Posted in Reviews on March 16th, 2017 by JJ Koczan
Not going to attempt any impartiality when it comes to this release, and I’m starting to think anyone who does is approaching it wrong. Amsterdam-based Death Alley — somehow heading toward veteran status despite having only one record out in their 2015 Tee Pee Records debut, Black Magick Boogieland (review here) — aren’t trying to invoke impartiality. Just the opposite. The four-piece want to charge on a primal level and they want to charge outward from there into reaches unknown to player or listener alike. To be unaffected by that seems like an immediately incorrect starting point.
I was at the Green Room of the 013 Poppodium to see them perform the set last April (review here) that Astrosoniq drummer Marcel van de Vondervoort and his team captured and is seeing release as Live at Roadburn through Tee Pee and Suburban Records, and I watched as Death Alley — then the lineup of vocalist Douwe Truijens, guitarist/backing vocalist Oeds Beydals, bassist/backing vocalist Dennis Duijnhouwer and drummer Ming Boyer (the latter of whom has since left the band) — brought Ron van Herpen and Jevin de Groot onto the stage with them to share in the expanses they were creating. Also a member of Astrosoniq, van Herpen is a former bandmate of Beydals‘ in crucial cult rockers The Devil’s Blood, while de Groot was a member of the vastly underrated cosmic doom outfit Mühr alongside Duijnhouwer, so not at all strangers to each other. Friends. It was billed as Death Alley & Friends, and that’s exactly what it was in spirit as well as the plain reality of circumstance. By the time they got through the clarion set-opener “It’s On,” everyone in the room seemed to have been handed an invitation to be included in that as well. Death Alley and about 700 new and old friends.
Live at Roadburn only has four tracks — “It’s On,” “666666,” “Feeding the Lions” and “Supernatural Predator” — but it’s full-LP length at 45 minutes. The entirety of side B is dedicated to “Supernatural Predator,” which is drawn out from its already substantial 12-minute push on Black Magick Boogieland to a galaxial 22 minutes, a hypnotic and immersive jam taking hold that, having watched and heard it happen, hit like welcoming waves of soulful tone that seemed at once forward looking and an inherent homage to former The Devil’s Blood spearhead Selim Lemouchi, who took his own life in 2014 leaving a chasm in the Netherlands heavy underground. His sister and The Devil’s Blood vocalist, Farida Lemouchi, guests on the studio version of the track, but on Live at Roadburn, Death Alley, van Herpen and de Groot sing her part as a full Hawkwindian chorus of “ahhs” to righteous effect, culminating a build that seems to have started with the motoring thrust of “It’s On” and continued into the mega-guitar vibes of “666666” and the more classically styled “Feeding the Lions.”
Though the name comes across like a toss-off because there were six players on stage — in shows they’ve done since with this expanded lineup, they’ve used the moniker Death Alley 6 — “666666” is a key moment in the set. I don’t know if the set as a whole has been edited to fit on a single platter; my sense is it has but I wouldn’t guess how. Nonetheless, “666666” is the point of departure from which Death Alley take flight for the rest of their time on stage. It happens at about three and a half minutes in when, over a Butlerian bassline, the guitars begin to soar toward a linear apex that pays off in lockstep harmonized runs nearly four minutes later for a gorgeous and cohesive effect. It must have been worked out ahead of time to some degree — I don’t play guitar, but improv harmonies don’t seem like the kind of thing that happen often — but the feeling of warmth and spontaneity conveyed in that jam is a defining moment for Live at Roadburn as a whole, however long and however grand the finale might be.
“Feeding the Lions” picks up from there with bass and drums setting a tense tone amid initial wah swirl from the guitar, and though the vibe stays spacey, Truijens reassumes the fore as vocalist and his charisma and classic frontman strut is no less a part of making the mid-paced piece a standout than the depth of the instrumental progression playing out behind him. By this point, Death Alley are in utter command of the room and their sound, and they hint just past the midpoint at some Floyd-style theatrical weirdness to come but hold to a sense of structure all the same and purposefully so for where they’re about to head on “Supernatural Predator.” A short guitar solo circa 5:40 makes me wish it went longer, but “Feeding the Lions” ends in a wash of cymbals and wah as Truijens thanks the crowd and van Herpen and de Groot and Duijnhouwer thanks Roadburn organizer Walter Hoeijmakers, and then the quiet intro of “Supernatural Predator” starts, its sleek intertwining of guitar and bass — willfully restrained in comparison to what follows — an immediate signifier of arrival for the group and everyone in the room.
