Roadburn Festival 2017 Curated By John Dyer Baizley
John Dyer Baizley is no stranger to Roadburn Festival, and we are delighted to announce that he will be the 2017 festival curator. He will leave his mark on the main stage on Friday, April 21 and at Het Patronaat on Saturday, April 22 – hand picking the bands that have had an impact on him, and presenting them to Roadburn attendees.
“Over the course of my career, as musician and visual artist, I have come to realize that the Roadburn Festival, 013 Venue, and city of Tilburg have become a critical and integral part of my yearly routine”, says John, “Both the festival, and so many of the wonderful people who work diligently throughout the year on the festival have, over time, become very dear friends of mine, helping make the Tilburg and Roadburn a real home-away-from-home for both myself and our band.
“Baroness got one of our first real opportunities to play to a larger, welcoming crowd playing the main stage at 013 Venue in 2009 (the recording of which was included on a deluxe version of Blue Record, I held my first international art exhibition as the resident artist at Tilburg’s Gust Van Dijk Gallery during Roadburn 2013, and it seems I’ve played just about every stage in Tilburg at some point or another. While on tour, Baroness regularly stops in Tilburg on our days off to visit our friends, many of whom we met on our first European tour in 2006. In short, Baroness and I have always felt a very strong connection to the organizers, fans, and spirit of Roadburn.
“It is with great excitement that Roadburn and I are announcing my upcoming involvement as the curator of Roadburn 2017. It is such a high honor to have even been considered for the role; I feel genuinely privileged to have fostered so many wonderful relationships within the microcosmic-world that surrounds this incredibly unique festival. Without revealing anything too specific concerning the lineup, the groundwork that Walter and I have laid already is staggering, both in its scope and diversity.
“I never dreamed that I’d get to communicate with, let alone invite and present so many incredible bands during this one consolidated musical event. I am proud to have the opportunity to showcase so many of those artists, who have had an indelible impact on my own work, so many esteemed friends and tour-mates, and people/ bands with whom so many in our community share fundamental creative ideals.
“Additionally, it is yet further honor to have been offered the headlining slot at 013’s main stage on Friday night. When Baroness formed in ’02/’03, we could never have foreseen anything like this; and when I look at this upcoming year (with as much perspective as I am able), it’s obvious how enormous the network of support we’ve been granted has been; and how much back-breaking work has been done by our crew, our team, our friends, and our fans, such that we are able to attend and play a festival in this fashion.
“I know I speak for Baroness when i extend a deeply heartfelt “thank you” to everyone who has offered us any type of support over the past 15 years. Every step forward has been painstaking and not without sacrifice, and I / we would like to show our utmost gratitude to any and all who’ve helped us along the way. We will be piecing together a very special set for Roadburn 2017, one which we hope will highlight our history with this festival and our shared history as a band.”
“Now that we’ve begin to announce my involvement, I am truly excited to begin revealing parts of my curated lineup for Roadburn 2017. It’s no surprise to those who know me that i am a massive fan of Chlesea Wolfe. Since I first heard Apokalypsis in 2011, through her most recent Abyss, I have remained a loyal devotee of her songwriting, performance and recorded output. She and her band are one of the few acts whom I have yet to witness any wavering in their ability to improve on their own foundation, which was incredible enough to begin with.
“We have a tendency to compartmentalize and stigmatize our perceived styles and genres as listeners; which I’ve found carries a tendency to marginalize the full breadth and scope of which I believe most musicians have access. Chelsea is tough to categorize (which in and of itself is a quality I admire); but I hear reflections and references to an enormous range of music within the context of her own. From tenderness to ferocity, from simplicity to an impressive angularity, from blatant antagonism to effortless accessibility, her music is an island unto itself. I have seen her perform in a variety of situations, with a dizzying number of onstage arrangements, all of which seemed to suit her performance perfectly.
“One of my chief objectives in curating artists for Roadburn is to highlight acts like Chelsea Wolfe, whose music can span a full spectrum: stunning, beautiful, horrific, tender, heavy, powerful and most of all… unique to the artists themselves. I am proud to consider Chelsea and Ben friends of mine, and even prouder that they are working with me to present an incredible lineup next April.”
“Integrity; arguably the first metallic hardcore band I got into – whom I discovered in my adolescence while collecting Pushead-designed sleeves, whose 1:15 long “Vocal Test” immediately became on of my staple jams – is the next band I am pleased to announce as part of my curated 013 stage at Roadburn 2017. In our wonderfully diverse and disturbingly creative little music universe, Dwid ranks among the first wave of US punk / HC / metal musicians who led a double life as a visual artist.
