Roadburn 2015: Enslaved and Wardruna’s Skuggsjá Collaboration, Floor, Virus, Sólstafir, Bongripper and More Join Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 17th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

roadburn 2015 banner

Unbelievable. I’m not even sure where to start with the latest round of additions to Roadburn 2015.

The Enslaved and Wardruna collaboration Skuggsjá, or the not-gonna-miss-‘em-again Virus, or Floor or Bongripper doing two sets. It’s overwhelming, to be perfectly honest with you. I’m exhausted right now. Well, I was exhausted anyway, but still. You get my point.

I’ve heard from a couple other acts who can’t announce yet but definitely have “April European tour plans,” and there are one or two other names I’m dying to see if they get added to the fest, but gadzooks, that’s a lotta Roadburn. All I can say is dig in, there’s a lot to catch up on:

skuggsja at roadburn 2015

Enslaved and Wardruna To Perform Skuggsjá, The Sound of Norway’s Norse History at Roadburn Festival 2015

Roadburn Festival 2015 Ticket Pre-Sales Start Thursday, Oct 16th 2014 at 21:00 CET; Pre-Sales Party at The 013 Venue (NL)

Bongripper, Floor, Sólstafir, Virus, White Hills, Messenger, Junius, Skeletonwitch, Svartidaudi, Mortals, The Osiris Club and Zoltan also confirmed for the 20th edition of Roadburn Festival.

We’re elated to announce that Enslaved and Wardruna will perform Skuggsjá, the sound of Norway’s Norse History at Houses of the Holistic, Ivar Bjørnson’s and Einar “Kvitrafn” Selvik’s curated Roadburn event on Friday, April 10 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands.

Written by Bjørnson and Selvik for the 200th anniversary of the Norwegian Constitution and premiered this past weekend at the Eidsivablot festival, this will be Skuggsjá’s first performance outside of Norway, and will certainly be one of the highlights of the 20th edition of Roadburn Festival.

Skuggsjá translates into ‘mirror’ or ‘reflection’ in the Norse language, and the commissioned piece not only contextualizes harder music’s role in the democracy in Norway in 2014, but also joins threads from the country’s ancient musical history and solidifies harder music’s position as Norway`s most important cultural export.

By highlighting ideas, traditions and instruments of their Norse past, Skuggsjá will tell the history of Norway and reflect relevant aspects from the past into the present day. In light of this they will reflect on themselves as a people and nation. In a magnificent tapestry of metal instrumentation, a wide variety of Norway and Scandinavia’s oldest instruments, and poetry in Proto-Scandinavian, Norse and Norwegian, Skuggsjá will be a fusion between past and present, both lyrically and musically.

We simply can’t wait to experience it ourselves, to hear how how Norwegian metal has developed from its rebellious roots into the highly acclaimed artistic expression of a complex music genre, under Norway’s constitutional right to freedom of speech.

In related news, Virus, Junius, Skeletonwitch, Svartidaudi and Icelandic heathens Sólstafir, who are currently making huge waves with their latest release, Ótta, are also confirmed for Houses of the Holistic, Ivar Bjørnson’s and Einar “Kvitrafn” Selvik’s curated Roadburn event on Friday, April 10 at the 013 venue.

Tickets for the 20th edition of Roadburn Festival, set for April 9 – 12 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands, will go on sale on Thursday, October 16, 2014. Set your alarm and get ready to score your tickets at 21:00 CET!

The majority of Roadburners live outside The Netherlands, which is why ticket pre-sales will start at 21:00 CET. This should be convenient for most time zones. Apologies to our friends in Oceania who will have to wake up early (or just stay up late)!

We are pleased to report that there will be NO price increase this year.Three-day tickets will be available for 165 Euros (excl. servicefees); four-day tickets will cost 185 Euros (excl. service fees). Afterburner-only tickets will cost 32.50 Euros (excl. service fees). Please note that one-day tickets are not available for the Thursday, Friday or Saturday Roadburn dates. Online buyers can order a maximum of four tickets.

For everyone in the Netherlands and Belgium: we are aware that your local ticket outlets will not be open when pre-sales start, which is why we are throwing another pre-sales party at the 013 venue in Tilburg (NL). From 19:00 CET – 20:30 CET you will be able to purchase a maximum of four paper tickets for Roadburn Festival 2015. Guaranteed!

In addition to making it easy to get tickets, the pre-sales party is going to be a blast! This year, we have invited The Machine and Radar Men From The Moon to provide the soundtrack.

The live music part of the evening starts at 20:30 CET. Roadburn’s artistic director/promoter Walter Hoeijmakers will be on hand to share the latest festival updates, too.

Chicago instrumental band Bongripper will make a welcome return to the 20th edition of Roadburn Festival with two sets that feature their unique brand of devastating doom. The first will see them play their latest album, Miserable, in its entirety at the main stage on Thursday, April 9. The second will be later that weekend (more info about the date to be determined).

If you are a fan of stellar riffs and molasses-thick distorted guitar tone, Floor has everything you want in music. These Floridian sludge/pop pioneers get a lot of comparisons to lead singer/guitarist Steve Brooks other band, Torche — and rightfully so — with his instantly recognizable singing style and guitar tone. Floor, however, is the essence of pure heaviness, with just a nod to the pop melodies that have spurred Torche on to crossover success. Come feel the downtuned thunder of Floor’s bassless power trio attack when Floor plays the main stage of the 013 venue at the 2015 Roadburn Festival on Thursday, April 9.

Combining many of the essential themes of Roadburn music in their volatile sonic elixir — psych, space rock, stoner rock, kraut rock and noise — have made White Hills one of Roadburn’s favorite bands. Their bespangled and energetic live shows have a life and chaotic energy of their own that reshapes their music and creates powerful sonic programming driven by pure energy, exactly the kind of thing that Roadburn celebrates, and fans seek. White Hills will make a very welcome return to Roadburn for a main stage performance on Sunday, April 12.

After winning the limelight category for the brightest young rising stars in the progressive sky today at this year’s Progressive Music Awards this past weekend, Messenger will bring their acid folk/prog and psychedelica to the 20th edition of Roadburn on Saturday, April 11.

Mortals, The Osiris Club and Zoltan have also been confirmed for the 20th edition of Roadburn Festival.

Curated by Ivar Bjørnson (Enslaved) and Wardruna‘s Einar “Kvitrafn” Selvik, Roadburn Festival 2015 (including Skuggsjá, Enslaved, Wardruna, Fields of the Nephilim, Claudio Simonetti’s Goblin performing Dawn of The Dead and Susperia in its entirety, Zombi, Sólstafir, White Hills, Bongipper, Floor and The Heads as Artist In Residence among others) will run for four days from Thursday, April 9 to Sunday, April 12 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands.

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Skuggsjá teaser video

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Roadburn 2015: Mugstar, Coma Wall, Undersmile, Pyramidal and Domo Added to Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 11th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

The only thing I find debatable about Arik Roper‘s poster art for Roadburn 2015 is whether or not it was ethical of him to use so much awesome in one sitting. It is a gluttony of awesome. We’re getting into the high season of lineup additions, which means over the next couple months, the festival will really start to take shape around the previously announced headliners, other headliners still to come, new acts, curated picks, and so on. So far it’s looking once again like the theme is diversity. Even between the groups most recently added — MugstarPyramidalDomoUndersmile and Coma Wall — there’s a huge stylistic variation. Hell, Undersmile and Coma Wall are on opposite ends of the spectrum alone, and they’re made up of the same people.

