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Roadburn 2024


Written by: RaduP, X-Ray Rod, NastyHero
Published: May 10, 2024
 
Event: Roadburn Festival 2024 (Website)
Location: 013, Tilburg, The Netherlands

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Roadburn 2024 by RaduP (139)


INTROS AND SUCH

Rod: Twelve Roadburns in a row. The more I think about it the more astonishing it is. But as I reflect back on all these years, all these memories add up to a whole that does make perfect sense. As the festival has grown and changed, so have I. So I have never been particularly worried about Roadburn having less headliners and less metal artists every year. For I have also given space to many non-metal artists recently as well as the underground scene in general. This year was of particular importance to me as I attended a wedding a few hours prior to the first band to open up the festival on Thursday. Not just any wedding though. It was a Roadburn-themed wedding close to the festival grounds. Wild, I know. I met this lovely couple 5-6 Roadburns ago, befriended them and suddenly BAM! Last year I got an invitation letter in my mailbox. As much as I wish to go into detail about the ceremony, I prefer to keep things private. But needless to say that the ceremony on Thursday 18th April was a brilliant way to kickstart a festival that has meant so much for me over the years. I simply can’t believe how the festival has been responsible for so many friendships and beautiful events outside of the concerts themselves. My life seems to become interwoven to the very fabric of Roadburn.

Anyway, I’ll try not to bore you already. There is much to tell. Roadburn is a four-day festival that starts on thursday. It does have a pre-party on wednesday however, called “The Spark”. It is a fitting name to get you pumped before the festival. I have a terrible memory so I do not recall when these pre-parties actually started. But I do know that my first one was in 2018 and I’ve showed up early on wednesday ever since. For all the people who go “Roadburn has changed too much and no longer covers metal and is too hipster”. First of all: You disappoint me, child. And second: Roadburn’s pre-party this year was soaked in old-school metal/rock love!

Radu: With things finally stable enough that we got tickets and accommodation for this edition during the last edition, and for the next edition during this edition, it’s safe to say that Roadburn has finally solidified itself as a tradition for me. On a personal level, it’s the space between two weekends when I get to spend time with my uncle, half of it traveling and half of it attending a festival of the music I love. On a professional level, the Roadburn concert reviews are such a staple of our writing here and a yearly event with a lot of weight for me. And on a musical level, I can always be sure that at least one of the best sets I’ll see all year will be at this festival. I go to a lot of shows and see a lot of bands, so it means a lot that Roadburn stuff is something I remember very fondly every year.

Continuing my tradition of taking the Monday and Tuesday off as well so that I can have two back to back weekends of vacation time, and spending the time before Wednesday traveling around, this year through Belgium (mostly Flanders), including seeing the painting from Have A Nice Life’s Deathconsciousness in the flesh (in the oil?) in an art museum in Bruxelles (Jacques-Louis David’s The Death of Marat), planning but failing to watch In Bruges in Bruges, finding a pub in Gent that makes you leave a shoe as warranty in case you break a glass but it closed early right on the day we were there. The colder weather was also not something I predicted (silly me), so me having a hoodie as the warmest piece of clothing coupled with me renting a bike to take me to and from the accommodation that was 20 minutes away by bike, not the comfiest of experiences, but that’s on me. I coped by just buying more shirts from the merch stand and ended up wearing 3 T-shirts at once.

Mateusz: Since I'm a guest here and only playing a journalist, I'll keep it short and cover only the bands that R&R duo did not (although having just finished watching Civil War [not the Marvel one], this feels like my mission). Even though they probably sometimes wrote some insane things (I haven't read it yet but Use Knife was great and Radu did not like it, so... I'd say more, but it would get removed by Radu's censoring eyes).






The Spark (17.04)

RIOT CITY

Rod: The first one of the old-school trio of bands was Riot City. The sound was sadly a bit off in the beginning. The riffs had difficulty pushing through the speakers but by the 10 min mark or so it was a completely different experience. Holy shit, what a powerful energy this band had. The riffs hit like a hammer with their intensity and speed. Singer Jordan Jacobs was all over the place doing dramatic poses and serving beer to the musicians mid-solos while he wasn’t screaming his lungs out. I mean, sure, I understand those who think his high-pitch screams can be a bit much but in a live setting they really get you going. Found myself screaming and showing the horns with other roadburners and even making silly AC/DC-inspired screams like “I wanna rawk!!!” by yelling at the band. It really felt like a huge wave of 80’s nostalgia coming our way with a drum solo to boot by the second half of the set. As a band that opened the pre-party for a 4-day festival, I think Riot City did a wonderful job. Like a friend told me: “high-octane, high-octave heavy metal”.

Radu: Taking just “The Spark” into consideration, I think other years might’ve had higher highlights (like Poison Ruïn), but this was the first time when all three bands announced for it were bands I knew and that got me excited about seeing them, especially as I didn’t expect to see a night centered around heavy metal. I have to thank nikarg for introducing us to them. I might have a lot of preconceptions about what is and what isn’t a “Roadburn band”, and seeing something this “pedal to the metal” and unapologetic in how rocking it is was actually a nice contrast to the usual dark vibes of the festival. Especially fitting since after The Spark ended, the first song I heard on the hallway when I went home was Judas Priest’s “Panic Attack”. If there were someone’s high pitched heavy fucking metal screams to hear during Roadburn, I’m glad they were Jordan Jacobs’.






SONJA

Rod: Now that I got a decent number of beers in my system, and with the first band already electrifying my senses, I was more than ready for Sonja. Their dangerously seductive mix of heavy metal, glam metal and goth rock truly resonated with me when I first heard their debut album Loud Arriver. I was also looking forward to their set because Roadburn is a very inclusive experience for music-loving people. So supporting metal artists of the LGBTQ+ community is a matter of importance to me. Sonja’s performance was an absolute delight. Unfortunately, they got the same awkward 10 minutes of odd sound in the beginning but then it came with full force and passion. Many folks in the audience began to display their hottest goth dance moves amidst the sweaty songs. We had a fun exchange with Radu as Sonja performed two cover songs. First it was Danzig’s “Devil’s Plaything” which I recognized immediately as I knew both the original version and the cover done by Beseech. Radu managed to redeem himself as he was quick to notice Sonja’s last song which was Iron Maiden’s “Deja-Vu”. This is where I have to put extra emphasis on the fact that Sonja performed an excellent cover of an Iron Maiden song with just one guitarist. All in all: Another fantastic set to warm things up for the festival!

Radu: Something a bit more familiar to me, since it was a debut album I covered, and covering was something that Sonja also did well (as Rod already mentioned). Moore might not exactly have the Dickinson range to pull an Iron Maiden cover, but just the sheer fact of hearing an Iron Maiden cover of a song that isn’t in their most famous ones was cool in itself, and it’s not like the band didn’t pull it off. The band’s own material also worked pretty smoothly.






FINAL GASP

Rod: An odd thing was the Final Gasp set, which was the final set of Roadburn’s pre-party. Theoretically it should have been the set that catered to my tastes the most because I’m not a huge fan of traditional heavy metal or music involving glam metal. But somehow Final Gasp's mix of deathrock, hardcore and gothic metal did not blow my drunk mind away as much as I expected and wanted. It was a lot punkier than expected, which was a nice surprise, but still I did not feel as attracted to the performance as I thought. A vile performance in any case and definitely a band to keep tabs on. But while it had more musical prowess than the other two it also had less passion and felt more calculated. I saw plenty of people headbanging their necks off so I’m sure I was in the minority there.

Radu: The highlight of the night for me. The bands did get gothier as the night went on, culminating in a band whose album we nominated in the goth category. More of a punky deathrock version of heavy metal than anything, it was the perfect mix between Riot City’s energy and Sonja’s more seductive gothness channeled into something punkier.






1st Day (18.04)



HEXVESSEL

Rod: After stuffing my face full of delicious appetizers and an amazing wedding cake, I walked a couple of blocks to the stage that would host the festival's first official act: Hexvessel. What made the set extra special was that they were going to play their latest album, Polar Veil, in full. It is funny how I started to listen to Hexvessel just this year despite the fact that I’m a huge fan of two projects Mat McNerney was/is a part of: Namely Beastmilk and Grave Pleasures. The band presented their newest record in gorgeous fashion. The backdrop displayed images and videos of the cold north which gave an ethereal but also grim tone to the psychedelic rock/folk sound of this project. This was well-fitting as Polar Veil is Hexvessel’s most extreme album, featuring many black metal passages. Still, what lured me into a trance were the ever-present psychedelic aspects of the melodies as well as Mat’s gorgeous, hypnotic vocals. That man has such a command of his voice and his presence gives a very theatrical, ghostly aura to the whole show. Despite the fact that I couldn’t get closer to the stage, I had a wonderful time being hypnotized by such seductive music.

Radu: Before the running order was announced, I had already bought tickets to see Hexvessel in my home city, so I felt like whoever they would clash with I would be able to choose that over Hexvessel guilt free and solve one potential clash. Running orders were announced and lo and behold: the only potential clash I could solve beforehand was actually the first band of the day that wasn’t clashing with anyone. Context to end up seeing basically the same show twice, or have something of an appetizer for the solo show later on. The Roadburn show was technically the better one, both because of the larger stage and better sound quality, and even if the setlists were both very Polar Veil focused, having the album performed in full with all the set presentation with the ornamental tree branches and the cloaks really created the perfect atmosphere for the listening experience.






SUNRISE PATRIOT MOTION

Rod: I followed an entrancing set with another. As the effects of Hexvessel’s psychedelia were wearing off, I stuck around the area waiting for the odd mix of gothrock and black metal by Sunrise Patriot Motion. This was the first instance where I decided to do a sudden shift in program. I originally had my eyes on the Wiegedood set where the band would perform the soundtrack they created for a Japanese Horror movie, with said movie playing on the backdrop. That set seemed extremely exclusive but merely a week before the festival, a great friend reminded me of S.P.M. and their other project, Yellow Eyes. Both projects release off-kilter music but the one I remembered the most is S.P.M. Their flowery debut really stuck with me for a while after reading Radu’s review of it. I’m glad I stayed for this show as it proved to be one of the more unique sounds on this edition of the festival. This was actually the first show ever by the band, which made the result even more impressive. The band in general was very professional but both the singer and the drummer went above and beyond to make their music as engaging as possible. By virtue of playing live, the vocals had less echo in them and felt much punchier than on record. His desperate cries had an angry, maddening touch as if he was on the verge of punching a wall. On the other hand, the drummer stuck to the catchy beats featured on the album but he made damn sure that he would beat the shit out of that drumkit as if his life depended on it. He might have been the most enthusiastic drummer I’ve seen this year!

Radu: How often do you get to see a black metal band performing goth rock? Though that’s not the first time that happened, there’s something unique about how committed the Yellow Eyes alumni in Sunrise Patriot Motion are to making the most extreme deathrock possible. Though the music is generally one where you’d expect a drum kit, it was actually the very live drummer that stood out for being overqualified and overenthusiastic in the best way for it. But not enough to eclipse the much more visible and equally energetic vocalist.