Integrity’s staunch refusal to make categorizable music, and Dwid’s uniquely left-field visual art identity stand as an excellent example of creative and ideological fortitude to those of us who ended up in the all-consuming, hermetic and unstable world of artist / musicians who channel inner-turmoil into art. To illuminate the dark recesses of our inner psyche by giving it voice, whether visually or through music, demands an intimacy of candour and depth of sacrifice that ignores popular trends and willingly embraces the risks inherent in art which follows no trend.
I have always admired those creative minds who trust that the nuances of their particular artistic language are more important to focus on to than the more predictable and well-trod formulas.This is what separates the artist from the designer, the musician from the entertainer, the individual from the status quo.
“Integrity, throughout their career, have eschewed the obvious in favor of the compelling. Even in my initial discussions with Dwid regarding Integrity’s upcoming performance at Roadburn, I was reminded by Dwid himself that even my preconceived idea of the band may have been too limiting. The confidence and assurance he shows, even now, when explaining the marginalizing effect of being categorized stands a testament to the dedication that Integrity has for their chosen route through the world of underground music.
“Furthermore, that discussion offered me validation that the choice to invite them was a sound one; especially with regards to my curatorial philosophy for next year’s Roadburn. I hope to see you all there, while Integrity proves to all present that the ferocity has neither dulled nor become disingenuous throughout their career. Reality is bleak, but through darkness we are able to find connectivity and community.”
“Have you ever found yourself involved in a situation, that days before would have been a mere pipe-dream? The kind of dream that your rational mind will not allow you to pursue in reality? Well, I can hardly believe I’m saying this, but I am thrilled beyond words to announce that one and only Magma will not only be part of the lineup for Roadburn next year, but they’ll be performing Mekanïk Destruktïw Kommandöh, as well as parts of Theusz Hamtaahk. They have, in recent years, experienced a massive upsurge in recognition, especially with the heavy music community. I know that we, in Baroness, have spent many a befuddled hour, working our way through their catalog and live albums, perpetually confounded at the near-psychotic-yet-absurdly-inventive creative output of Christian Vander and company.
“I for one, cannot wait to see this band, whom I’ve admired for many years now, play such classic album onstage at the 013 (if classic is the right word). I’m sure it will prove immense prior fans, and will surely captivate the uninitiated. If you haven’t experienced MAGMA, please do your homework and school yourself on this band and MDK in particular. This band was a monumental discovery for me, and never fails to deliver a fresh challenge on each subsequent listen. I do not fully comprehend this music, and I sincerely hope i never do. MAGMA is a band founded on challenge and creativity, and a perfect fit for Roadburn. I will soak in every ounce of their performance. I encourage you to do the same.”
“In the past few years, I’d been getting a nagging feeling that there was a record that NEEDED to come out; which would speak directly to me, as a longtime devotee of powerful, anti-categorizable, accessible-yet-challeging music. I had no premonition what form that band would take, whether they’d be an older, legacy act, or something fresh and as-yet-unheard. I am a “hook-line-and-sinker” believer in the transformative, universally communicative, yet indefinable power that music holds exerts.
“There is simply no other art form that has such immediate and tactile control over human emotion. A three-minute song can transport it’s listener through the emotional length and width of the greatest novels, the most transcendent films, and the most visceral visual art. So, of course, it seems only a natural fact that I both expect and demand this trait be present in modern music of all types, which reaches ambitiously towards the profound heights and lofty precedents that music’s history has laid out before us.
“The robust musical climate too 2016 has offered up many amazing recordings, but it wasn’t until I heard Rheia that the full chord was struck. This is the album I had been waiting for, not just from Oathbreaker, but from ANYONE. Therein exists a healthy reverence and understanding of the genres it references; yet it’s a record that is beholden to no style, genre or convention. There are layers upon layers of sound that recall black metal, pop, indie, hardcore, shoe-gaze, you-name-it; yet as I listen, I am aware of none of this, it has been presented so artfully and with such earnest and unpretentious conviction. It is an album in service off its songs. I’m not left wondering why or how this record was made, but more importantly, why there aren’t MORE of these records coming out.
“Then again, music can be such a subjective and personal experience, perhaps my enthusiasm is something best kept under wraps. Not a chance! I can think of no good reason to bite my tongue and mask my own excitement. Oathbreaker are an incredible band, both on record and onstage (I’ve been fortunate enough to sit-in with them recently, when they played my hometown.) Their upcoming set is a must-see, must-hear, must-bear-witness moment during Roadburn 2017. I urge you to familiarize yourself with this album, in order that you can experience the increase in power that they bring to a live setting.”