Here’s Roper‘s poster as big as I can make it on the page (click to make it bigger), and details on the newest bunch to join the Roadburn 2015 lineup, courtesy of the fest’s website:

Mugstar To Put Glistening And Outerworldly Sonic Glory On Display At Roadburn 2015

Heavily influenced by psychedelia, Krautrock and even Post Rock, Liverpool UK’s beloved Mugstar are in the vanguard of modern psych rock, just in case you were unfamiliar with them.

Infusing their brooding moodiness, minimal psych rock mesmerism and propulsive, hypnokraut grooves with seriously psychedelic ferocity has propelled Mugstar to stand alongside such well-regarded contemporaries as Circle, Bardo Pond and Oneida.

The band distil the wordless core of Hawkwind, Neu! and Sonic Youth and their highly recommended albums Sun Broken, Lime and Axis put transcendent, glistening and outerworldly sonic glory on display.

So, for Roadburn 2015, Mugstar will explode into an interstellar, total drugpsych tripout on Thursday, April 9 at the 013 venue, and we’re equally excited to announce that the band will also play the soundtrack to Ad Marginem on Saturday, April 11 at Het Patronaat in Tilburg, The Netherlands.

Pyramidal and Domo To Represent Spanish Heavy Psych at Roadburn Festival 2015

Spanish heavy psych has long been overdue at Roadburn, so we’re thrilled to announce that Pyramidal and Domo, both hailing from Alicante, will bring their stoner inspired heavy Space Rock with progressive and Krautrock leanings to the 20th edition of Roadburn Festival, set for April 9 -12 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands.

Channeling the undiluted spirit of King Crimson, Hawkwind and Neu! on debut album Dawn In Space, and critically acclaimed follow-up Frozen Galaxies, Pyramidal will take you to the farthest reaches of outer space, propelled by otherworldly sounds, obscure psychedelia and hypnotic grooves.

Domo harkens back to the heyday of the gonzoid power trio’s of the hazy late 60s and early 70s, anchored to heavy clouds of screaming, wah wah driven psychedelia. If you love (early) Gary Moore, or you’re a fan of Tony McPhee (like most of us at Roadburn), and massively worship The Groundhogs‘ Split, then Domo will be surely a must for you.

Word on the street is that Domo‘ S/T debut album will be finally released on vinyl soon.

Sirens Of Sludge Undersmile To Bring Doom And Despair To Roadburn 2015

Undersmile will bring their hypnotic, soul crushing blend of doom and despair to the 20th edition of Roadburn Festival on Saturday, April 11, 2015 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands.

Featuring the unique dual vocal interplay of singer-guitarists Hel Sterne and Taz Corona-Brown, Undersmile combine tortuously slow tempos, discord and stomach-churning melody to create an intense listening experience, both live and on record.

Having released an EP, three splits (with Caretaker, Bismuth and their own alter-egos, Coma Wall) and 2012’s epic debut album Narwhal, the band will be supporting their as-yet untitled second album which they will be previewing at the festival.

Prepare For Despair As Coma Wall Bring Acoustic Death Folk To Roadburn Festival 2015

Coma Wall, the acoustic alter-ego of Undersmile, will bring rustic downbeat blues and folk to the 20th edition of Roadburn Festival on Saturday, April 11, 2015 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands.

The very notion of unplugging a band as monstrously heavy and doomladen as Undersmile seemed almost ludicrous before we actually heard what it entailed, as the band replaced sludgy distortion with banjos and acoustic guitars in their alter ego Coma Wall guise.

Taz Corona-Brown and Hel Sterne’s haunting close harmony singing still brought a tingle to the spine as the band dredged southern gothic creeping dread and spectacularly outdid their electric selves on their split Wood & Wire EP (released by Shaman Recordings), bringing a bit of black sun gloom to sunny spring days and making for one of the most uncompromisingly powerful records to come out of Oxford (UK) in years.

Taking influence from artists such as Nick Cave, 16 Horsepower, Neutral Milk Hotel, Bob Dylan, Low, Mark Lanegan, Nirvana and Alice in Chains, Coma Wall will play songs from an upcoming EP, as well as tracks from Wood & Wire.

Roadburn Festival 2015 will run for four days from Thursday, April 9 to Sunday, April 12 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands.

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Mugstar, Ad Marginem (2012)

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Tank86 Unveil Cover Art for Obey

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 10th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

tank86

Following up on 2011’s Rise, Netherlands-based instrumental foursome Tank86 are preparing to launch a Kickstarter in order to press their second album, Obey. I was pretty sure Shepard Fairey had a trademark on the word “obey” in block letters if not the word overall, but I guess the Tilburg outfit are within their rights on the new album’s cover, which they’ve newly unveiled. Or if not, you know, prepared for litigation.

Tank86 recorded the eight tracks for Obey this spring at Quarantine Studios and their plan is to put the whole deal out on vinyl presumably early in 2015, though I guess they could probably squeeze it in before the end of this year if the crowdfunding takes off. They teased the whole deal like such, and as you can see, they’re of about as few words as one might expect of an all-instrumental outfit. We can’t all be talkers.

Goes like this:

The final master of “OBEY” is done and approved by our four sets of bleeding ears. Great work by Brett of Tower Studios!

Currently we’re editing a crowdfund promovideo and finalizing all the other kickstarter thingies. There will be some very cool limited stuff up for grabs! Expect the kickstarter (with preview tracks!) to hit somewhere next week.

Meanwhile we present you the cover image of “OBEY” designed by the fine folks of Blacklake. Coming to you soon in full vinyl glory!

TANK86 released their debut album ‘Rise’ in 2011, which was well received by critics and fans all over the globe for it’s instrumental depth, high density of breackneck riffage and general instumental songwriting.

TANK86 has toured Europe with Dozer, played at the legendary roadburn festival and stood its ground alongside bands such as Monster Magnet, Pelican, Karma to Burn and The Sword.

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Tank86, Rise (2011)

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Roadburn 2015: Claudio Simonetti’s Goblin, Zombi, Salem’s Pot and More Added to Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 4th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

roadburn 2015

A huge slew of adds today to Roadburn 2015. I’m sure it’s happened at some point over the last however many years, but I can’t remember a time when so many acts joined a Roadburn bill at once. And as one would have to expect, they’re completely all over the place, from Claudio Simonetti’s Goblin doing two live soundtracks to Oozing Wound thrashing out and Salem’s Pot weed-worshiping their consciousness into oblivion. That’s really just the start of it, too.

And there’s more to come, of course. The PR wire has info:

goblin at roadburn 2015

CLAUDIO SIMONETTI’S GOBLIN TO PERFORM LIVE SCORE OF CULT HORROR CLASSICS DAWN OF THE DEAD AND SUSPIRIA AT ROADBURN 2015

ZOMBI, STEVE MOORE & MAJEURE TO PLAY ROADBURN FESTIVAL 2015

PROFETUS, DER WEG EINER FREIHEIT, SALEM’S POT, SAMMAL & OOZING WOUND ALSO CONFIRMED FOR THE 20th EDITION OF ROADBURN FESTIVAL

We’re extremely excited to announce that Claudio Simonetti’s Goblin will return to the 20th edition of Roadburn Festival, set for April 9 – 12 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands, to perform their much acclaimed movie soundtracks for the well-known cult-classic horror movies Dawn Of The Dead and Suspiria.

Led by Brazilian-born composer Claudio Simonetti, the band will perform the live scores in real time while screening both movies from start to finish, offering our beloved attendees the chance to experience these classic soundtracks and films in an entire new dimension.

This will be the first time that these soundtracks will be performed in The Netherlands and at Roadburn, following the band’s critically acclaimed performance at last year’s festival, when Claudio Simonetti’s Goblin were invited by curator Mikael Åkerfeldt.

Goblin’s scores for George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead (1978) and Dario Argento’s Suspiria (1977) rank among the best and most famous soundtracks composed and produced by these Italian progressive rock legends.