WIEGEDOOD

Radu: I had a discussion with my uncle later on that it’s weird for bands to use their band names for performances like these. Sure, it is the band performing them, but if I hadn’t seen Wiegedood at this same festival previously, when they performed their usual black metal material, I’m not sure if this live film soundtrack that’s more ambient would’ve let me confidently count them among the bands I’ve seen live. I have seen soundtracks being performed live before, but this is the first time where the full-length film was accompanying it. I was also more than 15 minutes late to the start of the set, meaning I didn’t get the entire context within the movie either, and had to piece things by the mood of the soundtrack being performed and from reading the summary on Wikipedia. A Page Of Madness, a silent Japanese movie from the 20s, is also partially lost so following things along is difficult enough, and yet I feel like I was enjoying the experience more for the movie itself rather than for the music or how well the two worked together. There were moments where it felt like the tension building and releasing that the band was doing didn’t really match the movie’s flow, so the best moments were the ones where things were slowly building tension in both the movie and the music, or exploding in both the movie and the music. Still, the more long-form percussive focus was an interesting direction to hear from a black metal band.






BODY VOID

Rod: Body Void was a project I very recently became familiar with. It didn’t surprise me that they were a part of the line-up for Roadburn 2023, as noisy sludge doom is a most adequate style of music for the festival as far as metal acts go. It was appropriately crushing and noisy, with the screams of singer Willow Ryan being the aspect that stuck to me the most from their performance. As much as I enjoyed the show, it just didn’t grab me by the throat as hard as I expected it to. Two Roadburns ago I saw Primitive Man perform on the very same stage. My mind kept going back to that set as their style is fairly similar. In a way, Body Void’s performance of their newest album, Atrocity Machine, was solid but ultimately derivative for me. And now that I reflect back and look at what was going on at the other stages, I’m sad that I didn’t follow Radu for Arms And Sleepers.






ARMS AND SLEEPERS

Radu: Arms And Sleepers is a name that caught my attention because of musclassia choosing them as his pick in the non-metal feature where he covered them, which was enough of a recommendation for me to go in blind. I already mentioned in the Riot City writeup how some bands don’t feel like Roadburn bands but the contrast with the darker music enhances the experience. Rather than the more accessible metal, Arms And Sleepers make some very trippy and upbeat downtempo/trip-hop. Joined for this performance by singer/musician Sofia Insua, who handled most of the vocals, rounding the group to two people playing electronics and a live drummer. This ended up being one of the most serene and lush sets of the festival precisely due to how light it felt in contrast with everything else.






SEÁN MULROONEY

Mateusz: That day I actually saw only one performer that they haven't – Seán Mulrooney, who also performed at this festival 2 years ago with his other band TAU (who also feature a member of Kadavar, so I'll get at least one namedrop you're gonna recognize). His solo performance was actually not solo, as there were more people on the stage. He's only released one song (in support of Palestine, by the way), so this was mostly unreleased material. I did enjoy the show, but I also didn't mind leaving in the middle to see the next band.






SCALER

Rod: After the previous sludge act, I was in the mood for something completely different. Preferably non-metal. In the last couple of years, Roadburn has done an excellent job in finding acts that may not be metal at all yet still have a heavy, dark aura surrounding their music. Scaler (previously known as Scalping) was the first of such acts for me this year. Described as a band with the goal of “bridging the gap between live guitar music and live electronic music”, Scaler provided some heavy, pulsing, hypnotic music. I really appreciated how they still had a core sound made out of real guitars, drums and bass. As those elements were fused with their brand of catchy electronica the result felt like Daft Punk if the legendary French duo was on steroids and decided to go metal. They definitely made their Bristol forefathers proud with their skills on intriguing electronic music. The visuals accompanying the energetic set were beyond bizarre. They ranged from abstract lines and creepy tentacles attacking the screen, to digital animations of men staring at the audience. To properly describe the visuals and the effect it had in the music is near impossible. Definitely one of those crazy sets you had to be there to get. I was sitting most of the time but I could really feel the intense energy coming out of this band. Not the kind of music I end up buying vinyl for, but definitely the kind of music I pay good money to go see live and dance my ass off!






UBOA

Radu: Artist in residence, Xandra Metcalfe, also known as Uboa was scheduled to play three different sets. The first of these, called “Meltdown”, promised to be the most harsh of the bunch. I haven’t seen enough of the others to compare (more on that later) but it did contain some death industrial complete with all the noise and screams you could want from it, though it was more loud and oppressive than unmusical harsh noise. And for being the harshest it also contained some surprisingly serene atmospheric moments as well, which I’m not complaining about, because they made the entire set feel more dynamic than how one-dimensionally extreme I thought it could be going into it.






INTER ARMA

Radu: After managing to catch a bit of Scaler, it was time for another band I reviewed before, this time presenting their then upcoming album in full. Now that I managed to also hear New Heaven in its studio recorded form, I can confirm that it also translated really well to the live setting. Having my first contact with it in its live version was a unique experience though, especially in the curveballs that the album throws in the latter half (those who listened to the album will know) having a different impact when experienced live. Inter Arma went on to perform two more secret sets, one of “classics” and one of covers (who here had Inter Arma covering Neil Young on their bingo cards?), but this New Heaven one ended up being the only one I could catch.






WHITE WARD

Rod: I had plenty of free time after Scaler to eat, drink and chit chat with fellow Roadburners. I caught the first 20 minutes of Clipping. Loved the set but unfortunately I had to leave for one of the festival's main attractions (don’t worry, I’ll talk more about Clipping later on). White Ward felt like one of those never-ending teasers for Roadburn. You wanted to see them at Roadburn 2020? Tough luck, have some Covid instead. 2021? Same fucking thing. 2022? Covid restrictions were finally lifted but Putin decided to solidify his status as an asshole. Russia’s war on Ukraine has deeply affected the livelihood of this very special black metal act. So naturally many were excited to finally see them perform at Roadburn. Perhaps Roadburn underestimated the hype this band could muster. Having them perform in the third largest stage was clearly not enough with plenty of people missing the band entirely. Ranting aside, it was worth every second. The band’s excitement to be there was contagious. The furious, galloping riffs were infectious and washed over the audience like a tsunami while the drummer performed with exquisite precision. It was a shame that saxophonist Dima Dudko couldn’t be there since he joined the military so his parts had to be added as samples. The audience was fully understanding of this. In a way, that made the music resonate even more with me as the deeply emotional black metal pouring out of these men felt all the more heart wrenching.

Radu: I’m pretty sure that even circumstance aside, seeing White Ward live would be a pretty badass experience. But with the anticipation prior to it finally happening, wondering if it is really gonna happen or if something will stop it from happening again, made the moment when the band actually step on stage feel like the biggest pop of the festival. Even saxophone lacking aside, this ended up being the highlight of the day for me with just how precise and impactful their music felt like. I was mostly surprised that the festival booked them in a relatively small stage compared to how much they clearly were anticipated by many people, and even if that was the case with many other misbooked bands, they felt like the worst offender. Oh, plus whoever handled the projection kinda messed up by occasionally having the goofiest “Windows XP media player” animations over the logo, and also at one point visibly opening up a menu. Would normally take me out of the experience, but even as me and Rod joked about it, White Ward still was too immersive for us to be taken out of the experience.






CHELSEA WOLFE

Radu: With a bit of time in between White Ward and Thantifaxath, I had time to check out someone I would normally be super hyped about seeing live, considering she is one of my favorite musicians and I had never seen her live at this point. However scarcity is the biggest motivator at Roadburn, and both of the sets she partially clashed with were ones I knew I had little chance of seeing again, compared to her more constant European tours, which I hope to attend in the future. And this being a usual tour setlist instead of something specific, I could check the setlist and notice that a lot of the songs I would’ve really wanted to see, like “16 Psyche” and “Feral Love” happened right during the gap where I could see her. Even though the main stage was packed and I could only fit in the back of the balcony, it was enough to cheat my way into experiencing how Chelsea Wolfe sounds live and catch the songs I wanted to see. Maybe if some more of my favorite songs would’ve made it into the setlist, that would’ve outscaled the scarcity of the other sets, but for what it is, I stand by my decision.






THANTIFAXATH

Radu: Considering how they came out with one of my favorite black metal albums of last year, I was fairly excited to see Thantifaxath, especially since they’re playing on the same stage where most of the festival’s black metal bands played, meaning the sound and scenery would be fit for it. However, while I wasn’t exactly disappointed, it did feel that compared to most of the other black metal bands of the festival, Thantifaxath suffered more when translated from studio to live setting. That’s not necessarily a skill issue, but something in the album’s oppressive and disorienting atmosphere really requires a specific kind of listening experience and something of it is lost when performing it with live acoustics. Plus there was something slightly goofy about the only musician whose face was visible being right in the center and playing the theremin, objectively the kvltest instrument.






ROYAL THUNDER

Rod: The end of Thursday represented the worst set of clashes of the entire festival for me. White Ward ended just as Chelsea Wolfe was starting her set. Halfway through that set, Thantifaxath and Royal Thunder would play roughly at the same time. These are all projects I adore. The rational part of my brain leaned towards Thantifaxath as it was the only band I had not seen live. But Royal Thunder was a band that truly struck a chord with me when they released their debut CVI back in 2012. I also had the pleasure to see them the following year at Roadburn, so the nostalgia factor won over me. The power trio from Atlanta had two sets for this year. And it was this one that I looked forward to seeing the most as the band would focus on both the past and the future. Meaning that they performed tracks from their self/titled EP and CVI along with tracks from the latest album but also completely new songs. This was the first of two instances where the emotions ran wild and I cried as the band rocked my socks off. To witness “Time Machine” live was my most dire dream but alas that didn’t happen. But I did not complain because as soon as the opening riff from “Whispering World” kicked in, I felt like my chest exploded from joy. Memories from my past creeped through with that song as well as with the CVI opener, “Parsonz Curse”. And the biggest catalyst for these waves of emotions was without a doubt Mlny Parsonz’s mind blowing performance. Don’t get me wrong, Josh Weaver shredded riffs and solos like no tomorrow while Will Fiore crushed the drumkit. But watching Mlny pour her soul out on stage with such fiery power in her voice was truly something else. Rock at its finest. After headbanging for over an hour with Royal Thunder, I felt there was no need for me to stick around for anything else music-related. I ended my day on a high-note and went to a bar outside for some final drinks before going to bed.






BACKXWASH

Radu: A secret set that was a bit baffling, not just because Backxwash performed two sets last year, but because it wasn’t really clear why this of all sets had to be a secret set. A Q&A with Walter later on revealed the story behind this booking, with the contract being signed a bit on a whim and then later having to compromise around an exclusivity clause from another contract, all because Backxwash really wanted to see Clipping. And the baffling at face value secrecy aside, the festival ended up all the better for it because now I’ve seen Backxwash three times, and each time on a larger stage, up until the largest of the festival. There was a lot of overlap setlist-wise with the other two sets, and there is something a bit underwhelming as someone who doesn’t really go to a lot of hip-hop shows that it’s essentially just a single person on stage performing over a backing track, but that person being Backxwash doing some of the heaviest hitting hip-hop out there does help a lot.