Curated By Roadburn
Sólstafir were the first man through the breach, then Svartidauði, and then with the Misþyrming panzer division the floodgates truly opened, the Icelandic troops keep being unloaded in Tilburg, and there’s no end in sight to this invasion. We are, however, a happy invaded bunch – the Icelandic metal underground keeps blossoming, and our watchful eye is registering all these troop movements. More and more bands from the island in the North Atlantic keep rising to the challenge that is tackling Roadburn, and Auðn is the latest one to have blown our minds.
Having had the opportunity to witness their enormous growth since the release of their self-titled full-length debut in 2014, we knew it was but a question of time since they would reach that fever pitch we require for all the bands that visit our beloved festival. The last time we saw Auðn live, all dressed for the occasion and sawing off riffs as sharp as their suits, creating a windswept, chaotic atmosphere in each and every song, we knew the time was right to invite them to Roadburn.
There are few other bands this young that we can name that exhibit this sort of dynamics in this genre, few can marry the enveloping fog of the black metal tremolo riffing with the instant impact that proper black metal is meant to have, and fewer still show so much promise – although we still love Auðn, the album, it is clear the band has already outgrown it and is ready to step up to another level with the next record.
Maybe we will already get a taster of that on their Roadburn show, but whatever happens, we know the hairs on the back of our necks will all be standing by the end of their performance – particularly if they end it with their finest hour so far, the thunderous ‘Þjáning Heillar Þjóðar’, which never fails to ignite any kind of audience.
A lot of Big Business‘ current fans might have gotten into the band because of their association with the legendary Melvins – it was very early in their career, shortly before they released their incredible second full-length, Here Come The Waterworks, that Jared Warren and Coady Willis, the two wildly creative, adventurous musicians that constitute this remarkable Seattle band, joined Buzz Osborne and Dale Crover to complete what has become one of the most stable and recognisable Melvins formations since their inception in 1983.
Fortunately, however, that did not mean an end, or even a slowing down, for the constant bubbling chaos of inventiveness and imagination that is Big Business. Fast forward a full decade, and this year, they have released Command Your Weather, already their fifth album, yet another bold statement of rule-ignoring awesomeness.
Usually tagged as stoner or sludge by default, the duo’s scope is so much broader that it almost feels a little insulting to narrow them down to those or any other categories. As a band who likes to constantly challenge itself and throw itself out of any possible comfort zone, even “metal” would be a reductive umbrella term to throw at Big Business.
Yes, often it is Willis‘ restless, full-on drum attack or Warren‘s commanding yelp that help elevate those massive bass grooves to neck-breaking status, but as so much on Command Your Weather (to mention but this last album) shows, the pair is equally adept at burrowing into your skull with infectious power pop melodies or expanding your mind with colourful psychedelia that seems to have come directly from three or four decades ago.
Traces of Melvins themselves do appear, of course, although it is a testament to Jared and Coady that in the scales of who brought more to which band, the plates of Big Business and Melvins are evenly balanced.
The last time this dynamic duo set foot at Roadburn was way back in 2007, in the company of their Melvins bros, but now, fully grown up and with a bunch more records, experience and exactly the same amount of boundless creativity, they will return on their own, as the singular, unique musical force they are.
Founded in Brussels, Belgium’s Emptiness are currently carving a niche; their burning vision to delve deep into darkness is paired with an artistic approach to different musical styles such as black metal, ambient soundscapes and eerie power electronics.
Open minded, and driven by continuous experimentation, Emptiness are pushing the boundaries of tenebrous Black Metal atmospherics on their forthcoming album, Not for Music, due out on Season of Mist, January 20, 2017.
Exploring the underbelly of a metropolis heavily in decay, Emptiness’ unsettling soundscapes are imbued with a sinister foreboding of something evil lurking underneath those often elegant yet oppressive keyboard textures. They ooze such a cinematic feel that the album unravels itself as the horror soundtrack to an imaginary sequel of Blade Runner.
The confined feel of Not for Music has been honed to perfection by both Sean Beavan, and Jeordie White aka Twiggy Ramirez, who contacted the band after being impressed by their previous album, the much lauded Nothing but the Whole.
We’re equally impressed, in fact, we’re even pretty sure that Not for Music will have such a huge impact that by the time of Roadburn 2017 that everyone present at the festival will be talking about both Emptiness and this groundbreaking album.
Around since 2013, France’s own Fange, featuring members of Huata and Calvaiire, are borrowing the very best of Swedeath D-Beat and amplifier worship before filtering them through some seriously blackened sludge. The band’s debut album, Purge, has plenty of filth, dirt, crust and doom on offer – this is sludge at it’s most massive, and abrasive, too!
