“My lil’ Murrican Adventure” – MDF retrospective

Guest writer Shruti Kumar wrote about her experience at Maryland Death Fest and wanted us to put it up here. It’s a nice little read that gives some insight into the things people are willing to do to see the best extreme metal festival in contemporary times. She’s an Indian who currently resides in Australia as a permanent citizen, and regularly attends local shows as well. Read on:

 

 

Asphyx

Asphyx

 

 

So here I was, looking at the Maryland Deathfest XII lineup for the first time. I’m your typical overseas-based university student, with only a fast food job to sustain my gig needs and this wasn’t even a local show. I’d always wistfully gazed at MDF lineups every year but this time the lineup was so fucking unreal that I just HAD to be there. Mostly for the fact that I’ll get to see Immolation twice because I’m a massive Immolation fangirl and by massive I mean being-at-the-front-taking-pictures-screaming-for-autographs fangirl. I hardly ever feel like that for a band because let’s face it, band members are probably just as fucked up as you are, if not more. So anyway, to make this work, I’d have to sort out money, flights, visas, university, immigration and parents (yes, that is actually a legitimate concern for an Indian kid). I had traveled internationally before, but never alone. Thankfully, I have super liberal and highly educated parents, who even though were initially reluctant to let their little girl go alone to a foreign country for an extreme metal festival, eventually thought that this would be good to make me self-sufficient. For money, I worked my arse off and saved up cash. Stopped spending as much, worked full time for the three months I had off after my second semester finished. One thing I had decided right from the start was that I’ll have to make this happen by myself so I didn’t burden my parents financially. Money and parents sorted. Now for the worst part, immigration. Immigration was the one thing that made organizing this trip a massive pain and a lot more difficult than it should’ve been. I lost my passport so I had to deal with cops and some really nasty people at immigration but once my application was finally in, it was just the wait. Oh, the fucking wait. It took about a month for me to get it back but little did I know that my problems had just started. Because bam! As you can guess, it was time for me to get visas. Since I’m a permanent resident in Australia but actually an Indian citizen, I had to get two visas. I won’t bore you with the details, but long story short, the US tourist visa was the reason that led me to be uncertain if I was even gonna make it till the last minute. Literally. I really wish I was kidding, but nope. My visa interview was 2 days before my flight was supposed to leave. Thankfully, I didn’t buy tickets and decided to wait till my visas came through ‘cause I’m smart like that. Anyway, my visa got approved but I read on the US immigration website that my passport won’t be sent back to me within five days. BA DUM TSS! All my hopes of going to the US crushed in a minute. All the months I spent working hard and dealing with immigration gone for nothing. It affected me more than any break up I ever had and it was just plain awful. So much so that I tried to find solace in alcohol when I don’t even fucking drink. But life had something else in store for me. The very next day I found out that my passport had been shipped and I would be able to go to the US afterall! So I did end up going, albeit three days later than planned. It was pretty outrageous, I got my flight tickets at 4 pm and my flight left 7 am the next morning. But as you would’ve guessed by now, I’m a pretty crazy person. It was a jampacked trip, with so much to do and see in just a week. But I was up for it. I admit, I’ve been a very naughty girl to make this work, I skipped uni and rescheduled a few assessments. But look at the fucking lineup! Can you blame me? In a matter of four days I saw Immolation, Incantation, Asphyx, Gorguts, Necros Christos, Mgla, Pseudogod, Coffins, Noothgrush, Crowbar, Agalloch and so many others. Phew! And I was right at the front for almost everything because if you haven’t experienced a band up front, I highly recommend it. I also got to meet Ross Dolan and Rob Vigna of Immolation which was an absolute dream true and made my US trip worthwhile straightaway. I also had great company, my friends Gautam and Nikhil, who were so much fun to hang with! Here’s a few day-to-day updates/diary notes from the time I was in MDF and then came back:

 

 

Noothgrush

Noothgrush

 

 

After the prefest gig: Got to see Immolation in a private gig environment and being practically on top of the stage for the entire thing. Had a super long chat with Ross Dolan and Bob Vigna and it really is amazing to know that your favourite band is comprised of really down-to-earth people instead of dickheads, which they very well deserve to be considering the unreal music they make. They played Into Everlasting Fire! I think now I can die happy.

