthon project as well, but it obviously starts with the gruesome excess of Pungent Stench.
Check out the full list of bands over at the Maryland Deathfest website, and tell me how wrong I am about this list: https://www.marylanddeathfest.com/