Roadburn 2022, Day 3 & 4
|Event:||Roadburn Festival 2022|
|Written by:||RaduP, X-Ray Rod, musclassia|
Roadburn 2022, Day 3 & 4 by X-Ray Rod (72)
Roadburn 2022, Day 1 & 2 by X-Ray Rod (33)
In case you missed the article about the first two days of the festival, here it is!
3rd Day (22.04)
Lil Radu: Midwife is the kind of music that’s the music equivalent of a big heavy warm blanket, but that’s something that I was skeptical of how well that would translate to the live setting. Even though it definitely works better in the studio, the performance felt like a very comforting liminal space. Like the warm feeling of memories. The kind of set you could ruin by whispering too loudly. She didn't play that one song I loved, but I forgive her.
Matt: Midwife is the stage name of Madeline Johnston, and her one-person show was pretty much the polar opposite of LLNN the day before in terms of opening sets. Very stripped-down, it was perhaps too stripped-down for me to start with; however, as the guitars turned dronier and the light show expanded, I began to get somewhat entranced.
Rod: A soothing, lonesome guitar and its static noise was just what I needed to start my third day at Roadburn. Madeline Johnston’s project Midwife brought to the table a very particular type of nostalgia and gloom. Slow, fleeting melodies washed over me as Madeline looped her dreamy guitar chords and drum machine to lull the audience into heavenly trance. I agree with Matt that her take on shoegaze/ambient pop felt a bit too tripped down and weak in the beginning. Slowly but surely it gained momentum, power, noise and conviction. I suddenly found myself staring at the projections of an ever-changing sky behind Madeline. I became lost in my thoughts. Remembering moments I never thought I longed for.
DIVIDE AND DISSOLVE
Lil Radu: I'll let Rod talk about it because he's the only one who isn't white. Instead I’ll just link my review of their latest album.
Rod: Well, Divide And Dissolve were heavy in more ways than one. First off, their build-ups were very interesting. A crying saxophone was looped at the start of each song, gaining force as the drums and crushing guitar riffs got mixed in. It was hypnotic, noisy and all around HEAVY. I remember seeing people slow-dancing as if they were in a trance. I can’t say I reached that level of immersion but I definitely found myself slowly headbanging to most of the set. For an instrumental set, there sure was a lot of talk in between some tracks. But that is easy to understand as Divide And Dissolve have a clear vision and they want to make sure the audience sees it. Takiaya Reed was more than eager to express her gratitude towards the festival and the Roadburners that were witnessing their performance. The injustices of a world controlled by the few. The call for complete decolonization. Her words rang loud and true to many in the audience and the music most certainly backed them up.
Matt: Given how much I’d clicked with Big Brave on the Thursday, I thought I might as well try and enjoy another drone nominee who I’d not particularly liked on record. Unfortunately, I did not get as much out of Divide And Dissolve’s show; I quite liked the looped layering of saxophone at the start of each song, but the metallic drone felt a bit too freeform for me to be able to engage with, and I ultimately left before they finished. Funnily enough, it was an all-instrumental project that had by far the most stage talk.
Lil Radu: It is quite ironic how I was considering missing Jo Quail to see Sordide when I was lined up to interview her the next day. That went very very well. But considering I had seen her opening for Amenra less than a month before, something I had done specifically to feel less burdened by this one clash, I eventually surrendered to the prospect of seeing an orchestra performing classical music at Roadburn. Since The Cartographer was announced such a while back and was commissioned specifically for Roadburn, it felt like the more unique set to witness. And indeed it was, because I felt pretty at odds with how I was supposed to relate to it due to my still existent lack of familiarity with classical music. I could at best try and imagine it as a soundtrack to something else, and the emotions conjured were definitely unique even by my limited classical experience. It didn’t feel like classical music done for the metal crowd necessarily, but there certainly was an element of that. Now that the album itself was released, I regret not staying the entire way through (sorry, Gnod’s set was starting and I didn’t wanna risk it getting filled up to capacity), since I missed pretty much the bulk of what it was all building up to. So you’ll have to wait for the review of the actual studio recording.
Rod: I was battling between watching Jo Quail or Sordide, as I was eager for more black metal during the festival. In the end, I went for my gut instinct which screamed at me that a neo-classical experience might be more unique. So there I was, sitting on the stairs of the main stage, waiting for Jo Quail and her orchestra to slowly devour my senses. Her commissioned piece, The Cartographer, was dark, brooding and pulled my heartstrings with terrifying tension. It was definitely what people might call a “slow burner”, as the music became more and more complex. The vocals had a phantasmagoric gothic beauty to them and the trombone ensemble crushed my eardrums with imposing power. The proper climax came by the bitter end, leaving me speechless.