The much-anticipated performances will take place on the main stage at the 013 venue on Saturday, April 11 (Dawn of the Dead) and Sunday, April 12 (Suspiria).

We’re equally excited to announce that legendary kosmische Giallo synth duo Zombi will be playing an exclusive set at Roadburn 2015, appearing for the first time in Europe since a handful of festival appearances back in 2011.

Since first hitting the general consciousness with their Relapse 2004 debut album Cosmos, following a pair of EPs, and wowing fans and critics alike with 2011’s Escape Velocity, it could be argued that Zombi were the spearhead for the whole resurgence of interest in obscure film soundtracks and the music of artists such as Goblin, John Carpenter and Fabio Frizzi.

Zombi, AKA Messrs. Moore and Paterra will be opening up the stargate and heralding the zombie dawn on the main stage of the 013 venue on Saturday April 11 as a part of the 2015 20th edition of Roadburn and we couldn’t be more psyched to have them.

That, however, is not all we have in store for you, as we also have exclusive solo performances from Zombi braintrust Steve Moore and A E Paterra – performing under his Majeure identity – both of whom will be playing on the day before, Friday April 10 at Het Patronaat.

In related news: At long last, Profetus will be conjuring their classic Finnish funeral doom, worthy of comparision to Thergothon, Skepticism and Tyranny (with whom Profetus share members), when they play on Friday, April 10 at Het Patronaat, too!

In collaboration with Finland’s Blow Up That Gramophone, we can’t wait for Profetus, who rarely perform live, to slowly break down Het Patronaat by the full crashing weight and momentum of monolithic riffs, slow building drums, guttural vocals and sadly beautiful, but also penetrating church-organ-like synths.

Germany’s Der Weg Einer Freiheit offers a master class in dark, furious and epic black metal as they effortlessly mix blackened grandeur with post-rock sensibilities and classically influenced melodies to create their signature sound. Impatiently waiting for the follow up to 2012’s Unstille, we’ll be anticipating Der Weg Einer Freiheit’s Roadburn performance on Friday, April 10 at Het Patronaat just as much.

Firmly rooted in the red-eyed rituals of the heady ‘60s and dead ‘70s, and shabby, feverish catacomb 8mm smut by the likes of Jess Franco, Sweedens’ Salem’s Pot are clearly on the rise, channeling ultra-fuzzed acid-blues into psychotropic lo-fi doom.

These guys aren’t just some bogus, bong-worshipping, basement dwellers. Salem’s Pot accentuate these creepy vibes by smashing B-movie debauchery and vintage hedonism into a lysergic stomp through spooky reverberations and underground grime. You know what to do when Salem’s Pot will hit Roadburn 2015 on Thursday, April 9 at the 013 venue.

Founded in 2004 by guitarist Jura Salmi and vocalist Jan-Erik Kiviniemi, Sammal manages to capture a sense of golden moments in Finnish music. Touching on their culture and heart, and with lyrics sung entirely in Finnish, Sammal shows a masterful, natural command of classic rock with nods to Caravan, Thin Lizzy, Camel, Birth Control, Budgie and the epic guitar journeys of the Allman Brothers.

Though Sammal have existed for 10 years, they seldom play live gigs (let alone abroad) and in collaboration with Finland’s Blow Up That Gramophone, we are immensely excited to have them at the 20th edition of Roadburn Festival on Saturday, April 11 at the 013 venue.

Buckle up! Are you ready for some of the filthiest, snottiest, relentless and downright loud crossover thrash this side of early 80s Metallica, Slayer and Suicidal Tendencies? Then look no further, as Chi-town’s Oozing Wound are here to supercharge the 20th edition of Roadburn Festival on Saturday, April 11 at the 013 venue.

In related news: British gothic rock innovators Fields Of The Nephilim will be gracing the stage twice at the 20th edition of the Roadburn Festival. In addition to serving as the Saturday headliner on April 11, the band will perform a different set as special guests at Houses Of The Holistic on Friday, the special Roadburn event curated by Ivar Bjørnson (Enslaved) and Wardruna‘s Einar “Kvitrafn” Selvik, which will be held on Friday, April 10.

Once again, we captured the sounds of Roadburn Festival. While you were worming your way through a Green Room doorway jam, we were recording the jams inside. Now it’s time to kick back and relax and just listen. The VPRO’s 3voor12, which is the best cultural media network in the Netherlands, is making it possible to share these 2014 Roadburn streams with you here.

Curated by Ivar Bjørnson (Enslaved) and Wardruna‘s Einar “Kvitrafn” Selvik, Roadburn Festival 2015 (including The Heads as Artist In Residence, Enslaved, Wardruna, Claudio Simonetti’s Goblin, Zombi and Fields of the Nephilim among others) will run for four days from Thursday, April 9 to Sunday, April 12 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands.

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Goblin, “Dawn of the Dead Theme”

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Roadburn 2015: Fields of the Nephilim, Monolord and Electric Citizen Added to Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 29th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

And so it begins: The great barrage of festival announcements. Things won’t really pick up until the winter — which is fortunate since nothing else will be going on at that time — but already RoadburnDesertfestFreak Valley and others have begun to leak confirmed names from their 2015 lineups, and already I can’t keep up with all of it. I’m not sure which if any of the above I’ll be able to attend next year, but the news is still relevant even if I don’t make it, so I’ll continue to do my best to stay on top of it.

In the case of Roadburn, their now-years-long push into aesthetic diversity seems to be hitting new heights via their partnership with Enslaved and Wardruna for a curated event dubbed “Houses of the Holistic.” The news that Fields of the Nephilim will take part in that event came out yesterday and was received with much appropriately gothic cooing. Also reaffirming their commitment to the riff, RidingEasy Records upstarts Monolord and Electric Citizen have also been added, so as ever, Roadburn‘s got a little bit of everything going already, and only more to come.

Snagged this off the PR wire:

fields of the nephilim roadburn 2015

FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM TO PLAY TWO EXCLUSIVE SHOWS AT ROADBURN FESTIVAL 2015

We are honored to announce that British gothic rock innovators Fields Of The Nephilim will be gracing the stage twice at the 20th edition of the Roadburn Festival atthe 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands. In addition to serving as the Saturday headliner on April 11, 2015, the band will perform a different set as special guests at ‘Houses Of The Holistic’ on Friday, the special Roadburn event curated by Ivar Bjørnson (Enslaved) and Wardruna’s Einar “Kvitrafn” Selvik, which will be held on Friday, April 10.

Currently 30 years into a groundbreaking career, Fields of the Nephilim have had a major impact on an entire generation of musicians and music fans. Led by singer Carl McCoy, the Stevenage, England band fused the darker elements of post-punk with more overtly American sounds such as blues and outlaw country, creating a sound that was gritty, grandiose, and menacing, unlike anything that was made before or since. Such classic albums as Dawnrazor, The Nephilim, and Elizium helped shape the goth subculture, but at the same time played a profound role in influencing a wide array of today’s music, ranging from indie, to occult rock, to metal. Such contemporary bands as Watain, Katatonia, Horseback, and Enslaved cite the Nephilim as a major influence.

“Fields of the Nephilim has accepted our invitation for our “Houses of the Holistic” at Roadburn 2015. Bleep! Anything I say after that sentence is going to seem insignificant in comparison, so no pressure for once,” says Bjørnson, “I’ve been a avid fan of Carl McCoy and Fields of the Nephilim since I was introduced to them during the early years of Enslaved; and they have remained a constant source of inspiration ever since (check out the song ‘Nordlys’ from our Scion-EP ‘The Sleeping Gods’, for instance). Having these absolute masters of sublime Music from the Shadows as very special guests at our curated event is as big as it gets; April 2015 just can’t come fast enough! Aaaaaarrrrggghhh!”

