Roadburn 2018 Makes First Announcements: Godspeed You! Black Emperor to Headline; Jacob Bannon to Curate; The Heads, Panopticon, Bell Witch & More Confirmed

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 21st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Today begins Roadburn season — the hap-happiest season of all. The Netherlands-based festival begins the run toward Roadburn 2018 by announcing Godspeed You! Black Emperor will headline two nights, Jacob Bannon of Converge will curate as his band returns for two more full-album sets, Panopticon will play twice, Ivar Bjørnson of Enslaved and Einar Selvik of Wardruna will follow-up their performance of Skuggsjá in 2015 with Hugsjá, which sounds even cuddlier, UK psychedelic gurus The Heads will return, Bell Witch will play an album in full that, as of today, isn’t even out yet, and many, many more have been added.

In other words, Roadburn 2018 is a Roadburn. Tickets go on sale on Oct. 19 and will no doubt be gone if not immediately than shortly thereafter. It is my sincere hope, as always, to be at Roadburn come April. This would be my 10th time in Tilburg for the fest and it already looks like the kind of maddeningly complex avant-garde art-project gathering that has made past years so special.

More to come, of course. In the meantime, if you get to check it out, I wrote the announcement for The Heads, which was a lot of fun. Here’s that along with everything else for Roadburn 2018 so far:

Roadburn 2018 first confirmations; includes festival headliners, curator and poster artist.

GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR will perform two different sets as Saturday and Sunday headliners

JACOB BANNON confirmed as the 2018 curator

CONVERGE will perform two shows, including a You Fail Me set

Einar Selvik & Ivar Bjørnson will present HUGSJÁ for the first time outside of Norway

BELL WITCH will perform two sets including new album Mirror Reaper in full

PANOPTICON to make their Roadburn debut playing two different sets.

Roadburn’s official poster artist for 2018 is RICHEY BECKETT

Tickets will go on sale on October 19.

Roadburn Festival is proud to announce the first artists for the 2018 line up, which will take place at the 013 venue, Tilburg, The Netherlands between April 19-22.

Artistic Director, Walter Hoeijmakers commented:”At Roadburn, we’re always looking to push the envelope when it comes to working with creative and diverse artists; we’ll never settle for toeing the line. These first artists should give you an idea of the direction that Roadburn will be taking in 2018, but as ever, don’t assume you have us sussed – we always have more up our sleeve!”

GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR

Godspeed You! Black Emperor have slid smoothly into our collective consciousness, picked apart the very notion of what it means to be a band and teetered on the precipice between serenity and all out chaos. The diversity of their output and their ability to always keep us guessing is a big part of why having them perform two headlining sets at Roadburn feels like a natural fit.

Their varied back catalogue makes for rich pickings, should they choose to cycle back through previous representations of the band; should they opt to look forward, into the unknown, we await with baited breath to see what is delivered during their two separate performances. Their live shows are renowned for being all-encompassing, immersive experiences, where even the visual aspect is overwhelming, usually including film projection performances that gain as much impact to the overall event as the music itself, the two interwoven as one. No doubt their Roadburn performances will be ones for the history books.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor will perform at the 013 venue on Saturday, 21 April and Sunday, 22 April. Read more here.

2018 CURATOR: JACOB BANNON

When Converge performed two groundbreaking sets at Roadburn 2016, followed by Jacob’s Wear Your Wounds set at Roadburn 2017, we knew we’d found a kindred spirit. Known not only for his audio output, but also for his visual art and founding role in Deathwish Inc; Bannon’s influence is broad and his Roadburn wish list is very much in tune with our own visions.

Jacob commented: “It is an honor to be working as the curator for Roadburn Festival 2018. The festival is unlike any other, showcasing the most forward thinking artists and musicians of the heavy music world. As this year’s curator I will reach across its sub-genres to bring together an array incredible bands/musicians; expanding the reach of the festival while celebrating the world of extreme music that we all love.”

Jacob Bannon will curate the main stage at the 013 venue on Friday, 20 April, and Het Patronaat on Saturday, 21 April. Read more here.

CONVERGE

The aforementioned Converge sets in 2016 were something truly special to behold. The Blood Moon set – which featured Chelsea Wolfe, Steve Von Till and Stephen Brodsky – will go down in Roadburn history, and the one-off Jane Doe set has already been committed to record such was the impact of the performance.

The relationship between Converge and Roadburn is far from over, and we’re thrilled that these four incredible musicians will return to the Roadburn stage for two essential sets in 2018.

Jacob Bannon elaborates on the performances: “In 2016, we played our Jane Doe album in its entirety at Roadburn Festival. For our 2018 return, we will perform our album You Fail Me in its entirety. Originally released in 2004, this album marked a turning point for our band internally and in many ways it is considered the beginning of the modern era of our band. This performance will be a one time only event, exclusive to Roadburn.”

“It took our band nearly five years to cut and shape our most recent album The Dusk In Us. Scheduled for release on November 3rd through Epitaph and Deathwish, it is a very emotional album for the band. All four of us went through a lot of trials and tribulations in those years and it is reflected in those songs, connecting with our lives ways hard to put into words. It will be an honor to play this material in its entirety for the Roadburn audience. We hope it will be as special for you as it will be for us.”

Converge will play The Dusk In Us on Thursday, 19 April, and You Fail Me on Friday, 20 April at the 013 venue, Tilburg, The Netherlands. Read more here.

HUGSJÁ

This new collaborative musical piece is designed by former Roadburn curators, Ivar Bjørnson and Einar Selvik, combining indigenous and contemporary music with Norse and Norwegian poetry, accompanied by instruments from the Stone Age through to the present day. It’s set to be a monumental follow up to Skuggjá’s international premiere at Roadburn 2015.

A series of concerts named Nordvegen (‘the northern road’ – an ancient shipping route connecting Norway to the rest of the world for some 3000 years), was performed in four harbors along the west coast of Norway in late May and early June of 2017. The audience was taken on a spectacular journey along this route in a musical declaration of love to Norwegian coastal culture and Norse history. The concerts were inspired by local history in each of these places. The Nordvegen concerts created an acoustic and intimate basis for the grandiose commissioned work, Hugsjá, which received its world premiere in Bergen concert hall Grieghallen on May 31st. Originally commissioned by and performed at Bergen International Festival, the piece will now sail southwards to Roadburn 2018.

Einar & Ivar will also be taking part in a “guided tour” of Hugsjá; explaining more about the origins of the composition, and taking questions from the audience.

Hugsjá will be performed on Saturday, 21 April at the 013 venue. Read more here.

BELL WITCH

Although it’s not yet released, the upcoming 83-minute album from Bell Witch, titled Mirror Reaper, is already making waves on Planet Roadburn. Recreating the record in all it’s crushingly exquisite glory requires the input of Erik Moggridge (Aerial Ruin), who we are delighted to welcome to Roadburn to complete the performance of Mirror Reaper.

As Moggridge has appeared on all Bell Witch releases to date in some capacity, we are thrilled that Bell Witch have agreed to perform a second set of music with him. Expect his fragile yet evocative vocal style to lend an even more ghastly and ethereal quality to Bell Witch’s already otherworldly sound.

Bell Witch will perform on Saturday 21 April at the 013 venue and Sunday, 22 April at Het Patronaat. Read more here.

