Disemboweled God Fest 2024

Dates: March 28, 2024– March 31, 2024

Seattle’s Michael Freiberger (owner of Satanik Royalty Records and director/booker for Disemboweled God Fest) pulled off an incredible feat for the second consecutive year: packing an intimate venue with top-notch national and regional purveyors of death metal to celebrate the genre in all its glorious forms. For three days, not to mention a fantastic pre-party show (featuring Abiosis, Dipygus, Anthropophagous, and locals Horse Butcher), the experience was amazing. As Frei stated, “The energy of a packed room all celebrating death metal can’t be matched. Every single band killed. Everyone who came raged.” Here’s a rundown and some highlights of Disemboweled God Fest 2024. 

DROUTH. Photo: John Donovan Malley

Each night began with a first-rate band from the host city, Seattle. Night One saw the three-piece Noroth crank out a tight set of intense Bolt Thrower/Morbid Angel-inspired OSDM death metal – a perfect opening salvo for the fest. Piss Baptism took the evening to another, more secretion-drenched level with their particular brand of deathgrind from Sacremento. The two-piece was one of the most memorable of the festival from my skewed perspective. Next up was a one-two punch from Portland, with Coffin Rot providing disgusting Autopsy-style madness only to be followed by the intensity that is Drouth, a blackened death band worth keeping an eye on. Freiberger jumped on stage with Drouth to perform a ripping version of ‘Terminal Spirit Disease’ at the tail-end of their set. Coffin Rot and Drouth are prime examples of the strength of the Pacific Northwest extreme music scene in general and Portland, OR, in particular. An intense set by the Florida death-doom masters Druid Lord capped off the night. Emphasizing material from their 2022 masterpiece Relics of the Dead, Tony Blakk and crew delivered the perfect end to an excellent first night, with everyone banging their heads to songs such as ‘Black Candle Seance,’ from Grotesque Offerings.

DRUID LORD. Photo: John Donovan Malley

Day Two of the fest was particularly awesome, headlined by my favourite band from the Pacific Northwest, the mighty Mortiferum. But that’s getting ahead of things. The evening was started by Re-Buried, whose 2023 release, Repulsive Nature, has drawn justifiable praise for its ability to pay homage to OSDM predecessors while pushing the genre forward in novel ways. Sacramento’s Deiphage provided a merciless dose of top-notch bestial black metal, pushing the crowd to an increasing frenzy. From there, Arizona’s highly praised Thra essentially sucker-punched everyone at an existential level with their incredible blend of sludge, doom, and death metal. This band blew my mind the first time I saw them live at Northwest Terror Fest in 2023, and Freiberger made an excellent choice to bring them back to Seattle for this fest.

CIVEROUS. Photo: John Donovan Malley

The final two bands of the night took things to an entire other level. Civerous, hailing from Los Angeles, graced the sold-out crowd with the first-ever live performance of their new album, Mazy Envy, in its entirety. The album, out now on 20 Buck Spin, has received numerous positive reviews and is an excellent example of melding atmospherics and dynamic variations with raw brutality. What’s more, vocalist Lord Foul plunged himself into the pit several times during the set, bringing the frenetic nature of the music to life as he slammed into those in attendance. The night ended with a crushing set by the regional masters of death-doom, Mortiferum. Seeing a band that’s toured the world, playing huge festivals in Europe and America, in a small venue is truly special. Max Bowman and company were in full form, and I was surprised the venue was left standing after all the mayhem unleashed by all in attendance.

MORTIFERUM. Photo: John Donovan Malley

The grindviolence 2-piece Bummer got the final night off to a rousing start. Even more mind-bending was that their drummer, Jim Wright, who plays at an almost hypersonic pace, also played for the next band. Disease is arguably the best grindcore band in the Pacific Northwest currently, and their performance this night proved why. Their set was angry, ugly, and unrelenting. Lord Foul, the vocalist from Civerous, made a return for Day Three with the band Karst. This Los Angeles-based five-piece creates crust-infused death doom that kicks ass. Speaking of kicking ass, the next band, Portland’s Tithe, proceeded to warp the minds of all in attendance. Tithe creates powerful cross-genre material with excellent riffs and thought-provoking lyrics of vocalist and guitarist Matt Eiseman. Experiencing the song ‘Inverse Rapture’ live was one of the festival’s best moments for me.

DRAWN AND QUARTERED. Photo: John Donovan Malley

The concluding band of the entire fest was the legendary Drawn and Quartered. This band has almost singlehandedly kept the flame of death metal alive in Seattle, through thick and thin, since the early 1990s. Led by the insane riffs and lead work of guitarist Kelly Kuciemba, the four-piece demonstrated complete mastery of their craft. The incredible duo of Simon Dorfman (drums) and Herb Burke (bass/vocals) are at the band’s backbone. The line-up is rounded out by its newest member, Brandon Corsair, on guitar, who brings great energy to their live show and is himself a stalwart of the regional metal scene. The set featured material from each of their eight full-length releases. For nearly 30 years, Drawn and Quartered have held the banner high for death metal in the Pacific Northwest, and they were the perfect ending to an incredible experience. 

DRAWN AND QUARTERED. Photo: John Donovan Malley

Stumbling out into the cool Seattle air to enjoy one last joint with friends, I was approached by Lord Foul from Civerous and Karst. “Dude, the Seattle scene is off the hook. I can’t get over the support for underground extreme metal up here.” You’ll get no disagreement from me. Killer people making killer music. Killer people helping each other out, showing up to each other’s shows, and screaming at the top of their lungs in appreciation of truly great bands. Disemboweled God Fest simultaneously draws on that awesomeness and works to reinforce and grow it. As Frei himself put it, “The fest was pure magic.” Do yourself a favour and follow Satanik Royalty Records and Disemboweled God Fest to see what next year’s activities will be like. Teasing the future, Frei stated, “I am looking forward to next year’s fest and already have a good idea of most of the bands. I don’t want to give too much away, but I will say that Grave Infestation from Canada as well as a couple of other Canadian bands will be on the line-up next year” Here’s to an awesome 2024, and I can’t wait for what’s up next with Disemboweled God Fest and Satanik Royalty Records.

MORTIFERUM. Photo: John Donovan Malley

 

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