Oozing harshness, and being heavy as fuck, Fange manage to distinguish themselves in an oversaturated genre by writing actual songs, infused with their own abject clang and crunch, instead of only tuning low, and dabbling in generic chugging.
Together with the likes of Cult of Occult, Celeste, Hangman’s Chair, and Regarde Les Hommes Tomber, Fange are in the vanguard of France‘s burgeoning underground scene, and we can’t wait for the band to lay waste to Roadburn 2017.
It was like being kept prisoner in the torture chamber’s tiniest cage, all those years that Gnaw Their Tongues didn’t play live. We loved the records already, how could we not? Ever since that initial shock with 2006‘s Spit At Me And Wreak Havoc On My Flesh, we surrendered unashamedly to the whip of the master torturer, Maurice “Mories” De Jong.
No other music seemed to convey abject horror and inhumane suffering with the same unease, no other artist seemed capable of transmitting pestilence, sadism and horror in the same unique and frighteningly real way. As subsequent releases, so many of them, followed throughout the years, as other Mories projects surfaced as well, it became apparent that we were before one of the greatest extreme (and then some) music revelations of the century. No exaggeration.
Any lesser artist would have caved in before the multitude of releases and different outlets. Not Mories. Somehow, everything still feels fresh, a million (give or take) albums / EPs / compilations / collaborations / singles / what-have-yous later (not to mention all the other Mories bands / projects!), the screams, the swathes of clanging industrial noises, the spine-tinglingly scary samples, all is recognisable as Gnaw Their Tongues by now, but the music never fell into a stuck formula, it’s still unpredictable and refreshingly genre-free. Hymns For The Broken, Swollen And Silent, the spectacular new album released this week, leaves sonic cuts as deep as anything else he’s done.
So, something had to give. We couldn’t be stuck in our rooms forever listening to this petrifying noise all by ourselves much longer. The possibility of live shows seemed remote for a while, was even denied by the man himself, but in the end the noise just burst out inevitably. We were let out of the tiny cage, stretched our muscles and had the whole chamber of torture terror to explore.
The debut happened at Roadburn, of course, where amazingly unlikely things tend to happen a bit more often than anywhere else. You’ll remember if you were there in 2015 – the anticipation in the air, the small crown hovering around the small Cul de Sac some time before the show, making sure they wouldn’t be left out of this unique event, and the audio chaos that ensued as soon as Mories and his stage cohort Eric Eijspaart unleashed.
Since then, Gnaw Their Tongues have turned into a live favourite worldwide – from the United States to Iceland, they have grown as a proper band, a devastating unit that has demolished stage after stage. So if you thought that live debut at Roadburn 2015 was impressive, wait until your face is peeled off by the lean, mean stage machine that Gnaw Their Tongues (who now also incorporate Grietje de Haan on their shows) have become.
They are promising “something special” for their Roadburn performance… which could mean anything in Gnaw Their Tongues’ world. Prepare for the aural torture as much as you can, and try not to tremble too much when they hit Roadburn 2017.
Each year, Roadburn Festival selects an Artist In Residence to perform multiple times over the course of the weekend. Following in the footsteps of Misþyrming, The Heads and Circle, this year, GNOD will bring their own brand of eclectic lunacy to Roadburn. Performing four times in different guises (including a collaboration with Holland’s own Radar Men From The Moon, known as Temple ov BBV), the full scope of GNOD‘s psychedelic capabilities will be be explored in full at Roadburn 2017.
GNOD‘s Paddy Shine commented: “Gnod live at Roadburn at Het Patronaat in 2012 is definitely one of the biggest highlights of our ten years of constant flux. To be invited back at all is a big big deal for us; to be invited back as ‘Artist in Residence’ in 2017, on what will be the tenth anniversary of the birth of Gnod, is an absolute honour. Gnod Bless.”
Something ever just feel so right it had to be done? Last time San Diego jammers Harsh Toke came to Roadburn was in 2014, and it was truly special. In addition to supporting their own album, Light up and Live, with a righteous set of jams at the Afterburner, they hooked up with psych legend Lenny Kaye for a fully-improvised gig that was one of the highlights of the year.
We’re proud to announce that at Roadburn Festival 2017, Harsh Toke will return to Tilburg! They come heralding their 2016 split with San Diegan heavy psych forerunners Earthless on Tee Pee Records, Acid Crusher / Mount Swan, on which they pushed their winding, longform improv even further than on the album, letting fans know they still wanted to plunge deeper into the cosmos.