PANOPTICON

For the past decade, Austin Lunn has created some of the most evocative and personal American black metal in relative isolation. With only a few shows under their belt, the band has astounded and delighted with each appearance in their short live tenure. To make this Roadburn appearance even more special, we’ll be treated to two separate sets during the festival.

Panopticon will perform selected songs from a new double album entitled The Scars of Man on the Once Nameless Wilderness during one set, and a career spanning selection of tracks will be performed during the other. From the rawer, vicious material compiled on the early …On the Subject of Mortality collection to the groundbreaking bluegrass-heavy Kentucky to the shimmering melody and majesty of recent releases Roads to the North and Autumn Eternal – this is a rare treat and we can’t wait to feel the soot and smoke in our hearts and heads as Panopticon levels the venue.

Panopticon will perform at Het Patronaat on Friday, 19 April, and the 013 venue on Saturday, 20 April. Read more here.

EX EYE

When word got out that master saxophonist Colin Stetson had put a new metal band together called Ex Eye, excitement levels were high. The relentlessness of the band’s assault, the enormity of its scope and the unbound energy they exhale means that they make music that might skip your brain altogether and activate your nervous extremities all by itself. Just seeing a legendary figure like Colin on stage playing metal would be satisfying enough; that he’s recruited people like Liturgy’s Greg Fox on drums, bassist Shahzad Ismaily (who’s played with the mighty Secret Chiefs 3) and guitarist/composer Toby Summerfield to complete this stellar line-up is just icing on the cake.

Ex Eye will perform at the 013 venue on Thursday, 19 April. Read more here.

THE HEADS

The Heads have a special place in the history of Roadburn. Not just because the UK psych lords have made multiple visits over the years – 2006, 2008, artists-in-residence in 2015 – but for the transformative effect their sets have had on the crowds, the vibe, the very fest itself. Nobody takes Roadburn to where The Heads take Roadburn.

“Roadburn is the best festival The Heads have played,” enthuses guitarist/vocalist Simon Price. “The vibes, the crowds, the bands, the organisation; it’s the whole package. Roadburn always delivers. Playing on stage or just wandering around, it makes me grin. It is The Heads’ spiritual home. We can’t wait to bring it on again in 2018.”

The Heads will perform at the 013 venue on Saturday, 21 April. Read more here.

IGORRR

The brainchild of French composer and multi-instrumentist Gautier Serre, IGORRR is genuinely disorienting. One of the most excitingly unpredictable acts in any genre you might want to try and shove them into, its wild character and fearless will to experiment are the staples of the sort of creativity we fiercely stand behind at Roadburn. What choice did we have but to bring this wrecking ball of delirious creativity to Roadburn and see and hear for ourselves how it all translates to the stage with a full band playing it?

Igorrr will perform on Friday, April 20 at the 013 venue. Read more here.

AERIAL RUIN

Aerial Ruin – AKA Erik Moggridge – may be best known to many on the basis of his frequent appearances on albums by the mighty Bell Witch, but his own project displays a remarkable sense of texture and delicacy that is equal in its melancholy yet entirely independent. Aerial Ruin’s recently released Nameless Sun beautifully follows the tradition set forth on its predecessor Ash of Your Cares in offering up eerie acoustic confessionals that can raise the hairs on the back of your neck. Moggridge plays guitar with the precision of a spider slowly building its web; everything falls into place delicately yet with a brilliant and focused grace.

Aerial Ruin will perform on Saturday, April 21 at the 013 venue. Read more here.

SANGRE DE MUERDAGO

Led by Pablo C. Ursusson, a musician and lyricist who has also done work in painting and sculpture, Sangre de Muerdago is deeply connected to the very earth of their Galicia homeland. With a background in Spanish punk and other kinds of countercultural movements, the band is the vehicle through which these musicians leave the harshness and aggression aside and channel the folk tales of Galicia through traditional instruments and gentle, haunting, ancient-sounding singing.

Sangre de Muerdago will perform at Het Patronaat on Friday, 20 April. Read more here.

RICHEY BECKETT

Having made a dent in the Roadburn psyche earlier this year when he took part in the Full Bleed art exhibition at the 2017 edition of the festival, Richey Beckett will be returning next year. This time he will be our official poster artist, creating the artwork that will adorn our posters and merchandise for the 2018 edition.

Based in South Wales, Beckett is a highly talented artist with his roots firmly planted in the natural world, where he draws much of his inspiration from.

Beckett comments: “Being invited to create visual artwork for this year’s Roadburn is a tremendous honour. Roadburn isn’t just another heavy music festival, it’s something that over the years has evolved into a pilgrimage of a worldwide community; a celebration of music, the creative spirit and camaraderie.”
Read more about Richey Beckett here.

TICKET ONSALE DATE

Roadburn 2018 tickets will go on sale on October 19. They will be available to purchase in person from the 013 box office from 18.30- 20.30 local time, and online worldwide from 21.00 CEST. Ahead of the tickets going onsale, we will be able to confirm more details of the line up, plus camping options in Tilburg during the festival.

https://www.facebook.com/roadburnfestival/
http://www.twitter.com/Roadburnfest
http://www.instagram.com/roadburnfest
http://www.roadburn.com

Roadburn 2018 First Announcement Video

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Roadburn 2017 Audio Streams Mega-Batch Posted Featuring Bongzilla, Slomatics, Valborg, Warning and More

Posted in audiObelisk on September 15th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

warning-1-Photo-by-JJ-Koczan

It’s been tradition around these parts for I don’t even know how long to post the annual audio streams as they come out from each Roadburn, and I hope the case will be no different as we move further away from Roadburn 2017 this past April in Tilburg, the Netherlands, and inexorably toward the first announcements for Roadburn 2018 to come. This process — the posting — used to require a slew of links and media players, which I actually kind of liked because it allowed for emphasis on just how much material there was emerging from the festival, how much work Marcel van de Vondervoort and his team put into the recording and mixing of these sets for all the bands, and so on.

Well, it’s the future now — or I guess it was the future like five years ago? I may have missed when it actually became the future; whatever — and we apparently don’t even need to have 22 different media players to post 22 different streams from Roadburn 2017. We need one. Netherlands-based media company 3voor12, which has always hosted the sets, brings forth a mega-batch today featuring the likes of (alphabetically) Atala, Author and Punisher, Bongzilla, Carpenter Brut, Casual Nun, Cobalt, Disfear, Forn, GNOD, Inter Arma, Joy, Les Discrets, Nadra, Pontiak, Serpent Venom, Slomatics, Temple ov BBV, Trans Am, Ultha, Valborg, Warning and Wolvennest.

Not inconsiderable. It’s been mere hours since Slomatics‘ Futurians: Live at Roadburn was reviewed here, but I also had occasion to see Warning (pictured above), JoyLes DiscretsAtalaValborg and others on that list, and I can attest to their being a joy to behold. Part of the fun of these streams is also getting some sense of what you missed at Roadburn due to making the inevitable hard choice of a schedule conflict, so I guess this is my shot at hearing what Bongzilla got up to during their time on stage. If you need me I’ll be doing that.

Hope you enjoy as well:

Thanks as always to Walter for sending the embed my way. For all this site’s Roadburn 2017 coverage, click here.

