Just got back from Baltimore, and boy, are my eardrums tired! Over three days of an expertly curated (mostly) heavy music lineup, I took over 450 pictures of almost 20 bands. I’ll be posting some of the best ones this week, starting with Friday’s festival warmup gig featuring Blood Mist, Heavy Temple, Cough, Acid King and Slough Feg.

As soon as I saw the lineup announcement, I knew there was no doot aboot it–I was definitely taking Friday off to attend the preshow. You’ve got the always-heavy-as-fuck Acid King in a semi-occasional U.S. performance, classic metal heroes Slough Feg, who I’d never seen before, and a killer one-two punch from Richmond, VA in Cough and Inter Arma. (It wasn’t until the last minute we found out Inter Arma had dropped off the bill.) Plus, I hear there’s some great seafood ’round these parts–so talk about a no-brainer!

The one band I wasn’t previously familiar with this evening was Blood Mist, a traditional/epic doom outfit from Baltimore named after a Magic card, whose singer was rocking the robes a la Messiah Marcolin. It was nice to see some new blood represented from the vaunted Maryland doom scene, and these guys delivered a solid opening set.

“YOU ARE BE-WEEE-ITCHED!” (They actually do have a song called “Bong Witch.”)

So, Heavy Temple made the two-hour trek from Philadelphia as a last-minute replacement for Inter Arma. Personally, I hadn’t heard the outfit described as “Philly’s Best Doom Band” before (although, for my money’s worth, that title belongs to Crypt Sermon), but they certainly weren’t bad. I was still disappointed that they weren’t Inter Arma, though–not sure what happened there.

Cough pretty much stole the show on Friday. Twas my first time seeing these Virginia sludge-dusters, and they definitely didn’t disappoint! Their vocals sounded cleaner live than on record, and they managed to make up for a bass-heavy mix by turning their guitars that much louder. A very solid 50-minute set made them a tough act to follow…

Now, I have actually seen Acid King three times in just over a year, and I hate to say it, but this was the worst set I heard. Although the bass was way too loud for three out of five bands, I think it hurt Acid King the most, as Lori S’s sizzling leads were strangled by all the heavy clanging. Fortunately, Friday night’s sound guy did not work the two official days of the festival–and the guy who did was a total pro.

Now, I am certainly familiar with the legend of The Lord Weird Slough Feg. As a matter of fact, their demo compilation The Slay Stack Grows was one of the very first albums I reviewed for this site. (Can’t remember the last time I listened to it, though.) They might not be something I listen to on a regular basis, but I was excited to see them headlining this pre-show, and their galloping, up-tempo true metal offered a jolt of energy well into the wee hours.

Seahawks/Stamps/Flames/Zags/Jays/Raptors fan and lifelong metal head with a beer gut and a self-deprecating sense of humour. Reviewer/blogger (Yon Senior Doomsayer) for