Matt: I’d been close to seeing Jo Quail on a few occasions since 2018, when she opened for Boris and Amenra but her set finished before a lot of the queue had even entered the venue. This felt like the ideal scenario to finally see what her music actually involves, since she would be performing a commissioned piece, The Cartographer (which was released as an album earlier in May), featuring violin, percussion, vocals, piano and a whole trombone ensemble on top of Quail’s cello. I didn’t make it the whole way through because I wanted to see Gnod, but I wish I had, as it felt like a lot of build that hadn’t reached any particular climax or resolution by the time I’d left; however, what I did watch was subtly compelling, slowly slowly building through sparse cello, trombone and percussive contributions while maintaining an ominous aura.
Lil Radu: Surprise shows have definitely become a love-hate for me. I love them for the adrenaline buzz of their announcement, but I hate them for messing with my planned schedule. I had to leave the Jo Quail set early to see the band that was billed as the heaviest of the heavy. And they weren’t lying about it. Gnod may need a bit more range in their heaviness at times, but I was amazed that the entire building didn't collapse under the weight of the bass.
Matt: One of the few secret sets that I actually made it to, I was aware of Gnod from their most recent album La Mort Du Sens and was up for some dirty psychedelic noise rock. One thing that really I found detracted from this set (or what I saw of it) was the overwhelming bass reverb that covered up the actual music at times, a problem that I found a few sets on the Next Stage struggled with. When I could actually hear the music, I moderately liked Gnod without being particularly keen, but they did have one extended song with a Kurokuma-esque relentless groove to it that was rather awesome.
Matt: Another band playing a full album set, France’s Hangman’s Chair was performing their new record A Loner. After I got back from Roadburn 2022, I found out that I’d actually seen Hangman’s Chair at Roadburn 2016, although I have no memory of it. To make up for that, I saw them twice at this year’s edition (more on that later), and for the first show, I was part of a surprisingly small crowd. Unperturbed, the group delivered a good rendition of their new album, aided by a solid sound mix that allowed all that lush melodic gothic guitar work to come through very clearly.
EMMA RUTH RUNDLE
Lil Radu: The most intimate that you're ever gonna get in such a large hall. I already had a strong emotional connection with Engine Of Hell, partly due to and partly why it was my 500th review. I can’t even begin to imagine the kind of feelings that goes through a performer’s mind when they’re completely alone on a stage, with the single spotlight in the entire hall shining directly on them. All that I know is that I felt compelled to make sure that the rounds of applause would be as reassuring as can be. So much so that when the last song of the album ended, the round of applause was so great that Emma had to quiet us down to tell us that she had one more song to perform, “Pump Organ Song” from her Orpheus Looking Back EP.
Rod: Last time I witnessed such a complete silence at the Main Stage was back in 2016, when Diamanda Galás performed. The voice of a goddess and her piano as a sole companion. The year is 2022 and Emma Ruth Rundle accepted the same challenge. To present herself at her most vulnerable and naked. Only a piano and a guitar as her only companions. Such intimacy was palpable. You could cut the air with a knife as everyone was silent as Emma performed her 2021 offering, Engine Of Hell, in its entirety. Her soothing voice was like a velvet blanket comforting me. Switching from piano to guitar and vice versa allowed for a few moments of decompression as he gently thanked the audience and made a few, quiet jokes in between. Giving us a sense of friendship. A closeness between artists and audience that is hard to express. I sat by the stairs gazing at Emma and wondering if anything could be more heart-wrenching and intimate than this moment at Roadburn 2022. Turns out there is. More on that later.
Lil Radu: Wasn't very exploratory the past few days, figured I should go see something from the Paradox stage, since that one was new and I hadn't seen anything there yet. Tonus happened to be the only ones not clashing with something else I really wanted to see. Very restrained piano-based music with some guitars, drums, and sax accompanying. At some point the droning jazz sounded like mosquitoes. Ominous, threading dangerously close to ridiculously subdued, but impressive at not falling over that line.
FIVE THE HIEROPHANT
Matt: Five The Hierophant were one of the few names that initially stood out to me on the Saturday bill, and the show they put on justified why. Featuring several tracks from their recent record Through Aureate Void, the mysterious group’s set sounded great, except perhaps for the saxophone being a bit low in the mix. Their stage presence was arguably as crucial to the success of this show as the music; plenty of incense had been burned, a fog covered the stage, and the bare-footed saxophonist jumped and prowled the stage maniacally. It was a sight to behold and a pleasure to bear witness to this performance.
Lil Radu: I guess the strong smell of incense was punishment for missing Easter. But it definitely set the stage for a massive and groovy performance from Five The Hierophant. Opening up with the members blowing their horns in a circle in what I can only describe as a jazz dick-measuring contest, the band managed to make their set an experience that lived up to how intense the vibes of their studio work are, both by being amazing performers and by the sheer stage presence.