Roadburn’s website

Marcel Van De Vondervoort on Thee Facebooks

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¡Pendejo! to Reissue Cantos a la Vida Sept. 15; Preorders Available

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 18th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

pendejo photo carlos lopez

Netherlands-based and Latin-inspired heavy rockers ¡Pendejo! are three years removed from their second album, Atacames (review here), and on Sept. 15, the esteemed Kozmik Artifactz will dip back even further to give their 2010 debut, Cantos a la Vida, its first-ever official vinyl release. The trumpet-prone outfit are now past the decade mark since their inception and while I haven’t seen word of new material in the works, with a four-year split between the first and second albums, it doesn’t seem outside the realm of possibility they might have something brewing for 2018. That’s speculation, of course, but a reissue of their debut would make a good lead-in to build momentum going into a third record.

Either way, Kozmik Artifactz has the limited LP up for preorder now and sent info and links and whatnot down the PR wire. Wouldn’t you know it, it’s all right here:

pendejo cantos a la vida

¡PENDEJO! – Get ready for the heavy grooves of “Cantos a la Vida” on vinyl for the first time EVER!

¡PENDEJO! is a four-piece heavy rock band from the Netherlands, founded by two cousins with a history in Latin America. Digging into their Latino roots, El Pastuso and Jaap ‘Monchito’ Melman started blending heavy riffage, pounding drums, right-in-your-face lyrics in urban Spanish about the weirdest stories in life, and to top it all off, a screaming trumpet.

‘Cantos a la Vida’ (2010), the band’s first full length album, was initially released in Spain and warmly received an array of stunning reviews. A bit later, the band released the album in the Benelux too. Now finally, for the first time ever, this milestone of heavy rock, that ‘Cantos a la Vida’ truly is, receives its long deserved vinyl release!

Having played mostly in the underground scene throughout Europe and Latin America – and sharing stages with influential heavyweights like Fu Manchu and Karma to Burn – the band puts on a show for anyone who is not afraid to be grabbed by the cojones and be thrown into a spicy puddle of chile con carne.

Release Date: 15th September 2017

VINYL FACTZ
– Plated & pressed on high performance vinyl at Pallas/Germany
– limited & coloured vinyl
– 300gsm gatefold cover
– special vinyl mastering

TRACKS
1. Flotadores
2. LLoron
3. Arrecho Vengo
4. Tan Tan Tan
5. La Vagancia
6. Juanita
7. El Taxista Limeño
8. La Ruta
9. Comunicado
10. Nadadores
11. Eclypse 2000

¡PENDEJO! are:
Vox/Trumpet – El Pastuso
Guitar – Loco Ed
Bass – Stef ‘El Rojo’ Gubbels
Drums – Sjoerd van der Knoop

https://www.facebook.com/pendejoband/
http://twitter.com/pendejoband
https://pendejoband.bandcamp.com/
http://www.pendejoband.com/
http://kozmik-artifactz.com/
https://www.facebook.com/kozmikartifactz
http://shop.bilocationrecords.com/navi.php?suchausdruck=pendejo&JTLSHOP=feea12544391b9c1425dad91cf034bf7

¡Pendejo!, Cantos a la Vida (2010)

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Friday Full-Length: Astrosoniq, Son of A.P. Lady

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 4th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Astrosoniq, Son of A.P. Lady (2000)

Vastly underrated album from a wildly underrated band. First released in 2000 via Freebird Records, the quizzically-titled Son of A.P. Lady would mark the full-length debut from Netherlands heavy rockers Astrosoniq, and the band, who’d come eventually to be known as the “Wizards of Oss,” could hardly have made a more powerful opening statement. Son of A.P Lady (previously discussed here) bears some of the hallmarks of its era, with a CD-minded 50-minute runtime and its use of samples as a means of transitioning between its eight component tracks, but it’s also got classic-style drive and groove and an underlying progressivism that not only shows itself as much in the funkified “Earthquake” as in the bounding weirdness of “Afterlife Rulers” and the self-aware post-Motörhead charge of “Godly Pace.” It’s a record that brims with personality to a righteously arrogant degree, seeming to borrow some of its hell-fucking-yes-we’re-about-to-do-this snottiness from punk rock at its finest, but never failing to live up to the significant ambitions it sets forward for itself, whether questioning if it’s possible to make a record without selling your soul before even beginning opener “Fistkick” or bassist Erik de Vocht taking the fore vocally to reimagine Ronnie James Dio as a stoner rock singer on the party-time blowout “Ego Booster” later on.

That cut is one of several genuine getdowns Astrosoniq throw on Son of A.P. Lady. Already noted was “Earthquake,” which not only bounces and swings accordingly, but behind a mess of feedback and noise in its midsection actually goes so far as to sample what would seem to be Funkentelechy-era P-Funk with a speech making references to “Flash Light,” Free Your Mind… and Your Ass will FollowChocolate City, “Bop Gun” and so on (though I’ll admit I haven’t put on Funkentelechy in a while, so it could be from another source), and even the speedier penultimate “Doomrider,” something of a complement to “Godly Pace” earlier in the tracklisting, doesn’t lose sight of the fact that the band are and are supposed to be having fun. Van Bergen, guitarist Ron van Herpen, drummer/producer Marcel van de Vondervoort, de Vocht on bass (since replaced by Robert-Jan Gruijthuijzen) and keyboardist Willum Geerts, no matter where they were headed on a given track, be it the snarling attitude and nod of 13-minute closer “You Loose” (actually “You Lose,” and complete with Willy Wonka samples and the most expansive jam on Son of A.P. Lady) or the proggy and percussive swirl of “Pegasus,” it turns out to be their willingness to do whatever they want that most unites the material together across the album, creating a flow out of a consistent-sounding tonality in the recording itself and the wide-open vibe that lets Astrosoniq explore. There are moments of Son of A.P. Lady one would be tempted to relate to grunge, or to the post-Kyuss sphere of heavy/stoner rock — certainly that was booming throughout Europe circa 2000, as Freebird Records could well attest — but the edge of complexity Astrosoniq bring to “Ego Booster,” “Afterlife Rulers,” “Fistkick,” etc., makes them as much kin to the latter work of countrymen 35007 as to Swedish outfits like Dozer or Lowrider, the latter of whom made their debut the same year.

It feels almost impossible to overstate the level of achievement Son of A.P. Lady presents, especially as Astrosoniq‘s first album. Formed by van Herpen and van de Vondervoort in the wake of their prior outfit, A.P. Lady, they’d follow the 2000 Astrosoniq outing with 2002’s Soundgrenade (discussed here), the 2005 Made in Oss EP (discussed here), and 2006’s Speeder People (discussed here) before releasing their latest full-length to-date, Quadrant (review here), in 2010. Each of those releases — and let me just say that the bevvy of links there stems from a willful exploration I did their discography in 2010/2011; one of the most satisfying and least-regretted projects I’ve taken on in the eight-plus years I’ve run this site — continued to build on what Son of A.P. Lady set forth as the tenets of who Astrosoniq were as a group, and not a single one of them failed to add new elements or take a step forward from where they’d been previously. Whether you know their material or not, this is a special, special, band. 17 years later, Son of A.P. Lady still proves that was true at the outset.

