Article By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker ‡ Edited By: Leanne Ridgeway
As most people know, it is a little over a month away from the fifth annual edition of the infamous, Riff Relevant co-sponsored MARYLAND DOOM FEST!
Once again set to take place between the side-by-side venues 611 Cafe and Guido’s Speakeasy in historic Frederick, Maryland, on the weekend of June 20th – 23rd, MARYLAND DOOM FEST V promises to truly impress. Festivities include a pre-fest party on Thursday, June 20th that will also serve as a celebration for the 20th anniversary of another long-running, legendary gathering, Stoner Hands Of Doom.
This year’s lineup sees a mind-blowing collective of top-notch bands each bringing their A-game to the place that many feel is the birthing grounds of the U.S. doom movement, the State of Maryland. Too many to list (I’d become immediately distracted by the awesomeness of each), we are here today to launch our yearly segment series detailing some of the bands’ status as my own – in no particular order – “Must See Acts” (ones that I’ve never seen live) of the upcoming MARYLAND DOOM FEST.
Things begin with one of the biggest, shock-worthy band inclusion announcements of the 2019 festival, the planned live reunion of WARHORSE! It is set to occur the very first night at the pre-fest party, this revered Massachusetts trio will take the stage for one of the most eagerly awaited sets of the entire event. It’s true, too. An unending stream of conversations, speculations, and altogether growing anticipation has built since the revelation of WARHORSE‘s participation.
Sadly, guitarist Todd Laskowski passed away in May 2018, so this performance will be as much a memorial as anything else. WARHORSE founding bassist Jerry Orne (also in Conclave and Desolate) will be joined by guitarist Terry Savastano (also in Come To Grief) and drummer Mike Hubbard. Original WARHORSE guitarist Krista Van Guilder will also be at MD Doom Fest, with her current band, Benthic Realm, on Friday evening.
Word is, WARHORSE is planning to perform a stunning set that will span all eras of the band’s near-decade-long run. That means the inclusion of songs from their sole full-length album, 2001’s Southern Lord Recordings issued ‘As Heaven Turns To Ash‘ (streaming below). Along with that, it sounds as if we can expect select cuts from the trio of EPs also released by the band: 1991’s ‘Lysergic Communion‘, 2000’s ‘The Priestess‘, and 2002’s ‘I Am Dying‘.
Whatever may come of this is all secondary to the fact that one of the underground’s heaviest, highly influential stalwarts will be part of the proper start to the MARYLAND DOOM FEST V is most fitting. Further WARHORSE get-togethers, shows, tours, or what have you, remains uncertain at this time (though Psycho Las Vegas 2019 is now confirmed). Regardless, let us look forward to this imminently important incident as it may truly be the only opportunity to witness WARHORSE playing live for many people… and only possible by attending the MARYLAND DOOM FEST 2019.