 

MDF Day 1: Coffins were so fucking good! It’s that amazing feeling you get when you finally see a band you’ve been obsessing about for ages. Every track they played off their Buried Death album made their set exponentially great. Crowbar were insanely heavy and other highlights included Whitehorse and Sourvein. Bring on tomorrow!

 

MDF Day 2: Watching Incantation, Bölzer, Agalloch, Mgla, Necros Christos, Cancer, The Ruins of Beverast, At The Gates and Taake back to back on the same day. FUUUUUUUUUCK. This lineup has ruined every music festival for me. Also, bumped into Ross Dolan again and he recognized me. Fuck yeah. Winning.

 

MDF Day 3: HOLY FUCKING SHIT. Asphyx were fucking perfect. Reformed Pungent Stench and Hooded Menace were really tight and so were Tankard, Dark Angel and Noothgrush. Got my hardcore/grind fix from Victims, Dropdead and Birdflesh. Machetazo destroyed the venue and there were many others I can’t be bothered mentioning. I’m gonna have some serious psychological depression after this festival ends but fucking hell, so many happy feels right now.

 

MDF Day 4: Candlemass. Owned. Everyfuckingthing. So much stoner/sludgy/doomy goodness today with My Dying Bride, Bongripper, Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats and Soilent Green. Inquisition rocked my socks and so did Pseudogod and Gorguts. Immolation ending the festival with a second set was probably the best farewell to MDF. Can’t believe I’m flying back to Sydney tomorrow, it’ll take me some time to readjust to drab ol’ life again.

 

On my way back to Australia: Homeward bound. Maryland Deathfest was amazing, never did I see so many bands, have so many people stage dive on my head and have so many guys come up to me and tell me they thought I was gorgeous (which included this creepy Argentinean guy who wanted to get a picture of me). Even though I’m now drugged on painkillers because I headbanged too much and have heaps of overdue assignments and a raging jetlag to look forward to, there’s nothing in my life I want to change right now.

 

So I’m back home now , with 0$ in my bank account and having some serious MDF withdrawals. Everything is dull in comparison to the time I had. After some of the shit I pulled to make this happen, I don’t know if I’d ever get to do this again. But hey, it was totally worth it.

 

 

 

Immolation

Immolation

 

 

– Shruti Kumar

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“Unsilent Death” gig review

As you may know, Eternal Abhorrence recently tried to step out the confines of just being a webzine, and attempted to put on a show named after the Nails album. The show was a staggering success and honestly the best show I had put on in my 4 years of experience. Below is a review by one of the attendants of the concert, Hassan Altaf, who traveled all the way from Faisalabad to bang his head and mosh it out. Check out his review – we hope he continues to write for us in the future!

unsilent death

Faisalabad is the third largest city of Pakistan, with a population of about 8 million people. Mostly known for its high-end textile products, funny- bone, and general bigotry, so it would be strange for you to hear if not ridiculous that people appreciate metal here too and to extents as far as trying to play it. Now when me and my younger brother, first heard of a gig, that was going to take place at Lahore, we were over the moon. We got to know 6 days before the actual happening, and thence, the pressure and the urge to be there started mounting up. We wouldn’t shut up about it. Between making our beds, between meals, we’d either ask what shirts we were gonna wear, or what date it was.

 

 

Finally the day of reckoning came, it was morning of April 26th and what happens, my brother’s phones alarm doesn’t go off. Finally we made it to the realm of the awakened at 9 am, and we had to reach at the designated place at 1pm. Manageable, I wondered. Well far from it. Ever had to ask for the family car to be loaned to you from your dad? You know how it is!

 

 

“Well, the piston’s short”, he said while chewing on some toast while his eyes never moved from the newspaper.

“Stupid reconditioned Margalla” I thought inwardly.