Once it bursts out, “Supernatural Predator” makes a resounding argument for rock and roll as means of attaining spiritual freedom, and its extra time is triumphantly spent in its already-noted jam, which rounds out by first teasing a turn back to the song itself and then actually making one, so that as far out as Death Alley (and friends) have gone, they finish clear-headed and give the audience a sense of the complete experience. This not only underscores the value of their songwriting, but also of the maturity the band has been able to hone over just a few short years. As they move away from Black Magick Boogieland toward an inevitable sophomore full-length, Death Alley seem poised to establish themselves in a major way, and to make a definitive statement of who they are as a group. Live at Roadburn shows in its blend of forward rhythmic drive and cosmic psychedelia just how multifaceted that statement can potentially be, and highlights the reasons why Death Alley are one of the most exciting and affecting bands in the worldwide heavy underground. Not an impartial statement, but yes, I mean that.
Posted in audiObelisk on September 26th, 2016 by JJ Koczan
Always one of life’s great pleasures to revisit Roadburn via the subsequent audio streams that emerge from each edition of the Netherlands-based megafest/underground gathering. I’ll admit that most of these acts I didn’t see at Roadburn 2016, but that hardly lessens the appeal at all. If anything, it gives me a chance to hear some stuff I missed like Pittsburgh natives Carousel — whose unceremonious breakup earlier this month was both a surprise and a bummer — playing a set with Alejandro Necochea of Tee Pee labelmates Worshipper filling in on guitar, or Green Carnation, whose adventurous progressive death metal was an unexpected addition and a callback to earlier days.
Of this round though, I did manage to catch Zone Six playing at the Cul de Sac, the second-smallest room at Roadburn 2016 behind Extase. They played late on the first night of the fest (review here) and were a psychedelic joy to behold, with Sula Bassana on drums and synth and Komet Lulu on bass and Rainer Neeff playing guitar. It was an immediately different personality than one might get from seeing Electric Moon, in which Sula and Lulu also play (the former on guitar/synth), but immersive and gloriously spaced out. Goes without saying I recommend you check out all this stuff, but that one for sure, speaking as someone who was there to see it. I’ve been hoping they press it to disc.
Pretty wide gamut covered here as well, so there should be something for everyone:
Carousel – Live at Roadburn 2016
Crumbling Ghost – Live at Roadburn 2016
Green Carnation – Live at Roadburn 2016
Russel Haswell – Live at Roadburn 2016
Lugubrum Trio – Live at Roadburn 2016
Nibiru- Live at Roadburn 2016
Night Viper – Live at Roadburn 2016
Zone Six – Live at Roadburn 2016
Thanks as ever to Walter for letting me host the streams, as I am perpetually honored to do. To hear the first batch of Roadburn 2016 audio streams, click here, to hear the second one, click here, to hear the third one, click here, to hear the third one, click here, the fourth one, click here, and for all of this site’s coverage of Roadburn 2016, click here.
Posted in audiObelisk on August 11th, 2016 by JJ Koczan
Sad as I was to miss Galley Beggar at Roadburn this year, I was just as thrilled to watch Black Moon Circle play later in the evening on Day Two (review here). The Norwegian outfit had made it to Tilburg supporting their third album, Sea of Clouds, and when the weekend was over, they’d be a highlight of the newest stage at the fest, making its first appearance as a part of Roadburn 2016, the Extase.
