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Roadburn 2018, Day 1

Event: Roadburn Festival 2018
Written by: X-Ray Rod
Published: 10.05.2018


Roadburn 2018, Day 3 & 4 by X-Ray Rod (48)
Roadburn 2018, Day 2 by X-Ray Rod (25)
Roadburn 2018, Day 1 by X-Ray Rod (30)

Rodrigo (Mr. Doctor): Wednesday 6am. I woke up covered in cold sweat. I always have trouble sleeping before any major journey and this time it was no exception. Slowly but steadily I've become somewhat of a veteran, considering this is my eight edition of Roadburn in a row. It doesn't lower the excitement for each year at all. In fact, this year marks several firsts that made me more eager to fully embrace this pilgrimage of mine. Because that's what it really is to me: A pilgrimage. A special week in which I get to meet both new and old friends. Sharing in intimacy one of the best music festivals the world has to offer in which no year is the same. A true celebration of the underground. Elitist and pretentious? Far from it. Roadburn welcomes everybody with open arms as we are all connected by the desire of experiencing and discovering music.

Besher (InnerSelf): 2018 was the year I finally got to realize one of my life-long dreams, attending Roadburn! At first, I almost missed this year's edition because I was too late on securing an affordable hotel to sleep in, but it was almost surreal how smooth everything went after Rodrigo (Mr. Doctor) contacted me and told me that he had a place in the Flexotel he had already booked. I was excited and for the last three days before the festival I barely slept!
I arrived around late afternoon in Amsterdam and met up with the boys in Tilburg to head to the camping site, and when we arrived I instantly felt home amongst the sea of black t-shirts. We sat our stuff up and then hit the pre-party, caught a couple of solid bands, met a few people and headbanged way too much for my first show of the festival. At least it eased my way into the atmosphere of Roadburn and I got a couple of veterans alongside me, Rodrigo and Che (Apothecary), who could help me with the dos and don'ts.

The Flexotels

The tipis vailable for renting

Rodrigo: Roadburn 2018 marks the first year in which I, together with 3 great companions, decided to fully embrace the festival by spending our resting nights at the camping site, which is located merely 20 mins' walking distance from the main venue. We rented one of the wonderful Flexotels that the festival provides. It's quite an investment compared to the other options, like using your own tent or renting one. But it proved to be worth the extra money!
This was also my first time enjoying the pre-party that Roadburn provides, in which a couple of bands performed at the Cul de Sac, the smallest of the stages. To be honest with you, in between all the beers and catching up with good old friends, I managed to miss all of them but the last one. Bütcher, who hail from Belgium, displayed a rabid and extreme brew of speed metal. I'm sure that I'm not alone in saying that I was not prepared for how tight and blood-pumping the show was. The incredibly fun set was more than enough to get me psyched for the four days to come.

You could say that Bütcher butchered the audience... GET IT?!?!

Thursday morning came upon us in a less-than-welcome manner for some. My hangover was doubled with the unusually hot weather, which I've never experienced in any of the previous editions! Even though few saw it coming, it was a more-than-welcome change from the cold April of 2017. We slowly came back to life thanks to the shower and breakfast system, which I found very well organized. As I walked to the venue, seeing these familiar faces on these familiar streets, a thought kept circling in my mind: "I'm home!"

The Main Stage AKA Home! <3!


One of the first harsh lessons I learned at Roadburn is that sooner or later you must compromise and miss half a show every now and then. This was a reality for me just as the whole festival kicked off. Sannhet greatly intrigued me with their past releases, but it was last year's So Numb that convinced me to check them out on a live setting. Of the many post-metal acts that introduce elements of black metal and shoegaze, Sannhet seem to be one of the few that makes the whole thing sound homogeneous. It was a bit frustrating to see them struggle with the equipment. My patience was running low due to the sheer excitement of this being my first concert for this Roadburn edition. The technical difficulties stopped just when I was about to get pissed off and the band quickly rewarded everyone's patience with the first track of their latest album. The drummer was the key element, if you ask me, as he strongly opened the set and elevated the music with a tribal and heavy sound. That being said, the crescendos and beautiful leads made by the rest of the band provided a varied palette of moods that was further improved by the minimalist yet very effective visuals. These consisted of mostly static, video glitches, and rapid changes of lights. Most of it was in pure black and white. The slightly seizure-inducing visuals enhanced the industrial and high-tech atmosphere of the band. Alas, my 30 mins ran out quickly and I was forced to leave one hell of an opener for the festival!

Waste Of Space Orchestra

Rodrigo: It's a common procedure to analyze a concert experience by comparing the artists performing live with their sound achieved in a studio. So what do you do when there are no recordings to compare with? As a Roadburn first, the Finnish underground powerhouses Oranssi Pazuzu and Dark Buddha Rising united forces and composed new material to be played exclusively at the festival. I became a worshipper of the orange demon with their debut back in 2009, yet the doom shamans from Dark Buddha Rising have remained a mystery to me for the longest time, as I was barely aware of their drone/doom/psychedelic sound. I was more than ecstatic to experience such a combo.