Rod: I was heading for The Terminal Stage. Ready to wait for Nothing to perform and after that I wanted to watch Kælan Mikla. Both bands impressed me heavily with their latest albums. As I stood there browsing the internet, a notification popped up. A secret show. In just an hour Patrick Walker was going to perform an acoustic set in the small stage Paradox. I became agitated as I knew exactly what the universe wanted me to do. Was it possible? Could I make it? I ran to our place of stay like I never ran before. I grabbed my copy of Warning’s Watching From A Distance and started running again, heading to Paradox stage. Well there I waited patiently at the queue, waiting to get in.
I can’t explain the feeling in my chest when the gates opened and I found myself standing right in front of the stage, dead center. Patrick Walker sat just a few meters in front of me, said hello and started playing “The Spaces In Between”. That’s when I lost it. That’s when I let go of so many burdens. A heartbreak that still felt too tender, the painful passing of a friend, the two years of hell I experienced in my private life as well as in my work at the hospital. This was THE Roadburn moment for me and I couldn’t stop crying during the whole performance. All the 40 Watt Sun songs gained momentum as Patrick Walker invited to the stage other members and guests. Words fail to describe how powerful songs like “Reveal”, “Restless” and “Carry Me Home” were in such an intimate setting. The cello that was played in the first two songs I mentioned cut my soul into tiny pieces. I silently uttered every bleeding line that came out of Patrick’s desolate voice. Once the concert was over I was a complete mess. I went to the bathroom to clean myself up and with a trembling voice I approached Patrick Walker. Thanked him from the bottom of my heart and told him about my friend and Metalstorm legend, Marcel. I got what I could only describe as a hug filled with pure, honest comprehension, sympathy and love. I asked him to sign my vinyl copy to both Marcel and I. Just like Marcel now has a permanent presence in my music collection, this concert will forever have a permanent place in my heart.
SLIFT x ETIENNE JAUMET
Lil Radu: I was already at the point where I was having a bit of trouble really paying attention to every set as much as I would like to. And this one is one I’d really wish to see again. Having seen Slift in their previous “unreleased songs” set, I was curious to see how they’d work collaboratively. And what they came up with was very trippy. Not like that conclusion is much of a surprise for a space rock band, but the larger palette due to the extra synths and sax made it so much more expensive.
Matt: Kælan Mikla have been making waves recently with their album Undir Köldum Norðurljósum, which they played in full on Saturday night. I covered that album for the non-metal series and was eager to see it on stage as well, particularly after enjoying another Nordic quirky artist live recently in Aurora. The thing that surprised me most about this set was how little post-punk I heard in the music; I’d described the album as a mix of post-punk and synthpop, but it felt much closer to the latter live. It was a nice performance, but the highlight was “Hvítir Sandar”, which featured Alcest as a guest feature on record and which Neige joined Kælan Mikla on stage for at Roadburn.
Lil Radu: Completely speechless. This was another one of those cases of seeing one of your top 10 favorite bands of all time for the very first time. I wasn’t terribly excited about it being a Flowers Of Evil set, even though I liked the record. What I did not expect was how well they would translate that into a live setting. And I mean that both because of the really long extended jams that supplemented the actual synthpop songs and the light show which was by far the best I’d seen at Roadburn so far. So to say that this was my favorite of all sets, wouldn’t necessarily be an understatement, but it’s not far from the truth either.
Rod: After succumbing to the most soul-burning performance of the festival, I was in dire need of happiness. In dire need of a celebration for all the beauty of life and what this festival could offer to a man. I left my things back at our place of stay and headed with Radu back to the Main Stage with barely some minutes to spare. The lights went out and the show began. The letters that came out of the projector burned bright and bloodred: ULVER. The previous time I saw them in 2017 was impeccable as they covered The Assassination Of Julius Caesar. This time their latest offering, Flowers Of Evil would take the spotlight. Or so we thought at least. The band did go through many tracks from that album but also a healthy dose of TAOJC as well. I thought their lightshow back in 2017 was incredible but nothing could have prepared me for what I witnessed. There were two screens. One behind the band like usual but also one in front of them. This created a mindblowing 3D effect that enhanced the psychedelic aspect of their performance to inexplicable levels. Most tracks sounded fairly different from their original version, either more danceable (and believe me, the crowd went nuts dancing!) or more drawn out, hypnotic and groovy. The tracks in the second category became stretched out and became jams that erupted into volcanoes of insane melodies, guitar solos, and beats. Without a doubt one of the very best sets of the festival.