At Roadburn 2017, they’ll play a special set comprised entirely of Roky Erickson covers, honoring psychedelic classics like ‘Don’t Slander Me’, ‘Bloody Hammer’, as well as ‘Burn the Flames’ and ‘Bermuda’, which Harsh Toke have recorded for a new split with JOY and Sacri Monti to coincide with their return to Europe in Spring.
Gabe from the band says:
“After I heard Walter say how much he wished he could book Roky Erickson but that it hadn’t worked out so far, I snapped and said, ‘Hey, my old band Red Octopus did a two-day Hallow’s Eve / Halloween night Roky tribute set that was highly acclaimed around town! Harsh Toke can do a set of all his wild and manic tunes for you, no problem, Walter!’ And here we are. Already recorded two tracks from the Erickson archive and are excited to move forward. It’s for the fans and we’re here to play them the hammers…”
If you were there to see them last time, you already know it was the kind of thing that only happens at Roadburn – a unique experience even coming from a band who plays every night. Expect no less at Roadburn Festival 2017 when Harsh Toke bring their own spin to Roky Erickson ’s classics at the 013 venue.
In keeping with the fine tradition of bringing you Norway‘s experimental and otherworldly music experiences, we’re excited to report that the vividly praised Hedvig Mollestad Trio will play Roadburn 2017 on Friday, April 21 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands.
Firmly touching on genre-blurring hardrock and metal riffery as well as the noisier realms of jazz improvisation, guitarist and composer Hedvig Mollestad and her own trio gather massive heaps of respect from both the hardrock and jazz scenes internationally.
Listening to albums such as All of Them Witches, Enfant Terrible and Black Stabat Mater showcases a band that has gone from strength to strength, and one lead by a very accomplished guitarist; Mollestad has been compared to the likes of Tony Iommi and Jimi Hendrix, but she doesn’t shy away from John McLaughlin or Larry Coryell either.
Together with bassist Ellen Brekken and drummer Ivar Joe Bjørnstad, Mollestad ventures easily into more free and open landscapes juxtaposed to Hendrix-ian blues, Sabbath-heaviness, or doomy improvisation – think Sunn o))) by way of Terje Rypdal.
If you want your hardrock and metal, jazz or noise by the book, than Hedvig Mollestad Trio is not for you. If you’re craving a very high level of musicianship and a perfect balance between freedom, discipline, and explosive rock dynamics however, your search is over, plain and simple!
From the heavy psych mecca of San Diego, JOY come to Roadburn Festival 2017 as a classic power trio in style and force. Their third album (second for Tee Pee Records), Ride Along!, came out this past Spring, just when the universe seemed to be getting out of its winter funk – the bad kind of funk, not the funky kind – and could not have been more welcome.
Produced by guitarist / vocalist Zach Oakley, who’s joined in the band by bassist Justin Hulson and drummer Thomas DiBenedetto – the latter also of Tee Pee labelmates Sacri Monti – the album dug into a varied psych approach on tracks like ‘Peyote Blues’ and ‘Red, White and Blues’, but still had plenty of time to jam on cuts like ‘Going Down Slow’ or ‘Evil Woman.‘ And true to the title, listeners were invited to ride along every step of the way.
The bottom line? It was a record that grabbed your attention, mashed it into psychedelic clay, molded it into a statue of you with a big beard on some oversized ‘70s chopper, fired it in a kiln and handed it back to you, gift-wrapped, like it was no big deal. Hell yes we’re stoked to bring them to Roadburn 2017.
As I’ve noted time and time again, Kristina Esfandiari is the queen of lush, unearthly doom folk. Whether the Bay Area native-turned-Brooklyn transplant is busy lending her gilded pipes to her lo-fi solo project, Miserable, or ramping up the intensity as the gut-wrenching vocalist for the droning doomgaze of King Woman, Esfandiari’s performances are led by the kind of hot, fierce passion that feels rarer and rarer in our current darkness. Her throaty, malleable contralto and entrancing stage presence are mere symptoms of the fire that rages deep inside her, but those outward signifiers burn mighty brightly.
Despite her lone wolf vibe, Esfandiari is a creature of collaboration. In King Woman, she is joined in darkness with the masterfully understated artistry of her bandmates Colin Gallagher’s spiraling riffs, Joey Raygoz ’s funereal percussion, and new Peter Arensdorf’s subterranean basslines. The end result is oppressive, and beautiful, and engrossing; it surrounds and envelops its listener, drawing a richly-embroidered veil of distortion, drone, and warm shoegaze down across closed eyes. On record, it’s a revelation; live, it’s revolutionary.