This unique collaboration can hardly be explained by mere words. Roughly ten shadowy figures emerged and delivered a vast mix of genres ranging from psychedelic black metal to trance-inducing drone. The hypnotizing sounds, beats, and guitar leads kept infecting our minds and controlling our bodies as several members of the audience began to dance, yours truly included. Along with visuals of grand, unreachable universes and shots of our natural environments, the result was nothing short of mind-bending and beautiful. That is, until the fury of one of the lead singers (from Dark Buddha Rising) annihilated all light and life with his desperate howls and chants. This was certainly a sight to behold. One can only hope that a live recording is in the works in order to somewhat preserve this fantastic performance.

Besher: This was one of the projects I was the most excited for and the Roadburn staff made sure to really hype it up. They said the show would be amazing; they weren't exaggerating. The band's already massive sound was made more impactful by the accompanying visuals, putting me and everyone at the main stage in a state of trance. The music itself was the perfect morph between Oranssi Pazuzu's and Dark Buddha Rising's sounds. Slow and bludgeoning at times, fast and shrill at others, and transcendental all the way through. I really hope the musicians either record it in a studio or simply release the Roadburn show in some sort of format. The world needs to hear this!

Wreck And Reference

There are several ways to achieve heaviness that can be found in many genres outside of metal. But what if you dismiss guitars and bass and still aspire to take influences from post-hardcore, scream, and black metal, among other genres? In terms of experimentation and unique, fresh ideas, Wreck And Reference from L.A. were at the very top this year. Armed with just a drum set and a sampler, the duo delivered a painful yet highly emotive set. This may sound gimmicky to some, but I can guarantee you it couldn't be further from the truth. It all boils down to solid, clever songwriting and a convincing performance. The solos by the drummer were savage and properly mixed to cover the lack of bass. To some it might sound awkward to hear screams, howls, and growls without guitars behind it, but I loved how the singer did not shy away from using his full range, which made his desperate cries sound all the more honest, naked in nature. A true display of how heartache feels. This was one hell of a bleak show, even more so with the flickering lights and nihilistic texts appearing and disappearing behind the band faster than the blink of an eye. A subliminal attack on the senses.


Besher: I was too late to get into Converge. For some reason they slipped through my radar throughout my teenage years but a couple of years ago I "discovered" them and have been blown away by them since. Needless to say, I was extremely excited for their The Dusk In Us set! The band took to the stage and you could feel that they were genuinely thrilled to be there. It took about 3 minutes for people to start a sizable mosh pit. Jacob was talkative and the performance was raw and emotionally fueled. The sound was raw and the energy was palpable, every member of the band let loose, and Jacob went berserk. One of my personal highlights of this year!

Rodrigo: Had to leave Wreck And Reference a bit early to catch one of the festival's main events. Converge were about to unleash one of their two sets as part of the program created by this year's curator: Jacob Bannon. A brilliant choice, if you ask me. I decided to skip the front rows and be close to the stairs and peacefully enjoy the show. Having seen the band live a couple of times, I knew exactly what to expect. Converge played The Dusk In Us in its entirety and did so with gusto and bravado. Their energy is unmatched by most bands and a mosh pit formed seconds after the band started. One could argue that most of this energy is released through Jacob's persona. A guy that truly cares for the audience, enjoying both talking and sharing his inspirations in between songs. He certainly has a gift for engaging the audience to have a blast. A part of me regrets not joining in the fun that was the mosh pit up front, but given the somber and introspective nature of The Dusk In Us, with plenty of melody, slow passages, and post-hardcore influences here and there I figured I'd better save my energy for their second set.

Cult Of Luna & Julie Christmas

Rodrigo: For the second and last album-set of the day, I went closer to the main stage to experience Cult Of Luna and Julie Christmas perform Mariner in its entirety. To be honest with you all, my knowledge of Battle Of Mice was quite poor before the release of Mariner two years ago. It was an error I quickly corrected once I heard the unique and beautiful voice of Julie.

The stage got dark, filled with smoke and mostly blue lights that evoked a sense of foreboding and yet were oddly calming. What impressed me the most was the amazing and clean sound the band displayed, which is not really strange given their highly professional status by now. The show was highly surreal to behold, with only the silhouettes of the musicians being visible along with the fitting lights. Julie truly exceeded my expectations, as it felt like she could do it all: calming and sweet melodies, unnerving screams, and even some sensual whispering. Such a fragile yet powerful display of emotions. Cult Of Luna and Julie declared this was the very last time Mariner would be performed in its entirety and I must say it was a magnificent send off for such an emotional and special album.

Besher: This set was for me (as well as for almost everyone I've talked to) one of the most highly anticipated sets on Thursday, if not the most. This was going to be the last time Mariner would be performed live in its entirety and this added another layer to an already intense performance and took everything to a whole other level. I so vividly remember the sound of people utterly losing their shit and the wave of emotions that washed over me as the last notes of the last track were being played. Cult Of Luna and Julie Christmas were pure class!

P.S: The lightshow was glorious!

