Article By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker ‡ Edited By: Leanne Ridgeway
If nothing affects my current plans, I will be attending this year’s Maryland Doom Festival for my third year.
I was there for the inaugural roll-out of year one and in a nutshell, it was great! I was there for year two, which added a day, was fantastic, and actually surpassed the previous year’s. Now, with a new pre-fest show added to kick things off, I am beyond excited for what just may be the best MDDF yet.
Set to take place once again at Cafe 611 in Frederick, MD. from June 22nd (Pre-Fest) to the 25th, this year’s MDDF contains an unbelievable roster of acts. Every decade of hard rock from the Seventies forward is represented within this year’s line up. If you call yourself a fan of heavy music then trust me, there is something for you, and everyone really, in this year’s collective.
Each year presents me with the opportunity to see several bands that I like, for years even, but I’ve never seen them live. With that in mind, I thought it’d be cool to narrow down to the Top 5 acts I am beyond stoked to see live for my first time at this year’s festival.
That is a hard, hard undertaking to be truthful because there are so many fantastic bands making their way to Maryland yet again this year. What is even crazier perhaps, is that four of my top five will play sets almost back to back from one another on Day 2.
Anyway, I now give to you the following, my Top 5 Must-See Acts at Maryland Doom Fest 2017 (in no particular order)…
BEASTMAKER: Having just released their already critically acclaimed new album ‘Inside The Skull‘ (streaming here) a mere handful of days ago (via Rise Above Records), this Fresno band is the retro bomb. With a traditional doom sound inspired by the likes of Pentagram and Black Sabbath, guitarist/vocalist Trevor William Church, bassist John Tucker, and drummer Andres Alejandro Saldate make infectious music. It sounds older than old-school, too, as if it were transported here via a time machine straight from ’73.
The band is currently wowing audiences supporting Zakk Sabbath out on the road and from what I’ve heard, are basically stealing the show. Hopefully, they’ll fire up the MDDF with an unforgettable set when they amp out the heavy occult rock at the pre-fest kick off gig on June 22nd.
WO FAT: Longtime fan, first time viewer. Yep, that’s me when it comes to this Texas-based, heavy riffened, boogie ‘n blues trio. As the band nears its fifteenth anniversary in 2018, this is as good a time as any to knock this band off of my bucket list.
Guitarist/vocalist Kent Stump, bassist Zack Busby and drummer Michael Walter’s style of fuzzy, energized jamming is sure to be a highlight for me and everyone else at Day 2 of the festival.
SERPENTS OF SECRECY: What do you get when you take some folks from bands like King Giant, Borracho, Foghound, Sixty Watt Shaman, etc., and put them all together into one band? Yep, you guessed it, you get Serpents Of Secrecy.
Trust me, there have been doubters and naysayers that claim this is the little band that couldn’t. Couldn’t what? I dunno, but there’s been a lot of mystery and intrigue around the band composed of vocalist Mark Lorenzo, guitarists Todd Ingram and Steve Fisher, bassist Rev. Jim Forrester, and drummer Chuck Dukehart III. All the bullshit aside, the band began playing out in recent months and by god, I plan to be there when they play out on Day 2 of MDDF.
THE WATCHERS: Supergroup number two, after SOS above, finds singer Tim Narducci (Spiralarms, White Witch Canyon), guitarist Jeremy Epp (Blackgates, The Venting Machine), bassist Chris ‘Cornbread‘ Lombardo (Spiralarms) and drummer Carter Kennedy (ex-Orchid) doing more than merely observing.
With their critically acclaimed Ripple Music début EP ‘Sabbath Highway‘ still winning over folks everywhere, seeing this quartet play on (care to guess?) Day 2 is going to be one of the day’s biggest highlights.
But, and no disrespect to them or any of the other bands I’ve mentioned, there can be only one… when it comes to my must-see act of Maryland Doom Fest 2017.
EARTHRIDE: Betcha didn’t see that coming, did ya? Maybe you did, but whatever. The band that Dave Sherman himself has repeatedly told me would more than likely never reform… has. Alongside Sherm in this brotherhood of Maryland doom are earlier Earthriders Kyle Van Steinburg (guitar) and drummer Eric Little (Church Of Misery, Internal Void), as well as newcomers Ed Brown (bass) and Greg Ball (guitar).
Having recently signed with Salt Of The Earth Records and entered the studio to record a new 7″ (‘Witch Gun‘) holdover until a proper release can be knocked out, Earthride is sure to crush all on Day 2.
There you have it, friends… my Top 5 must-see bands at this year’s Maryland Doom Fest. Those five bands are really just a drop in the bucket of the amazing bands that will grace the stage there this year. Hard to believe we are just a month away from its kick-off once again.
It is not too late for you to be there. You can get all the info you need as well as tickets / passes and more at the link below. I hope to see you there!
For Maryland Doom Fest 2017 info, tickets, merch, and more visit this location.