EYE FLYS

Radu: Last bands always get the short end of the stick for me, especially if I’m only going there because it’s between that and going home and I’m not even there from the start, and I’m already tired from a day full of concerts. I also for some reason mistaken Eye Flys for Dis Fig, which admittedly doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it was a pretty neat finish for the day to end with some sludgy stuff that’s more in line with what Roadburn started out with.






2nd Day (19.04)



BENEFITS

Radu: I was already planning to see this set because it wasn’t clashing with anything else even if I was unfamiliar with the band, but I was convinced when NastyHero proposed posting as a shitpost a selfie of us with the band captioned “Friends with Benefits”. The band itself ended up being a pretty intriguing one, with the vocalist more of a punk spoken word poet than singer, with the music, often kind of a noisier version of The Fall, kinda revolving around his vocal delivery with the angriest English accent imaginable. It was nice when the band mentioned being proud to be at Roadburn and that they saw Converge at the same festival in that same venue, and the same guy who did sound for Converge was now doing sound for them, and that was a surprisingly wholesome moment for such a scathing band.






RAGANA & DROWSE

Rod: Some things work on paper. You know they should work for you. But no matter how much you try, sometimes it just doesn’t work for you at all. This vague, frustrating feeling of indifference plagued me during most of the set by Ragana and Drowse. In theory the fusion was right up my alley: Drowse being a soothing, heartfelt slowcore act. Ragana being an intriguing mix of black, doom and sludge metal with indie rock vibes on top. This was surely going to be a highly emotional show. And it clearly was for many people around me. Many Roadburners were standing with longing faces, holding back tears. Sadly, the performance felt very sloppy and meandering to me. The two projects summed a total of just 3 musicians. Despite the intimacy, I felt there was a lack of connection between them. Some minor technical issues were present as well. I usually do not mind them at all, but they sadly enhanced the feeling of the whole set sounding like a rehearsal of half baked material at the studio rather than an actual show. I guess the lo-fi aspect of the music did not resonate with me (which is very weird, given my tastes). Riffs that went nowhere and detached vocals (although still well performed). I guess I’ll stick to listening to these two projects separately. One great thing though: The faster moments were basically “slowcore with blastbeats”. A unique sound worth developing further.

Radu: Not quite sure whether this counts as a commissioned piece or not, since The Ash From Mount Saint isn’t something that’s announced to be released any time soon, but being able to get a taste of it does make me hope that this will end up on record. I agree with Rod that some points of it sounded undercooked, which is partly why I hope this gets better treatment in the studio, because for what it was, the Ragana/Drowse collab really struck a chord with me for how beautiful the mix of extreme metal in the doom and black vein with more slowcore-ish indie rock worked. Having multiple vocalists also meant that the harsher metal vocals and the more detached slowcore vocals all had their share, and the ending of the set with the repeated “There is nothing to lose” mantra really resonated with me and I wish I caught that on video, because now I have to wait and hope this gets recorded.






FLUISTERAARS

Radu: I’m not even sure if it’s worth writing a writeup for this considering I saw less than ten minutes of it and I barely even “saw” the band because of how crowded it was, but because the prospect of an ambient Fluisteraars set intrigued me, I had to check it out. What I saw had kind of a weird but naturalistic bubbling sound with a lot of tape stuff on stage and a pretty ominous vibe, but something that didn’t really engage me that much. I was curious to see how Manifestaties van de Ontworteling fared on record, but it’s that weird situation where the album is technically released but it’s not streaming anywhere.






MAT MCNERNEY

Rod: Thursday’s Hexvessel concert left me craving for seconds. But commissioned sets have always struck me as a big gamble. Either I’m amazed by the sheer brilliance of new, exclusive music being performed for the very first time (Waste Of Space Orchestra in 2018) or I’m deeply disappointed by an unsuccessful experiment (Triptykon with the Metropole Orkest 2019). So I wondered if Mat McNerney could pull it off. It didn’t take longer than a few minutes to sigh in relief as the exquisitely dark riffs rolled by. If Polar Veil felt as if Hexvessel dipped their feet in the cold waters of dark metal, this time they took a decisive dive. I was shocked at how retro yet still forward-thinking the music was. Some passages reminded me greatly of Dissection (I swear I heard the opening riff from “The Somberlain” at some point). The folk aspects of Hexvessel still found place within the surprisingly dark, gothic and heavy performance though. Mat’s vocals and overall performance was much more dramatic this time around. But even more dramatic was the guest performance of Dødheimsgard's Vicotnik who acted like a more sinister version of Ghost’s Papa Emeritus.

Radu: If Hexvessel morphed into a black metal band for Polar Veil, with the enlistment of some musicians from the dark folk band Šamane it became The Hexvessel Folk Ensemble necessary to make the A Nocturne: Music For Gloaming the lush experience that it was. Imagine Polar Veil but with the black metal morphed a lot more into gothic doom, complete with a violin and with dual vocals courtesy of Šamane’s Saara that really fit that gothic vibe. I never expected to compare anything Hexvessel related to Draconian or My Dying Bride, but here we are, and I can’t wait to see it on record.






DRONE ASSEMBLY

Radu: Well, on one hand I wanted to make sure I see at least one band on the Paradox stage/pub. They ended up not being the only ones, but that’s a different story. I also figured that if I saw a bunch of metal bands doing more ambient focused sets, I might as well see a bona fide drone / ambient band do their thing. I don’t like the crowdedness of Paradox sets, but the atmosphere that Drone Assembly created felt even more than ominous, something somber and sacred and borderline otherworldly, with the band displaying a mastery over sampling, textures, rhythms in a way that showed their experience in doing ambient music. If it wasn’t for Blood Incantation’s set, this would’ve been my favorite of the ambient sets.






HOME FRONT

Radu: Something I didn’t really plan to see but went along on NastyHero’s insistence, which ended up being a fantastic decision, once again due to the contrast of how un-Roadburn-y a new wave band could be. There was a tongue-in-cheek-ness to how upbeat and anthemic it was, something that was very clear from the vocalist’s mannerisms and stage presence. The post-punk undertones made it musically interesting, but a lot of why it worked was because, even if it was tongue-in-cheek about how upbeat and anthemic it was, the songs themselves were unapologetically catchy and worked as honest to God synthpop anthems.






BLOOD INCANTATION

Rod: Blood Incantation had two very special sets for this edition of the festival. And if you ask me, it was absolutely crucial to see both of them to really appreciate what this band does. This first set focused solely on their ambient album Timewave Zero. I generally do not care about going closer to the front rows (I’m short and this is The Netherlands, you do the math). So further back by the soundcheck table is generally my modus operandi. But by sheer fate I found myself talking to a friend and our conversation was engaging enough that I found myself following him all the way to the very first row, dead center. Given that no harsh music was going to be performed, I figured the sound was going to be good on that spot. It was trippy as hell. Granted, it took a while for me to immerse myself in the music (that’s kind of the point with ambient music, duh). As I felt the waves of smoke flowing, the scent of incense impregnating the air, the flickering of the rock salt lamps scattered around the stage, I went into a much desired meditative state. The loops created on an acoustic guitar were a personal highlight for me. Halfway through the set I was already very pleased with the performance but then 2 mysterious figures arrived. Unfortunately I do not know who was the man that played the trombone but I knew one thing: The singer was Attila Csihar! At that point I couldn’t shake the stupid grin off my face for the rest of the set. His twisting, dramatic hand gestures and his ritualistic chants and whispers added extra depth to Blood Incantation’s cosmic music. He once again proved to be one of the best performers in extreme music. This set was definitely one of the highlights of the festival but the culmination of Blood Incantation’s performance was yet to come. More on that later.

Radu: I’m a Tangerine Dream fanboy and anything that sounds like them is bound to appeal to me. I liked the ambient Blood Incantation record enough (more than their fanbase apparently), but it did feel a bit derivative of their obvious influence. I was curious enough to see the set, if only because it wasn’t clashing with anything major. And I’m so glad that I followed through because seeing it live was what it took to really make it click for me. Especially after hearing more stories about how Walter and the organizers went on a scavenger hunt to find the authentic old-timey synths that Blood Incantation needed for this set made it feel even more special. Everything from the presentation of four men on synths, plenty of lasers and smoke, to how completely pristine the sound at the main stage was, worked to make this the most immersive ambient experience of the festival, and it’s a very good chance that if someone asked me to choose to relive one set from this festival, it would be this one.






FOREST SWORDS

Rod: I can’t tell you a whole lot about the electronic project Forest Swords for it was a complete blind adventure for me. I had plenty of idle time and Radu wanted to check the set so I followed him. I am grateful for that decision as it was another instance of very trippy music. We arrived a bit late into the set so the venue was packed and we had to stand close to the door. That being said, it didn't take long for us to get into the music. Gritty triphop/electronica with a saxophonist? I’m in! Like Scaler, the music was enhanced by some of the best visuals I’ve seen this year. Hypnotic, computer-generated videos that had a disturbing uncanny valley touch to them. This is not exactly the kind of music I listen to on a daily basis but in a live setting it really is a pleasure.

Radu: A blind choice made because we had time and it was playing on the closest stage to where we were, Forest Swords ended up being quite the intriguing experience, partly because of how the saxophone is still not as commonplace of an instrument in electronica, but also because of how engaging the soundscapes were.



DOOL

Rod: Dool is a band that I was familiar with by name due to the connections with other projects like The Devil’s Blood and Gggolddd. But to be honest I never gave them a proper listen. Dool delivered probably one of the most impeccable sets of the festival with a crisp, full sound. Having so little experience with their music I was taken aback at how catchy the riffs and chorus were. The soulful solos were also another highlight of this very professional set and I definitely must check out their discography. Their take on rock which combines both gothic and psychedelic elements translated nicely in the live setting which really gave the songs that extra push.

Radu: You know, I really expected to write this writeup before actually reviewing this album, so you can just go read that. I will just say that it was a really swell time and I wish I could’ve seen the whole of it without missing out on something else.






KING YOSEF

Mateusz: I skipped Dool as I'm gonna see them in a month (not a special set, sadly) and caught 15 minutes of his industrial metal set, which was exactly what I expected – heavy and electronic. And also good. Not that many people showed up, he played at the second biggest stage and it felt kinda empty-ish in the middle of the gig. I only saw him for 15 minutes, as I expected a huge queue for Hedvig Mollestad Trio at Paradox.






