The world may seem like a mess lately. Sometimes it can start to feel like an unavoidable bad luck is upon us all.
A great place to reflect on all of this is Maryland Doom Fest, which provides an outlet for the madness of the world by taking fate and erasing it with explosive hard rock and jagged metal riffs from a variety of national acts. and premises announced.
Although seemingly unbeknownst to most residents and visiting tourists, Frederick is a critical regional epicenter of doom metal.
Maryland Doom Fest founder and organizer JB Matson, who grew up in Wheaton and became close to Frederick at age 14, calls Maryland the capital of doom metal.
“It’s a mixing bowl of talented musicians and bands,” he said.
Frederick is home to doom metal related bands and venues and has hosted the Maryland Doom Fest for eight years. The festival draws hundreds of musicians and fans to downtown Frederick from all over the region each year.
Maryland Doom Fest 2022 will feature an epic roster of more than 50 bands with performances spanning four days and two locations — Cafe 611 and Olde Mother Brewing — June 23-26.
For the uninitiated, doom metal is a subgenre of heavy metal music that emerged in the 1980s and evolved from the sound of 1970s bands such as Black Sabbath and Pentagram. Doom generally has a slower tempo and heavier guitar sound than other heavy metal music.
Lyrically, the subject seems to be everywhere, though it’s pretty safe to say that someone, or something, in every song is, in fact, doomed. While the doom’s subject matter and slower tempos may convey an overall sense of desperation to the uninitiated, much of the music actually helps the listener transcend despair and fate. The genre features a wide variety of styles, from screaming vocals to lyrical vocals, and songs that are 7-minute psychedelic epics to die-hard hard rock bangers.
Doom Fest bands also bring other influences.
“Doom Fest’s musical genres are primarily doom metal, but also include stoner rock, psychedelic rock, and progressive heavy metal,” Matson said.
The event has grown since its inception in 2015, despite being canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic. Matson said the first festival was held at Cafe 611, the current main venue, and featured 25 bands. Each year the roster has grown in size and 2022 is the second year in a row that will feature 52 groups.
As well as adding bands in 2021, the festival added Olde Mother Brewing as a second venue, following the closure of Guido’s Speakeasy the same year, which had previously served as a secondary stage at Doom Fest.
This year, bands as diverse as the legendary Coven — whose 1971 hit “One Tin Soldier” was also the theme song to the movie “Billie Jack” — and longtime stalwarts of the ZED scene will perform Doom Fest. Frederick’s Coma Hole, Bone Church and Caustic Casanova will also be on the festival stage.
Interested fans can check out the Maryland Doom Fest playlist on Spotify to hear the bands perform at this year’s festival.
A full schedule of bands and stages, along with ticket and pass information, is available at marylanddoomfest.com. Day or full festival passes are available.
Band times are staggered, and since the two venues are across from each other, festival-goers can potentially see all 52 bands – a truly massive amount of metal.
“I can honestly say Maryland Doom Fest is the most affordable festival of its size,” Matson said.
Speaking of the work involved in organizing the annual festival, Matson said, “It’s easy for me. There are so many talented bands and they all seem eager to play Doom Fest. It’s my mission to expose these somewhat unknown but extremely talented bands by putting them on the same stage as the big, well-known headliners.
“Customer reviews say it all,” he continued. “It’s been four days of non-stop fantastic music, lots of hugs, friendships and good vibes. Zero drama. It’s exactly what a festival should be: festive.
Matson’s work with Maryland Doom Fest helped put Frederick on the map for nationally touring hard rock and metal bands, while helping to build and nurture a community of like-minded musicians and fans here.
Maryland Doom Fest has become one of the leading doom festivals in the United States. In addition to hosting legendary doom metal bands over the years (previous acts have included Karma to Burn, The Obsessed, and Pentagram), the festival has hosted unique band reunions, like Frederick’s Inner Void in 2016.
“I started this festival because I noticed that the doom scene in Maryland was starting to die out,” Matson recalled. “It’s a scene and a community that I love, and I feel like it’s thriving like never before.”