(Concert Review) MARYLAND DOOMFEST 2019 - Day 3
Written by: Mark McQueen
Band #1 Greenbeard: 80/100
Greenbeard opened with a pretty traditional sounding doom set. Vocals could have been better, but overall not bad for the day opener.
Band #2 Eternal Black: 84/100
Another standard doom set. Better vocals than Greenbeard so they get to see their grade bumped up a bit. (Slotting). Had no complaints but also not so memorable that I wanted to go shopping afterwards.
Band #3 Atomic: 77/100
This was a little like slowed down Slipknot minus costumes and extra drummers. Alternadoom. I didn’t hate them by any means, but so far super-Saturday here at Doomfest is lacking the “super” part. Still, it’s early.
Band #4 Knoxville: 87/100
Knoxville hit the stage with that “Karma to Burn” style of stoner music or as I call it, ”Surfer Doom”. Tight instrumental jams that are like todays versions of what The Surfairis were doing in the 60’s. I probably like this style because of that reminder of being a kid and hearing that kind of music. Knoxville was capable and had followed three bands in a row that were okay, but not motivating, thus once again the magic of slotting (right time to hit the stage) carried them to perhaps a higher grade than they would have gotten elsewhere in the day. Still, a good job and I enjoyed their set.
Band #5 Forming the Void: 84/100
Another band with great doomy sound but unmatched by the vocals. Again, I enjoyed them but then they were done and I had no motivation or reason to head to the merch table. Still searching for the super in Super Saturday.
Band #6 Sixes: 82/100
The Sixes are LOUD, aggressive, and slightly dronish in their attack. They like it LOUD and they like feedback. The guitarist played shirtless and his pants hung low allowing most of the audience to get ample face time with “The Buttcrack of Doom”. Outside of that distraction, however, and despite the distasteful vocal sounds that emanated from their microphones throughout this set, I still had to give them credit for intensity. Sixes were not sleepwalking through anything. They were full on giving it all they had for 30 minutes in volume, in movement and in overall effort. Of all the bands I saw this weekend, they rose higher (while playing a style and sound I did not care for), than I might ever have thought I would award a set like that. Showing of course that one just never knows.
Band #7 Atala: 85/100
Starring the almighty “DoomBeard”, Atala lays down a LOOOOWW end heavy bass attack that while damn near as loud as Sixes, and virtually as aggressive in vocal sound, somehow came off as more melodic and interesting to me. Normally not enough to motivate a merch table visit but as I was using the bathroom after their set anyway, I took a look and…”son-of-a-bitch, they have bandannas for sale!” Well then, better give me one of those. What’s that? 15 for that, but only 30 if I add a shirt AND CD? You sir are a salesman. So I can now sport and listen to Atala whenever I want.
Band #8 Beelzefuzz: 96/100
HOLY SHIT! I have seen Beelzefuzz several times in several states over the years, and often I have been critical of them as I know they can be better than what I have seen. To be abundantly clear..THEY HAVE NEVER SOUNDED AND LOOKED AS GOOD AS THEY JUST DID RIGHT THERE!
Combining their unique vocal sound, unique line-up and visual look and unique take on something that belongs at Doomfest yet is not like anyone else there. Something I have dubbed Psychodoomedelia. When Beelzefuzz is hitting on ALL the cylinders, it’s like watching Rocky Balboa come back in the 14th round of the original movie. From the perfectly lighted intro-piece and right through each and every song, these guys took the achievement bar right to the ceiling of Café 611 and then used it to punch a hole in that ceiling because they were DAMN sure going to take us higher than that!
Beelzefuzz absolutely killed it from beginning to end and looking at the rest of tonight’s line-up I just thought…God Help whomever is next up and has to try and follow that.
Band #9 Foghound: 94/100
Initially I didn’t have much hope for Foghound. Although I have seen them several times and have enjoyed them enough to buy a CD in the past, I have never been THAT into their style of doom. Certainly I have never given them a 90+.
Now, that said, I knew that they were Maryland’s hometown hero’s on the doom circuit, and I knew they planned to treat Maryland Doomfest as their Superbowl, and I knew that they were going to do their best to play a killer set in memory of their gone too soon former bandmate Rev. Jim. But still…that Beelzefuzz set was SO good. Then Foghound started.
I cannot tell you what their set list was. I cannot tell you what the lyrics to any songs were about. What I CAN and WILL tell you is from the first cord, and for the next 38 minutes there was NO band that played with more passion the whole weekend than Foghound.
As I said, I didn’t understand the lyrics to their songs but I definitely felt the emotion behind their efforts. That set “lifted me” in an almost spiritual way. Like when you see people jump up in church and just start dancing to the Gospel. If Beelzefuzz tore off the roof, Foghound brought down the Holy Spirit from Doom Heaven and let Rev. Jim know that everyone was raising the doom horns for him (and them) right there and right now. I wish I had better words to describe that set but rest assured it was stellar.
Band #10 Apostles of Solitude: 87/100
I love A.O.S. On more than one occasion, their cement truck style slow plodding doom attack has won best in show for an entire festival. I seldom ever rate them less than a 90. If EVER a band got hammered by the curse of “slotting” it was A.O.S. tonight.
Their set was good, it was heavy, the vocals were clear and the songs were true doom, but it was like being at a wrestling convention and meeting the Undertaker, right after you just spent the last hour talking to Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair. It’s still awesome and cool but there’s just not much left of you to give at that point. A.O.S. are an awesome band every time but tonight they were a good band following the two show stoppers.
On the other hand….I have sure as Hell found the SUPER in Super Saturday now.
Band #11 Pentagram: 87/100
Okay, I know Pentagram is an institution in doom and I know they are icons of the industry, and I have seen them a few times before and always enjoyed them somewhat. I did again tonight. But my favorite time seeing Pentagram was without Bobby Liebling in the band. There is just something about that elfin body and voice that drags them down a notch for me live. Not that I could see much anyway with the huge crowd and about 50 cell phones in my field of vision.
Pentagram was the best of the 4-nights of headliners, and Curious Volumes is a great CD, but I was blown up emotionally by that point and actually tired from almost 10 hours of Doomfest just that day and with respect to the great crowd appreciation for their set, Pentagram was a little bit of a step down at the end for me. If you can call the last four bands averaging a cumulative 91/100 any sort of letdown. In the end, another really good day/night of Doomfest.