Actually, the Extase is a venue down the way from the 013 proper, which is still kind of home-base for Roadburn as the events tendrils spread outward into Tilburg. But it’s a small club. Reminds me of places in Manhattan and Brooklyn — it’s smaller than the Saint Vitus Bar, for example, especially in back where the bands are — and was suitably dark, but of course the shows there were top notch anyway. Black Moon Circle were joined onstage by Scott “Dr. Space” Heller, soon to be formerly of Øresund Space Collective, and his journeyman synth was a welcome addition to their already fervent swirl.
Their set is streaming in full below, as well as Galley Beggar‘s and full sets from Usnea, La Muerte, Dead to a Dying World, Inverloch and Kontinuum. Whether you were in the room when any of this was happening or not, please feel free to dig in and enjoy:
Black Moon Circle – Live at Roadburn 2016
Dead to a Dying World – Live at Roadburn 2016
Galley Beggar – Live at Roadburn 2016
Inverloch – Live at Roadburn 2016
Kontinuum – Live at Roadburn 2016
La Muerte – Live at Roadburn 2016
Usnea – Live at Roadburn 2016
Thanks as ever to Walter for letting me host the streams. To hear the first batch of Roadburn 2016 audio streams, click here, to hear the second one, click here, to hear the third one, click here, to hear the third one, click here, and for all of this site’s coverage of Roadburn 2016, click here.
I was fortunate enough to catch a few of these bands at Roadburn 2016, among them Hills, Blind Idiot God and Peter Pan Speedrock (seen above). As an American traveling abroad — though I’ll say that eight Roadburns deep, there’s a big part of me that feels like going to Tilburg in April is a homecoming as much as foreign travel — it was particularly thrilling to watch Dutch natives Peter Pan Speedrock round out my second night of the fest (review here), their boot-to-the-ass thrust seeming to be in direct contradiction to their stated intent to retire. From Sweden, Hills‘ jammy psychedelics were also thoroughly welcome and somewhat less performative than Goat, which is made up in some measure or other of the same players.
And what to say about Blind Idiot God? Performance art. I might liken it to the first time I saw Cynic after they got back together in that the New York trio were so utterly assured of what they were doing that they managed to carry the audience in the revamped Green Room along their bizarre, oddly-timed path. It was jazz with metallic arrangement, essentially, but the people in front of the stage to see it were rapt the entire time and the level of appreciation was palpable and well justified. They were nothing short of incredible.
Of course, the same could be said for Roadburn 2016 as a whole. “Incredible” is just kind of how it goes. This latest round of streams also featured Behold! the Monolith, Blood Ceremony, a solo set from CHVE of Amenra and Of the Wand and the Moon.
Behold! the Monolith – Live at Roadburn 2016
Blind Idiot God – Live at Roadburn 2016
Blood Ceremony – Live at Roadburn 2016
CHVE – VERMAPYRE – Live at Roadburn 2016
Hills – Live at Roadburn 2016
Of The Wand and The Moon – Live at Roadburn 2016
Peter Pan Speedrock – Live at Roadburn 2016
Thanks as ever to Walter for letting me host the streams. To hear the first batch of Roadburn 2016 audio streams, click here, to hear the second one, click here, to hear the third one, click here, and for all of this site’s coverage of Roadburn 2016, click here.
This invariably happens every year. I’ll grant that the audio streams from Roadburn 2016 seem especially quick in arriving — the last batch was only 10 days ago — but at some point every year there’s a round during which the majority of the bands are ones that I didn’t see. The catchphrase here is “Roadburn means hard choices.” You can’t be everywhere at once, and usually my agenda involves trying to focus on things I’ve never seen before and might not again. Fortunately there’s always plenty of that to go around.
Out of the seven bands included in this third batch of Roadburn 2016 streaming full sets, I only caught one band, and that was CHRCH. Frankly, if it was only going to be one, I’m glad it was them. The West Coast extreme doom powerhouse made their debut through Battleground Records in 2015 with Unanswered Hymns (review here) and received due praise for their efforts, and they were among my most gotta-see bands for this year’s fest, playing in the smallest venue, Extase, around the corner from the 013 proper. They packed that room out through the hallway and just about out the door and closed out my first night of Roadburn 2016 with resonant, swirling darkness that I’m glad to have the chance to revisit.