Respected purveyor Ván Records did a vinyl reissue of Son of A.P. Lady last year as a deluxe boxed-set 2LP that’s gorgeous enough to say it’s the record getting its due, and though health issues have largely sidelined the band over the 2010s, I was fortunate enough to see them play at Roadburn last year (review here), where they were nothing short of jaw-dropping. I keep my fingers crossed for a new album — long said to be in the works — but the band also recently suffered the loss of manager/programmer Bidi van Drongelen, and though they paid him homage at memorial concert in June, that loss no doubt cast a pall over future plans as well. Still, one can hope.

And along those lines, I hope you listen to, absorb, and come to love Son of A.P. Lady if you already don’t. Thanks for reading.

Little bit after 5AM as I pour my first cup of coffee and get ready to close out the week. The sun isn’t up yet but it’s starting to get lighter out. I’ve been up since about four — alarm was set for 4:45, but I rolled over and was awake — but it’s taken me a while to really get myself going. Last night for dinner I overdosed on #garlicworship and made myself kind of sick. Gonna have to lay off for a week or two, maybe.

What did it, you ask? Well, the homemade pesto I was having with cloud bread was thoroughly-enough garlicked, but then I took an entire bulb and roasted it in the oven for an hour. Then I took another half-bulb of raw garlic, and another pack of store-bought roasted garlic from the salad bar at the Whole Foods down the way and I put all that in the food processor with some salt, pepper and olive oil. Blamo: garlic paste. It actually hurt to eat, but that didn’t stop me from spreading it on the bread in combination with the pesto or licking the spoon when I was done. It was awesome, and my thought at the time was if that’s how I’m going to die, at least I’m enjoying it.

Likelihood of my survival is yet to be determined. In the meantime, I have a well-earned stomach ache and garlic coming out of my pores. As I said to The Patient Mrs. when the meal was done, I’m the garlickiest garlicky who ever garlickied. She could do nothing but agree.

Needless to say, today’s a protein shake day. Going to take it easy. Have to.

On a completely different note unrelated to gastrointestinal distress, as of this week, for the first time in more than a year, I’m completely caught up on the mail. Not email (that I’ll never catch up on), but physical mail. Fun fact: I log every CD, LP, 7″, tape, etc., that comes in for this site. All of it. And I throw away nothing. The note a band sends with a disc that says, “Thanks for checking out our stuff?” Yup, I keep it. I’ve got a drawer full of press releases and notes like that — some are just post-its, some are on the backs of stickers or show flyers — going back a decade at this point.

And all the discs and so on themselves get logged in an Excel file, to keep track of what came in, when, what format it was in and from whom it came if that info is available. Sorting through everything is a time-consuming process and though I kept up as best I could with actually writing about the releases that were being sent, it had been since 2016 that the log was completely up to date. Now it is. I got four pieces of mail yesterday and logged them immediately. The box that was holding stuff is empty upstairs, just sitting there in the corner as my quiet victory. I could tell you how stoked I was to get through it all, but you likely wouldn’t believe it anyway.

To my silly, feeble and garlic-addled brain, that counts as part of baby prep, so I’ll say that’s proceeding well, despite the basket of laundry upstairs that still needs to be folded. The Patient Mrs. is tired but doing great because she’s amazing so of course she’s doing great. She’s been tired a lot, but The Pecan is getting bigger and so has all the more feet with which to be kicking her ass, so yeah, fatigue isn’t necessarily unexpected at this stage. By the end of next week we’ll be about two months away. Staggering.

I don’t usually do this, but I want to point something out before we look ahead to next week’s reviews and such. Let me put it in bold so it stands out to anyone skimming: I featured some seriously fucking awesome music this week. Seriously. I know it wasn’t all super-high-profile releases, but from the Radio Adds on Monday onward, it was excellent stuff all the way. Here are links because I think they deserve reiteration:

The Obelisk Radio Adds: Boris, Sólstafir, Desert Suns & Chiefs, Elara, Fungus Hill

Review & Lyric Video Premiere: Eternal Black, Bleed the Days

Review & Track Premiere: Papir, V

Review & Track Premiere: Howling Giant, Black Hole Space Wizard: Part 2

Review: Zone Six, Live Spring 2017

Put those in combination with stuff like the Beastmaker Six Dumb Questions on Wednesday and yesterday’s Sergio Ch. video premiere and the Astrosoniq record above and you have the makings of one very kickass week. I don’t know how much of it you got to check out, but if the answer to that is “any,” you were only doing yourself a favor.

Next week is shaping up to be pretty choice too. Here’s what’s in the notes, subject to change as always:

Mon.: Pagan Altar track premiere/review; Argus lyric video.
Tue.: Six Dumb Questions with Demon Eye; Dead Heavens video.
Wed.: Six Dumb Questions/track premiere with The Quill; Blaak Heat track premiere.
Thu.: Paradise Lost review.
Fri.: Mindkult review.

I expect some of that will shift, but yeah, more righteousness there. I put in a request to do a track premiere for the Mindkult record and wasn’t cool enough, but whatever. The whole thing’s streaming now anyway and it’s good, so I still want to get it featured. The Paradise Lost is right on too. Hell, all of it is. I don’t cover bullshit. Not enough time.

Speaking of time, I’ve taken up more than enough of yours. As I sit here and sip my coffee and continue to burp garlic, I wish you a great and safe weekend with just the right amount of moderation in whatever you do so that you don’t make yourself ill. I may be another day in recovering, but I think I’ll make it.

Thanks for reading and please check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Supersonic Blues Release Debut Single Supersonic Blues Theme / Curses on My Soul

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 4th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

supersonic blues Photo-Ruud-Aarbodem

Keen observers of things rock and/or roll should note the Motorwolf namedrop when it comes to Den Haag newcomer trio Supersonic Blues. That studio, headed by Guy Tavares, also of Orange Sunshine, has been responsible for some of the finest in raw-energy heavy/garage traditionalism, from Tavares‘ own outfit and a slew of others, including Death Alley, who discussed the influence recording there had on them back in our 2015 interview. That’s by no means the be-all-end-all of Supersonic Blues‘ appeal, as the two cuts on their debut single showcase, but it definitely lets you know they have their collective head screwed on right when it comes to choosing with whom to work.

The 7″ release, Supersonic Blues Theme / Curses on My Soul is out now via respected purveyor Who Can You Trust? Records, and you can and should take the time to stream both tracks below, especially if you’d like a quick lesson in how something can sound so laid back and raucous at the same time. It’s the vibe, man. The vibe. The vibe. The vibe.

Dig it:

supersonic-blues-supersonic-blues-theme

SUPERSONIC BLUES – ‘SUPERSONIC BLUES THEME / CURSES ON MY SOUL’ 7″ VINYL

Emerging from the same musical underground that spawned the classic acid blues rock of Orange Sunshine, a new generation on the rise is bringing us the first offering of SUPERSONIC BLUES, a young band from The Hague. Inspired by the late 60s/early 70s blues, funk and soul, there’s no doubt they had to take the shortest and best way into the halls of Motorwolf Studios, The Hague, led by Guy Tavares of Orange Sunshine / Motorwolf Records.

What came out is a debut of old school garage blues and fuzzy acid rock in it’s perfect tonal and physical form! This is the type music you only want to listen to on your record player …nowhere else.

With the mutual love for obscure, groovy, heavy and fuzzed out music from the 1960s and 70s, soon Gianni and Timothy found themselves spinning their record collection on The Hague’s underground radio station, Radio Tonka. With the addition of drummer Lennart Jansen, Supersonic Blues was a fact. Expect some nice jams, inspired by the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Blue Cheer, the MC5, Cream and even some hints of funk and soul music! Right on!