HEDVIG MOLLESTAD TRIO

Mateusz: Even though I managed to make it before the queue, the jazz club was already pretty packed when I arrived. And yes, apparently the massive queue indeed happen if one's to believe reports on Facebook. That was a great performance. Norwegian psych-jazz-rock trio, despite keeping things relatively simple for jazzy stuff, managed to keep me and the rest of the crowd entertained for the entire 75 minute set. I do think they were too popular for Paradox, considering they have some Spotify songs with over 100k streams, so it's a bit shame that the gig was limited for Paradox capacity, which is pretty small. But on the other hand, I had really great time with these Twin Peaks-ish venue vibes and a glass of Leffe in my hand.






XIU XIU

Rod: I was struggling to decide whether to stay for the whole Dool set or follow Radu to see Xiu Xiu. I felt like I heard what I needed to hear with Dool so I gambled and left after half the set. Big mistake. I already felt a bit anxious as I kept thinking of the fun I was missing by leaving Dool so my expectations from the experimental Xiu Xiu were quite large. I’m sad to say that I felt greatly disturbed at the randomness and awkward experimentations by the duo. I couldn’t make any sense of it. And I guess that’s ok. I can respect the idea and how people may enjoy this exploration in sound. My biggest complaint stems from something unrelated to the music: Sheer annoyance at their set up. When the band presented themselves, frontman Jamie Stewart told the audience that they were feeling a bit nervous as it was the first time in many, many years that they performed just as a duo along with Angela Seo. And it fucking showed. When you make music that goes that hard on experimentation and different types of sounds you end up with a lot in your hands. So after each song they had a most uncomfortable pause (ranging from 30 secs to almost 2 minutes. Yeah, I clocked it) as the duo were preparing the different instruments and pedals. Since their songs were not long (around the 3-4 minute mark) this meant that I was left with a whole lot of nothingness in between. I think it was very unprofessional and I couldn’t stop noticing it after each overindulgent track. After roughly 40 minutes I couldn’t stand it anymore and got the hell out of there.

Radu: Rod got filtered lmao.

His complaints are kinda valid though. I was really excited to see Xiu Xiu and I’m glad I got to see them, but I’m not sure if this core duo only performing a special set of what felt like outtakes, rarities, and alternate versions was the best first contact with the band. Even so, I managed to really get into it because there was no band that really encapsulated this unrestrained oddity and surrealistically manic energy the way Xiu Xiu do. I just wish the context was a bit better, both because of the way the set was constructed and because the room was packed so I had to be there early and miss more of Dool than I wanted to.






HEALTH

Rod: Arriving at the Main Stage with a terrible taste in my mouth after Xiu Xiu meant that I really needed Health to shake my senses and make me dance and groove my ass off. Having missed them in Roadburn 2022 made me all the more excited as I really started to get into their music with the release of Rat Wars plus finding a vinyl copy of Death Magic at my local record store a few months ago. The energy of this band was immense and the lightshow transported me to a highly sexual, goth, industrial, black leather filled dance club. It’s weird going back and remembering how damn horny the whole experience was. Something about the catchy beats, the hard riffs and powerful electronics and of course the slightly modified (vocoder perhaps?), androgynous and very lustful vocals of singer Jake Duzsik. The band said it best: Health is sad music for horny people. A real shame that Radu and I needed to leave after half the set but hey, it was for a good cause.

Radu: Man, I fucking hate having to leave a set I really love. The only reason why it was relatively easier to leave this one was because I had already seen Health at a previous edition, but back then I complained that they don’t really work as well solo compared to when they’re collaborating, and in the meantime they released their best solo album, and they finally sounded cohesive and engaging on their own enough for me to null that complaint. Seeing “Hateful” live was one of the festival’s highlights. The energy this time around was insane.






TUSMØRKE

Mateusz: Wow! This show was... something. I've actually known the band since their sophomore album, for 10 years now. I enjoyed it a lot at the time and I still do. I found their later releases, and there's a lot of them, to be slightly or much worse. I mean, some of their records featured kids singing pretty heavily and they consisted mostly of some nursery rhymes. I mean, what's the point? I told Radu if I was going to see any kids on the stage, I'd be leaving immediately.

I did not see kids but men dressed as druids (just check the photo). After the first song they said that they had played in Netherlands 10 years ago and nobody was laughing at their jokes and they had since found out that the Dutch laugh at more practical things like tricking a prostitute to hit something hot. And between each song they were saying some weird monologues, a couple minutes long, about, among others, Lord of the Rings and other weird shit like, I don't know, that people during medieval times were learning to read only to learn a spell to keep wasps off. And nobody was laughing at it, which made the whole experience way funnier.

Then at the end they said they had to drop one of the songs of the setlist because they talked too much. Completely ridiculous, I loved it. I had to leave at the last song to catch the next band at Paradox but from a Facebook comment I found out that they played 10 more minutes past their endtime while their tour manager tried to get them off the stage. That's fucking great.

(And most likely thanks to their bullshit I saw more of the band that played on their stage after them because I entered the show after it had already started and they also played 10 minutes after their scheduled time, leading me to believe they started late because Tusmørke was playing for too long. Thanks, Tusmørke)

Oh yeah, all these paragraphs and I didn't mention a single word about the actual music. Well, who cares? I had fun, that's all that matters.

(...but seriously though, it's a psychedelic/proggy folk rock and the set consisted mostly of their newest album and yet unreleased material. It was pretty good and would defend itself without the other weird matters.)






CLIPPING.

Rod: Having caught the first 20 minutes of Clipping the day before, I knew what was coming and I was thrilled to see a full performance. We arrived at the venue fairly late so there was an ocean of people already there. But Radu and I (along with Radu’s uncle, Big Radu, and an enthusiastic girl we met on the way there. Hi there if you read this <3, I forgot your name though ) did not mind at all. We all knew this set was going to be a party. A gritty, dark, dangerous party. It was said that the two sets by Clipping were going to have two different vibes. One more for a party and the other one being much darker in tone. Looking at the setlist I’m confident we got the dark one on friday due to half the set focusing on the horrorcore diptych that is the albums There Existed An Addiction To Blood and Visions Of Bodies Being Burned. Daveed Diggs gave us one of the finest vocal performances of the whole festival with his rapidfire rapping and charismatic persona. The harsh electronica, hip hop and death industrial mix on the instrumentals sent shivers down my spine with their dangerous ambience while Daveed rapped sick stories of murder at astonishing speeds. The beats went down so hard that we were both dancing and headbanging. It was an exhilarating experience that left me with the sensation of wanting to hit the club and start a brawl.

Radu: Like Rod said, good cause for leaving Health. This edition had a couple of bands that when I saw them announced my face dropped. Clipping is at the top of that list. My heart broke a bit knowing I had to miss their other set, the partier one, because of the Inter Arma and White Ward clashes, but seeing this other one, the darker one, in full more than made up for it. Daveed Diggs’ flow was insanely good, both in the more playful moments, in the more ominous moments, and when the pace picked up to show that technical proficiency. The vibe was so heavy you could cut the air with a knife, and that’s the set where I moved the most to the music, hair loose and all that. Few moments can compare to hearing “Body & Blood” live, but most unique was having Counterfeit Madison on a few songs, including the full transition from “All in Your Head” to “Blood Of The Fang”. There were a bunch of other hip-hop adjacent acts this Roadburn that I sadly missed but it was nice to hear the seed that Roadburn planted with Dälek finally sprouting.






ECHOES OF ZOO

Mateusz: My second out of only three Paradox attendances (you can deduce what was the third if you're smart enough). Really good psych rock/jazz fusion. I've nothing more to say, I simply enjoyed the show, which was coming back to reality after the Tusmørke insanity.






ROYAL THUNDER

Rod: I needed to calm down after Clipping so it made sense for me to end the night with something less dark but also catchy and energetic. I didn’t plan to see both Royal Thunder sets but I was so enamored by the band’s performance on the previous day that I needed to see them one more time. On this set the band played their latest album, Rebuilding The Mountain, in full. The name is appropriate as the album sees the band returning to proper form, six years after WICK which was a good album but certainly not in the same league as the previous ones. Rebuilding The Mountain shows that Royal Thunder still have plenty of creative juices left in them. Just like yesterday, the band played impeccably with Mlny Parsonz once again delivering one hell of a passionate performance.

Radu: Compared to how wild and energetic that Clipping. show was, Royal Thunder felt unfairly tame as an immediate follow-up. It was also very weird to see the main stage so deserted for an act this well-known, which made me feel a bit of second hand embarrassment. I know Rebuilding The Mountain might have an awful cover art and not be their most popular release, but seeing it performed live was still a really positive experience, especially because of how passionate Mlny Parsonz’s performance was.






ALBER JUPITER

Radu: Another day another stoner-ish closer, this time the more krautrock leaning Alber Jupiter. More of a chill slow burner of a set that didn’t demand much of poor exhausted me. It was cool.



3rd DAY (20.04)



KNOLL

Rod: At first I thought it was a bit unfair to ask Knoll to kickstart the day as it was lovely and sunny by the time they performed. That did not matter at all because, right off the bat, I felt chills down my spine the very second Jamie Eubanks howled at the audience. Jeez, those banshee screams are downright terrifying. Listening to that display of malice mixed with a demented “funeral grind” soundtrack made me feel most afraid but also most alive. I really enjoyed the atmospheric touches provided by the old-looking lamps as it amplified the ghostly vibe of their songs. Also compliments to the sound person as I had no problem hearing the trumpet in the middle of all the blasting and corrosive riffs. The otherworldly combination of grindcore, crushing doom along with a depraved dissonance reminiscent of Portal left the audience shocked for the first 20 minutes. Only by the very end of their set there were some people left alive to start a decent moshpit. But the rest of us just stood there as the band had sucked the air right out of our lungs.

Radu: It might not be obvious because it is the only one of their albums I haven’t reviewed myself, but I think As Spoken is Knoll at their best so far. Still, I didn’t expect to be this into their live performance. With the very dim lights from some orange-ish lamps creating a very specifically ominous vibe, only to then be hit by some of the most blood curdling howls from singer Jamie Eubanks. Not like the very dissonant blackened sludgy deathgrind left anything to be desired, being as bludgeoning and terrifying as can be, but if there was one element that really stole the show, it was the vocal performance.






COUCH SLUT

Rod: If Knoll gave us the heebie-jeebies with the supernatural, Couch Slut scared us shitless with terrifyingly real nightstories. Their filthy, chaotic style of sludge-infused noise rock was deliciously appropriate as I was chugging beer and just smiling at how depraved the visuals were. But out of nowhere came a sinking feeling in my stomach. Many of the stories of drugs and violence were too real. Watching Megan Osztrosits scream, shout, mumble, sobbing and laughing with barely a couple of hours of sleep and clearly not sober was most appropriate for the music but I can’t deny that it was disturbing to experience. She did all that while munching on a croissant. By the end of the set half her face was covered in blood from hitting herself with the mic so hard. Bizarre experience to say the least. I was in dire need of something sweet and cute after seeing Couch Slut. So naturally, Radu, my sister and I went out to get some ice-cream!