And of course, getting to hear some of what I missed elsewhere is always part of the fun of hosting these streams, so if you need me, I’ll be digging in. I hope you’ll enjoy doing the same.
Much audio follows:
Bliksem – Live at Roadburn 2016
Chaos Echoes – Live at Roadburn 2016 (Transient in its entirety)
CHRCH – Live at Roadburn 2016
Hell – Live at Roadburn 2016
Naðra – Live at Roadburn 2016
Daniel Payne – Live at Roadburn 2016
Yodok III – Live at Roadburn 2016
Gratitude as always to Walter for letting me host the streams. To hear the first batch of Roadburn 2016 audio streams, click here, to hear the second one, click here, and for all of this site’s coverage of Roadburn 2016, click here.
As always with these Roadburn streams, some of this stuff I got to see and some of it I didn’t. I’ve said many times and I stand by it: Roadburn means hard choices. Do I watch an American act make a triumphant European debut or go see a local Dutch band I’ll probably never have the chance to watch again. Once-or-twice-in-a-lifetime black metal or another psychedelic jam session? These are hard choices I’m fortunate to be making, and you certainly won’t find me complain about making them, but they’re hard choices all the same.
Roadburn 2016 had a few can’t-miss acts for me though, and two of them are represented here in this latest batch of audio streams in Buried at Sea and Hexvessel. The reasoning behind the former should be obvious to anyone who’s experienced their tonal (and total) doom onslaught either live or on record, and as for Hexvessel, I was curious to find out how they’d bring their new album to life while also doing justice to their last two, executed in a different style. As you can hear in the below, it wasn’t an issue.
I didn’t get to watch them, but I also heard that Beastmaker, Full of Hell and Iceland’s Misþyrming killed, and this round also features Epitaph, Hair of the Dog and Hangman’s Chair, all recorded and mixed by Marcel van de Vondervoort and his team from Torture Garden Studio.
Beastmaker – Live at Roadburn 2016
Buried at Sea – Live at Roadburn 2016
Epitaph – Live at Roadburn 2016
Full of Hell – Live at Roadburn 2016
Hair of The Dog – Live at Roadburn 2016
Hangman’s Chair – Live at Roadburn 2016
Hexvessel – Live at Roadburn 2016
Misþyrming – Live at Roadburn 2016 (Söngvar elds og óreiðu in its entirety)
Special thanks as always to Walter for letting me host the streams. To hear the first batch of Roadburn 2016 audio streams, click here, and for all of this site’s coverage of Roadburn 2016, click here.
Some good shit here. I was bummed to miss Atomikylä and Oranssi Pazuzu both at Roadburn 2016, but having caught the likes of Brothers of the Sonic Cloth, The Skull, Bang, Tau Cross and Repulsion, it’s not like you’re going to find me complaining. Even less so now, since though we’re not yet a month out from when the festival actually took place in its home of Tilburg, the Netherlands, the first round of the traditional audio streams have arrived. All of the above mentioned are included, as well as Sinistro, Dark Buddha Rising and Abyssion, making it a pretty succinct summary of the breadth of the fest as a whole, from warm-toned classic rock to raging grind and black metal to the dreariest depths of doom. Yup, that about covers it.
As always, these streams were captured by Marcel van de Vondervoort — who also played this year with Astrosoniq; can’t wait till their set gets posted — and I’m thrilled to host them both for the memories they bring back and for the chance to hear stuff I didn’t get to see. I don’t mind telling you and I don’t think I’m giving away any state secrets when I say it was a hard transition back to real life this year, so to have a bit of escapism in the form of these sets is most welcome.