Matt: I had initially thought that Ulver were another band playing a full album set, specifically Flowers Of Evil (looking back, the set was titled ‘Ulver: Flowers Of Evil, so this wasn’t completely misguided), so I wasn’t too interested in seeing this show, but I went anyway, and how glad am I that I did. The group, who had a full screen in front of them that offered up some mesmerizing possibilities in terms of lighting and projection, did play five tracks from that album, along with two from The Assassination Of Julius Caesar, and those were very good to see. If the set had just been that, I would have been mildly impressed by Ulver. However, my memories of this show are dominated entirely by the two tracks that aren’t from either of those albums, “Bring Out Your Dead” from the Sic Transit Gloria Mundi EP and “A Fearful Symmetry” from the Hexahedron live album. Both of these tracks were turned into long, long jams (I didn’t time them, but I imagine each ran over 15 minutes at least), and the combination of the perfect live mix, the hypnotic groove created during these james, and the hologrammatic feed on the front-of-stage big screen was simply awe-inspiring. If I had to pick my single highlight from Roadburn 2022, I don’t know if I would pick Ulver, but it would certainly be one that I considered in that internal debate.
Matt: I had been planning to see more of Duma, but Ulver was too good to leave early. I did still manage to catch 20 minutes of their set, and to be honest that was more than enough for me at this stage of the festival; the abrasive aggression of this cybergrind was a lot to stomach. There was lots of abrasive noise, drum machine barrages and industrial anger, with Martin Khanja constantly prowling back and forth across the stage while screaming his lungs out.
FULL OF HELL x NOTHING
Lil Radu: Turns out that if you blend a grind and a shoegaze band you get a weird kind of post-metal, one that's unique thanks to its DNA. The shoegaze part is showing most often as grind turns to sludge, but it was more than just meeting in the middle, with dark ambient and space rock getting thrown in the mix too, thus plenty of moments sounding like neither band.
Rod: This was a must-see for me simply because of how unique the premise was. The noisy, abrasive grindcore of Full Of Hell with the catchy and captivating shoegaze of Nothing. I had no idea how this mix would sound or even work to be honest. Turns out their middle ground could be found in the ambient, noise, thick atmosphere both bands try to focus on. There were plenty of great textures to be heard and I really hope the two bands release some official album in the future because this is too great of an opportunity to pass up!
Matt: For quite a few of the collaborations at this year’s Roadburn, the end product sounds surprisingly close to the midpoint between the styles of the two musicians/artists in their ‘day jobs’. When you mix Full Of Hell’s grindcore with Nothing’s shoegaze, it’s hard to contemplate how you could have a 50:50 of both, and ultimately Full Of Nothing was not the birth of the presumably impossible grindgaze genre. Instead, Full Of Nothing was primarily shoegaze with harsh vocals and darker instrumentation, but as it went on it felt closer to an offshoot of post-metal. This was another great set, and pretty much evidence that any collaboration attempted at Roadburn will result in gold, because if this can work, what can’t?
Lil Radu: Tough to talk about something being sexual without being creepy, but let's just say that this set was hot enough that I wouldn't have been surprised if all drinks in the room instantly boiled.
Rod: The party had to go on! And what better way to do that than to shake your body to some excellent dark synthpop? Kanga delivered with an electrifying set filled with sweet melodies, infectious beats and the most seductive performance I’ve experienced in a long time. It was clear that Kanga loved to be there and wanted us to love being there with her as well. Acts like this are perfect to take the edge off from some of the more conventionally heavy acts.
Matt: I’ve had people ask me ‘what type of music do you get at Roadburn?’, and the longer you think about that question, the harder it gets to answer, particularly when you see Kanga; there’s been electronic music at Roadburn, but that which I’d heard before now was normally more industrial, such as Health. Kanga was perhaps a bit industrial, but the festival website’s description of her music as ‘dark pop’ was probably most apt, as this was very much electronic pop with an insidious undercurrent. I had a blast listening to this, and Kanga’s seductive stage presence was a very impressive way to handle being one person on stage playing a type of music that ran contrary to most of what was featured at the festival. It reminded me that Föllakzoid were initially going to be playing at Roadburn 2020, and if the organizers want to keep booking rave-worthy acts, I’m right here for it.
JAMESZOO DJ SET
Lil Radu: [Redacted]
Rod: AFTERPARTY WOOOOOOOOO. Ok, maybe not that hyped about it. I was a bit disappointed that too many people left the stage once Kanga was done with her set (then again, it was 2AM and the day started for many at 1PM). But still, I was dead set on drinking and dancing my ass off with other people who, like me, don’t know shit about clubbing and dancing! DJ Jameszoo delivered some harsh techno with jungle and a whole bunch of other underground influences that made the set fire and quite friendly for metalheads. I think we stayed until 3:15 or so before Radu and I slowly walked home (but not before getting one last beer at a nearby bar with some Roadburn friends!). A demolishing day where I felt I left my soul on the floor.