Future Occultism

This last set for the day was in fact a three-part concert revolving around the same concept of occultism in a much more modern light. It was a fascinating idea and I figured it'd provide some quality rest after some of the more intense shows prior to this. Unfortunately, I think this idea provided mixed results for me. Bong-Ra kicked things off with a guitar/drum duo with amazing Egyptian visuals. Such a shame that the visuals were the highlight of their show for me, as I expected much more from this project. Maybe because I thought I'd hear a much more electronic/break-core based sound, considering the tunes I've previously heard from Bong-Ra. Instead, we got treated to a very atmospheric and almost calm take on stoner/drone that reminded me of Well, Bong. But far less enchanting. Even if I had wanted to listen to that type of music at the time, I was still disappointed at the audience close to me who wouldn't shut their goddamn mouths. The joke's on me, though, as I should have just told them to shut the fuck up or get a room.

After a brief moment in which the stage was getting fixed, the next act was up. Servants Of The Apocalyptic Goat Rave (jeez, try saying that ten times in a row without pause) delivered exactly what I needed after the previous lukewarm set. I eliminated from my memory the fact that my feet were killing me from standing all day. Most of the audience seemed just as enthusiastic, dancing and banging their heads off like there was no tomorrow. The furious and catchy-as-rabies gig mixed elements of breakcore, noise, and black metal with plenty of ritualistic and satanic-themed visuals running through the screen at a rapid speed. The addition of actual guitar riffs instead of sampling was a welcoming change, although I thought it was a bit lame that the black metal shrieks and screams were mostly (if not entirely) sampled. With that said, I still enjoyed the show big time.

And now for something completely different: Phurpa. This intriguing Russian project was a replacement for another band that unfortunately couldn't make it to Roadburn. I'll be honest though: I was damn happy with this replacement, as I've followed Phurpa's ritualistic chants for a couple of years now. I think most people who watched this set agree that it took Alexei Tegin and co. way too much time to get ready. Patience is a virtue, however, as we got an extended set by these mysterious singers. It's really hard to describe the experience of watching Phurpa live, as you have really got to be interested and dive into their concept of music in order not to find it a gimmick or boring. I really appreciated the calming yet meticulous performance with high attention to detail. There were plenty of small microphones next to the singers. These mics were most likely responsible for the delay with the concert to begin with, but once you noticed how you could easily hear the tiniest of bells and burning of paper It just sounds and feels so surreal. And you sure as hell could feel it in your bones! The voice of Alexei alone was enough to make me uneasy and when his two apprentices joined him it felt like my whole body and mind was crumbling. Creepy, yet oddly calming.

Besher: I had many plans for day one. I thought all the advice from people telling me to take it easy were just them being spoiled brats. By the end of Cult Of Luna's set however, my legs had started giving up on me. So I got some delicious French fries and then just sat at the back of the main stage and chilled to Weedeater. They came in strong, lit up the stage, and served as a great closing band for Day One.

Rodrigo: Since Phurpa's extended concert finished at 1:30, I was running low on fuel. There was only time for one last beer and short chats with friends and acquaintances before my long walk to the camping place. Just as I was about to enter my flexotel, some friends of mine close to my spot showed up, which led to another hour of drinking and fooling around. Guess that's the beauty of this festival. It's hard to plan your schedule, but you are always glad for the experience.

Written on 10.05.2018 by A lazy reviewer but he is so cute you'd forgive him for it.


Comments: 4   Visited by: 51 users
10.05.2018 - 23:58
proofread free
I'm still running on the high from Roadburn after 3 weeks of it being over, just reading this again gives me chills, the feelings I got during the first day were if awe and disbelief, I was living a fantasy of mine, one that I have been dreaming about for as long as I've been a member here in MS.
I forgot to mention the Newbies meetup from day one, I ended up meeting a couple of guys that I spent a big portion of the festival with (shout out to the Metalstormer who's surname here escapes me, if you're reading this it was cool hanging out with you).
He who is not bold enough
to be stared at from across the abyss
is not bold enough
to stare into it himself.
11.05.2018 - 08:45
Cynic Metalhead
Nasha Vich Paisa
I always look forward to Roadburn. Rod and Apoth always try to connect the dots and presents us such a beautiful report that makes us the part of Roadburn army. Cheers to InnerSelf, as he debuted with fabulous line up this year of Roadburn edition.

Keep posting, folks!
19.05.2018 - 00:54

Guys I'm for sure going next year. I must see this before I leave Europe
Giving my ears a rest from music.
11.06.2018 - 13:24

Hey InnerSelf! Yep, it was really great hanging out with you too! (I hope you found your way back after Weedeater )

It was a real bummer that I could attend only the first day but I can already say that I've been to a few other metal festivals before but Roadburn really feels different - in a very good, exclusive way. I heard before that it has cool atmosphere and all but I was a bit afraid what to expect from the line-up since I knew only a few names. But it turned out it was a shame not to trust the organizers. So I have already marked my calendar for the next year, I hope I can come for the whole thing this time!

And btw CoL with Julie were f'ing great, totally worth the trip.

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