Edition of 400 copies on black vinyl.

Tracklisting:
1. Supersonic Blues Theme 03:01
2. Curses On My Soul 05:01

Supersonic Blues is:
Lennart (drums)
Gianni (bass)
Timothy (guitar)

https://www.facebook.com/supersonicblues/
http://whocanyoutrustrec.bigcartel.com/product/supersonic-blues-supersonic-blues-theme-curses-on-my-soul-7-Vinyl
https://whocanyoutrustrec.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Who-Can-You-Trust-Records-187406787966906/

Supersonic Blues, Supersonic Blues Theme / Curses on My Soul (2017)

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Roadburn 2017 Trip, Pt. 8: Guess I’ll Go Live on the Internet

Posted in Features on April 24th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

weirdo canyon dispatch 2017

04.24.17 — 09.14 — Monday morning — Schiphol Airport Gate B15, Amsterdam

Yesterday, after the folding ritual was done for the last time for the 2017 Weirdo Canyon Dispatch, I sat for a bit in the office of the 013 by myself. I had put music on basically because it was quiet while Lee wrapped up putting stuff online and he’d gone to meet somebody, so I was on my own and it was even quieter. Sometimes you need a minute to process, or to breathe, or to do whatever it is you need to do to have your head right. That’s when I took the picture above. I knew it was going to be a long last day of Roadburn 2017, and that’s exactly what it turned out to be.

No regrets. Fond memories.

I was up before the alarm this morning. First time that’s ever happened in Tilburg for me following Roadburn. The alarm, by the way, was set for 05.45. A shuttle would be arriving at the hotel circa 06.30 to bring me to the airport. After packing and going to sleep circa 2AM, I was up between three and four and never got back to sleep. I read the recaps of what looked to have been a crappy baseball game. I checked the Times to see if the world was ending yet. I dicked around the way one does when one is just trying to eat minutes.

Speaking of eating, you should’ve seen me pouring and stirring the protein powder into my coffee on the line for the Lufthansa check-in here at Schiphol. Can’t imagine it was difficult for anyone to pick out who was the American in the crowd. With his little battery-powered stirrer like something he bought from a Sharper Image catalog circa 1991. Thing cost me $8 on Amazon. Worth every penny.

A couple Roadburn types around the airport this morning. I’m pretty sure I saw the bassist from Pallbearer going the other way while I was on the people-mover. Another dude in an Ulver t-shirt with his buddy who got the fest hoodie with the John Dyer Baizley cartoon tits on it. Sundry others.

windmillsIn about an hour, I’ll board this death-trap-looking-thing and go to Frankfurt, which if I’m not mistaken is the opposite of the direction in which I ultimately want to go. It was the same deal connecting in Toronto to come to Amsterdam in the first place. Because that’s the kind of sense Boston makes. World class, khed. Local fuckin’ sports.

I’ll hope to sleep on the plane — definitely the second if not the first — and when I land, I’ll magically have back the six hours of day I gave up so willingly last Tuesday to make the trip out. Before that happens, there are almost too many people I need to thank, so I’m going to try to do that.

First, The Patient Mrs. always. So much love. I’m so lucky. Also Walter Hoeijmakers, Becky Laverty, Lee Edwards and all involved with the Weirdo Canyon Dispatch: the amazing, humbling staff of writers that includes Sander van den Driesche, Andreas Kohl, José Carlos Santos, Kim Kelly, Guido Segers, Ben Handelman, Jamie Ludwig, Dom Lawson, Cheryl Carter and Peter van der Ploeg, the artists Cavum and Kim Holm, the photographers Paul Verhagen and Niels Vinck, as well as Jaimy, Gijs, Miranda, Rian and all behind the scene at the 013 venue. What a group we’ve assembled over the last four years. I frankly have no idea what I’ve done to earn a place among any of them except consistently fuck up. Like I say, humbling.

Thanks as well to Jens Wassmuth, Dante Torrieri, Falk-Hagen Bernshausen and all in the photo pit for their kindness and professionalism. I hadn’t shot anything in a while and it was easier to step back into that process knowing I was among the most pro-shop group of people one could ever hope to find.

I was pretty beat this year. Significantly so. I’ve got a lot on my mind. I’m about to lose my job. And there were times over the last few days where I felt like I was so out of it I wasn’t really doing justice to the experience. I tried my best. I really did. By yesterday I kind of felt like I had it right. I don’t know if I could’ve done a fifth day of Roadburn, but by the time yesterday came around I a little bit had my head back. Inclined to take what I can get.

Tomorrow will be Tuesday. I took the day off work. What’re they gonna do, fire me? I’ll make myself good coffee in the morning and a peanut butter protein shake for lunch, have a nice salad for dinner with The Patient Mrs., scritch the Little Dog Dio and get caght up on all the Obelisk stuff that’s fallen by the wayside while Tilburg happened. Lots of news to catch up on, and an interview for Wednesday and this and that. I might actually post some stuff tomorrow or I might just hold it all off. I’ve been social media-ing a lot and see the value in maybe taking a day and not. We’ll see how it plays out. I’m also going to shave my beard. Off. Gone. Done with it. Not much left by now anyway. I decided that in the van on the way to the airport this morning.

As I’ve done for the last however many years, each post in this series (minus the Hard Rock Hideout review) has derived its header title from the name of a song. They are as follows:

Trip Pt. 1: “Dos Soles” by Cavra. I got that record sent to me while I was at the airport in Boston.

Trip Pt. 2:: “Sanctuary” by Elder. A track from their new album that seemed fitting for having made it to Tilburg.

Day One Review: “Wound of the Warden” by SubRosa. Self-explanatory.

Day Two Review: “Death’s Dark Tomb” by Atala. I was arguably at my most ass-dragging and that seemed dark enough for the mood.

Day Three Review: “And Yet it Moves” by Slomatics. Like Roadburn itself, that song is so unbelievably heavy, and yet it proceeds along like the third day of a four-day fest.

Day Four Review: “God Particle” by The Doomsday Kingdom. I wanted to celebrate something rare, like this experience itself. That seemed to fit.

Trip Pt. 8: “Guess I’ll go Live on the Internet” by All Them Witches. It had been a minute since I put that record on. It’s always good for tired mornings. Plus the airport connection is absolute shit, so there’s an element of irony there too.

This will be the last post in the series, and before I bring it to an end, I want to say thank you one more time for reading. All the social media likes and shares and comments are awesome, but even just knowing that when something gets posted on this site someone might actually see it is validating beyond what I can tell you and so deeply, hugely appreciated. It’s been an interesting year and it’s going to continue to be one, but your support means a tremendous amount to me and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. So yes, thank you again. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

I’ll hope to talk soon.

All my best,
JJ Koczan

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ROADBURN 2017 Day Four: God Particle

Posted in Features, Reviews on April 23rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

roadburn 2017 banner (Photo by JJ Koczan)

04.23.17 — 22.26 — Sunday night — Hotel room

The last day of putting together the Weirdo Canyon Dispatch started with a panic when the office coffee machine was busted. At first I didn’t believe it and plugged the thing in to see if the sign that had been taped onto the front was bullshit, but indeed, it was not. Could’ve cried. Instead, went downstairs to the backstage area where they serve the meals and got coffee there. Survived.