I hope you also enjoy digging in:
Abyssion – Live at Roadburn 2016
Atomikyla – Live at Roadburn 2016
Bang – Live at Roadburn 2016
Brothers of the Sonic Cloth – Live at Roadburn 2016
Dark Buddha Rising – Live at Roadburn 2016
Oranssi Pazuzu – Live at Roadburn 2016
Repulsion – Live at Roadburn 2016
Tau Cross – Live at Roadburn 2016
Sinistro – Live at Roadburn 2016
The Skull – Live at Roadburn 2016 (Thursday, April 14)
The Skull – Live at Roadburn 2016 (Friday, April 15 – playing Trouble’s Psalm 9 in its entirety)
Special thanks as always to Walter for letting me host the streams. For all of this site’s coverage of Roadburn 2016, click here.
More than any other Roadburn in recent memory, this one has gone quickly. It never quite drags, but Roadburn 2016 has been a sleepless blur of tonal impact, furious creativity and walks down 013 corridors that on Thursday were strange and new and by today were as though nothing about the venue had changed at all. Like the marathon and the sprint decided to join forces. Today was the last day, the Afterburner, which drops from five stages to three — the Main Stage and the Green Room at the 013 and the space over at Cul de Sac — and generally features a more chilled-out vibe, though particularly over the last couple years, its stylistic reach has become no less broad than Roadburn proper.
To wit, today’s lineup. In keeping with this year’s Icelandic theme — most of that is black metal, but still — The Vintage Caravan played a special 2PM set at Cul de Sac, last minute. They were here hanging out and so got a slot on the bill. I didn’t get to see it because we were finishing up the final issue of the Weirdo Canyon Dispatch (you can read it here), but to see that kind of spontaneity in action — hey, you’re here, so play — exemplifies part of what makes Roadburn so genuinely exceptional. My understanding is the band’s new drummer wasn’t with them yet when they played here last year, so wanted to be able to say he’d played Roadburn as well. Sure, why not?
My day began a short time later with Mirrors for Psychic Warfare starting in the Green Room. The two-piece is comprised of Scott Kelly of Neurosis and Sanford Parker, who also played today with Buried at Sea, and I guess it’s fair to call it a Corrections House spinoff, since they both operate in the same roles as in that band, with Parker on electronics and synth and Kelly providing guitar and vocals, but without Eyehategod‘s Mike Williams as frontman or Bruce Lamont‘s sax, the effect is vastly different. Progressions were slow and lurching as they emanated from Kelly‘s guitar, and waves of loud-as-hell drones oozed forth massive from the stage. At one point, Parker played a line of bass through his laptop or sampler, whichever it was, and the low end was such a physical presence I could feel it vibrating my nose hair. It’s not like I have a lot of it, either. It was a sensation I’d never felt before. Earplugs vibrating, sure. Nose hairs? Kind of tickled, actually.
Vocals were sporadic but well suited to the grueling mood, and the set as a whole seemed to be working on a gradual build in intensity until, as they were finishing, Kelly was throwing his shoulders as he might headbanging during one of Neurosis more riotous parts. Needless to say, they closed loud. Green Carnation were on the Main Stage playing Light of Day, Day of Darkness, which is a cool record to be sure, but I didn’t want to miss the start of Blind Idiot God, the New York trio playing the fourth show of their maiden voyage to Europe. Their latest album, Before Ever After (review here), has just had its worldwide release, and in addition to the notable reggae nod in “Night Driver,” the instrumental three piece played “Antiquity” and a host of others from what was their first LP in 23 years, their focus on blurring lines between NY aggro noise crunch, proggy brilliance and heavy atmospheres.
Add to that drummer Tim Wyskida‘s winning for most elaborate drum kit of the weekend — at least of the ones I saw — and Blind Idiot God offered intrigue and dissonance in kind. Their stage presence was progressive, led in that regard by guitarist Andy Hawkins, but still had a bit of pre-Giuliani Manhattan noise rock grit about them beneath that came out here and there in their sound, which was wide open stylistically, but delivered by Hawkins, Wyskida and bassist Will Dahl with precision and due emphasis on the complexity in the material. There were people in the crowd who’d waited 25 years to see the band. You could say the response was solid. Respected scribe and all-around hyper-passionate supporter of music Stefan Raduta gave me the hard sell on catching Jakob, though really all he had to say was “they’re from New Zealand.” Anyone who’s traveled that far to play Roadburn must have a good reason.