Comments Selvik: “The basic idea of our ‘Houses of the Holistic’ is of course about inviting bands we find interesting and would love to see perform but it is also about creating an event that at the same time says something about what shaped and inspired us on our own creative path – AND – since the authors of the poetic Edda are long since gone I personally have difficulty thinking of a more fitting band than Fields of the Nephilim to give voice to that idea.”

We at Roadburn have been huge supporters monolord roadburn 2015of Fields Of The Nephilim since the Dawnrazor album in 1987, and with their influence looming large over so many acts that have played at our festival over the years, hosting these two special performances at Roadburn 2015 couldn’t be more appropriate.

In related news: In keeping with our tradition of bringing you the finest rock ‘n’ roll ceremony of occultish, Sabbathian shades and sounds, we’re thrilled to announce that Ohio’s Electric Citizen will play on Saturday, April 11. Sweden’s hotly-tipped psychedelic stoner sludge outfit Monolord (as in lords of monolithic riffing) will bring their massive mesmeric, speaker-rumbling amplifier worship to Roadburn Festival 2015 on Thursday, April 9.

Roadburn Festival 2015 (including The Heads as Artist In Residence, Enslaved and Wardruna among others) will run for four days from Thursday, April 9 to Sunday, April 12 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands.

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Monolord, Empress Rising (2014)

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Roadburn 2015 Curators Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 23rd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Here’s what I know: I know that between having Enslaved‘s Ivar Bjørnson and Wardruna‘s Einar Kvitrafn Selvik curating and having The Heads as artist-in-residence, Roadburn 2015 is going to make for one adventurous weekend. The craziest thing about it? It’ll totally work. It’ll be amazing. Don’t doubt it. At this point Roadburn‘s vibe is so dead-on that if, say, you want to have a day hand-picked by dudes in black and folk metal bands while off in a corner somewhere there’s a handful of British psych rockers jamming out, rest assured, the crowd’s gonna have no problem rolling with the spirit of the event. Further, it’s stuff like this that makes Roadburn what it is.

Looking forward particularly to seeing what Bjørnson adds to his curated day, since my understanding is he’s into heavy rock of various stripes, but special performances by both Enslaved and Wardruna as a part of the evening’s events is an excellent way to start while we wait for further announcements.

Dig it:

IVAR BJØRNSON OF ENSLAVED AND WARDRUNA’S EINAR KVITRAFN SELVIK TO CURATE ROADBURN FESTIVAL 2015

(Special shows by Enslaved and Wardruna)

We’re beyond thrilled to announce that Ivar Bjørnson of Enslaved and Wardruna’s Einar Kvitrafn Selvik will curate the 20th edition of Roadburn Festival, on Friday, April 10, 2015 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands.

As curators, both Ivar and Einar will personally select the bands for their curated Roadburn event, named ‘Houses of the Holistic’, and play special shows with Enslaved and Wardruna respectively as well.

The Norwegian pair, both former Roadburn performers, have played an important role in bringing together the past, present and future sounds of hard rock, progressive metal, and alternative scenes, which makes them the ideal choice to carry on the tradition that began in 2008 with David Tibet of Current 93, and continued with Neurosis, Tom G. Warrior, Sunn 0))), Voivod, Jus Oborn of Electric Wizard and Mikael Åkerfeldt of Opeth.

One of the most hard-hitting and progressive bands to come out of Norway, Enslaved has drawn other musical genres and artistic expressions into the realm of metal, while being recognized for merging tradition and modernity in a unique blend of rock, prog and black metal, earning them Spellemann Awards (Norwegian Grammys) for much acclaimed and groundbreaking albums such as ‘Isa’, ‘Ruun’, and ‘Vertebrae’ among others.

Enslaved’s performance, dubbed ‘House of Northern Gods’, will consist of a set list specially put together for ‘Houses of the Holistic’, featuring songs from the band’s entire catalogue that embody the Norse gods, with accompanying visuals created by revered Romanian artist, Costin Chioreanu. Be prepared for a surprise or two, or even more.

Ivar Bjørnson comments: “To say that my dream as a kid was to one day curate the Roadburn Festival would perhaps be to take it a tad too far – but it isn’t that far from the truth. There’s some ridiculously big shoes to fill, but luckily negative pressure, idea draught and performance anxiety aren’t something I’m into. It is my favourite festival in one of my favourite parts of the world; so this is nothing short of one the biggest honours I’ve been given! It is a privilege to undertake this challenge in twosome with Einar; an artist I truly feel in tune with artistically and philosophically – now it is all about hard work and dedication to ensure that the audience and the festival itself is given a Friday to enjoy, experience and remember. I for one can’t wait!”

Winning the award for Best Underground Band at the 2104 Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards, Wardruna has taken Einar Kvitrafn Selvik’s musical visions out of the contemporary framework and back into the authentic sounds and instrumentation of ancient Northern Europe. Wardruna (featuring Gaahl and Lindy Fay Hella, alongside Einar) received rave reviews for their mesmerizing 2009 debut ‘Gap Var Ginnunga’ and equally exciting follow up, ‘Yggdrasil’, the first two albums in the planned ‘Runaljod’ trilogy that interprets the ancient runic alphabet of the Elder Futhark.

Wardruna’s special ‘Houses of the Holistic’ performance will definitely add another dimension to the kaleidoscope of styles and sounds associated with Roadburn.

“It is such a great honour for me; to be awarded the responsibility of carrying out the traditional role of the Roadburn curator”, says Einar Kvitrafn Selvik. “Doing it together with Ivar makes it even more special. Roadburn is in my opinion such a high-level music festival – all quality to the fingertips. It is also a festival where presenting high quality musical art is more important than anything else, such as genre distinctions and scene divisions. We will work hard to deliver a program that both explore territories one has come to expect at Roadburn, while at the same time continue to expand its boundaries into new sonic realms.”

While the two curators’ musical output differs instrumentally and stylistically, Bjørnson and Selvik have a common direction towards the primeval and undiluted, not only in their own artistic expressions but also in their taste for other music, which is ultimately what they wish to present at Roadburn 2015 during ‘Houses of the Holistic’. We look forward to this collaboration and cannot wait to see how both Ivar and Einar will expand Roadburn Festival‘s musical horizons as well as explore more familiar territory from new angles. We will definitely be in for some artistic surprises, and Norway’s Norse history, too!

Roadburn Festival 2015 (including The Heads as Artist In Residence) will run for four days from Thursday, April 9 to Sunday, April 12 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands.

http://www.roadburn.com/
https://www.facebook.com/events/706789836026950/

Enslaved, “Thoughts Like Hammers” official video

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Roadburn 2014: Sets from Harsh Toke, YOB, Indian, Horse Latitudes, Morne, The Vintage Caravan, Obliteration and Lord Dying Available to Stream

Posted in audiObelisk on July 16th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

It’s a formidable batch of streams this time around from Roadburn 2014, with YOB‘s The Great Cessation played in its entirety, and gigs from Indian, who by all accounts killed at the fest, Morne, ditto, Lord Dying and more. For me though, like the first batch with their Lenny Kaye jam, the highlight is probably Harsh Toke. They were my find of the fest. When their Light up and Live album came out in 2013 on Tee Pee, I guess I didn’t pay enough attention and missed it, but after seeing them with the aforementioned Mr. Kaye, I knew there was no way I was going to let their set at the Afterburner pass without watching at least for a little bit.