4th Day (23.04)
TERZIJ DE HORDE x GGU:LL
Lil Radu: Technically more than one collab set, with different combinations of merges of the two bands' lineups. A least two. Maybe even times when each band was individually on the stage. All of them seeming like doomier takes on black metal with great dynamics, though each iteration was a bit more focused on either Terzij De Horde's black or Ggu:ll's doom. At least until the last part of the set where all the members came on stage. And I still think that we definitely could fit even more people on a stage if we really tried.
Matt: Terzij De Horde were another band, like Hangman’s Chair, that I had seemingly seen at Roadburn 2016 without retaining any memory of it; I will remember this set. The start involved Terzij De Horde playing songs from their recent In One Of These, I Am Your Enemy album, with frontman Joost Vervoot radiating an intense stage presence. Following this, the band (bar the drummer) left the stage as members from Ggu:ll walked on; the concept of this set was that TDH and Ggu:ll would play songs based off of drums written by the other group’s drummer, before all came on stage together for a truly collaborative ending. This approach paid dividends, as the more atmospheric, doomier sounds that Ggu:ll brought to the table fitted nicely with Terzij De Horde’s black metal aggression. If anything, I prefer Ggu:ll’s contributions to those from Terzij De Horde, but this long set (at 80 minutes, it was one of the longest of the whole festival) was a highlight of the final day of Roadburn 2022.
THE DEVIL’S TRADE x JOHN CXNNOR
Matt: The Devil’s Trade plays dark folk; John Cxnnor is the industrial side-project of two members of LLNN. It’s not the most natural pairing, but the collaboration arose after John Cxnnor covered a Devil’s Trade track, and considering some of the other combinations realized at Roadburn 2022, there was no reason to doubt this one. I only caught the last half of it due to enjoying the Terzij De Horde/Ggu:ll performance a bit too much, but what I did see of this set left me wondering how much it differed to what John Cxnnor produce by themselves, as the sound was largely dominated by their electronics. Dávid Makó sang for portions of it, but when he did, it didn’t feel like the most natural pairing with the backing music. This wasn’t the most convincing collaboration of the festival, but I did enjoy the electronics.
Lil Radu: I did catch just a bit of their other set, but I was more looking forward to this one because it would have a chamber orchestra too. Though it still feels like some of the more obnoxious elements like the glitches are reduced in the live setting, a lot of the compositions are still way too disorganized for their own good. Some great moments that were emphasized by the orchestra, but didn't always get to capitalize on it. Rod's reaction was priceless.
Rod: Ah god-fucking-damnit, where to begin. Unfortunately I had to go to the Main Stage as soon as the collaborative set between Ggu:ll and Terzij De Horde ended. For once I really wanted to be upfront for an act at the Main Stage. That act was Lingua Ignota. Which meant I had to endure a Liturgy set. *sigh*
So they were going to cover their latest album, Origin Of The Alimonies. Accompanying the band, there was a chamber orchestra. Well, I thought it would be interesting at least. I must say, friends: I tried. I really, really tried. I even listened to their two latest records several times before the festival just to see if I could get in the mood. I tried to appreciate the crushing and tight performance of the drummer. I tried to appreciate how Hunter can actually shred some interesting riffs. Of course the chamber orchestra was good on its own. They even had a harp and that's almost always an instant win in my book. Keyword: Almost. Because none of those things I just mentioned matter at all. Hunter’s actual songs are an absolute incoherent, inane, and forgettable pile of pretentious shit. It carries so little artistic value and songwriting intellect. As if Hunter was trying so desperately to sound weird and different just for the sake of being unique. Hunter’s screams are so weak and unnecessarily high-pitched that I couldn’t believe the look of awe I saw from many in the crowd. Hunter managed to make Nattram from Silencer sound like an opera singer by comparison. Along with the music came visuals and visible songs’ lyrics which only confirmed how Liturgy is as deep and convoluted as the works of a college student high on cough medicine. What a perfect waste of a chamber orchestra this was. It got to the point where I began to smile and laugh at how bizarre and ridiculous it all was. This is without a doubt the cringiest concert I’ve ever experienced in my life and most certainly the worst I’ve ever witnessed at Roadburn. I can at least say the set was highly memorable. Despite containing such irrelevant sonic rambling from the wildest corner of the underground music scene, I won’t forget it. So, these are the 3 things I learned from watching Liturgy live:
Matt: A perfect example of what a difference a billing of ‘band’ compared with ‘band playing specific set’ can make in terms of decisions, I would have been intrigued by the possibility of seeing Huntsmen play at this festival, but wouldn’t have given it much priority; however, that’s mainly because their second album was a bit of a bloated mess. Their debut, American Scrap was a great post-metal/roots rock mash-up, and the idea of seeing it played in full was very appealing. Aimee Bueno, who was only a guest on one track on American Scrap, still came along as she is now a permanent member of the band; she harmonized almost all of Chris Kang’s clean vocals throughout the show, which added a fresh and pleasant dynamic to the music. More than anything, this set reminded me of just what a good album American Scrap is; with a dimly lit and foggy stage, a perfect mix and great performances, this set was an absolute pleasure.