Complemented with visuals by Jérôme Siegelaer, the three-piece’s set found its reason in a lush post-rock, full in tone and l-o-u-d loud, but still evocative enough to keep the crowd in its grasp to the point where, after applauding, the room quickly fell into silence as those in attendance waited to hear the first notes of whatever it was Jakob were going to play next. Their fourth album, Sines, came out in 2014, but this was my first exposure to them, and it was a recommendation I was glad I took when they were finished, the vibe setting itself up for a departure into the darker post-metallurgy of Belgium’s Amenra. But first, Ecstatic Vision in the Green Room. I’ve seen them before and they’re from Philadelphia, which is much, much closer to where I live than New Zealand, so I stayed through the end of Jakob, but managed to poke my head in the door of the packed out smaller stage and find the trio’s blend of heavy psych and space rock intact from when I last left it. Their debut, Sonic Praise (review here), was right on for Roadburn from the outset, so there was little surprise when they were added, but they’ve put in some considerable road time already, so good to see them doing well, even if I’m seeing it through the doorway instead of in the room itself.
The sense of presentation back in the Main Stage began even before Amenra actually started playing. A large white curtain was brought out and raised in front of the stage so that the band’s video background could cover even more territory, and after everything was ready to go, vocalist Colin H. van Eeckhout — who also has a solo record out called Rasa (review here) — came out first, knelt down in front of the drum riser, facing away from the crowd as he did for yesterday’s acoustic Amenra set and as is apparently his wont, and started beating two sticks together, slowly and ritualistically. He was joined soon by drummer Bjorn Lebon, who had his own sticks, and followed soon by the rest of the band, guitarists Mathieu van de Kerckhove (also Syndrome, which played Cul de Sac earlier in the day) and Lennart Bossu and bassist Levy Seynaeve, and there began a set of some of the most intense post-metal I’ve ever seen outside of Neurosis themselves.
On par with Isis at their angriest, but crisper in their songwriting and use of ambience, Amenra were further distinguished by their direct affinity for “Times of Grace” but more so by the flashing strobes, high-energy delivery and their obvious mastery of the form. What I learned at the Roadburn 2016 Afterburner was that people go apeshit for that stuff. I can’t argue it wasn’t cohesive, but the power of Amenra‘s aesthetic and the force with which they drove it at the assembled masses earned them the night’s second biggest response, and the Main Stage was crowded enough that I had to go all the way up top just to find a place to stand, and even that didn’t come easy. It was an impressive showing, and while I’m not sure I’d count myself in the getting-it camp — or in a parish of the Church of Ra, as it were — much of their set was undeniable. One would not win a debate arguing against it.
There was a considerable break before Neurosis came out for the second set of their two-night 30th anniversary celebratory stint headlining on the Main Stage. My first Roadburn was 2009, the year they curated, and I can still remember standing in the balcony of what’s now the old-013 big room and being awed. It wasn’t my first time seeing them, but it was something special, and the same goes for last night and tonight together as well. Yes, partially because they broke out older, not-really-played-anymore songs like “Blisters,” “Grey” and “Double-Edged Sword” from The Word as Law, “The Web” and “To Crawl Under One’s Skin” from Souls at Zero and Pain of Mind‘s “Life on Your Knees” and “Pollution” from 1989’s Aberration EP. They went as far forward as 2012’s Honor Found in Decay (review here) and touched on all the ground in between, guitarist/vocalist Scott Kelly having some technical issues — the first time I’ve ever seen Neurosis have tech problems — with his guitar after opening with “To Crawl Under One’s Skin,” but sorting it out with guitarist/vocalist Steve Von Till and the crew as Noah Landis covered for them with a huge, kind of abrasive drone, and drummer Jason Roeder and god-damn-it’s-a-joy-to-watch bassist/backing vocalist Dave Edwardson sat tight.
