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(Live Review) MARYLAND DOOMFEST 2023 (Day 3) - Maryland (6/24/23)

By The Beard & Little Johnny

Day three of the Mighty Maryland Doomfest 2023 is upon us.

As your hosts (The reviewing team of The Beard and Little Johnny) get ready for event #30 and bands number 145-154 of our Reviews Never Stop Tour 2023, we are discussing meals for the day.

Now admittedly I have cajoled, tricked, and led the lad into three days of seafood fare. Well, today he did put his little foot down and insisted on burgers. So, we are hitting the 50/50 burger where Johnny is having a fried peanut butter and sweet pickles cheeseburger. I asked him if he was pregnant and he paused between bites to say, “Nope, just hungry.”

You go little dude!

The Beard is content with an old-fashioned (like the Beard himself), burger having caramelized onions, bourbon-soaked molasses jam, candied jalapenos, and white cheese.

Bellies full, we set about beginning our long nine hours of doom metal reviews.

On tap today/night we intended to see:

Sky King


Grim Reefer (love the name)

Future Projektor



Lo Pan

Shadow Witch

A long but heavy day awaited.

First up were the Delaware rockers:


With four releases, including 2022’s Ghost of War, Sky King was an experienced three piece with a traditional doom sound. They had a little Wasted Theory sound to them. The vocals were clear, guitar tone was nice for doom and the drumming was solid.

No issues with the first set, and as Johnny is busy trying to lick all the peanut butter from the burger off the roof of his mouth, he offered no real opinion here, so the Beard is going 82/100 out of the gate.

Note: the openers each day have been solid. Nothing weak out of the blocks thus far. The mark of a well booked festival. Make them want to be there for ALL the bands. Excellent job by promoter JB Matson.

Second on the stage for super Saturday were blackened sludge from Baltimore:


Doomvvich as it turned out, was a one-man act. Guitar in the low end (almost Sunno)) dronish range), but a voice that had a bit of a Candlemass feel to it. Now, surprisingly the Beard loves both Sunno))) & Candlemass, but he was NOT loving this. I am giving Doomvvich a few more minutes.

Okay after another few minutes, the Beard determined this solo act was not for him, so, the first audible of the weekend was called and we headed over to Cafe 611. Because, as I previously said, just because I did not care for it does not mean it was not good, I am allotting Doomvvich a.


Cafe 611 had on stage from Delaware:


Cobra Whip were straight ahead speedy doom/stoner style. Honestly more entertaining, and I enjoyed that at the end of every number the singer would say, “Thank you very fucking much.” Channeling profane Doom Elvis.

Throwing out an 82/100 for Cobra Whip.

Sticking with our audible movement of venues, we are going to stay at Cafe 611 and catch Baltimore blues/doomsters:


This was like stoner meets heavy blues. RC Walker could play great blues/metal leads and the songs were groove filled. Johnny did his not quite rubber man shake to these guys. That is always entertaining.

A high hat difficulty cut the set short by causing a 5-10 minute delay, (High hats were cursed at Café 611 apparently), and vocally it was nothing stellar, but in the last couple weeks, The Beard has been at both the Aurora and Chicago big time Blues festivals and I can say that even including all of those famous lifer Bluesmen, RC Walker’s guitar solo work was one of the top three I have heard this entire year. Even with the technical snafus, that guitar work earns Atomic Motel an 88/100. That guy deserved a handshake and a thank you after delivering that set for us. (Side note: A shout out to Chuck Baker III for recommending I not miss Atomic Motel. The Beard owes you a cold one brother.)

Fifth up were Virginia instrumental doom artists:


This three-piece act played all instrumental tracks with a “projector” showing backgrounds of waves, mushrooms and or trippy space scenes. It seemed like what Pink Floyd might have been doing in 1968.

A nice psychedelic pallet cleanser for the midway point. Johnny enjoyed them, but then told me he was getting a little hungry watching them and maybe we should go back across to Olde Mother for some Rings and Fries. Granting Future Projektor an 86/100 and off we go again.

We headed back across the road to Olde Mother Brewery, got Johnny his onion rings, and settled in to catch New Hampshire artists:


Our sixth act of super Saturday were touring behind their latest release One Last Look Upon the Sky.

Dust Prophet has improved quite a bit since last year. Sarah Wappler is quietly excellent on bass. I was put in mind of how some of the greatest, like John Paul Jones or John Entwistle, were outstanding with minimal movement. Wappler is like that. The jumping around histrionics of vocalist Otto Kinzel is still wild and crazy, (and delighted Johnny to no end), but it doesn’t detract from the songs.

When Dust Prophet do slow it down, the groove is nice. In fact, the only detractor for me is the abrasive voice. The songs about serial killers were ones I actually wanted the lyrics to as they were intriguing, but I could not follow along with that voice. It is just not for me. Overall, Dust Prophet are stronger, tighter, and better than they were a year ago and sometimes the set just wins me over. This was one of those times.