Thus, the final issue of the 2017 Weirdo Canyon Dispatch came into being. Download the PDF version here.

What used to be known as the Afterburner, the traditional easing between a given Roadburn and the transition back to real life, is now basically just another day of the fest proper. They’ve dropped the name, and fairly enough so. Running across four stages this year, it’s hardly a means of becoming less immersed in the Roadburn experience at this point. If anything, it’s Roadscorch. The absolute last blast from the furnace that is this festival. My brain has turned into Roadchar.

I had no fewer bands I wanted to see today than yesterday or the day before, and a few others that I wouldn’t have minded catching had I been able to do so, so yeah, it was definitely Roadburn. It started early and went late and was packed for the duration. I did one more bounce between venues as I had earlier in the weekend — none at Cul de Sac for me today, but two at Het Patronaat — and was back and forth a few times between the Main Stage and the Green Room at the 013 proper, running past the merch area as well for good measure. Can’t be too careful. Wouldn’t want something to get by unnoticed.

It was a 15.00 start in the big room with Temple of BBV. I knew from seeing Gnod the other night (review here) that the culmination of their residency in a collaboration with Radar Men from the Moon was one I didn’t want to miss, so while it was early, I figured a head-first dive into willful prog oddity was well in order. I won’t like to you — it was a lot for three in the afternoon. Or three in the morning, for that matter. It was a lot, period. 10 people on Temple of BBV (Photo by JJ Koczan)stage, including two drummers, a near-constant throb and pulsations pushing outward into psycho-psychedelic reaches of the bizarre.

They were aggressively strange. On a strangeness crusade. They wore their strangeness like a badge of strangeness honor and as the room filled up slowly, people seeing to be hungover perhaps from the sensory assault Mysticum had provided the night before as much as from actual inebriation of whatever sort, the crowd had no choice but to be subsumed by what Temple of BBV were doing on that stage. Hair of the cosmic dog that gave you demonic space-rabies. Was it weird? Why, yes. Yes, it was.

I couldn’t help but try to remember when last I actually saw Pallbearer as their set got underway, also on the Main Stage. Turns out it was 2013 (review here). I’d also caught them at Roadburn that year (review here), as part of what was then the Afterburner in the Green Room. While I didn’t think it’d been that long at the time, the reason I thought of it was because of how much the Arkansas doomers seem to have stepped up their game in the intervening years. Their third album, Heartless (review here), is newly issued and fresh in mind, but live that material became heavier than it is on record and their presence in delivery was unmistakable. Since the last time I saw them, Pallbearer have become a headlining band.

No question they belonged on the Main Stage at Roadburn 2017. They not only held down that Pallbearer (Photo by JJ Koczan)spot well, but were in full command of their material and their sound, and with shared vocals across the front of the stage, they offered a richness to their doom that only underscored just how much they’ve made the genre work to their interests rather than working to the interests of genre. Heartless cuts like “I Saw the End,” “Thorns” and “Dancing in Madness” were high points in emphasizing their progression, but the churning heft of the whole set was dead on, whether it was those or “Fear and Fury,” “Worlds Apart,” or “The Ghost I Used to Be.” Remarking from the stage that playing Roadburn felt like coming home since it was where they’d done their first European show, they were welcomed as returning heroes and clearly rose to the occasion.

I know they’re like the hottest shit in the world and everyone knows it and Heartless is going to be everyone’s album of the year and blah blah blah so I’m giving away state secrets or anything, but Pallbearer fucking killed at Roadburn. I’ve seen them before and I was still genuinely surprised at how good they were.

Just for fun, I poked my head into the Green Room to catch a minute of Author and Punisher. A boy and his robots. The space was packed out so I didn’t linger, and instead sauntered back over to the big room again to watch Pallbearer finish and await the arrival of Les Discrets, who are also supporting a new album, Prédateurs, released just this week on Prophecy Productions. The moody vibes that the Parisian outfit proffered would make a lot of sense leading into Ulver, songs like “Virée Nocturne” having an element of the dark and urbane to them, progressive even beyond what one might’ve come to expect from their past work in post-black metal and Alcest-style melodicism. Guitarist/vocalist Fursy Teyssier, who also had a showcase of his visual art upstairs in the 013, had a quieter presence than when he led Les Discrets (Photo by JJ Koczan)the band when they played Roadburn 2013 at Het Patronaat (review here), but it worked for what they were doing.

In hindsight, it probably would’ve made narrative sense to stay put in the big room and await the arrival of the aforementioned Ulver. I didn’t do that. First, I went and grabbed dinner — chicken salad over lettuce and arugula with bacon and a bit of chicken/peppers in curry sauce; some bean sprouts in there, no corn, no onions, no celery; two plates, second void of curry and bacon — and was fortunate enough to sit in the company of Norwegian artist and Weirdo Canyon Dispatch contributor Kim Holm, and then I made my way back up to the Green Room to catch at least some of Valborg. I knew that I wanted to watch somebody from the Green Room balcony, and the underrated German martial metallers seemed like the perfect occasion.

And so they pretty much were. I watched as the space below filled up and when the German trio — whose new record, Endstrand, is also out on Prophecy this month (it came out April 7) — took stage, it was pretty clear the crowd knew them well. “Werwulf” from the 2016 single of the same name (review here) was like a riff-led wrecking ball that highlighted how perfectly paced Valborg‘s material is and the genre lines their songwriting so fluidly crosses between death metal, progressive synth textures Valborg (Photo by JJ Koczan)and goth atmospherics. They demonstrated clearly they can roll a groove with the best of them but seem to have little interest in heavy rock or anything quite so not-extreme, but wherever it was ultimately coming from, their sound was on its own wavelength and its complete lack of compromise notched a mark in the skull of everyone who was there to hear it, myself included.

I didn’t get to stay for Valborg‘s whole set because I knew Ulver were soon to go on the Main Stage. I worked my way off the balcony much to the delight of the person who’d been standing behind me while I leaned over the rail to take a couple pictures of the band and down around the back way to the Main Stage room — still kind of strange to me how the 013 works since it was remodeled last year; there’s a hallway with bathrooms there now that I think used to lead to the Bat Cave/Stage01, but jeez, don’t quote me on that. I’d have to look at the blueprints to be sure, and that would probably take hours because I’d have to find a YouTube video on how to read blueprints first. Sucks being useless sometimes. Most of the time, actually.

Anyway, I did manage to get myself one room over in time for the start of Ulver, and when the Norwegian more-post-everything-than-everything outfit got underway, I was really, really glad I’d already heard the new album which was the focus of their set: The Assassination of Julius Caesar (review here). Otherwise all that dark post-New Wave moodiness and nighttime ambienceUlver (Photo by JJ Koczan) might’ve thrown me for a loop. It’s usually safe to assume two things about Roadburn attendees. One, they’re open-minded. Two, they’re pretty well informed. Still, of all the men and women assembled at the 013 to watch Ulver play, I have to imagine there was at least one person who had no idea what they were in for, and so when the band broke out the laser light show and the electronica beats and the Depeche Mode gone prog sexytime vibes they were completely taken aback by all of it. Now that I think about it, it might’ve been fun to be surprised like that.