SOLAR TEMPLE & DEAD NEANDERTHALS
Lil Radu: Groovy and ritualistic heavy psych rock. Hypnotic in the way both jazz and black metal can be, despite being neither of those things. I can't wait for it to materialize in the studio too.
Lil Radu: My first and only other time seeing Lingua Ignota live was at 2019's Roadburn, and that was before Caligula was even released. Needless to say, a lot of things have changed since then. She had her big break. She had a shitload of sets that were supposed to happen at the 2020 edition. She released two very well received albums since. She had surgery that didn't allow her to perform as physically intensive as before. So her set in the small Green/Next Room in the middle of the room swinging a lamp and screaming in people's faces was a far cry from her being on the main stage. There's still plenty in terms of similarities. The music is incredibly emotionally resonant. Her performance is fantastic. She plays alone, so she uses backing tracks. The problem is that the latter worked well when the performance was so upfront. Now that such a thing is understandably no longer possible, the translation to the stage suffered a bit. I enjoyed the music, but I was never compelled to see what was happening on stage. So it was another Forndom situation.
Rod: It’s funny that I mentioned Diamanda Galás while discussing the intimacy felt during Emma Ruth Rundle’s performance at the Main Stage. This is because the great Diamanda Galás serves one more time as a guide to describe the performances that I saw at Roadburn. I recall a friend of mine saying that Lingua Ignota was “a Diamanda Galás for millennials”. As a millennial myself I must say I wholeheartedly agree with that statement (but let's face it: No one comes close to the OG Galas). This was the very first time Kristin Hayter was going to perform songs from her latest album, Sinner Get Ready, an album filled with existential dread, sorrow, anger and despair. The religious undertones were nearly alarming at times as Kristin sang with fanatic devotion. Her passionate voice was loud and clear with excellent range. I have one problem with the set though and it is not linked to the sound itself but with the choice of performance. You see, last time I saw her perform was at Roadburn 2019 at the green room, a much smaller stage. Back then she had a much smaller fanbase but her choice to perform “on the floor” where everyone was standing close to her made the performance so personal and riveting. At the main stage I expected a richer performance. With musicians performing the music and not her just singing with the music just coming from the speakers. There was a piano standing right there and it was disappointing to see it just laying there. Even though it was a real pleasure to watch her sing, especially as close as I was, I probably won’t see her again if the performance isn’t enhanced with actual musicians playing her music. It would be a “been there, done that” type of situation.
Matt: I saw the first 20 minutes of Lingua Ignota, and was increasingly getting into it by the time I left even if I’m not nearly as much of a fan as the other guys, although I can agree that it felt like the massive stage was underused. Still, I wasn’t going to hang around if it meant missing any of Mizmor, who was delivering another full-album set, this one being 2019’s Cairn. The blackened blasting sections felt fairly generic, it must be said; this performance shined in its slower sections, particularly some of the more melodic moments that served as solid contrast to the explosions of sound in “Cairn To Suicide”.
Lil Radu: Having already seen most of Mizmor's surprise collab with Thou, it was time for a set presenting music I was more familiar with. And they pretty much delivered a seamless transition from the album to the live setting. Nothing more, nothing less.
REGARDE LES HOMMES TOMBER x HANGMAN'S CHAIR
Matt: I said in my Full Of Nothing write-up that some collaborations sounded like the natural midpoint between the two bands that were coming together; this is a perfect example of that. The sludgy, post-y black metal of Regarde Les Hommes Tomber was on full display, but so was Hangman’s Chair’s melodic gothic metal: sometimes with one prioritized over the other, but in some instances elements of both were present simultaneously. It was a perfect mix, really; occasional moments didn’t click, most often with some of the Hangman’s Chair’s vocalist’s melodies, but mostly this was a brilliant show, with a synergistic combination of the two groups, elevated further by a very cool backing video. After Final Light, this is the collaboration I hope most will get a studio recording of, although there’s no indication so far that there will be.
Lil Radu: Well, if Roadburn taught me anything, it is that having two drummers and two bassists ought to be the standard henceforth. Mostly post metal, but some nice touches from Hangman's Chair's vocalist.