Radu: Another instance of me writing this writeup after actually reviewing the album that was performed in full. Once again singer Megan Osztrosits stole the show by not only being visibly sleep deprived and not sober in a way that somehow enhanced the experience, but also being the reason why this set and this band’s music in general is so surreally disgusting and terrifying. Guitarist also had a “Hello Kitty” guitar, which is how you know those riffs might kill you.






ONEIROPOREIA

Mateusz: I didn't plan to see them initially but the description was tempting, with Camel and Oranssi Pazuzu namedrops. It's a completely new band, no releases, no previous shows. Sadly, I didn't really enjoy it. I found the female vocals to be slightly dragging, except for the times the vocalist was growling, which was maybe about 10%. Apart from the vocals, it was fine but nothing to write home about. I'll still check out the album, once (if?) they release it.

And because of that I didn't get a chance to see Sunrot. I wanted to catch 15 minutes of them (clashes), however I failed to understand that it was Saturday, which meant massive queues fucking everywhere. And having arrived 10 minutes before the show, it would mean no chance of me entering the venue within the first 15 minutes. So after they started playing, after a minute I said 'fuck it', and stood near the guard at the exit, where I could perfectly hear the show and even see a guitarist. Or maybe that was bassist? Anyway, I added the band to my „seen live” list and there's nothing you can do about it. That was a really fine sludge!






KAVUS TORABI

Radu: A name I was unfamiliar with prior to the lineup announcement, but the connections with Gong and Cardiacs seemed interesting enough (until I later figured out those weren’t in those bands’ glory days). Still, prog rock at Roadburn is always at least a little bit intriguing, especially since it was a commissioned piece. Well, I didn’t really vibe with it as much as I wanted to, but I was able to objectively appreciate some aspects of it. The avant-prog side of prog is always a bit harder to get into, and after seeing dissonance used in extreme metal to this extent, hearing it in music that’s way lighter is a bit of a shock and the time I spent at this performance perhaps wasn’t enough for me to get into it. Still, it had two vocalists and more importantly two drummers. Always a plus in my book. I just wish it gelled better.






TAKH

Radu: A band I have a lot of filmed footage of because NastyHero needed it so he can upload the setlist on setlist.fm, and a band that I also went in blind on their recommendation as well. And just like with Home Front, it ended up being a really good choice. I would kinda call their music post-rock, but also not the kind that sounds like most post-rock bands because it’s not based on tremolo picking and crescendos in that same way, while still being a very patient soundscape tension building band. A bit more psychedelic and folky in a way, while also dark and heavy enough that it sometimes bordered on metal, all with some of the most engaging soundscapes I heard at this festival.






THE KEENING

Rod: I took a large pause of almost 3 hours after Couch Slut. That’s how dead inside I felt after their set. And I knew that the upcoming sets this night would get more disturbing. I needed a palette cleanser and The Keening was the best way to wash away the filth and start anew. I’m a big fan of SubRosa, which I discovered with their sophomore record in 2011 and got to see at two previous Roadburn editions (2015 and 2017). So naturally I was intrigued to catch part of that old spirit within The Keening’s music. There is little rock/metal to be found on the project’s debut album, Little Bird. But the core made out of dark folk and chamber music really did the trick in providing a captivating, melancholic and somewhat tragic atmosphere throughout the whole set. I thought it was a real shame how relatively empty the Main Stage was compared to the previous times I’ve been there. Their loss, I guess. At least it gave me the opportunity to lay down on the stairs and just close my eyes and let the music cover me with a blanket made of black velvet. Pristine sound that elevated the heartfelt compositions. Clearly a project to keep an eye on.






UBOA

Radu: Well, at this point I might’ve considered the prospect of attending all Uboa sets, before figuring out that clashes and how notoriously difficult the stage that the last set would be held in is to get into made me decide that this would be the last of the Uboa sets I could see, but also sadly one I would not be able to see in full. Which is a bit of a shame since this was the only one where the material that would be played in full, the The Origin Of My Depression album, was something I was already familiar with. It was also a change of pace to see it performed as a duo, though I don’t really remember who the other person was (my guess would be teeth dreams). A lot of people felt very emotionally connected to this set from what I’ve seen posted later on, with some of the album’s most emotional moments coming in the latter half when I already had to leave the set. And the musician themself later decided that this would be the last time the material here would be performed due to how emotionally exhausting it is, which kinda makes me regret the choices I made with the clashes, but I’m glad I did get to see at least half of it, but I preferred the first set to this first half of the second set.






RICHARD DAWSON

Radu: Richard Dawson is a name I encountered a lot in non-Roadburn and non-metal circles, so this felt like a crossover event that I had to attend. Knowing it was in a smaller stage room for a fairly popular name I might’ve been earlier than necessary here (sorry Uboa), but that came at the benefit of being in the front row. What I also did not expect was that Dawson would perform alone, which on one hand made the entire thing feel a lot more intimate, but on the other hand made it feel a little bit awkward. Richard did comment about how anxious he was, during which I took advantage of being in the front row and said “Don’t be”, to which he jokingly replied “Thank you, that solved it!” the way everybody knows feelings work. There was something so charming about this very un-rockstar-like person with a guitar singing folk rock songs about dystopian stuff with a very weird emotional appeal. He seems like the kind of person who makes really great tea. And really great music.






LANKUM

Rod: This is roughly the dialogue I had with Radu as we were sharing our schedules merely a week before the festival:
- And after The Keening I was thinking of seeing Birds In Row
- You are not seeing Birds In Row. You gotta check Lankum out.
- I don’t know Lankum and Birds In Row were fire last time (Roadburn 2019, at the now-gone stage Het Patronaat). Give me two reasons to favor Lankum.


Radu sent me the videos for “Go Dig My Grave” and “The New York Trader”. It took less than a minute of the first track to completely win me over with what I can only describe as Irish horror folk with deeply moving lyrics. And thus Lankum became one of the finest “first time seeing” acts of recent years. For their music grabs you by the throat and does not let go. Rich folk music that felt both heartfelt and friendly but also packing a violent punch with serious lyrics and an engaging sense of community and revolution. I witnessed massive amounts of clapping and a few impromptu dances here and there in the audience. But then there was “Go Dig My Grave” and it got way to real. It counts as one of the most harrowing portraits of heartache I have ever heard and I stood there silently crying while following the tragic narrative of gifted singer Radie Peat. Lankum’s performance was one of the finest examples of what Roadburn means by “redefining heaviness”.

Radu: I know I already talked about those “my face dropped when I saw them announced”. Well, there is also the really special kind of bands that made my Roadburn wishlist before anything even got announced. When I first heard False Lankum, it immediately catapulted Lankum to the top of that list (this is not an exaggeration, literally the top of the list). So you can imagine my reaction when I saw their name among the announced bands. Joy of the highest order, the kind that is hard to put into words.

It’s hard to even think about any of the other performances at the festival, even the most awe-inspiring ones, even the ones from the other acts that made my face drop, when very little compares to how it was to see Lankum. I mean, the seeing part isn’t that special because there was very little in terms of visuals and it being on the main stage meant it didn’t feel as intimate as it would on a small stage. But it was the being there while the band played these mournful folk songs that weighed hard on the soul in the best way possible.

From how the band prefaced “The New York Trader” with “It's a song about what happens when you do business with a murderer. Might be a little allegory in it too. The genocide enablers in Brussels would know.” To them dedicated “The Young People” to the friends that should be here, but the highlight couldn’t have been anything other than how harrowing it was to see “Go Dig My Grave” live. I cannot find the words for it.






NI

Radu: I wasn’t even sure if I should really attempt to see this band considering that there was a very real chance of there already being a queue outside the Paradox venue/pub, and because this was sandwiched between two sets I really wanted to see as much as possible of. I had already seen a band in the same venue this edition so my gamified completionist self was satisfied. However Ni was also the only band at that stage that I was familiar with and also reviewed so I took a chance and boy I’m so glad I did. Even with how crowded it was, the energy from the muscular and manic jazz rock / brutal prog was tangible.






KHANATE

Rod: All right, some background: When I was around 16 years old, the wallpaper of my bedroom needed to be changed. Everything in that room was removed. Just a few weeks before that, I got Things Viral in the mail. More or less a blind buy as I knew very little about the band. I was just starting to get into extreme music outside the more traditional black, death and doom metal. I figured the best way to fully embrace Khanate’s sophomore record was to wait until midnight, enter my empty room, put a pillow in the corner and sit there and blast the album full volume on my discman.

That night changed me. Khanate was the catalyst for my never-ending hunger, search and passion for all things dark and disturbing. What I call “horror music”. It gives me an adrenaline rush and makes me feel most alive. Most primal. Never in my wildest dreams did I believe that I would ever see Khanate live. 15 years later and not only does Khanate return out of nowhere with a full length that blew me away, but they were also going to perform live for the first time in almost two fucking decades. Only three dates (Roadburn, Copenhagen and Berlin).

The setlist focused on the “classics” as two songs were from the self-titled debut, one from Things Viral and one from the latest album, To Be Cruel. Khanate announced that they had returned to “explore tension and the elasticity of time”. A statement that sums things up nicely. I reached a point of deep meditation among the harshest of feedbacks, the formless basslines, the unpredictable drumming and of course the most murderous screams. Over a third of the audience left after the first song. Khanate is simply not for everyone and even if it were, it was a loud, painful experience to endure. None so sick. None so bleak. It was a complete obliteration of the senses and my highlight of Roadburn 2024. The reason for my ticket. In my teenage years I felt so alone when I mentioned the type of music I loved. Felt like a freak. This set provided the company I yearned for so long. Standing there together with the other freaks. Screaming my lungs out like an animal as the final piece of piercing feedback faded away. In the darkest corners of the hellhole I saw… I found light. And I made sure to repeat the experience. More on that later!

Radu: Honestly there’s very little I could say that could add much to what Rod already said. I envy him for having seen Cult Leader earlier and not having to leave this set for them. This was as blood curdling as it gets, but also very minimalistic and no bullshit about it. A lot of people had hopes that something secret would be announced because both O’Malley and Csihar were at the festival, but I’m glad it was Khanate, the band I never expected to ever see, that we got.






FULL EARTH

Mateusz: I only saw one song but it was over 20 minutes long. Also a new band, their debut album was released just a month before Roadburn but I enjoyed it a lot. There's never enough of instrumental space rock jamming and it translated well to live setting.






CULT LEADER

Radu: Alright, I normally wouldn’t have left a Khanate show, but it’s not every day you see Cult Leader perform A Patient Man in full in one of the worst clashes of the festival. I regret nothing. The performance of the album’s heaviest parts was insanely heavy and dense. The mellower slowcore parts did err a bit on the vocal side, but still managed to not take me out of the experience. What did take me out of the experience were a bunch of assholes very close to where I was (which was pretty close to the stage anyway) making annoying sounds over the music (seriously, fuck you). I had to be sort of an asshole myself and force my way closer to the stage a couple of times just so I could stop being distracted by them, and in the end managed to get completely into the experience. Which was also during the rowdiest parts of the set, complete with mosh pits and crowd surfing, a rarity at this festival. The set ended on such a high note and the crowd reaction was so strong that the singer said “Fuck it” and they played two more songs, the newer songs “Ataraxis” and “Learn To Love It”.