When they got going again, it was “Locust Star,” and, you know, the universe collapsed on itself and folded into the deeper reaches of subspace, so whether or not the guitar was working didn’t really matter anymore because all existence was wiped out. At least that’s how I remember it. Pretty standard for Neurosis. In all seriousness, I don’t know if there’s a heavy band of their generation that’s inspired so much wax poetry — I’m guilty in this regard as well, in case you didn’t click that review link above — but it seems to me that speaks to the level on which Neurosis resonate with their audience. It’s often credited as this cerebral, arthouse phenomenon, but it’s not that. It’s rawer, from the gut, and it captures an experience that isn’t necessarily universal, but which this crowd — the Roadburn crowd, here and worldwide — relates to like it doesn’t relate to anything else. As they wrapped with “The Tide” and drew the tension out to cruel extremes before Kelly started the opening riff of set-finale “The Doorway,” it occurred to me again how special this band is, how much it derives from the players that comprise it, and that however much others try to capture the same sonic spirit, they only wind up with a fraction of it at best. It was a two-hour set. If they’d decided to do a third, I’d have stuck around for it.
A lot of people stuck around anyway, as it happens, to see PH — formerly MPH, formerly Mr. Peter Hayden — in the Green Room. The Finnish band is a cosmic wrecking ball and I managed to catch some of their set last time they played Roadburn, but Buried at Sea were also coming on the Main Stage, and if you know Migration, you know why it was the back and forth between the two that it was. The Chicago four-piece released that LP, their only one, in 2003 and though guitarist/vocalist Sanford Parker (also Corrections House and Mirrors for Psychic Warfare, as well as War Crime Recordings) has gone on to become a household name in the underground for his production work for the likes of Blood Ceremony, YOB, Pelican, etc., it was the band as a whole that really made an impact. They were among the first to consciously proffer tone worship in US doom, and that’s not something that’s easily forgotten for those who were there to hear it the first time around or who’ve caught on since.
Even following two hours of Neurosis, which has to be one of the least enviable festival slots in the history of recorded sound, Buried at Sea kept the crowd there and delivered the vicious heft with which they’ve become synonymous, largely in their absence — their last EP, Ghost, came out on Neurot in 2007 — and while I don’t know if they have any plans to do more or maybe put a sophomore album together, but with the lineup of Parker, bassist/vocalist Chris Sowell, guitarist Jason Depew and drummer Brandon Pierce, they sounded vital. Gave me hope where previously I’d sort of figured they’d do a couple shows and then go back their separate ways.
It was getting late. My feet were telling me. With pain. Always bittersweet to say goodbye to Roadburn, and 2016 having gone so quickly, all the more so. Death Alley were rounding out the fest at Cul de Sac, so after hanging for a while at PH, I made my way over there. It was too packed to get up front for pictures or anything like that, plus everyone around me was smashed and I didn’t want to feel like a dickhead American invader, so I hung in the back and listened as a bass-heavy take on “Over Under” started off their set. The place was immediate into it, even where I was, and rightly so. How far that band has come in just a couple years, they’re legitimately one of the Netherlands’ most exciting acts going, and they just have one record, 2015’s Black Magick Boogieland (review here). It’ll need a follow-up sooner or later, but still, that’s a considerable accomplishment starting out.
They played the title-track “Black Magick Boogieland,” and standing back by the door of the Cul de Sac with my earplugs in, drunken revelry on all sides of me — I got told tonight my face radiates love; mostly I think I just look tired — my camera bag on the floor to give my shoulder a rest, I thought back to the interview I did with the band for the album last year prior to the release and their talking about the concept of what the title meant and about the power of music to draw people in, to change minds, to shape lives, excite and inspire. How lucky I am to have been here this week and the seven years prior. For me, Roadburn has become that sacred space that I keep trying to live up to, to be worthy of, and I couldn’t imagine a better way to cap it than with “Black Magick Boogieland,” because that’s what it’s all about. That was how I wanted my night and my Roadburn 2016 to finish, on that feeling of warmth and belonging.
And so that’s how it ended.
I’ll have another post to wrap up the coverage series, but I need to be up in three hours to go to the airport and fly home and there are still pictures to sort, so I’ll just say thanks for reading for now.