To quote myself, via Noisey, the band’s debut EP, Doubt, is “rich with gorgeously layered drones and Colin Gallagher’s languid doom riffs, sworn to turgid tempos from [former] bassist Sky Madden and drummer Joey Raygoza, and shot through with heavy doses of shoegaze (it’s worth noting that Esfandiari’s previous musical incarnation was as the vocalist for meddlesome loud-soft-loud purveyors Whirr, and still moonlights in downer duo Miserable).
Her voice—oh! that voice—is the centerpiece, swathed as it is in warm storms of distortion and delay. Esfandiari croons and mourns like PJ Harvey covering Jex Thoth (or perhaps the other way ’round). That husky, earthy contralto sways and soars through these murder-of-faith ballads, drawing eyes to the stars whilst its accompaniment points towards thickets hiding woodland graves.”
Doubt was written during a serious crisis of faith, as Esfandiari struggled to finally take her leave from the oppressive Christian environment in which she had been raised. Their loss has been our gain, as Esfandiari continues to shine and King Woman ’s star continues to rise. Their upcoming Roadburn debut is due to be the cresting moment of their career’s ongoing sine wave of high points (and one hopes we’ll be treated to some new material).
As the faithful already knew and many more converts will soon discover, King Woman truly is the perfect Roadburn band: heavy, dark, emotional, beguiling, confrontational—and utterly irreplaceable – Kim Kelly.
In 2016, we introduced our faithful Roadburners to the obscure might of the Icelandic black metal underground. By having Misþyrming as our artist in residence, we were able to feature a series of other bands connected to them on our bill, and all of them made abundantly clear with their devastating performances why we are so impressed with this particular scene.
Naðra, which features four Misþyrming members plus the unhinged demon that is vocalist Ö, gave us one of the most enduring experiences of them all when they damn nearly brought down the Extase venue.
Sometimes, however, once is not enough. When, a couple of months after Roadburn 2016, we witnessed Naðra laying waste to a petrified audience during the amazing Eistnaflug festival in Neskaupstaður, Iceland, that tiny voice in our head that kept nagging us turned into a roar: Naðra need more attention from us, from you, from everyone. This black magic is too powerful to be confined to small spaces. After that staggering show in Iceland, the decision was pretty much already made in our minds – Naðra needed to return to Roadburn.
Therefore, in 2017, we are breaking them free, free from the confines of a smaller venue, or of an artist in residence programme. Like opening a Pandora’s box, all those tortured, twisting hymns of sickness that made Allir Vegir Til Glötunar one of the most harrowing records of 2016 will now resonate inside the Het Patronaat as if they were hissing, soul-consuming demons flying free and zoning in on you, beloved Roadburners. This time there will be many more than 300 souls to consume… but their appetite is voracious and never satisfied.
PERTURBATOR will dazzle the Roadburn audience with an intense set of tripped out electronics on Friday, April 21 at Het Patronaat. Behind Perturbator is James Kent, a Parisian musician with a background as a guitar player in several black metal bands, who has at one point decided to let his inner darkness flow through the pulsating beats and harsh textures of the synths, and thus Perturbator was born.
Since 2012, he has been quite prolific, putting out a bunch of EPs and singles and four amazing full-length records, the latest of which, The Uncanny Valley, from last May, has captured the imagination of a lot of different audiences.
It’s not all relentless beats – the songs are masterfully crafted, always extremely evocative, with a strong visual component, and often bring to mind the works of John Carpenter, while other parts might remind one of the great Tangerine Dream, always brooding and ominous, but always keeping an almost frightening degree of intensity.
Philadelphia has become something of a hotbed of heavy psychedelia on the East Coast of the US, and Ruby The Hatchet are a big part of the reason why. The five-piece rockers have rightly developed a reputation for both songwriting and performance that precedes them, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome them to Roadburn Festival for the first time in 2017!
They’ve toured the States with the likes of Roadburn veterans Black Mountain, Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats and Earthless, among numerous others, in support of their 2015 Tee Pee Records debut and second album overall, Valley of the Snake. In 2017, they’ll have their third record out, having built their own studio and recorded themselves, as frontwoman Jillian Taylor recently explained:
“Setting up shop and recording ourselves in an 1800s-era estate has been a pleasure and a labor,” says Taylor. “We built the studio in-house from the ground up – mostly Sean (organ), with help from our friends at Kawari Sound and Retro City Studios. From homemade preamps to third floor room mics hidden in echo chambers, the tones on this album are truly vintage. Putting ourselves into seclusion provided a process that influenced the album’s sound, allowing us to create our own pocket of deep space rock inside of a time warp where everything else stopped – politics, personal shit, the day-to-day worries that tarnish the soul… all gone. This album is like nothing we have ever made before.”
