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And After The 3rd, Death Was Resurrected

The return of the Malta Deathfest

"The phrase 'The return was inevitable' was the cornerstone of my promotional post for the special edition of my radio show, Heatstrokes, which aired on Sunday, October 1st, with a repeat broadcast on Monday, October 2nd (for those who missed the radio broadcast, it's available for listening here). This sentiment was further affirmed by David Cachia, one of the festival's founders and organizers, during the same radio show. Interestingly, the idea to resurrect the festival had been brewing in his mind for several years. However, due to his extensive touring commitments with his band, Beheaded, and other obligations, both he and his partner in this venture, Frank Calleja, were unable to pursue this aspiration. This time around, they welcomed Rene Farrugia of Hades Events to join the organizing committee, helping to alleviate the challenges associated with staging such an event.

The third and final Malta Deathfest took place almost a decade ago, on September 6th and 7th, 2014. Since then, numerous developments have unfolded, not only in the realm of music. Setting aside the challenges of pandemics and conflicts, a few months ago, the individuals mentioned earlier convened and collectively decided that this year would mark the festival's return.

The event is set to take place at The Garage in just a few days, starting on October 6th and concluding on October 8th, with the final band scheduled to perform on Sunday, October 8th, at 10 pm.

This year's edition boasts an impressive lineup of fourteen bands, including three veteran acts deeply rooted in the local death metal scene and one of the most intriguing bands to emerge in the post-COVID era.

However, before delving into the band lineup, let's explore some essential festival details:

As previously mentioned, the festival will unfold at The Garage on October 6th, 7th, and 8th, with varying door opening times each day. On the first day, doors will open at 8 pm, with the first band hitting the stage just 30 minutes later. On Saturday, doors will open at 7 pm, and on Sunday, they will open at 4.30 pm. For both weekend days, live performances will commence approximately 30 minutes after the doors open.

For those interested in attending, 3 Day Tickets can be acquired from The Garage and Kickstart, with the option to purchase them at the door during the event. Meanwhile, 2 Day Tickets and 1 Day Tickets will only be available at the door. Ticket prices stand at 60€ for a 3-day ticket, 45€ for a 2-day ticket, and 25€ for a 1-day ticket. Additionally, a limited quantity of festival t-shirts were available via pre-order, and, as is customary for live events, merchandise from the bands will be available for purchase throughout the festival's duration.

The first band on stage for the fourth edition of the Malta Deathfest is Luciferi Regnum, Malta’s punch in the face to the dark lonely days we had to spend away from friends during those dreaded months of the pandemic. The band is a five piece female fronted extreme Gothic Metal with a pinch of melodic Black Metal who emerged on the scene circa February of last year, and their debut stage appearance happened during ‘The Advent Of Chaos’ on Friday 9th December 2022 a few weeks after releasing their debut single ‘Banshee’. At the moment the band are working on their debut demo / EP release.

Following the Maltese youngsters on Friday is Italian band Michael Khill. Formed in 2019 in Modena, Emilia-Romagna by Giacomo Donati on bass, Alessandro Cavazzuti drums, Davide Guidetti guitars and Alex Roveri on vocals the grindcore band released their debut EP titled Infierire Sul Malessere last January.

Third band for the first night is Coffin Birth whose core line-up hails from Italy and is made up of Hour of Penance (amongst others) bassist Marco Mastrobuono, Antropofagus and Beheaded drummer Davide Billia, Giulio Moschini on guitars (also a member of hour Of Penance) and Fleshgod Apocalypse guitarist Francesco Paoli. Completing this supergroup’s line-up on vocals one finds Malta’s own Frank Calleja, who fronts Beheaded and Slit locally. The band’s debut full length album ‘The Serpent Insignia’ was released on November 30th, 2018 on Time to Kill Records.

Headliners for the first day is an automatic choice, Hour Of Penance. The band was formed in Lazio in 1999 and boast a discography of 2 demos and 8 full length albums, the latest being ‘Misotheism’ released in 2019 on Agonia Records.