As such, the San Diego jam-rippers were how I closed out Roadburn 2014, stopping by the Green Room to watch them tear into heavy psych fluidity as though you could actually tear into something fluid. Killer band. I’ve spent much time with Light up and Live since April, and I’m glad to have the chance — thanks, as always, to Marcel van de Vondervoort and his crew — to relive their show. That’s not to mention YOB doing The Great Cessation, which was hypnotic to the point of being trance-inducing, and Morne and Indian and The Vintage CaravanLord Dying and Obliteration, the last two adding a malevolent, lurching extremity. Very cool mix.

No big surprise there, I guess, since the festival has become so eclectic. Plenty to dig into here so I won’t delay further:

Harsh Toke – Live at Roadburn 2014

Horse Latitudes – Live at Roadburn 2014

Indian – Live at Roadburn 2014

Lord Dying – Live at Roadburn 2014

Morne – Live at Roadburn 2014

Obliteration – Live at Roadburn 2014

The Vintage Caravan – Live at Roadburn 2014 (Friday, April 11th)

Yob – Live at Roadburn 2014 (The Great Cessation)

Thanks to Walter and Roadburn for letting me host the streams. The first and second batches are still available as well, and for all of the Roadburn 2014 coverage, click here.

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The Heads Named Artists in Residence for Roadburn 2015

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 10th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

It was a bummer this year when UK psych legends The Heads bowed out of their appearance at the Roadburn festival in Tilburg, the Netherlands, but if year-to-year Roadburn has proved anything, it’s never count out the fest’s ability to make up for any lost ground. Oh, you’ve got a volcano grounding flights so people can’t get to play their sets? Bring them over next year and give them better slots. The Heads can’t play in 2014? Well, bring them over in 2015 and make them artists in residence, playing multiple sets that include Paul Allen in the mix and come on the heels of a reissue of their landmark second album, Everybody Knows We Got Nowhere, on their own Rooster Records.

That reissue is due out Sept. 28 in deluxe form — it’s a 2CD or 5LP, take your pick — and for the 20th Roadburn, it’s hard to think of a better way for the festival’s spirit to be embodied than to bring back The Heads for another go in even grander fashion.

Dig it:

THE HEADS (ALLEN, MASKELL, MORGAN, PRICE) – ARTIST IN RESIDENCE ROADBURN FESTIVAL 2015

We’re elated to announce that The Heads (Allen, Maskell, Morgan, Price) will return to Roadburn, their spiritual home in Europe, to follow in the footsteps of Enslaved, Circle, Justin K Broadrick and Neige (Alcest) as Artist In Residence at the 2015 festival (the 20th edition), set for April 9 – 12 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands.

For this very rare appearance, Paul Allen (Prof) is back in on lead guitar, completing the circle. All of the band members have been busy, Simon, Wayne and Hugo with Kandodo, Paul with Anthroprophh, and in the past year Wayne and (now) Hugo have joined Loop.

Meanwhile, The Heads reissue campaign rolls onwards, with the re-release of their second album “Everybody Knows we Got Nowhere” on their label, Rooster Records.

As Artist In Residence, The Heads will play separate sets over the course of Roadburn 2015. The first will be Kandodo and Anthroprophh, followed by a one-off collaborative freakout with a fellow traveller (TBC).

The band’s residency will culminate in some serious wigged out riffmongery and the melding point of amped-up space rock with blistering krautrock workouts on the main stage on Saturday, April 11.

At last, The Heads will turn their amps up once more and they will pummel the ears and minds of all who bear witness!

https://www.facebook.com/roadburnfestival
https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Heads/282801075465

The Heads, “Long Gone” from Everybody Knows We Got Nowhere

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Roadburn 2014: Sets from Bong, Age of Taurus, Windhand, Samothrace, Noothgrush, Brutus, Whitehorse and Regarde les Hommes Tomber Available to Stream

Posted in audiObelisk on June 18th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

One of the things I enjoy most about these Roadburn streams every year is that not only do they allow the people who were there to relive the awesome (and in many cases, fuzzy) memories of seeing these bands, but they allow everyone, whether they were there or not, to get a glimpse at some of what they didn’t get to see. Because you can try your damnedest to catch everything at Roadburn every year — I know I have on the years I’ve been fortunate enough to go — but it’s just not going to happen. At any point during the three days of the fest-proper, there are at least four stages running simultaneously, and there’s just no way to be everywhere at once. I saw Noothgrush at Roadburn 2014, but I missed Brutus, saw Samothrace and missed Windhand.

With the audio streams — diligently recorded at Roadburn 2014 by Marcel van de Vondervoort and his team, as ever — that doesn’t matter. It would be something if the fest set up a security system for the audio one of these years that you had to be there to hear it (actually it would suck, aside from being a logistical/coding nightmare), but fortunately that’s not the case, and whether you were at the 013 or in the Netherlands or not, you can enjoy the fruits of Roadburn‘s considerable labors. If it sounds utopian, it is.

To listen and enjoy:

Age of Taurus – Live at Roadburn 2014

Bong – Live at Roadburn 2014

Brutus – Live at Roadburn 2014

Noothgrush – Live at Roadburn 2014

Regarde Les Hommes Tomber – Live at Roadburn 2014

Samothrace – Live at Roadburn 2014

Whitehorse – Live at Roadburn 2014

Windhand – Live at Roadburn 2014

Thanks as always to Walter and the Roadburn crew for allowing me to host the streams. The first batch is still available as well, and for all of the Roadburn 2014 coverage, click here.

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Behind the Scenes at Roadburn 2014 with Mr. Roadburn

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 13th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

There are a lot of people out there with a vision. Anyone with a targeted daydream can claim to have one. Whatever it is you dream of doing. I dream of owning and running a venue. I can see it in my head, how it comes together, the people there, the music playing, all of it. That’s my dream. I’m working toward it, but it’s not anywhere close to being a reality at this point. That’s where most people are. Walter Hoeijmakers (Obelisk questionnaire here) is on the other end of it — that rare person who has taken his vision, made it real, and continues to work with unmatched drive in refining and remaking his dream.

I’ve spoken at length before in admiration of what Walter does and all he continues to accomplish with the annual Roadburn festival in Tilburg, the Netherlands. It’s not just him — there’s Jurgen, Yvonne, the 013 crew, many, many people — but he’s widely regarded as the driving force, and his passion and heart reside at the core of what Roadburn has become. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you Roadburn has changed my life and changed the way I experience music every single day. In many ways, it has been the anchor of my last six years, and I was so, so happy to be there again in 2014.

When I arrived at the 013 for this year’s fest, and was greeted by Walter, the first thing I saw was the camera crew from Vice/Noisey filming the Mr. Roadburn documentary. I hadn’t slept, was unshowered, could barely keep my head up, but there was Walter, guru-calm in being unphased by the familiar stresses of the festival that was about to launch. Comment from Walter himself, as well as those playing and attending the fest (because even when you play, you also attend), it’s a good look at somebody whose work has genuinely contributed to the course of underground heavy music for more than the last decade, and someone whose influence runs toe-to-toe with any artist against whom you might want to measure. I know that when it comes to my own daydreams, he’s a major inspiration.

Enjoy:

Mr. Roadburn documentary

Mr. Roadburn at Vice/Noisey

Roadburn Festival

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Tank86 Announce European Touring and New Album in the Works

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 21st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Netherlands-based instrumental practitioners Tank86 are getting ready to record a new long-player and follow-up to 2011’s surprisingly metallized Rise (review here), and before they do, they’ll be heading out on a quick run of German and Swiss dates, joining forces for the last two shows with Rising Magma labelmates Pendejo, who have a new album called Atacames out on April 25. Serendipitous timing there, and no doubt the two Dutch groups will make for a formidable pairing in Luzern and Schongau when they meet up.