But when it comes to Ulver, part of the appeal is the band’s willingness to dismantle their own formula, or more precisely, to not have a formula in the first place, so it’s safe to assume that whether this hypothetical Roadburner knew or not what they were getting with the songs featured from The Assassination of Julius Caesar, they were still able to get on board. Still, one day someone’s going to trick Ulver into playing 2007’s Shadows of the Sun front to back — or at least doing live variations based thereupon — and that’s going to be incredible. One for Roadburn 2022, maybe?

I didn’t stay for all of Ulver either. Not for lack of patience or anything, but I could feel my Roadburn 2017 crunch winding down and knew I had to try to pack as much in as I could. That meant getting my ass to Het Patronaat to see The Doomsday Kingdom. Every year I’m lucky enough to be at Roadburn I let myself buy one piece of vinyl. This year it was the special edition 12″ The Doomsday Kingdom were selling at the merch stand. Why? Because Leif Edling, god damn it. The founding Candlemass The Doomsday Kingdom (Photo by JJ Koczan)bassist and crucial architect of what we know to be true and traditional doom metal — yes, I mean that — was making a live debut with this new four-piece at the church, and I knew I didn’t want to regret later not getting that record when I had the chance. It’ll probably get damaged in my luggage on the trip home. Still worth it.

Their set was likewise. Songs like “Never Machine” and “The Silence” offered classic doom very much of the style one might expect from Edling‘s long-established craft and methodology, but hell, I’ve got no problem with that whatsoever. It hasn’t been that long since Candlemass put out their 2016 EP, Death Thy Lover (review here), and they’re still doing shows as well, but before he took over lead vocals from mesh-shirt-clad frontman Niklas Stålvind — who’d been righteously belting out the material up to that point — for the set finale “God Particle,” Edling called The Doomsday Machine his “therapy band.” I wasn’t sure what he meant, but I sure was glad I stayed to watch their full set, because they were awesome. A couple first-show-type hiccups, but nothing major by any stretch, and after “God Particle,” they even came back out in made an encore of the metallic-galloping “Hand of Hell,” with Stålvind back on vocals, guitarist Marcus Jidell tearing into solo after solo and drummer Andreas Johansson fueling the big rock finish before coming out from behind the kit to take a bow with the band. If that was therapy, sign me up.

From Sweden to Boston. Come to Grief were on next at the church, and if I’d tried, I don’t think I’d have been able to come up with a more appropriate ending to my Roadburn 2017 than to watch the native Beantowner offshoot of Grief play a set of ultra-misanthropic extreme sludge. Tones of home. You Come to Grief (Photo by JJ Koczan)have no idea how hard it was not to shout out “Go Sox!” in a Boston accent before they played. You cannot possibly know. Fortunately, before I could muster the gumption to do same, guitarist Terry Savastano began to unleash maddening floor-shaking undulations of feedback. He, fellow guitarist/vocalist Jonathan Hébert, bassist Justin Christian and drummer Chuck Conlon would soon loose a set that spanned all the way back to the title-track from Grief‘s 1992 debut EP, Depression — which Savastano noted was the first song that band ever wrote — all the way forward to Come to Grief‘s new four-tracker compact disc, The Worst of Times.

“No Savior” and “JunkLove” from the latter (and later) release were featured, but at their core, wherever they were drawing material from, Come to Grief were a mainline shot of visceral abrasiveness. Intense, pummeling and straight from the gut, they crashed each riff with maximum intensity and left no mystery about the sincerity of their intent to kill. It was impressive the way one thinks of primitive humanoids bashing in each other’s heads as a sign of evolution at work. Like I said, the perfect finale to my Roadburn 2017 — one last raw scrub to get the unwanted pieces of myself gone before I get on that plane and go home tomorrow morning.

Did I just say tomorrow morning? Yuppers. It’s 01.40. Shuttle comes to take me to the airport in about five hours, as it happens. When I left Het Patronaat, in addition to looping through the merch area to pick up the aforementioned Come to Grief CD, I made one last run through the 013 hoping to find Walter and say goodnight and thanks, but no such luck. Tired, beaten, missing my wife and with my earplugs still in, I trod past the assembled throngs in Weirdo Canyon and back to the hotel, where packing still awaits and pictures want sorting.

So yeah, I’m going to go get on that.

I’ll have another post up at some point tomorrow, but in the meantime, thank you so much for reading and please find the rest of those pics after the jump here:

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ROADBURN 2017 Day Three: And Yet it Moves

Posted in Features, Reviews on April 22nd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

roadburn-day-3-banner-Photo-by-JJ-Koczan

04.22.17 — 22.23 — Sat. night — Hotel room

I don’t mind telling you I was a total wreck this morning. There we were, finishing up the third issue of Weirdo Canyon Dispatch (get the PDF here), and holy macaroni, I just couldn’t hack it. I’d gone to sleep at a semi-reasonable time, circa 2AM — which is pretty good, considering — but woke up at around three and was up past 4:30. Just up. Weirdo Canyon Dispatch Saturday issue.Brutally, brutally awake. I could’ve cried.

Instead, I put my head down on the desk in the 013 office while we waited for the test-print of today’s ‘zine and was granted a generous reprieve from the folding process that followed. I folded three copies of today’s WCD: my own. After that, I made the most of my special dispensation and high-tailed it back to the hotel to sleep for another two and a half hours, at the end of which time I pounded water, a protein bar and ibuprofen and it was enough to temporarily trick my body into believing it was human. This weekend has been pure madness, and there’s one day yet to go.

By the time I got back to the 013, I knew I’d missed my chance to hit the photo pit for day-openers The Bug vs. Dylan Carlson of Earth, the somewhat cumbersomely-named collaboration between, well, The Bug and Dylan Carlson, but I still had plenty of opportunity to be assaulted by their combined volume of drone and beats, soundscapes thick enough to swim through and handed out with enough force to vibrate the plugs in my ears and the teeth in my skull. Really. I think I lost a filling. They were very, very loud.

Two experimentalists like that working together, even as a one-off, carried an air of being something special to start the day, and so it was. The Bug‘s rig, flanked on either side by bass cabinets with two more laid down in front in such a manner as to make Carlson half-stack look positively minimalist in comparison, shook the upstairs The Bug vs. Dylan Carlson (Photo by JJ Koczan)balcony where I set up shop for the duration, and the clear impression that came through was that although they used different means of expression — Carlson with his guitar, The Bug with his laptop and mixing board — their work together was way less of a “vs.”-type situation than the name led one to believe. They were very definitely on the same side, but while they played, spotlights slowly hovered over Main Stage crowd, feeding the air of suspicion and paranoia in such a way that was eerily appropriate for what they were doing.

Speaking of collaborations, over at the PatronaatRazors in the Night — AKA John Dyer Baizley of Baroness and Scott Kelly of Neurosis playing oldschool punk and hardcore covers — were just getting started. I stayed put in the big room, however, because I knew I didn’t want to miss a second of Oranssi Pazuzu. The Finnish progressive/psychedelic black metallers have been an increasingly steady presence at Roadburn over the last five years, and after their own slots at the church, they managed to pack out the Main Stage to an admirable degree. People stood outside the open doors for not the last time today in order to catch a glimpse of their malevolent, ultra-deep swirl.