 

 

So it was going to be the dreaded bus, but we would have hitch hiked if it were to come to that but we did manage to get a bus at about 10. You know how bus journeys are like? They are the worst form of travel, you fix the air conditioner a bit, and the whole bus starts fiddling with it. If by chance you get a good movie playing, then either the headphones are messed up or the guy in front of you is too damn tall, or he is just on his toes cause he does not want to miss that particular scene, which afterwards extends to the whole movie. There are old bastards that try to flirt with the hostess by asking her twice for the Pepsi and laughing their asses off, like they did something very daring. (You wanna know what’s daring? Weighing 140 pounds only, and thinking I can headbang all the way through the concert for about 4-5 hours)

 

 

Well, I slept through most of it and got the details from my lil bro. One more thing, when we were on the M2 just about to enter Lahore district, there was an army convoy, and there were army trucks, and toed to them were canons. I had a foreboding feeling seeing these things (being a Pakistani, another coupe or another war?) I made my concerns vocal, and my brother he said “of all the days they could chose to start a war, who told them that today was perfect? We have to get to that concert!!!” He looked determined, and I was determined.

 

 

We were in Lahore and did not know where the venue of our little gathering was actually located. I took out my phone, and typed in Beaconhouse National University, Tarogil campus. having located our destination, we looked for auto rickshaws to get there.

 

 

“We have to go to BNU” I said in Punjabi, trying to intimidate the guy into discounting our fare and not think of us as outsiders who did not know jackshit about where we were headed (which was all true).

“250 Rs” He said.

 

 

“Ok”, and we set off. Well BNU Tarogil is way out like thirteen and some kilometers out of Lahore, it’s like going to Jaranwala from Faisalabad. The landscape is dry, and surrounded by new developing sites. Couple that with heavy traffic and a rather non-agreeable road, you get the Raiwind Road. Well after a lot of head banging before even reaching the venue, owing to the unstable nature of rickshaws, and asking about a 13 people about BNU, we finally reached Beaconhouse National University, Tarogil campus. We were greeted by Syed Sadam, and Ramis, outside the gates, and so we entered the University while the day was high, and our blood pressures higher.

 

 

“This is going to be like all those concerts we saw on the computer” I said, beside myself, and as we were about to enter the enclosure, a rather jovial looking guard asked if we had cigarettes. “Yeah” said Jahanzaib and opened up his pack of cigs. The smile turned into a frown, and he asked us to leave the cigarettes outside.

“This is not gonna be like one of those concerts that we saw on the computer” I told Jahanzaib. Boy was I ever so wrong.

 

 

 

Wreckage

 beg

 

 

The enclosure was air-conditioned so thankfully we were relieved of our bus-lag, quite instantly, and thrown into the brutal yet pleasantly cool, metal gig. The fun started at about 3, 3-30 pm, with the first band “Wreckage” from Rawalpindi, started to bust some tunes. It was really exhilarating. They played their first song, which got us really going. Everything a startup performance should be. The music was the ideal kickstart to a metal gig. They sounded way better than they did in the sound check. Right from the first song, the crowd seemed to have hit the ground running, or headbanging. They did 3 songs, two originals (“Damage Returned” and “Vengeance”), and a Pantera cover (Walk) that was very good (how cool is that?). Plus the vocalist Waqar Ghayas was very involving, and full of energy. Running around growling like a beast from hell let loose, rolling his eyes, and all that.

 

 

foreskin1

foreskin2

 

 

After that was Foreskin, hardcore punk/thrash metal band from Lahore, took the stage, manned by Hassan Umer, with Sheraz Ahmed on lead guitar, Umair Ahmed on the bass, Hassaan Gul aka the ingenious Sam Morbid on drums, and Amar Ali on rhythm guitar in the Dead Kennedeys t-shirt, which was awesome. To start things off, they started with an unnerving riff, which heralded the start of my personal favorite from their songs, “How To Fight.” The lyrics stood out, which was a great thing for a metal newcomer like me, and I sang along, and when the lyrics stopped the brilliant solo ensued from the fingers of Sheraz Ahmed. Whenever this solo is on I just can’t help and admire the simplicity and the beauty of it, headbanging like mad, and I did not care if I had only seen it on screens before. The crowd was enjoying and seemed to be getting a taste of hardcore metal, right on their tongues. Heads rolled and not in the negative sense. Song after song, the grip of Foreskin, grew only stronger. “How To Fight” was followed by a staggering cover of the Gates of Ishtar classic, “Where the Winds of Darkness Blow,” again a crowd pleaser in all aspects, a little miscue but nothing unforgivable. After that they played “Hack N’ Slash,” another song with energy like an atomic fusion in a tin can. Then they played Celtic Frost‘s “Dethroned Emperor,” another good one in the mix. Ending their part with their single “Anger Management.” Another song that needs to be appreciated more.