Tank86 will begin the recording process after this tour, and they’re also slated to play with Greenleaf at the beginning of June, which seems as valid an excuse for interrupting work in the studio as any I can think of. That show is June 7 and more info is available at Tank86‘s Thee Facebooks, should you happen to find yourself in Nijmegen over the summer. Hey, stranger things have happened. Look out for more info on the Tank86 record when it’s done, and in the meantime, dates for the tour that links them with Pendejo are below, fresh off the PR wire:

TANK86 spring tour and new album recording

In preparation of the recording of the follow up to TANK86’s highly acclaimed album “Rise”, the Dutch instrumental band heads on tour to Germany and Switzerland to test-drive their brand new material. They are joined by their Rising Magma friends Pendejo on the last two dates of the tour. After the tour the band heads straight into the Quarantine Studios to start recording. The new album will be released in the fall of this year.

The tour schedule is as follows:

01-05-2014: Hühnermanhattan, Halle/Saale (GER)
02-05-2014: Subway to Peter, Chemnitz (GER)
03-05-2014: Tiefgrund, Berlin (GER)
04-05-2014: 119FM, Esslingen-Zell (GER)
09-05-2014: Bruch Brothers, Luzern (SWI) – with Pendejo
10-05-2014: G2, Schongau (GER) – with Pendejo

https://www.facebook.com/TANK86
http://tank86.bandcamp.com/album/rise

Tank86, Rise (2011)

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Roadburn 2014 Day Four: The Afterburner

Posted in Features, Reviews on April 13th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

04.13.14 — 22:38 — Sunday night — Hotel Mercure, Tilburg

I own one really nice pair of socks. They’re black, a name brand, and I don’t know when I picked them up, but they breathe, they’re comfortable, and most of all, they fit my silly clown feet. As someone who doesn’t usually wear shoes that require socks let alone the socks themselves if he can help it, these socks are where it’s at. I took them out of my luggage on Friday and went to put them on and I was like, “What the hell am I doing? I’ve still got three more days here! I can’t waste the good socks!”

Well, today I wore the good socks. The occasion was as fitting as any: the Roadburn 2014 Afterburner, a stripped down, laid back incarnation of Roadburn proper that closes out each year. Three stages. For me the big difference was in how I decided to approach the schedule. Apart from needing to be at the Main Stage in time to take pictures, I didn’t worry about getting up front, or getting somewhere 25 minutes beforehand. I let myself be a little freer to roam around. I don’t have up-close shots of everything I saw, but it was good to experience the fest like I think a lot of people do, just wandering back and forth between the rooms, enjoying the music in one, going back to the last, going back to the next and so on. In any case, I’ve no regrets.

After finishing the final issue of the Weirdo Canyon Dispatch, the day began with a moving tribute to former The Devil’s Blood guitarist, the late Selim Lemouchi from players who knew him, including his sister and ex-The Devil’s Blood frontwoman Farida Lemouchi, billed as Selim Lemouchi’s Enemies and playing the 2014 Earth Air Spirit Water Fire album from Lemouchi‘s post-The Devil’s Blood project, Selim Lemouchi and His Enemies. There were 10 people on stage — two drummers, four guitars, bass, two keyboards, and Farida Lemouchi on vocals, honoring her brother by playing his songs. It was a powerful experience to be sure, in part because of the otherworldly feel of the music, but even more just on the emotional level of those involved, still clearly grieving the loss.

It felt somewhat voyeuristic to be taking photos in front of the stage. I’d never flatter myself into thinking that being in the photo pit, particularly on a stage so high, effects the performance one way or another, I just mean that these were people in mourning. His sister especially. I cannot and would not imagine that loss, and to have it so soon after, when all people still just have nothing more than dogma and hollow epithets to offer for the sense of injustice you feel. In a way it was the heaviest set of the weekend, but it was also beautiful, the band playing to images of Selim projected behind the songs with which he was moving on from The Devil’s Blood and into unknown sonic territory. I’ve heard from several natives how much he’s missed, And you could tell watching the players on stage that Lemouchi was well loved, even by his Enemies.

There was what felt like a moment of exhale when they were done, a picture of Lemouchi left on the projector screen on the empty stage, and in the Green Room, extreme Swiss duo Bölzer went on seemingly with the intent to blast their way through the reverent spirit with a filth-caked maelstrom. To be fair, they would’ve blasted through any kind of atmosphere; hardly seemed like a personal thing. It was kind of a jump from one end of the spectrum to the other, and they were a standout on and otherwise psych-heavy Green Room lineup of Aqua Nebula Oscillator, who opened, The Papermoon Sessions, New Keepers of the Water Towers, Harsh Toke and Lumerians. Coming out of the Main Stage room still wowed by the raw human spirit of what I’d just seen, my head wasn’t in it for Bölzer, but I was in a clear minority. Not only was the Green Room full, but the hallway outside was full too. Couldn’t get near them.

That would be a kind of running theme soon enough, but Avatarium were next on the Main Stage. The Stockholm natives released their self-titled debut last fall on Nuclear Blast, and are notable also for boasting Candlemass bassist and principle songwriter Leif Edling in their lineup, but Edling was absent owing to illness so Avatarium played with a fill-in and treated the crowd to their progressive melodic metal, vocalist Jennie-Ann Smith borrowing cadences from Ronnie James Dio (a better source than most) and leading the five-piece into a set that sounded ready for any number of summer festivals over here. A little clean for my personal tastes, but well performed by the band, who were not long in distinguishing themselves from Candlemass. Pretty much immediate, actually.

Papermoon, the collaboration between Electric Moon and Papir, was happening in the Green Room, and I caught some of that while simultaneously wishing I had been in two places at once to see more of the Sula Bassana set the other night as well as Papir on their own, but every Roadburn requires hard choices. The Papermoon Sessions (review here) debut full-length from the combined unit was a jammer’s joy, and if what I caught of them tonight was anything to go by, it’s worth hoping they do another. YOB were getting ready to go on the Main Stage playing three out of the four cuts on their new album, Clearing the Path to Ascend as well as others from the back catalog, and particularly after watching them nail The Great Cessation yesterday, it wasn’t something I could stand the thought of missing.

I debated even typing this, because it sounds like hyperbole, but it’s honest in terms of how I feel about them so I’m going with it. YOB are a once-in-a-generation band. Every generation you get a few landmark acts who not only distinguish themselves from their peers and become influential, but who take the creative lessons of their forebears to a genuinely new place. Sleep did it. Neurosis did it. YOB are doing it. I can’t think of another act from the US who’ve left such a mark in the last decade of heavy. Tonight, guitarist/vocalist Mike Scheidt, bassist Aaron Rieseberg and drummer Travis Foster greeted a crowd as much theirs as any they’re likely to encounter and treated them to essentially the next step in their ongoing progression, taking the lessons of 2011’s Atma (review here) and breaking their own rules with a languid, psychedelic opener and a classic rock finish the sprawl of which is worthy of the entire vinyl side it will no doubt receive upon its release.

Every Roadburn I allow myself to watch one band from the side of the stage. This year it was YOB, and not for the first time. Each of the new songs stood out for a different reason, whether it was the hook of the one that opened their set (track three on the album if I’ve got the order right), the maddening churn of Foster‘s drums leading the way through what I was later told is called “Nothing to Win,” or the patient unfolding of the album opener, played third, which brims with tension and meets a payoff no less rich. They backed the new material with “Adrift in the Ocean” and the title-track from Atma before closing out with “Quantum Mystic” from 2005’s classic-to-be, The Unreal Never Lived, which they also performed in full at Roadburn 2012 — that set, like the Candlemass Epicus Doomicus Metallicus set, is out on vinyl now — and giving everyone a moment to let their brains reconstitute. Two nights of YOB in a row. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t wish there was a third to be had.