BLOOD INCANTATION

Rod: I had an hour to sit and reflect on what I witnessed with Khanate. My mind was exhausted. Blood Incantation was just what I needed to recover my senses. Now, I’m not saying they are relaxing. Far front it. But I needed a type of extremity that could make me loosen up and headbang my head off. Something that reminded me of just how fucking cool metal is! Like I said previously: You just had to see both Blood Incantation sets to get the full experience. I am somewhat disappointed that the “career-spanning set” basically meant “songs from our two full lengths and one from the latest EP” without going further back in time. At the very least with the cult Interdimensional Extinction EP. But this is nit-picking. The magnificent riffs and solos of these guys are probably gonna count among the top 10 I’ve witnessed this year. Excellent sound and truly oppressive atmosphere despite the large size of the main stage.

Radu: Talking about the worst clashes of the festival, I had to let Blood Incantation take precedence over a band that I already had in my review queue (and since covered), not only because I liked Blood Incantation’s ambient set so much (and think about how funny it was if that was the only thing I ever saw from the band), but also because it was advertised as a career spanning set, thus promised to be more than just a usual metal show. Well, on that front it was a bit of a disappointment because that career spanning ended up just being stuff from their two studio albums instead of covering anything from their metal demos and EPs and splits. But on the actual performance front, it became clear why Blood Incantation became death metal royalty, and why out of all death metal bands, they get to play the Roadburn main stage.






4th DAY (21.04)



THISTLE SIFTER

Mateusz: Before the shows, at the campsite I heard a song that I knew I had heard before, playing loudly outside the tent. So I went to Shazam it and it turned out it was not playing from tape but that was a performance by Dutch instrumental post-rock band called Thistle Sifter. And since it was their material, I obviously did not know that song (I found out it's called "Old Man's Beard" if anyone wants to see if it also feels familiar). I don't think that speaks well of the state of post-rock originality... And this was completely this, a post-rock band like you've heard plenty of already. Which doesn't mean it was bad, I did enjoy the last 15 or 20 minutes of their set.




LASTER

Rod: Third time seeing Laster! Previous ones were at Roadburn 2017 and 2019. It’s fucking wild to think that I saw this odd-looking trio in the tiny cul de sac bar in 2017 and now they are gathering such a large crowd at the second biggest stage of the festival. As someone who did not have the time to properly check out their latest album, Andermans Mijne, before the festival, I wondered just how much they had grown since the previous album 4 years ago. Well, a lot of the black metal elements have been diluted in favor of even more progressive and avantgarde undertones. They still managed to get some aggressive headbanging out of me inbetween all the bouncy, dance-friendly catchiness of their new songs though. Nice visuals too, specially the ones featuring the dancing woman wearing the same mask the band wears on stage.

Radu: This would be my third time seeing Laster and also one I have contradicting feelings on. On one hand, this was the least intimate of the settings I’ve seen them in, the largest stage also meant the most distance between me and the band (though that’s also my fault for not being early), and I was worried that seeing them this often might make me start to get tired of them. But on the other hand, this was completely new material being performed, with Andermans Mijne being a pretty big change in sound, which was an interesting enough change of pace to merit seeing them once again and to have fun seeing how well that record sounds like in the live setting.






USE KNIFE

Radu: Another in-between-sets set that I went to because the stage was close to another stage I was already going to. A Belgian-Iraqi outfit that injected a lot of Middle Eastern melodies into their Darkwave sound, and that’s a concept that I should in theory enjoy a lot more than I did. Maybe it was the fact that I was only there in transition.






DIE WILDE JAGD

Radu: When I attended the Walter Q&A earlier that day he mentioned that this Die Wilde Jagd set was the centerpiece of the festival, which felt like a very hyperbolic statement at the time, but it was enough to raise my expectations for a set that to me initially felt more like a curiosity before the Neptunian Maximalism set. And then it ended up being one of the worst cases of “leaving a set you love because you have to be strategic”, made even worse by the Neptunian Maximalism delays (more on that later).
Having already seen a couple of Roadburn commissions and special sets involving orchestras (including the Metropole Orchestra itself) that ranged from the underwhelming (Triptykon) to the good but not fantastic (Jo Quail) I already knew the expectations were stacked against Die Wilde Jagd. And the pretentious start with the narration over ambient keys made me feel like it was already off to a bad start. But I had patience. And then it built and built and it clicked. The ensemble was very clever about how to add each element and how to have it slowly build upon the existing soundscape with repetitions in the way the best ambient music does, but in the orchestral form that meant a lot of melodies repeating, and layering them is what made this feel so engaging. The huge bass drums were imposing enough to create the skeleton, and the strings and horns and other instruments could create leitmotifs around them (I suck at music theory) in a way that made sure it didn’t feel crowded or random and the synergy between everything became some of the best music I heard at this festival. That and a song where the drums and the tubas reminded me of something you’d find in the most intense moments of The Lord Of The Rings soundtrack, and then continuing into a vocal led song that was almost post-rock-ish and incredibly triumphant. I know I said it a lot during this article that I hope currently unannounced music performed here gets a studio release, but this is one I desperately need, especially since I didn’t get to see the end of it.






NEPTUNIAN MAXIMALISM

Rod: Having the Neptunian Maximalism collective at one of the smallest stages felt like a crime to be honest. So I spent most of the 2 hours after Laster camping on the balcony where Neptunian Maximalism were going to play. This was probably one of the dullest waits I needed to do but hey, if you knew what these wizards can do then you’d understand. I quickly became a huge fan of the band’s notorious monolithe of an album, Éons. It’s a difficult release to take in. It requires patience which was also needed for this set. At first, the band welcomed us to their bizarre world by unleashing a continuous stream of slow, crushing riffs that verged on doom territory. Slowly but surely the jazz, folk and psychedelic elements crept through. The chants became more alarming and the female shrieks more demonic. I went into such a trance that I had a really difficult time knowing how long they played or if there were any pauses at all. The set was apparently a way for Neptunian Maximalism to present their upcoming record, La Sacre Du Soleil Invaincu which dives heavily into Indian folk. I can’t wait for that album to be released.

Radu: Man, this was a reminder of the worst aspect of Roadburn. I know clashes are necessary because the capacity cannot sustain all concert goers and sometimes the booking makes no sense. When I saw that Neptunian Maximalism would perform in such a small stage room I knew I had to get there early, leaving a set I had so, so much fun at. And then you add the worst possible time to have a scheduling error that made the running order than was distributed show that the set was to start 20 minutes earlier than it actually did (and to us at the time it felt like the band was 20 minutes late). Even having had that knowledge beforehand, I still would’ve had to be there that early because so would everyone and I wouldn’t be able to find room otherwise no matter when the band actually started. When I arrived it was still somewhat reasonably empty, and I made the wrong decision in the “risk going to the bathroom first” gamble. Imagine being at some of the most immersive jazz drone music you’ve heard live, being inundated with ritualistic vocals, downtuned drones, occasional shrieks, hypnotic riffs, and you can’t focus on it because you’re holding your bladder in, but you also can’t leave because you know for damn certain you won’t get back in if you do. And with the delay I fought to catch as much of it as I could (probably like 20 minutes or more) but in the end I had to make the most cursed decision possible: leaving a set you love not because you need to catch another set, but because you’re nearly pissing yourself.






GRAILS

Rod: After figuring out that there was no way I would be seeing much of Devil Master due to the confusion created by the Festival with the Neptunian Maximalism timetable, I figured out I could just wander around. My sister and her friend left Neptunian Maximalism early to catch Grails. I had no idea who they were (neither did my sister haha). So I blindly went to the Main Stage and sat next to the girls. Damn glad I did. Truly relaxing instrumental rock that blurred the lines between so many genres. From psychedelic to a bit folky, or post-rock to even some hints of trip-hop. The overall atmosphere was deeply nostalgic for me but also deeply sensual. I guess those things go hand in hand for me. It was like the soundtrack of a fantastic and deeply moving movie. As fantastic as the music was, I think the element that stuck to me the most were the incredible visuals. The images shown felt like a fever dream that blended in old movies as well as computer-altered images depicting landscapes, urban decay, longing, love and just straight up sex scenes. The last time I felt the images and music blended so well for an instrumental act was when I saw Godspeed You! Black Emperor at that same stage some Roadburns ago. High praise there. As I’m typing this I’m listening to “Sad & Illegal” from their latest album Anches En Maat and I’m instantly transported to that brilliant moment as I was lying on the stairs of the main stage with misty eyes.






DEATHCRASH

Radu: Knowing I wouldn’t be able to get back to Neptunian Maximalism unless I was ready to queue for God knows how long, I decided to go early to something that was also taking place on a smaller stage (and thus was prone to getting full). The clash with Grails was a particularly painful one, having seen neither bands and receiving strong recommendations for the latter, but Deathcrash are a pretty personal band for me having discovered them for the non-metal series and covering both of their albums. I would describe their sound as post-metal where half the time you replace the heaviness with emotional slowcore, but somehow it still retains a post-metal structure. That kind of light/dark contrast is something that I still haven’t seen any band replicate. Very very emo, loved it!






HILARY WOODS

Radu: I tried catching some Grails after Deathcrash but I caught way too little of it for it to be worth writing about (sorry), so instead I went to check some of what was going on at the Next stage. And this ended up being pretty intriguing but what I remember most from it was the huge ass fishing rod sized thing that was used to play the violin at one point. Like sure, the music was immersive and all, but it’s hard to deny that made the biggest impact on me.



FLUISTERAARS

Rod: The Netherlands has a rich yet underrated black metal scene. Roadburn has done plenty of work throughout the years in order to give these bands the platform they deserve. Back in 2019 they even had a stage where only dutch black metal acts performed one day. I have no recollection if [band]Fluisteraars[band] have ever performed at Roadburn before but after the performance I witnessed there is no doubt in my mind that [band]Fluisteraars[band] are among the heavy hitters in their region. The waves of riffs and blast beats was an absolute delight at high volume and when the band dived into melodic sections like on the brilliant “Nasleep” it was simply awe-inspiring. Unfortunately I arrived just before they started playing so I couldn’t secure a good spot but looking at the audience it was clear that everyone was enjoying the show.

Radu: Let’s just say that compared to Blood Incantation, the gap between how much I enjoyed the ambient set and the metal set was huge for Fluisteraars. Both were sets I only got to watch partially (the metal more than the ambient), but they were really in their element and the way they injected very warm and angular melodies into their more repetition-focused atmospheric black metal bits ended up making them my favorite of the black metal sets of the festival.