As immersive as it was dark, I couldn’t argue. Oranssi Pazuzu, who released their fourth album, Värähtelijä (review here), in 2016, may have conjured the finest blackened psychedelia I’ve ever seen. It was so much of both, so chaotic and yet purposeful, that to Oranssi Pazuzu (Photo by JJ Koczan)consider it anything less than the work of masters would be completely underselling it. When I was done taking photos, I went out into the hallway to walk around to the other side of the room and I couldn’t believe it was still daytime. And more over, the sun had come out! Something so cosmically abysmal just seemed like it should be swallowing any and all light around it, but so it goes. Stately and ferocious, they cast their waves of of bleakness over a sea of nodding heads, and after years of missing them here, I was finally glad to have been clued in, even if I seemed to be the last one in the entire Main Stage space to have caught on. Which I probably was, because that’s the kind of hip I am. Which is to say, not at all.

Maybe it was partially a case of going easy on myself, but I once again didn’t budge from the Main Stage following the conclusion of Oranssi Pazuzu. Today was minimal back and forth, actually, which suited me just fine after two busy days of Roadburn 2017 bouncing from this venue to that one. I’d hit the Green Room twice before my evening was over, but was at the 013 the whole day, which after all the Extase and Het Patronaat yesterday almost made me feel insecure and restless — “Don’t you have somewhere you need to be, sir? Oh yeah, here,” and so on. Sometimes this festival plays tricks on your mind.

My reasoning in staying put was more than justified, though, with Warning coming on to play 2006’s Watching from a Distance in its entirety. I knew some of what to expect from a Patrick Walker performance after seeing him front 40 Watt Sun here in 2012, but of course Warning brought a presence all their own in addition to his melancholic emotionalism. They struck a hard balance between sonic weight and sheer heft-of-sadness, and yet as morose as they were, and as understated as their aura was on stage, they were never anything but engaging. Rare band, rare album, rare set. Warning (Photo by JJ Koczan)This Roadburn has had its share of special moments, and Warning fit that bill as well. There was something empowering about them, or at least validating, and as deep into their own headspace as they went, they never seemed to get lost there.

It’s not often you see a band play a full album and then want to go and put on that album directly afterward, but Warning doing Watching from a Distance had that effect. I can’t claim to know the record inside and out, but I felt fortunate to have had the chance to see the band bring it to life, which much to their credit, they did without losing the heart-wrenching resonance of the studio versions of the material.

Next door in the Green Room, the focus would soon be about an entirely different kind of crushing execution, as Belfast dual-guitar three-piece Slomatics made ready to take the stage. I got there about 20 minutes before they went on and was still too late to get a spot right up front. Should’ve figured. I’d heard people talking about how stoked they were to see them, and after being lucky enough to see them in Norway last September at Høstsabbat (review here), I also knew they weren’t to be missed. My timing being what it was, I still got there to see Jon Davis from Conan soundcheck the guest vocals he’d provide for closer “March of the 1,000 Volt Ghost,” and it was good to know that was coming.

Davis also released Slomatics‘ fucking excellent 2016 album, Future Echo Returns (review here), on Slomatics (Photo by JJ Koczan)his Black Bow Records imprint, so all the better to have him there alongside guitarists Chris Couzens and David Majury as well as drummer/vocalist Marty Harvey, who even before Davis showed up stomped out the most pummeling tones I’ve heard over the course of the last three days. “Electric Breath,” “Return to Kraken,” “And Yet it Moves,” “Supernothing” — this is the stuff of lumbering, rolling, molten doom supremacy, and as they’re five records deep into a tenure that one hopes continues into perpetuity, Slomatics know how to wield these weapons to glorious effect. I felt like I was going to pass out and ran downstairs to hammer down a quick dinner — chicken in some kind of tomato-based sauce with green and red peppers, jalapenos and cheese over lettuce; two plates in about five minutes — and was back in the Green Room in time to catch Davis‘ guest spot from the side of the stage and jump up to take a picture of the band when they were done playing. I never do that kind of thing, but Slomatics were nothing if not an occasion worth savoring.

Shit would only get more doomed from there. Like I said yesterday, everyone here makes their own Roadburn, and I knew how I wanted my night to go. I wanted it to go doom. That meant hanging out in the Green Room more for Ahab, which I was more than happy to do. The nautically-themed German funeral doomers were not a band I ever really expected to be able to see, and knowing how packed it got for Slomatics, I assumed much the same would ensue. I was right. Ahab probably Ahab (Photo by JJ Koczan)could’ve filled the Patronaat if the press of the crowd behind me half an hour before they even went on was anything to go by, but as it was they beat the Green Room into submission with their guttural, ultra-slow lurch and churning devastation.

It was by no means the same kind of grind that Memoriam were doling out on the Main Stage, but watching Ahab play was like witnessing the giant, five-foot-thick gears of some industrial revolution shipyard turning the assembled audience into powder. The very means of production brought to bear on all of our caved-in skulls. Yes, they were hyperbole-level heavy. Unremittingly so, and to a claustrophobic degree. I don’t know if it was during “Old Thunder” or “To Mourn Job,” but there was a point at which I had to remind myself that I’d actively wanted to be so brutally overwhelmed and so overwhelmed by brutality. Did that make the effect any less punishing? Not in the slightest, but thanks for asking.

There was only one place left to go to continue my downer trajectory: back to the Main Stage for My Dying Bride. Having the UK doom legends play 1993’s Turn Loose the Swans in full made an awful lot of sense after special sets in 2016 from Paradise Lost and in 2015 from Anathema and Fields of the Nephilim — I’m keeping my fingers crossed for Katatonia in 2018; never seen them and they’d seem to be next in line, despite not being British — and the drama unfolded early as frontman Aaron Stainthorpe hit the stage with violinist/keyboardist Shaun Macgowan for “Sear Me MCMXCIII.” Soon enough, founding guitarists Andrew Craighan and Calvin Robertshaw, bassist Lena Abé and drummer Shaun Taylor-Steels would join, and the full fray would be unleashed. Chances are I don’t need to tell you how influential My Dying Bride have been on the trajectory of the last two decades of doom, but suffice it to say I’m not sure I could’ve found a darker way to round out myMy Dying Bride (Photo by JJ Koczan) Roadburn 2017 Saturday night than to watch them deliver that level of scathe with that level of professionalism.

And no, I’m not just saying that because Stainthorpe wore a tie. With animation by Costin Chioreanu behind them, My Dying Bride were the consummate headliners. Mysticum were still to follow on the Main Stage with a production I’d caught in soundcheck earlier in the day that was probably the most elaborate I’ve ever seen in the 013 venue, but for me, My Dying Bride marked a culmination of what I wanted the evening to be, and so I knew my night was done. There’s always more to see at Roadburn. Always something you don’t get to. Always someone who, years down the road, you wonder, “What the hell was I doing that I missed that?” but sometimes when you’re in Tilburg, you’ve crafted your experience in such a way that makes sense at the time, and that was me tonight. Would’ve been hard pressed to find anything to top My Dying Bride anyway.

One day left in Roadburn 2017, which is something I know to be true because I only have two protein bars remaining — one for before the show, one for after. Tomorrow’s another early start to fold Weirdo Canyon Dispatch issues, so I’ll leave it there once again and say thank you for reading and if you’re so inclined, you can check out more pics after the jump.

Which is right frickin’ here:

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