Now. Triptykon would be starting their headlining set soon on the Main Stage, but Carlton Melton and Øresund Space Collective keyboardist/all-around aces human being Scott “Dr. Space” Heller were doing a collaborative jam at Cul de Sac that had been on for a couple minutes. I shot over to catch some of that hoping maybe for a place where I could see the band. No dice on that, but I stood in the back for a couple minutes and closed my eyes and grooved out to the ultracosmic vibes. I don’t know if it was all recorded, but Roadburn could do a series of releases just of the jams this year, between this one, Lenny Kaye and Harsh Toke, Niklas Barker and Reine Fiske, Oeds BeydalsPapermoon and so on. Maybe not the best marketing move. I’ve never had much of a nose for business.

Back in the reaches of the 013, the Tom G. Warrior-fronted Triptykon made ready to once again darken the skies of Planet Roadburn, now celebrating their new release, Melana Chasmata, as they celebrated their debut, Eparistera Daimones, by playing their first live performance at the Warrior-curated Roadburn 2010 event, “Only Death is Real.” Three cuts from Warrior‘s prior band, Celtic Frost, were aired — “Messiah” and “Circle of the Tyrants” — but with a brand new record and as the new band moves further away from the old, it only makes sense the focus would be on Triptykon. Joined on stage by guitarist/vocalist V. Santura, bassist Vanja Šlajh and drummer Norman Lonhard, Warrior (né Fischer) was statesmanlike and seething in kind, and while I’m sure they’d already gotten rid of plenty of copies of Melana Chasmata, set-opener “Black Snow,” “Tree of Suffocating Souls,” and “Altar of Deceit” made a compelling argument toward purchase. As release parties go, it was formidable.

About halfway into their set, San Diego’s Harsh Toke – whose jam with Lenny Kaye on Friday has already become a Roadburn 2014 landmark in my mind — hit it in the Green Room, and I decided a little more of the ol’ back and forth was warranted to see them play their own material. I think they made a lot of friends this weekend, and not just by passing out beer cans from the stage (though that never hurts). Their heavy push was right on with or without the psych legend accompanying, and when it came time for me to do so, I decided they were how I wanted to end the night. I stood for a few minutes inside, then a few minutes in the doorway, then I went back to the Main Stage, then back to the Green Room, then upstairs, then back down, then around the foyer of the 013, then back to the doorway of the Green Room, and that was when I got that sinking, nagging feeling that I couldn’t avoid it anymore and my Roadburn was over. Time to leave.

I have many, many people to thank and it’s hit the point where I’m starting to nod off, so I’ll save that for the travel tomorrow, but as an initial blanket statement that I hope provides some warmth: Thank you. So much.

More pics after the jump.

Read more »

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Roadburn 2014, Pt. 10: Altar Made of Red Earth

Posted in Features on April 13th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

04.13.14 — 13:25 — Sunday afternoon — The 013, Tilburg

Got to watch a minute or two of Triptykon’s soundcheck. No surprise they were a churning barrage of devastating buzz, but strange to see them on stage with lights on. Can’t imagine it’ll be that way later on when they headline the Roadburn 2014 Afterburner.

Today’s a more laid back atmosphere. Fewer stages going, but it’s still a sold-out crowd and plenty to see. Shaman Lee and I came in this morning to finish out the last issue of the Weirdo Canyon Dispatch. The PDF is here if you’d like to give it a look. I wrote an essay to finish it basically nerding out on how killer the vibe of the fest has been all weekend, and Adrien Begrand did the review of yesterday with Paul Verhagen’s photos. Simple fact is I’m sorry to see it end.

How do you make a ‘zine at the Roadburn festival? With a garbage-can full of coffee cups.

The work is done now, issues are folded, and all that really remains is to wait for the Afterburner to start. Walter and Jurgen were in the office before with Lee and I, the four of us sitting and talking about music and the festival, just kind of laid back before the craziness of the day takes hold. It’s things like that that I most enjoy remembering. Bands are great, and I’ve seen a few here I’d consider friends, but it’s the moments that stay with you more than this or that set. This weekend has had a few for the ages.

I’m proud of the work done on the Weirdo Canyon Dispatch, and I’ve taken a few copies to go home with and I’ll look forward to having them on my shelf somewhere I can walk by and see them and be reminded of this place, the space we got to work in, the coffee, voices up from the loading dock below, the hum of soundchecks, the heat from the sunlight coming through the windows — Jurgen: “It’s always warm in here, isn’t it?,” Lee: “That’s why it’s the CEO’s office” — the ridiculous printer and all of it. I’ll have the ‘zines to keep me connected. A souvenir of the silly thing we were able and fortunate enough to do this weekend.

Things are pretty quiet in the office. I should probably get out of here.

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Roadburn 2014 Day Three: “I Know Where to Go…”

Posted in Features, Reviews on April 13th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

04.13.14 — 07:28 — Sunday morning — Hotel Mercure, Tilburg

Morning in Tilburg. Got back to the hotel last night and tried to get writing immediately but kept falling asleep at the keyboard. I’d wake up a couple seconds later and find a string of semi-colons a line long. It’s been a while since that happened. It finally came to the point where I semi-consciously reasoned that I’d be better off sleeping than having it take seven times as long to write because I couldn’t stay awake. I guess we’ll see how the reasoning works out.

Roadburn 2014 Day Three started for me more or less immediately after I closed the lid of my laptop in the afternoon. It was a day of kickass bands, noble intentions, and in my case, dragging ass. Some tough decisions. Will it be Indian or Old Man Gloom, Loop or -(16)-? Mansion or Horisont? A lot depended on my energy level at any given second, and a telling moment was when during YOB I was upstairs on the balcony of the Main Stage room and I opened the package of a protein bar only to have it be broken and two-thirds of it fall out of the wrapper onto the floor. Oh, I was a sad little monkey. I went and got myself dinner and said it was going to be okay. And it was, but for a second there the god damn world was about to end.

Better news is that all the bands I saw yesterday completely destroyed. In very different ways, to be sure. I watched more full sets than in the prior two days, bands like Noothgrush, Gozu, YOB, and Old Man Gloom offering thrills to the dedicated many who stuck around for the duration. When Noothgrush came out to open the Main Stage, vocalist Dino Sommese — in addition to referring to his band as “DIY punk; kinda angry, kinda slow” and backing up his punker perspective by talking some shit on corporate sponsorship — set about unleashing some of the nastiest screams I’ve heard the whole festival. Real, crusty, sludge. It wasn’t “post-” anything. It was visceral.

They’re a West Coast band, were gone for a while and came back a couple years ago. 11Paranoias were on at Het Patronaat, but Noothgrush set the tone for the day in both their unbridled riff-led filth and the fact that it compelled me to stay where I was for just about the whole time. Admittedly, I did poke my head into the Green Room to check out the beginning of Monster Truck – stoner rock; good for the soul — but from there I basically sat tight until Gozu were going on in the Green Room. For them, Roadburn 2014 is the start of a European tour that’ll go until they hit Desertfest in a couple weeks, and for me, it was a pleasure to watch them kill it so hard in that space.

Because that’s the thing about Roadburn. Well, one of the things. You can see a band 100 times, then see them at Roadburn and know it’s different. I’ve had that happen in years past and it was the same with Gozu. Every band is on top of their game and from the lights to the sound to the projections behind, the 013 crew is so professional that it all looks and sounds great. I could not tell you how many times I’ve seen those dudes — Marc Gaffney, Douglas Allen Sherman, Joe Grotto and Mike Hubbard – play a song like “Meat Charger” from 2010’s Locust Season (review here). I suppose it’s less with this lineup, but still, no matter how many more times I catch Gozu at places in Boston, I will have seen them at Roadburn and know that means something.