THE JESUS AND MARY CHAIN

Rod: I was very close to ditching these guys. I went through their Darklands album which I found just ok. Shoegaze bands are usually a “love it” or “That’s very dull, mate” affair for me. And even now, listening to their work studio does very little for me. But I had nothing else to do for the hour in between [band]Fluisteraars[band] and Dödsrit. I don’t know if it was the alcohol or not (it was definitely the alcohol) but I went full “fuck it” mode and followed Radu to the Main Stage. I got to say they sound much better live. Although the excellent lightning and the punchy sound were the main reasons for my enjoyment. It was catchy enough that our group started dancing a bit. But some songs like “The Eagles And The Beatles” are just so embarrassing that I found myself wondering why these guys were even here. But it did provide plenty of laughs which I think it’s a healthy thing to experience even if it came at the band’s expense. It was quite a sight how inconsistent the setlist was. Oddly enough, that’s exactly why the concert was so memorable!

Radu: Another one of those bands that was really weird to see at Roadburn, though a bit less weird when I remembered that I also saw fellow kinda shoegaze pioneers Loop here as well. I was mostly familiar with the band’s older catalog (and by that I mean mostly their first album), and thankfully I could also consult the setlists from previous concert dates and they were mostly identical, so I knew exactly when I saw what I wanted to see. This was the most inconsistent Roadburn set I’ve seen because it had both some undeniably awesome highs (“Some Candy Talking”, “In a Hole”), even songs from the new album that sounded kinda good (“Jamcod”), moments that really showed that they’re quite old, and moments that felt unintentionally hilarious, like the very high school prom rock and roll and old man yells at clouds sounding “The Eagles and the Beatles” or the absolute worst line in “Venal Joy” being like “Don’t piss on fire”. Still gotta give the band credit for having both a song called “I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll” and a song called “I Hate Rock ‘N’ Roll” and playing them both. But the best aspect of the set was undeniably the lightning, and the technician for it was clearly overqualified for how the band sounded most of the time.






THE BEVIS FROND

Mateusz: I caught last 4 songs of The Bevis Frond and I liked them way better than I expected (oh yeah, since I'm only describing a couple of bands, I'll mention now that I caught a cold in the middle of the day, which resulted in me taking it easy, cause I felt like shit). It's an English psych rock band active since the eighties and they released a shitload of albums. While fighting through their discography, I enjoyed most of them, but nothing really caught my attention more. However, live that was something else. The sound was so crystal clear and on point, I had a feeling they could play just about anything and I'd still be satisfied.

Fun story that the frontman told: when doing soundcheck, they played „He'd Be a Diamond”, and someone asked them if they were gonna do Teenage Fanclub cover, unaware it was Teenage Fanclub that covered The Bevis Frond.






DÖDSRIT

Rod: Let’s leave the 80s nostalgia aside. In with the extreme metal. In 2022, Alkerdeel closed down The Terminal, the second largest stage. 2023 was Afsky’s turn to do the same. I’m starting to see a pattern here. This year yet another black metal band finished one half of the festival grounds. The final headbanging of the festival belonged to Dödsrit and what a lovely way to bid the festival farewell. We managed to head to a section of the venue with an elevated platform right behind the soundcheck and could see the stage well even though it was far away. At least the sound was pristine. The melodious riffs and leads carried a profound nostalgia that seemed fitting for the final day of the festival. Now I’m going to expect that stage to close down every Roadburn Sunday with a black metal band.

Radu: Once I’ve had enough of The Jesus And Mary Chain I had a choice to make. Either try to see the last Uboa set and be a very good completionist, or see Dödsrit, a band that I knew was also gonna see at another festival I am attending. Well, the decision was made easier by Uboa being at an even smaller stage and thus probably impossible to enter without huge queues, and with me realizing that I was mistaking Dödsrit for another band and I wasn’t gonna see them any time soon. That would’ve been a very silly mistake, and one I’m glad I didn’t make, because they ended up being just what I needed as a last injection of proper metal (more on improper metal later on). Me and Rod found a really good place to sit in the balcony-ish structure and just enjoyed how melodic black metal can be with the last bits of energy we had left.






CLOAKROOM

Rod: At this point I was just dragging my body around. The spirit was willing and we headed to the main stage for one final set. The main stage was half empty by the stairs so we just laid down on the floor and enjoyed the waves of heavy fuzzy shoegaze riffs with eyes half closed while sipping wine and pepsi. Make sure to check out Cloakroom’s latest work, Dissolution Wave. While it wasn’t exactly a huge revelation to me, I felt the band’s mastery of heavy riffs while still keeping a soothing vibe thanks to the heavenly vocals was a very nice treat to see live. The visuals of passing clouds and sunny sky as if we had the perspective of a plane was a fitting way to end the festival. Our last ride through planet Roadburn.

Radu: Ok, I said that Dödsrit was the last bit of proper metal. But Cloakroom are also kinda heavy as well, so I’m counting them as improper metal. Their name didn’t sound familiar when I first saw it, and I mostly went by because there were only two bands left playing and only one of them played at a stage room where I knew I’d find room to sit. Turns out my memory is bad and when I saw the cover art for their latest album I realized this is a band I did cover (albeit in the non-metal feature), meaning I would at least end the festival with a band I did actually wanna see (just didn’t remember that until the last moment). Me and Rod just ended up lying on the stairs, comfortably numb, completely drained of energy, being washed in heavy shoegaze. Once it was over, we did think about checking the last bits of Gros Coeur on the Next Stage, went in, saw how crowded it was, and instantly noped out of there, and admitted that this was it: the end of this edition. Time for goodbyes.






GROS COEUR

Mateusz: And the last band of the festival, Gros Coeur. Barely standing and leaning against the wall, I enjoyed their performance a lot. Some other reviewer possibly said something good about Cloakroom which was playing at the same time, maybe they even used the phrases like „perfect ending of the festival” but that only means they haven't seen Gros Coeur, because there is a reason they were an actual final Roadburn band (their set was scheduled to last 10 minutes more than Cloakroom). Great Belgian psychedelic rock. People were having the times of their lives, dancing, even blowing bubbles. Truly, a perfect ending of the festival.






OUTROS AND SUCH

Rod: Radu and I left the 013 venue. Knowing that we would soon say goodbye to each other. Inevitably, one last beer turned into a long conversation where we started making plans for the next Roadburn and beyond. After we said goodbye to each other past 3:00, I headed to the campsite. I sat by the fire near the entrance and began recalling all the beautiful memories I’ve been collecting for 12 Roadburns now. It’s funny, every year it gets harder to write these outros because I know what will happen: I will return to Planet Roadburn once again. Plans are already in the making. I never get post-festival depression. I never check the line-ups. I buy the ticket and take the ride, as Hunter S. Thompson would have said.

To summarize Roadburn 2024:
The major highlights: Khanate. Silver medal goes to Lankum while the bronze has been taken by Royal Thunder’s first set. The rest in no particular order: White Ward, Blood Incantation (both sets), second Clipping show, Knoll and Neptunian Maximalism.
The halfsets that should have been witnessed in full: Dool, Health, the first Clipping show, Grails and Fluisteraars.
The sets I’m sorry to have missed: Arms And Sleepers, Uboa (any set really, but specially the “Meltdown” one), Inter Arma, Chelsea Wolfe, Thantifaxath, Birds In Row, Frail Body and Devil Master.

Sheer fanaticism forced me to gather the little energy I had so I could do the crazy thing and see Khanate one more time. I arrived at Copenhagen airport and took the train to Sweden but stopped in Malmö, left my luggage at a friend’s house so we could head back to Copenhagen and get demolished by Khanate that would play to a sold-out 150-people show [i]in a goddamn basement[/b]. It simply couldn’t get any rawer than that. As Stephen O’Malley told me some minutes before their set: ”This is really the way Khanate should be heard”. The set was the exact same as the one at 013’s Main Stage but as James Plotkin told me: ”This is us being old-school”. It was as intimate, claustrophobic, deranged, terrifying, and loud as I expected. With the atmosphere of the venue amplifying every aspect of the band’s art. After being able to hang out with them, being recognized by Alan Dubin after my previous Facebook post about their first gig at Roadburn and also getting Tim Wyskida’s demolished drumstick, I felt like a kid on Christmas’ Eve.



I live for music and Roadburn summarizes my passion in ways no other music festival ever could. Until next time, friends.

Radu: Weird as it is to say it, I’m at the point where I’ve seen so many concerts and festivals, that during the last day of Roadburn, instead of internally wishing and begging for there to be one more day of the festival, I felt very content with that being the last day. This will not be the last “multiple days worth of all day concerts” festival that I’ll attend this year and I’m generally feeling way more exhausted during them than I used to, so I’m starting to tune to Roadburn being the time span that it is. In a way it is depressing to start feeling that way to concerts in general, even if some of the best concerts of my life have been this year (not just Roadburn, but also at Roadburn), but also it was a bit calming not to feel that post-festival depression but rather a feeling that I’m satisfied and I’ve seen what I needed to see.

As always, the things that bug me about Roadburn have always been the case, and that’s the fact that I can’t be in two places at once, and I also can’t enter any concert hall whenever I want to. You have to be a bit strategic about what you want to see. Sometimes you decide well. Sometimes you don’t. Some clashes have been really awful, and there were a bunch of sets I wish I could’ve seen, like Grails, Verwoed, Frail Body, Torpor, Fuck Money, and the first Clipping show, as well as there being a bunch of sets that I really enjoyed but that I had to leave in order to be strategic, like Neptunian Maximalism (though this is a bit of an exception), Die Wilde Jagd, Health, Chelsea Wolfe, Dool, Uboa, and Khanate. I’m not even sure if it’s worth bringing this up since it’s something that’s fundamental about Roadburn and non-linear festivals like it, other than for the sole purpose of listing my regrets about what I missed.

What I don’t regret were the absolutely amazing sets I saw. Even the sets I used as filler in between sets really felt like good discoveries for the most part, and at their worst it was just a “not clicking with me” thing. The absolute highlight of this festival was Lankum, with very close follow-ups by Clipping, Die Wilde Jagd, Blood Incantation (both sets), White Ward, and Arms And Sleepers.

Some of my festival misses like The Keening were redeemed since I saw them with Bell Witch afterwards, though my plan to redeem Hexvessel just ended up being me seeing that band twice in two different countries. Being at all these shows while still being on the same paycheck as the one I went to Roadburn and the adjacent vacation on was NOT FUN.

With plans already in place, see y’all in 2025!

Mateusz: The biggest highlights for me this year were (chronologically): Sunrise Patriot Motion, Inter Arma, White Ward, Chelsea Wolfe, Mat McNerney, Home Front, Hedvig Mollestad Trio, Alber Jupiter, Takh, The Keening, Lankum, Cult Leader, Die Wilde Jagd, Neptunian Maximalism, and Gros Coeur.

I did see 49 bands in total (for at least 10 minutes, that is) and enjoyed to at least some extent all but 2 shows (one I described here, although it wasn't that bad actually; the second one was ambient Fluisteraars set, which was boring). That goes to show how great the festival is. I've already bought the tickets for the next year's edition.

