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(Live Review) MARYLAND DOOMFEST 2023 (Day 2) - Maryland (6/23/23)

By The Beard & Little Johnny

Here we are again, reporting from Frederick, Maryland. This week it is the doom capital of the country as promoter JB Matson’s yearly production the Maryland Doomfest 2023 rolls onwards.

Today marks event #29 and bands #137-144 on our yearlong “The Reviews Never Stop Tour”.

Earlier today, the reviewing duo hit the Smoketown Brewery (Johnny’s selection) for their eight different IPA’s, and after ample samples, headed to the Raging Reef for a seafood lunch.

By five pm we were both ensconced at Olde Mother Brewery for the day two offerings including:

Temple of the Fuzz Witch

Double Planets

False Gods


and Brimstone Coven

Before heading across the street to Cafe 611 and the main stage to hear the stylings of:

Hollow Leg


The Skull

A long day of doom ...

Hitting the stage first were Detroit Michigan’s own:


This was a three-piece stoner band formed from the, well copied, Electric Wizard mode. Low end, repetitive riffs, and definitely doom. We both felt this was an excellent selection to start the day. Johnny said it was like slowly walking into some smoke-filled fuzz.

They have decent vocals, leads and drums and, again, for an opener, Fuzz Witch was quite entertaining.

A surprising 85/100 right out of the gate.

Second up today was Philadelphia’s Space Rock courtesy of:


This was kind of jaunty. Not strictly stoner nor doom, but definitely jam based. I guess space rock was as good a call as anything else. Musically, it has a catchy quality, but vocally they never held me totally attentive. “Uh-uh Johnny, you’ve already had plenty of beer today.”

Giving Double Planets a 73/100

Third up tonight was a combination of New York and Mississippi sludge doom with:


Uh oh, I am fairly sure Johnny’s going to like these guys. Very loud and more akin to both a sludge sound and borderline thrash vocals. False Gods sounded more like a Little Johnny band than anyone so far this weekend.

Looking around though, the crowd was noticeably light, it would seem most folks were in the main room at Café 611. The Beard had to admit I was not a fan, but Johnny enjoyed a band that played fast, loud, and then Conan screamed at him, so we will agree to disagree on this one.

I am going 72/100

Fourth band up were New York post metal:

GUHTS (Give Us Hope Through Suffering)

The band describe themselves as: "Sludgy post-metal that simulates the eerie sensation of an evil crone whispering last rites."

The first time I saw them, I spent about half the set trying to figure it out and the last half feeling proud that I thought I had. After a CD and shirt purchase though, I realized I still had not really understood them yet.

This time though, I think I am ready for their odd “Don’t hear it, FEEL it kind of act.” Singer (Amber Burns) seldom touches the stage preferring to do her singing while wandering amongst the front of the crowd. Her voice is not quite singing and not quite screaming but it does have an eerie quality to it. The band (on the raised stage) thundered their almost Industrial style music both above and over Burns while she audibly emotes whatever it is she is singing about. I confess I’ve no idea. The only band I can think of that is something like what they do is Cult of Luna

Watching from the stage-front area, Johnny let Amber Burns come up and scream a verse at him. Afterwards he came up to me and asked, “Is she a witch?” “I’m actually not sure little dude.”

GUHTS is entrancing in their way, but I cannot really imagine when I would pull out White Noise (their latest full-length release) and actually play it. I think GUHTS might be a listen-on-your-own kind of music experience. It certainly is not going on the Beard's party playlist.

I will go 80/100 though because I think she might have scared Johnny a little.

Appearing fifth tonight, (and headlining stage two), were West Virginias occult rock band:


The Beard has seen these guys every so often since they first formed back in 2012. In fact, the only bumper sticker on my 2012 RAV-4 is Brimstone Coven, and I have two of them. It HAS been a few years though since I last saw them back in 2017. Since then, they have released two new albums The Woes of a Mortal Earth being the latest.

Brimstone Coven has the sound of a 1970’s band but rife with occult lyrics. A very “vintage” sound. Although they are not the same line-up I was drawn to originally, (changing singer, drummer and dropping from a four piece to a trio in 2017), Brimstone Coven has lost nothing of what initially made them appealing. The duel singing of Corey Roth and Andrew D’Cagna works on all the old tracks, as well as the new ones. When they launched into “The Grave” it was fantastic.

A fest leading (so far anyway) 93/100

After talking for a bit with Corey Roth, it was off to the main room at Café 611for Florida doomsters.


Florida is often considered the birthplace of the death metal sub-genre, although I am sure Possessed and the west coast might take issue with that claim. The point is it is nice to hear the sunshine state produce some good bluesy doom music.

Mixing blues, rock and stoner, Hollow Leg presents with a vibrant style reminiscent of Weedeater.

Scott Angelico’s’ vocals are angry, and the guitar tone is fuzzy, but they definitely gave the crowd energy, and the crowd did react, so I am going to say they did exactly what they were there to do. Plus, Johnny got to jump around and that made the little man incredibly happy. At one point he even waved his cap trying to get a circle pit and actually did get about six other guys to run in circles and slam for a little while. “Way to go little dude. I will be back here out of harm’s way.”

Hollow Leg may not have been “MY” particular thing, but they got a pit at a doomfest. Bravo gentlemen. The Beard is handing out 87/100

Seventh up tonight were perennial Doomfest performers.


I think Earthride may have been at every single Doomfest the Beard has attended, but never without the Lemmyesque whiskey burned voice of the Great Dave Sherman RIP. Remaining members, including Eric Little soldier on tonight with a tribute set with Hollow Leg vocalist Scott Angelacos at the helm. When "Vampire Circus" started, I had to look closer because that was a damn good impression of an almost unduplicatable voice. The crowd responded hot and off we went.

This was a good set, but personally The Beard was a bit wistful. Whether with Earthride each and every year, or the occasional Spirit Caravan set with Wino, a dose of Dave Sherman was always like getting one glass of the really good Scotch each year to enjoy, and this year, no discredit to Angelacos, as the set went on, I knew it wasn’t the really good Scotch this year.

Still, they played a hometown set the very best they could and as a tribute to Dave Sherman, respect must be accorded.


Headlining tonight’s day two are the remaining members of:


Fronted by bassist Ron Holzner and anchored by former Saint Vitus drummer Henry Vasquez. The tribute night continued as really all The Skull shows are now since the death in 2021 of vocalist and doom legend Eric Wagner.

Tonight, this was a show about remembering and remaining a family united under doom. The band worked hard but had fun too. Henry broke his drum kit about 45-seconds into song one and the vamping had to start while a replacement high-hat was found and swapped out. Despite the technical set-back, the crowd stayed hot throughout, and this was a good call by promoter and booker JB Matson to end night two with these guys who were, (and are), so much a part of doom music cannon and legend.

Calling it an 86/100

OK, time for your review team to head back to the hotel. Two days down, two more full days to go as the Maryland Doomfest rolls on.

Keep reading & watching The Mighty Decibel, and of course check out thebeard0728 on TikTok for videos of all the bands we cover or try #thebeardandlittlejohnny.

Until tomorrow night stay heavy


Horns Up!!!


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