I had a moment with Gozu similar to watching Hull the other day, and I realized that it was being happy for hometown guys making good at Roadburn, and that’s the first time I’ve really thought of Boston as being my hometown as well as New York (or New Jersey, but in the Netherlands, you just say New York). One more reason the 2014 fest is special to me. Getting to see YOB twice — and getting to hear their forthcoming album, Clearing the Path to Ascend, didn’t hurt either. It’s their third time here, and each time, the Eugene, Oregon, trio have played two sets, which is efficient if nothing else. Yesterday was The Great Cessation in full. Seems redundant to say it was fantastic, or at least needless, but YOB on the Main Stage at Roadburn. If there’s ever a band who ever fit in a place, it’s them and there. What a pleasure to watch.

The Great Cessation I would count as the angriest of YOB‘s record, and especially in the context of hearing the new record a couple hours before, it’s material and a method of writing they’ve progressed beyond. Anger is still a factor, but The Great Cessation is so rife with disappointment, with frustration and rage. Of course that only made the songs more vicious. I was genuinely surprised when I walked out from the balcony to go back downstairs and closer to the front that it was still day outside. If anything was ever going to darken the sky, it would have to be “Silence of Heaven.” I look forward to seeing them again today and to becoming acquainted with their new songs. The second track on Clearing the Path to Ascend has some of the most furious drums I’ve ever heard from Travis Foster. We’re talking Through Silver in Blood-level. Can’t wait to see that live.

There was a bit of a break before Old Man Gloom went on. I thought I’d check out Carlton Melton instead, but they’re doing a jam with Dr. Space today and I started remembering the good times I had with Seminar II: The Holy Rites of Primitivism Regressionism and stuck it out in the Main Stage room. I haven’t listened to much Old Man Gloom since, and probably should’ve picked up their 2012 return outing, No, but for funds. They were fairly incredible and, as I thought just about no one would be able to do, managed to follow YOB. That shouldn’t be such a surprise with the all-star lineup of guitarist/vocalist Aaron Turner (Isis), guitarist/vocalist Nate Newton (Converge), bassist/vocalist Caleb Schofield (Cave In) and Santos Montano (Zozobra), but at one point I had to stop and say to myself, “So this is probably what it was like to see Neurosis 15 years ago.” Not a bad response for a band to evoke. “To Carry the Flame” from No was a particular highlight, and had me wondering if Roadburn might see an Isis reunion maybe in 2015 or sometime in the future beyond.

Part of the appeal of seeing Old Man Gloom was that I’ve never seen them before and may or may not ever get to see them again. That’s what kept me there the whole time. With Finland’s Mansion, the situation was similar. Their 2013 We Shall Live EP (review here) intrigued with its cultish leanings and semi-psychedelic churn and the new single Congregation Hymns Vol. 1 has only furthered interest. Dressed all in black, in turtlenecks save for their bassist, who had a button-down (heathen!), Mansion projected religious righteousness well, and that’s cool since it’s part of their aesthetic, but it was really the songs I was there for. Vocalist Alma Mansion had a calm intensity that came to bursts of energy in the title-track from the EP, the band behind her following suit in both atmosphere and presence. I think a lot of people were getting ready for Loop to hit the Main Stage, but the Green Room was still pretty full as Mansion got going, and they delivered something I’ve seen no one else here have on offer. Chalk their new single on my list of records I wish I’d bought.

To be fair, Loop are touring the US this coming week — especially after seeing them play here, I can’t help but think that’s the wrong choice, and not because of the band– but to see them headline at Roadburn, particularly after their reunion came about following Loop guitarist/vocalist Robert Hampson sitting in with Godflesh last year, seemed fitting. I won’t profess to be an expert on Loop‘s records, Heaven’s End and A Gilded Eternity are certainly top quality psych-gaze and were decades ahead of their time, but they’re not something I put on every day or every week, so for me it was more about just watching the band and seeing Loop for what they brought to the show. They seemed aware of the gravity of the situation, but handled themselves expertly and where Old Man Gloom had been about bombast and urgency, Loop were a more patient, gradual vibe. It worked well, but I was about ready to close out the night and so headed over to Het Patronaat for the first time of the day to catch Los Angeles noise rockers -(16)-.

I caught wind of Zoloft Smile around the time it was released, and the sludgy outfit’s return over the last several years has only furthered appreciation. They were West Coast hardcore intense, but with thicker tones right on the edge where noise rolls into sludge. Fast. Mean. Loud. Perfect for Het Patronaat‘s relatively compact stage, incredible volume and otherworldly vibe, the stained glass church windows, woodwork, all of it covered in -(16)-‘s spilled guts. They were a steamroller from word one, vocalist Cris Jerue bounding from one side of the stage to the next while founding guitarist Bobby Ferry and the relatively recently-added rhythm section of bassist Barney Firks and drummer Dion Thurman did likewise. Their energy was infectious, and brought fitting symmetry to the crust with which Noothgrush had started my day.

That bookend in mind, I decided it was time to call it a night and headed back to the hotel, exhausted by grinning. Today is the Afterburner, which cuts the number of stage from five to three, and while it’s supposed to be the laid back finish to Roadburn similar to how the Hard Rock Hideout on Wednesday eased attendees into the festival mindset, I’ve got no real letup in terms of bands I want to see, from Selim Lemouchi’s Enemies honoring the fallen The Devil’s Blood guitarist to YOB again and Triptykon. Plus a fanzine to put together. Much to do this last day here. I better get to it.

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Roadburn 2014, Pt. 8: “Clearing the Path…”

Posted in Features on April 12th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

04.12.14 — 14:02 — Saturday afternoon — Hotel Mercure, Tilburg

Seems like a groggy start this afternoon in Weirdo Canyon, things mostly quiet. I expect a lot of people hit it pretty hard yesterday, and as the final day of Roadburn 2014 that has all five stages going, looking at the schedule of what’s coming up, I can’t even argue with wanting to sleep late. Me, I’ve been up since 07:30. Rolled over and the tiny engine that runs my likewise tiny brain started put-putting and before I knew it, I was conscious. That’s about three hours of sleep. Whoops.

I won’t lie and say it was a pretty process, but we got the third issue of the Weirdo Canyon Dispatch done well in time. Shaman Lee hadn’t slept much more than I had, but Paul Robertson’s review and Paul Verhagen’s once again stunning photos came in early and that helped. The PDF is here, which obviously I recommend checking out whether you’re in Tilburg or not. It’s been absurdly satisfying putting this together as both a passion project and a print publication. Since it’s not something I’ll be able to do for work anymore, as I did until a couple weeks ago, and as I’ve been kind of leaning on the preparations for this ‘zine in the wake of that, I will miss it when it wraps up tomorrow even more than I thought I would. These have been good mornings and have made the festival all the more special for me. Again, I’m lucky.

The rush was on double this morning as well because there was a listening session for YOB’s new album, which according to Neurot postcard flyers strewn about the festival is called Clearing the Path to Ascend. It was played through a P.A. — not quite the same as popping in the headphones and closing your eyes — so I won’t say much about it other than I damn near wept. Even hearing the last song playing back in my head now has me choked up. Fucking beautiful.

YOB plays later before Old Man Gloom and Loop on the Main Stage, doing The Great Cessation in full. That’s something I doubt very much I’ll regret watching.

I’m sore, I’m tired, and I miss my wife, but being here I wouldn’t trade for the world. I had resigned myself to missing Roadburn this year and was even sadder than I want to say at the thought. It’s been a rough couple months and I feel like this is the only way to get my head back to where it needs to be, back to what it is that matters to me and to what makes me feel human and alive. I don’t know if that makes any sense and I’m not sure I care if it does or not. Just so, so glad to be where I am right now.

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