 

 

irritum1

irritum2

 

 

 

Act three of the show was taken hold by Irritum, based in Lahore too, with a few common members from the other Lahore-based bands on the show. The ensemble consisted of Ahsan Shahid, and Farid Munir, both wonderful artists, on guitars along with Sheraz Ahmed, the drums were played by Sam Morbid, and the vocals were the responsibility of another amazing talent, Ahmed Malik. The band is a funeral doom band, and has that melancholy tinge to it that makes it click. The first song they played was a cover of the song “In Silence Enshrined” by Katatonia, I know a huge undertaking, but executed, I can say being a live witness, pretty damn well. Next they played their own track, “Treading the Lands Unknown” which again was a doomy track, and might have raised a few demon heads in hell too.

 

 

MxCx

 

 

Multinational Corporations was the next band to perform, with killer vocals from Hassan Umer, partnered by Sheraz Ahmed, Adnan Gillani, and Umair Ahmed on the guitars, with Amar Ali doing justice to the drums in he background. The first song to come around was L.P.C. named after the #trending short form of Lun Pe Charh (which just means flipping you off in other words). MxCx is the kind of band that takes the gig to another level. Hassan Umer’s cool performance antics seemed to breathe new life into the aching necks of the honorable members of the moshpit. They looked like they had forgotten their pains and were ready for another round on the metal trail. LPC was followed by Jamat-al-Maut, a satirical work of art in my humble opinion, that portrays the Pakistani youths frustration rightfully directed at the self-exploding Taliban. The track is full of emotion and zeal, and truly portrays the inner monologue of every sensible youth of Pakistan. True to its agenda the next track to be played was Stratum Slave, a shout out to the capitalist oligarchs in their castles of sand and chalk, that they were soon to crumble.

 

 

The next song was cover of a band called Inquisition, which the connoisseurs of metal tell me was awesome. The ritualistic “Empire of Luciferian Race” featured an ‘all-star’ lineup of members from different bands on the show with Ahsan Shahid and Sheraz Ahmed sharing guitar duties, Adnan Gillani on bass and Sam Morbid yet again on drums.

 

 

foreskin3

 

 

After that when everything was near its end, just one song away we were told that people all the way from Gujrat, as far from Lahore as Faisalabad, known for its fan industry, had arrived. Them being there albeit later in the piece, proved that ceiling fans were not the only fans made in Gujrat, they made pretty dedicated music fans too. This inspired us all to welcome them and Foreskin was ushered to the stage again for an encore performance. The weird thing was that Foreskin, still found the energy in them to play two tracks again, and with the same pomp and circumstance.”How To Fight” was played in the encore aong with “Dethroned Emperor” cover. To end it all up, there was a little surprise lined up for all those present and all those who have feelings for Dionysus, no not the Tyrion Lannister of Greek mythology, the local favorite Lahore band that could not play due to original member Waleed being in Karachi. Their anthem “Bathing In Unholy Blood” was played with Ahmed Malik doing a great job on vocals, with original Dionysus members, Sheraz Ahmed and Umair Ahmed, with Hassan Gul.

 

 

To tell you the truth, by the end of this gig, I was unable to even complete simple tasks of common courtesy, like the good bye wave and the handshake, and when I approached a certain Ramis, he was lying on the floor, and lying there he extended his hand, saying, “I am afraid I can’t get up” to which I replied extending my hand in reply “I am afraid, I can’t sit”. On that meeting halfway note, we set off for home. It was an experience of a lifetime.

 

 

mosh

 

 

 

Foreskin

Multinational Corporations

Irritum

Wreckage

All picture credits go to Zeeshan Malick. Except the Wreckage ones, which go to Sheraz Ahmed.