The second day opens with another Italian band who hails from Turin, Piedmont promising a crushing opening with their thrash death combination. Extinction formed in Lecce in 1995, but went on a hiatus two year later having only released a demo titled ‘Progress Regress’. They got back together in 2014, releasing their debut full length album ‘The Monarch Slaves’ 3 years later, followed by ‘The Apocalypse Mark’ in 2019. Their third and latest album was released last April on Punishment 18 Records and is titled ‘Cryogenesis’.

They shall be followed by Indecent Excision, another Italian outfit playing Brutal Death Metal. Formed in Bolzano in 2006 the band so far released 3 demos, 1 EP and two full length albums. The band started as a one-man band by Hannes Luridus, who enlisted Matteo Bazzanella on vocals in 2008 evolving in a four-piece band during the second decade of 2000’s.

Local Black Death Metal band Thy Legion were formed in 2004 with their debut full length album getting its release date 3 years later on 17th November 2007. Followed by another full length album Venerato Diaboli in 2010 and a split with local one man band Prayer of the Dying in a limited number white vinyl titled ‘Into the World's Oppression’. Their latest album was World Stigmata was released in March 2017.

Thy Legion are set to be followed by another Maltese band but not before the much awaiting growling competition takes place during change over. Brutal Death Metal band Abysmal torment were formed in 2000, or rather changed their name from Molested that year and releasing their debut EP Incised Wound Suicide in 2004. This was followed by four full length albums, namely Epoch of Methodic Carnage in 2006, Omnicide 2009, Cultivate the Apostate 2014 and The Misanthrope in 2018.

Headlining the second night is one of the most anticipated bands of the festival. Czech coregrinders Gutalax made a huge meteoric rise from their first appearance at Obscene Extreme in 2012, when only few people knew this quartet. 15 years and three albums later, the world is literally at their feet, and GUTALAX haven't moved an inch from their toiletries-lined path. As you all know, this is going to be a very danceable affair, a performance full of fun, the perfect blend for this double celebration.

Organisers have only a few hours to clean the debauchery before the doors for the third and final day are opened at 5.30 pm with Dutch outfit Putrefied Corpse start the day at 6pm. Formed in Enschede in 2013 the band released their debut on the 19th of March 2019. Titled Left To Rot it was released on Xtreem Music.

Hailing from Steenwijk, practically neighbors with Putrefied Corpse, the second band of the day formed in 2010, and are called Abrupt Demise who released Aborted from Life EP in 2013 followed by Mutual Mutilation Demo 2016 and their debut full length album The Pleasure to Kill and Grind in 2020.

Cumbria based death metal band Repulsive Vision follows displaying music from their 2 full length albums, Look Past The Gore and See the Art released in 2017 and Necrovictology which was released in 2020. Also part of the band’s discography we find their debut EP Severed Alive (2012) and Six Feet Under Classics split alongside Necrosexual, Truck Flag and Mad Cow.

Repulsive Vision are to be followed by the fourth Maltese band of the festival. Bound to Prevail were formed in 2014, releasing a self-titled debut demo in 2016 and the Omen of Iniquity EP one year later. Their set will unfortunately bring us to the last band of the festival, headliners Severe Torture.

Another band from the Netherlands, Severe Torture formed in Boxtel in 1997. One of the most long going bands of the festival they can boast twelve releases composed of a demo, 2 splits, 2 Eps, 2 compliations and 5 full length albums, with their latest release being that from 10th June 2002 titled Fisting the Sockets EP.

Separately from the bands’ merchandise during the three days of the festival Rising Nemesis Records shall hold a stall for the delight of record collectors with a wild selection of vinyls, cds and t shirts.

2023 is a year of many faces, but it shall surely be mostly remembered for the return of the Malta Deathfest. See you all there!

More information about the festival can be found on the event Facebook page.

Heatstrokes special Malta Deathfest can be streamed here

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