Never underestimate the powers of Roadburn! There is an eerie magic aura floating around our beloved festival, an unseen force that is fed by the minds and hearts and souls of everyone who congregates in Tilburg every April, artists, audience and staff, and it grows bigger and more powerful all the time, causing seemingly impossible things to happen. So, here is another one.
You have heard Schammasch’s latest album, the gargantuan Triangle, a colossal mountain of darkness comprised of three discs that came out in… April (spooky, see?) this year. You’ve heard it, but you might have yet not come to grips with it completely. It’s understandable – it is such an intimidatingly deep and fathomless opus that sometimes we get the feeling we will never get a firm grip on it.
Some slithering, viscous sonic tentacle of it will always get away from us, some bellowing scream of riff from the void will always creep up in the middle of the ritual and catch us off guard. It’s the sort of record that feels that the band would have a hard time capturing again in the confines of a studio, let alone on stage. And yet, that eerie magic aura, which incidentally seems to manifest itself the thickest around the appropriately ritualistic setting of the Het Patronaat many times, has done it again.
That’s right, Triangle will be performed from start to finish before your very eyes on Friday, April 21 at Het Patronaat in Tilburg, The Netherlands , and to be honest, Chris didn’t even need to do that last request. As soon as the Swiss band dive into the very first notes of this darkest of triangles, the summoning will be felt all over Roadburn, and the bodies and minds that are not already inside Het Patronaat will be dragged there by untold forces for sure. Don’t even try to resist!
Contrast is a key player when it comes to SubRosa; the delicate harmonies and light-as-a-feather interludes give way to a rumble of sludgey riffs and pure heaviness. We often note at Roadburn that heavy comes in many forms, and we have invited SubRosa to perform a second time at Roadburn 2017, in a set that may well tear up the rule book of heavy, and throw it out of a beautiful stained glass window.
SubRosa Subdued – All the passion at a fraction of the volume, with new atmospheric elements from the percussion section and a more intimate presentation of the band’s softer side. Not quite acoustic, but distinctly different to a “regular” SubRosa show, this promises to deliver a moving and incredibly special performance for Roadburners.
We’re thrilled to have True Widow return to Roadburn – having hosted the Texan trio back in 2014 – as we prepare ourselves for yet another dose of their sultry yet syrupy fuzzed out trips.
AVVOLGERE saw True Widow leaving their mark on 2016; a grey, earthy smear across the year’s musical offerings. Loaded with the intoxicating combination of distortion and melody that we have grown to know and love as a hallmark of True Widow’s sound, AVVOLGERE is another notable marker in their back catalogue.
Don’t be fooled by the wall of fuzzadelic sound; there is intricacy and nuance in those there tracks. The hooks might not all seem immediately apparent on the first listen, but they have the ability to loom out of the sludge and drag you under before you can catch a breath.
We’re already anticipating breathlessness when True Widow take to the Green Room stage.
“Where’s the money? Wheres’ the fame? I was told by now they’d know my name!” , screams vocalist / guitarist Christian Lembach during ‘Playing Poor’, the opening song on Whores.‘ debut full-length Gold., and yes, all these full stops are part of the titles, we haven’t gone typo-crazy for this write up.
Maybe it’s because after taking hit after hit of these razor-sharp angular riffs, after feeling the weight of the pounding basslines, after suffering through the gritty realism of these lyrics (“Pills don’t work / my back still hurts”, Christian hurls on the following song – maybe he’s been listening to his own music too much?), you don’t really feel like listening to any more music, or doing anything else, or actually living any more if you pay too much close attention. Regardless of the reason, even if we can’t promise money or fame, everyone with the guts to take in the whole Whores. show at Roadburn will damn well know their name forever.
Although this year’s Gold. is the Atlanta band’s first full-length, they have been making heads hurt for a few years now, releasing two destructive EPs called Ruiner. and Clean. back in 2011 and 2013 respectively, as well as a particularly great split 7″ with the equally vicious Rabbits in 2014 where both bands tackled The Cure covers.
Yeah, that’s right, The Cure, and that’s only a surprise if you’re not familiar at all with Whores., because just like the best noise rock heavyweights who follow the Am Rep guidebook to any extent (you know, Helmet, KEN mode, Unsane, Pigs, early Today Is The Day, Cows, all that beautiful lot), among the violence and the catharsis, Whores. have a curious knack for melody that’ll ensure these tunes stay with you long after the bruises have healed up.