[Now enjoy some random pics]







Comments

Comments: 14   Visited by: 58 users
10.05.2024 - 13:03
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Staff
Please let me know in case someone can't access the vids so I can try and figure it out.
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Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?
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10.05.2024 - 14:37
Vellichor
Great write ups, I really hope to fly across the pond and get to Roadburn, maybe next year or the next. Big bucket list item. Couch Slut set sounds awesome, as does Dool! Would really like to have seen those!
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10.05.2024 - 14:43
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Staff
Written by Vellichor on 10.05.2024 at 14:37

Great write ups, I really hope to fly across the pond and get to Roadburn, maybe next year or the next. Big bucket list item. Couch Slut set sounds awesome, as does Dool! Would really like to have seen those!

Plan ahead as much as possible. Accommodation in Tilburg gets done very quickly. Technically feasible to get accommodation in surrounding cities and go by train, and camping can also be an option. Fest tickets and plane tickets are usually less of a hassle comparatively.
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Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?
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10.05.2024 - 14:53
Auntie Sahar
Drone Empress
Elite
Excellent coverage yet again, youse guise!

There wasn't really much standing out to me this year as a HUGE regret for missing. Many bands on the lineup I've been fortunate enough to see already. Having seen Blood Incantation live before though (doing death metal, obviously), I really would have loved to catch that Timewave Zero set. And I'm still mad jealous of all of you for getting to see Backxwash in the flesh.

Also Rod, no shame whatsoever bouncing to Cult Leader from Khanate. That's a major pain in the ass clash right there and I would've done exactly the same
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I am the Magician and the Exorcist. I am the axle of the wheel, and the cube in the circle. “Come unto me” is a foolish word: for it is I that go.

~ II. VII
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10.05.2024 - 16:55
X-Ray Rod
Skandino
Staff
Written by Auntie Sahar on 10.05.2024 at 14:53
Rod, no shame whatsoever bouncing to Cult Leader from Khanate. That's a major pain in the ass clash right there and I would've done exactly the same


Radu was the one who left Khanate. Not me.

I was lucky enough that Cult Leader performed in Sweden a week before Roadburn so I could safely choose to see Khanate in full.

I would have seen Khanate in full in any case though. I’m fanatic enough that I saw then twice in 3 days.
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Written by BloodTears on 19.08.2011 at 18:29
Like you could kiss my ass
Written by Milena on 20.06.2012 at 10:49
Rod, let me love you.
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10.05.2024 - 17:00
Ivor
Staff
Good that at least some of you saw Hedvig Mollestad Trio and Grails. Both are absolutely fabulous live acts.

I.
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10.05.2024 - 18:34
Auntie Sahar
Drone Empress
Elite
Written by X-Ray Rod on 10.05.2024 at 16:55

Radu was the one who left Khanate. Not me.

——> Rod
——> Radu
——> Beer

Yeah, you can guess what happened there

Also damn, just noticed no one checked out Attila doing Void Ov Voices? A bit surprising. Dude is in top form doing the more ritualistic, dark ambient stuff like that IMO
----
I am the Magician and the Exorcist. I am the axle of the wheel, and the cube in the circle. “Come unto me” is a foolish word: for it is I that go.

~ II. VII
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10.05.2024 - 20:16
NastyHero
Written by Ivor on 10.05.2024 at 17:00

Good that at least some of you saw Hedvig Mollestad Trio and Grails. Both are absolutely fabulous live acts.

I.



I also saw Grails!. Well, half of it. While it was good, I enjoyed it more back in 2019 (... From where Rod should recognize them if he checked out the bands ) and I don't think it was only because of my cold.

Also Radu would have seen the ending but he borrowed me his bike (legend, thanks again) and then they cut their set short
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11.05.2024 - 12:07
musclassia
Staff
Like Sahar, there's not quite enough here that makes me regret missing it, although, as often seems to be the case with festivals like this, having the day and stage splits makes the line-up look a lot better than the poster with every act on did, which appeared really weak to me for this year's festival (I need to get in the habit of remembering that I'll miss at least 60% of bands on a line-up, so it just depends on whether there's a 40% that looks good).

I didn't know Scalping had rebranded to Scaler, need to look out for their shows instead, as every time I've seen Scalping it's been mega. That Thursday in general looks like the best day for my tastes (although everyone that missed Torpor made the wrong choice).
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11.05.2024 - 12:10
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Staff
Written by musclassia on 11.05.2024 at 12:07

although everyone that missed Torpor made the wrong choice.

Always a next time, I hope.
----
Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?
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11.05.2024 - 12:33
X-Ray Rod
Skandino
Staff
Written by musclassia on 11.05.2024 at 12:07
although everyone that missed Torpor made the wrong choice).

Well, technically no bands I wanted to see were clashing with them. But I wanted prime standing spot for Lankum at the Main Stage so I don't regret it. The walk from the Hall Of Fame to the Main Stage would have been stressful with only 20 mins inbetween both sets and Lankum gathering quite the crowd.

Written by NastyHero on 10.05.2024 at 20:16

I also saw Grails!. Well, half of it. While it was good, I enjoyed it more back in 2019 (... From where Rod should recognize them if he checked out the bands )


My lord, you are annoyingly stubborn with this argument.

When I say to people "After the fifth Roadburn, I stopped caring about the line-up"... I mean it quite literally. I don't bother checking out every act that's gonna perform for a few simple reasons:
1) That would take far too much time for me. I have enough with the music I buy or must review. I can't listen a single note at my workplace.
2) Doing a full research will only mean even worse clashes for me. I know enough band's to complete my schedule every day. Ignorance is a bliss sometimes.
3) I simply enjoy discovering bands in the wild with no research beforehand. Takes away all the expectations. In that sense I enjoyed Grails' set even more than some bands I knew beforehand.

And just to end this: I looked up the booklet for 2019 (since I save them all). Grails clashed with black metal band Fauna and the Thou + Emma Ruth Rundle collab. I saw the whole Fauna and the second half of Thou and Emma. Even if I knew Grails beforehand I still would have ditched them.
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Written by BloodTears on 19.08.2011 at 18:29
Like you could kiss my ass
Written by Milena on 20.06.2012 at 10:49
Rod, let me love you.
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12.05.2024 - 01:03
NastyHero
Written by X-Ray Rod on 11.05.2024 at 12:33

Written by musclassia on 11.05.2024 at 12:07


Written by NastyHero on 10.05.2024 at 20:16

I also saw Grails!. Well, half of it. While it was good, I enjoyed it more back in 2019 (... From where Rod should recognize them if he checked out the bands )


My lord, you are annoyingly stubborn with this argument.


I get your point but that comment here was nothing more than a simple and objective fact statement
Though yeah, I do forget how entitled I am with being able to listen to music at work for most of the time. But what's the worst that would happen if you blasted some black metal in the hospital?

Written by musclassia on 11.05.2024 at 12:07

although everyone that missed Torpor made the wrong choice.


Yeah, I wanted to see them badly and I think Radu wanted as well (?). I had them scheduled but changed it ad hoc. Not only they played when there were 4 bands that I wanted to see (It was the only time like that during the festival), I still did prioritize them.
But - they played in the smallest venue (except maybe Paradox) and the fucking queues that day, man. I only caught last 20 minutes of Takh after standing in the queue for over 30 minutes (was there 5-10 minutes before the show) that played in Hall of Fame before Torpor.
Torpor played directly after The Keening. I (correctly) assumed The Keening's set would take ~50 minutes instead of full hour cause that's how long the album is that she played in full. I really, really wanted to see TK till the end cause the last (17 minute long) song is beautiful.
So I would still be at HoF 5 minutes before the show and that was my plan but reality showed me there most likely would be a fucking long queue so I made a painful decision to skip them and see Dawson instead (who was fine, I guess, but I'm pretty sure I'd have had a better time at Torpor).

And Facebook comments proved me right in both ways - people praised Torpor a lot, but also said the queue was enormous.

Saturday was completely ridiculous with queues, other days were more or less fine. I was surprised to see the queue for Throwing Bricks on Thursday (wanted to drop by in the middle of the show, after Thanifaxath; so went to eat something instead) and then Alber Jupiter on Friday (I was late a bit after Echoes of Zoo and arrived just as Royal Thunder finished their set - 20 minutes before the scheduled time, so the attendants went to check out the stage next to it), but the latter one went pretty quick.

With Saturday I think the issue was not only it being the most popular day but Roadburn crew missing their mark often on what band should play where. Like Rod already mentioned, main stage was empty-ish on The Keening - all these people would easily fit in Koepelhal (though yeah, their loss, that was one of the best gigs). And Kavus Torabi was just as empty... although I do feel that commissioned pieces should be played at the main stage, people for some reason were mostly uninterested in that one, which was the reason for Takh and Agriculture insane queues (and Agriculture played on the second biggest stage!)

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16.05.2024 - 18:20
X-Ray Rod
Skandino
Staff
Written by Auntie Sahar on 10.05.2024 at 18:34
Also damn, just noticed no one checked out Attila doing Void Ov Voices? A bit surprising. Dude is in top form doing the more ritualistic, dark ambient stuff like that IMO


I heavily considered it. My memory is very foggy but I might have seen him for the 2013 edition. That was the year the put out a cinema in the smallest stage they had at the time and had ambient artist perform on top of the movies being played. I know that I saw Aderlating but I'm not sure if I caught Void ov Voices. I wanted to see Attila of course. And perhaps I could have seen him if I left Scaler earlier and ended up arriving abit later for Clipping's first set. But I guess I thought at the time that I was getting sick of running around sets. I rather commit to one in full. But yeah, shame. I checked a bit of the album he released recently but I don't recall making me go "woah" so perhaps that might have been another reason.
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Written by BloodTears on 19.08.2011 at 18:29
Like you could kiss my ass
Written by Milena on 20.06.2012 at 10:49
Rod, let me love you.
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16.05.2024 - 21:56
Auntie Sahar
Drone Empress
Elite
Written by X-Ray Rod on 16.05.2024 at 18:20

I heavily considered it. My memory is very foggy but I might have seen him for the 2013 edition. That was the year the put out a cinema in the smallest stage they had at the time and had ambient artist perform on top of the movies being played. I know that I saw Aderlating but I'm not sure if I caught Void ov Voices. I wanted to see Attila of course. And perhaps I could have seen him if I left Scaler earlier and ended up arriving abit later for Clipping's first set. But I guess I thought at the time that I was getting sick of running around sets. I rather commit to one in full. But yeah, shame. I checked a bit of the album he released recently but I don't recall making me go "woah" so perhaps that might have been another reason.

I've only ever seen him live in Mayhem, so I'm still itching for some of his droney, dark ambient work. But I know you and Radu have already been lucky enough to see a bunch of Sunn O))), Gravetemple, etc., so it's like less of a "holy shit!" feeling. And ain't no problem there at all. Roadburn Rule #1: Focus on what you don't already know
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I am the Magician and the Exorcist. I am the axle of the wheel, and the cube in the circle. “Come unto me” is a foolish word: for it is I that go.

~ II. VII
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