LAMP OF MURMUUR
Lil Radu: Not like Roadburn was lacking in black metal, but the rawer second wave approach works pretty good live too. Campy stage presence. Piercing bass. Goth parts sounded fantastic.
Rod: Oh boy I sure did not expect this to become a reality. Lamp Of Murmuur is a project shrouded in mystery as only the music speaks for it. Nothing is known about the founder M. and his brand of raw second-wave black metal truly caught everyone by storm just a few years ago. The performance was everything I wanted from the project: Campy as all hell with the cloak costumes, the corpse paint, the seriousness from all the musicians. The cheese factor was high but man it was so charming! It was such a tight performance with catchy as hell riffs and electrifying solos. The sound was clear enough to dissect all the phantasmagoric melodies and the powerful bass lines. Mister M. was more than eager to engage the audience a few times, lifting his arms and commanding everyone to enjoy the show. Unfortunately for me, I got a notification that my flight back home got canceled just 20 minutes before the performance. This meant that my mind wasn’t fully concentrated in the set I was witnessing. I did my best to enjoy it as much as I could and headbanged my concerns away.
DIE WILDE JAGD
Matt: Die Wilde Jagd (‘The Wild Hunt’) had played two sets at Roadburn Redux in 2021 and earned themselves an invite to the in-person edition in 2022. Of all the sets at Roadburn, this is one that I have the least memory of, but I do remember finding their particular spin on psychedelic music pleasantly danceable and colourful, with the cello adding an interesting dimension.
FULL OF HELL x SPIRITUAL POISON
Lil Radu: Somehow, it turns out that I only managed to catch the collaborative Full Of Hell sets. Not that I do mind, since at least this one was actual Full Of Hell material, as they were playing Garden Of Burning Apparitions in full. And the collaborative element came from Ethan McCarty as Spiritual Poison (why Ethan felt the need for another noise alias other than Many Blessings is beyond me) contributing with some extra noise to an already noisy performance, but since Garden Of Burning Apparitions is quite the noisy record, it made a lot of sense. The performance was just as bludgeoning and intense as I needed it to be.
Lil Radu: Most enthusiastic vocalist ever.
Rod: Awwwww yeaaaaaaah. THIS is how you close a venue! Being the last band to performance at the Koepenhal building, Alkerdeel entered the stage to perform their latest offering, Slonk, in full. As I’ve said a few times in my previous reviews, Alkerdeel sound like a live band on record. The sound is just that organic and honest. The riffs, blast beats and sick bass licks were as brutal as they were on record if not more. I saw them back in 2012 and I can assure you that they are as intense as ever! Absolutely demolishing sludge/black metal that left the crowd moshing and headbanging like crazy. This vile and savage ambience was further enhanced by the singer, Pede. He is a madman. He was by far the most intense and aggressive performer of the whole festival. Running around the stage, beating his chest and just oozing raw punk energy. I went to Roadburn 2022 thinking this was the last set of the festival for me. Fate had it another way but if it had been the last concert I would have gone home with the biggest grin on my face. UGH!!!
Lil Radu: Funny how one of the prime motivators of seeing a Roadburn set is because you had already missed a set from that band and you want to make it up to them. Sordide being a band I championed over and over, I did feel sad for missing their set the previous day. So when another secret show was announced, I knew I had to make it, even if the secondary reasons weren't taken into account. But I also wanted to see at least one band in the small Little Devil bar and the prospect of a black metal band doing only Nirvana sets was unmissable. The whole thing didn't sound very rehearsed, and solos sounded like shit, so I guess that's authentic to Nirvana. The singer sounded very convincingly grunge for a black metal band member. This is definitely the kind of thing that was enhanced by the stage, with small place moshing always being a fun thing that reminded me of comically undersized venues I had to frequent back home. Left after "Paper Cuts" because it just can't get better than that. And because another secret set was announced.
Matt: Proof that you don’t have to do anything new to make it big, Green Lung have built quite a following despite playing a very retro form of heavy stoner rock. Playing their new album Black Harvest in full with a few songs from their debut album as a bonus, Green Lung’s main strengths here were the clarity of the mix, which allowed Scott Black’s guitar leads to come through very clearly, and their on-stage energy, with Tom Templar regularly rallying the troops in the audience. I’ll be honest, I’m not on board the Green Lung hype train, as it’s a bit too retro for my liking, but it was a perfectly good show, and one that was quite fitting considering what was going to be following it on the Next Stage.
Lil Radu: Of course it had to end with Thou. Even though it was billed as just "Black Sabbath tribute, every one and their mother knew who it was that was playinng. I was thankful that I managed to catch their collab with Mizmor, so I didn't feel compelled to catch them just to catch them, but the prospect of those Black Sabbath covers, seeing them with both of the other writers, and on the same night that our article on the band was going live, was way too enticing. Plus it definitely sounds like a Roadburn thing to ditch a tribute set to catch another tribute set. The set heavy as fuck, but funniest thing was Lingua Ignota doing vocals on the namesake song and missing the cue when to start singing one of the verses. Under-rehearsed tribute sets are my new gender.