Christian Lembach from Whores. commented: “We are super humbed and grateful to be a part of Roadburn Festival this year. We are huge fans of the line up, and even being considered is pretty amazing. Good times, bad vibes.”
Their live shows have a reputation for being way beyond the norm in terms on intensity, so we are super stoked to bring this power trio to Roadburn for the first time. We have the feeling it just might be one of those shows that everyone will talk about for years afterwards, so make sure you don’t miss Whores. when they play Roadburn 2017.
We are all fans of difficult music, music that takes time to settle down and grow on you, but every once in a while, something appears that makes us stop everything we’re doing, sit up and take notice after only a couple of seconds. Such was the nearly universal reaction last April when the previously widely unknown project Zeal & Ardor made their new album Devil Is Fine available on Bandcamp.
While there isn’t anything inherently new to the musical genres fused in their sound, mixing chain gang slave songs and African-American spirituals with raw black metal and harsh electronics is one of those ideas that makes absolutely perfect sense and you wonder why no one has done it before after you listen to it.
It’s particularly so when the execution and interpretation of the songs is as faultless as it is on Devil Is Fine. The chants are genuine to the point that many listeners wondered if samples from old singers had been used (they weren’t), and the flow of the songs is downright seamless, never does the combination of these apparently conflicting types of sound ever seems forced or awkward. It feels real, too.
Devil Is Fine is not an easy listen, because the struggles of the slaves, to whom Christianity was as imposed upon as to the Norwegian people – where most of what we know today as black metal has emerged from – and to whom it was just as natural to blaspheme and to sing of and to the devil, seem to come alive in every passionate verse.
These days, Iceland seems like it has spawned a few more geysers on its territory, but not of the geothermal kind that tourists are all amazed by when they visit the island – no, these are tenebrous, putrid geysers spewing forth the darkest music the underground has heard in many a moon.
Roadburners know this well, after last year’s Misþyrming residency, but the black source where that gang arose from is far from dry, and Zhrine have materialised as yet another remarkable Icelandic contender in the past year, collecting many accolades from all corners with their outstanding debut Unortheta, released via Season Of Mist – a classy blast of seamlessly mixed death and black metal already with a fully-formed personality of its own.
Although the Zhrine name is new to the scene, the band itself did not spontaneously erupt into its currently slick incarnation of aural evil, as much as that sort of thing seems to happen up there in that beautiful volcanic island. From 2007 to 2014 the band was known as Gone Postal, a time during which they sharpened their initial death metal into a shadier, more elusive beast. The quality was already apparent on the few releases they had and on their several impressive shows, however, and Zhrine appears as a natural culmination of this learning period.
Some of the faces in Zhrine might look familiar as well – guitarist / vocalist Nökkvi Gylfason is also in Svartidauði, who nearly brought the Green Room down in 2015, while new drummer Tumi Gíslason has pounded his kit for years in death metal stalwarts Angist and Ophidian I. Alongside guitarist / vocalist Þorbjörn Steingrímsson and bassist Ævar Sigurðsson, they’re ready to sweep you off your feet come next April.
We’ve missed Zu! It’s impossible not to, even if we had this Italian three-piece on the bill every year we’d say the same thing. We miss them already five minutes after each frenzied, euphoric show they play, each of them a tour de force for both band and audience, each of them a unique explosion of experimentation, of genre-ignoring freedom, of ecstatic passion for music and interplay between performers. So yes, we’ve missed them a lot. We last had them over at Roadburn in 2009, right after their spectacular Carboniferous album had come out, and we are ecstatic to have them return to our fold in 2017.
Shortly after the heavy touring that followed that unforgettable 2009 record, the band took a little break, which is totally understandable. Most humans wouldn’t be able to handle one Zu live performance, let alone the roughly 2.000 they had played by that time. But the spirit of Zu is restless, and a few years ago they got returned to full activity, having put out a splendid record with Oxbow‘s Eugene S. Robinson in 2014 – besides everything else, they’ve always been a wonderfully collaborative band – and then blown everybody’s minds with their proper full-length Cortar Todo in 2015.
To be honest, it feels like we’re still digesting this nasty piece of work, and in some way we probably will always be. “Cortar todo” means “cut everything”, and that’s exactly what these uncontrollable songs do to us every time we listen to them – they hack through us like an insane explorer on crack wielding a machete through a particularly dense area of foliage. Since Zu‘s live performances are the stuff of legend in terms of intensity and creativity, you can only imagine what the Cortar Todo material will do to us at Roadburn, and whatever else they will have up their sleeves to throw at us when that big day comes.
Roadburn Festival 2017 will take place April 20-23 at the 013 venue, Tilburg, The Netherlands. Tickets are on sale!