Surprising myself, and going 87/100. Then, buying a CD and asking Sarah Wappler for a picture which she was extremely gracious enough to allow. Interestingly enough, she looked fresh as a daisy after the set, and I looked like I had run across a football field to get into the picture. Still, I always appreciate artists allowing photos. They are NOT obligated, and they always deserve a thank you when the acquis.

Seventh up tonight and headlining the second stage were Baltimore’s:


The Beard has not seen Mangog since 2016 when they opened day three of that Maryland Doomfest. I found the picture from seven years ago and the caption read, “These guys shouldn’t be opening they are mid-card.” Turns out unbeknownst to the younger Beard, THAT 2016 gig was their first live show. Now, seven years and over a hundred live performances later, Mangog are back to headline this same festival. The Beard loves a happy ending. Shut up Johnny!

Mangog are less straight-ahead doom then at that first show, and more like gospel doom, only instead of a preacher it is coming from a zealot screaming about the apocalypse. They have more than a bit of darkness rolling around in their ball of molten metal. It was not exactly what I expected, but it was interesting, and they ended with two of the songs from their very first EP that they played back in 2016. Nice nod to nostalgia.


Eighth up, and we found ourselves back at the main stage to catch the end of the MYTHOSPHERE set.

Mythosphere is the supergroup formed by members of Beelzefuzz and Pale Divine. Two of the best to ever play this fest, (in the Beards humble opinion anyway). That Beelzefuzz groove mixed with the Pale Divine clarity of lyric was outstanding and the crowd was so absolutely thick and full that all the Beard could do was record from the back so people not there could at least HEAR how good they were.

I did not want to grade them on just a half set, but the 20 minutes I heard was stellar. It is tough NOT to throw them an 89/100 just for being amazing so that is what I am doing.

Ninth up today were Ohio’s own stoner groove band:


While waiting for the band changeover, I got to meet another person who asked me where Little Johnny was. I admit, I am starting to really enjoy that. Several people actually recognized The Beard. Generally Little Johnny gets all the spotlight.

The evening was about to get even better though when the Wizard Priest himself Mr. Earl Walker Lundy came up, shook my hand, and generously posed in yet another picture where the star looked like a star, and I looked like a goofy smiling sack of potatoes. Clearly there is a reason I write, and THEY get up on stage. I am, however, always appreciative when the stars are just regular people. LOL, I must be a “Metal lifer” thinking the high priest of Shadow Witch is “regular people.”

Back to the show, when Lo-pan gets into their jam mode, they really kill it live. Some bands are simply on another level when they play live, and Lo-Pan fits that bill. Everyone tears it up on stage and sometimes it just seems like they are creating it right then and there. It seems “that” spontaneous, and that makes it a party for everyone. The crowd loved them tonight and so did The Beard and Little Johnny both.

Granting a solid 89/100

Headliners tonight, and tenth band of the day, are the New York legends SHADOW WITCH with their hippie guru barefoot monk vocalist.

Last year Shadow Witch was a tough set for The Beard because it was the very first time Little Johnny had ever seen them. Readers, vocalist Earl Lundy CAN be quite hypnotic as he dances around the stage barefoot in his robe and last year Johnny became so entranced, he gave him his shoes and his wallet. Earl graciously returned the wallet, but we never did find those shoes.

This year, the Beard is better prepared. First, I took Johnny’s wallet already for safekeeping.

Second, we had a talk. I asked him, “Johnny. How many shoes are you wearing RIGHT now?” Little guy looked down and said “uh...two.” “Good. Now, at the end of this set, you had better STILL have two. Are we clear?” He nodded, so there was hope we were going to get through this.

Shadow Witch are like a trippy Graveyard. They mix stoner, metal, and 70’s, 80’s rock to form something absolutely unique to them, but somehow it also feels absolutely familiar at the same time. It is like a smell you cannot entirely identify but it reminds you of something you know you really like.

Lundy steps around the stage like Pan through the forest. In all my years and probably six times seeing them, he never seems to cut or impale himself on anything that is on the stage. Clearly his Gods protect him. Once again, He WAS hypnotic and when he is in his groove, even the Beard has a tough time looking away. Man, I hope Johnny still has his shoes for the walk home.

Shadow Witch gave a leading set and yes, with respect to many other really good bands today, they deserved the headlining spot. The Beard is cracking a cold one and awarding them today’s only 90/100.

Finally, after 10 bands and ten hours, Super Saturday came to a close. I gathered Little Johnny (who was fortunately still in both his shoes), said a thank you to promoter JB Matson for quite the excellent Saturday event and weekend thus far, and headed for the door and the hike back to the hotel.

Three days down and one to go. (Ed: Check in tomorrow for the Day 4 review!)

Be sure to continue following along on our host site The Mighty Decibel and our TikTok page Thebeard0728 or #thebeardandlittlejohnny.

Until next time

Stay Heavy


Horns up


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