Rod: Alkerdeel closed down the Koepenhal and my flight issues demanded an early morning to sort things out. That was the original idea. To just go home. But then it was announced a secret Black Sabbath tribute band. To quote the lesser of the Godfather movies: Just when I thought I was out… THEY PULL ME BACK IN!!!
Of course everyone knew who were going to play. I must admit that I’ve never been too huge on Thou but I had to be crazy to not appreciate the opportunity to experience some Black Sabbath-turned-sludge in one of the smaller stages. By miracle I got an excellent spot by the balcony together with the rest of the Metalstorm gang and damn was it a blast. Thou’s ability to mold and twist so many covers and make it their own is impressive. This was also an excellent way to demonstrate that Black Sabbath remains as important as ever. When you hear Black Sabbath anthems like "Into The Void", "Sweet Leaf" and the namesake song with just a bit more distortion you can clearly notice how they are the fathers of heavy metal as the songs instantly turn into brutal sludge and stoner fests with only minor changes. What a way to celebrate metal, its’ history and its’ people. MY people.
Matt: Closing the festival where metal began, Thou offered a different take on a few Black Sabbath classics, although some of them made the lineage from Sabbath to sludge very obvious. I was about ready to fall over from exhaustion at this point, but it was worth staying around for this last taste of Roadburn 2022, and Thou chose some good songs to close on, with “Black Sabbath”, “Sweet Leaf”, “Into The Void” and “Supernaut” all songs I would ask for in a Sabbath cover set.
OUTROS AND SUCH
Lil Radu: It was a bit later after seeing Rod leaving earlier than the rest of us that we realized we probably should've left at the same time. Even though our flight was not cancelled, and we arrived more than two hours before it was due to leave, the check-in line was so long and understaffed that it was less than 10 minutes until boarding that we eventually got to the end of the check-in line, only to be met with the fact that we would have to sit at least one extra hour in the security. This led to more adventures of trying to secure a queuing number, the machine for it being overloaded, calling customer service, finding another flight that evening, hurrying up through check-in and security, then trying to meet up with Rod in the airport afterwards only to realize that we're in the non-Schengen part of it. And the flight was also delayed by a couple of hours.
It did feel quite surreal to be back in Bucharest, but since I wasn't home, and I specifically made it so I'd already go to another concert that evening, I could prolong the post-Roadburn hangover. I went to see She Past Away (coincidentally a band that was supposed to perform at Roadburn 2020) with Big Radu, and there I unexpectedly met a bunch of Bucharest friends. It wasn't until Friday that I was finally home again. Maybe it was the fact that this was no longer my first Roadburn, or how long it took for me to go back home, but the hangover was less intense this time around.
Rod: And thus our journey ends. My tired ass got to the airport as early as possible to discuss the whole “You told me less than 36 hours in advance that my flight got cancelled and you moved the date 2 days, what the fuck is wrong with you” situation I had in my hands. There was an absolute clusterfuck of a situation at the airport due to a strike that had happened during the weekend at Roadburn but also because of King's Day or something? I don’t remember but it was absolutely bonkers. Waited almost 6 hours just to get in front of a desk and discuss my situation. Thankfully the staff at KLM were very sympathetic and corrected the issue my giving me and my sister a flight back home later that day at night. At that point I was so exhausted that I jut went to a bar and got as drunk as legally possible so they still would allow me to get on the plane. But despite the whole flight thing being a shitty experience, it was a small price for the amazing festival I was a part of.
Roadburn’ motto for this year was “Redefining Heaviness” and that is exactly what they did. All the bands did an excellent job at expanding what we consider heavy within and outside of the metal community. Roadburn is located in a center where new music is being born constantly. To be able to experience 10 of these Roadburn editions in a row has been nothing but an absolute honor. To all of you who have come this far into reading our words: Thank you from the bottom of my heart. And please go to the festival next year! You won’t regret it. It has the potential to change your life. I know it changed mine. I’ve met people who I now consider some of my best friends. I’ve seen legendary bands performing unique sets that no other festival can pull off. After 2 years of stressful hell, Roadburn was just the dose of familiarity but also fresh originality I needed.
The three writers of this article in their unnatural habitat
Once again I would like to extend my gratitude to the one and only Marcel Hubregtse. You presented me to this incredible and one-of-a-kind festival and let me stay with you 7 of those 10 Roadburns. I owe you so much and will continue thinking about you every year I walk those streets in Tilburg. I dedicate this article to you.
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