For those of you who don’t live under a rock, let Weird Metal Blog enlighten you. Roadburn is a legendary music festival held every April in the Netherlands, in and around the 013 venue. Every year devotees of extreme metal, psych, drone, stoner, experimental and all manner of Weird music descend upon the good town of Tilburg for three full days of acts – four and an evening if you’re hardcore.
But Roadburn is so much more than just another metal festival.
Roadburn is known to reform long split-up underground legends (like Japanese punk troublemakers G.I.S.M. this year), help to forge new and monumental collaborations, and generally stage unforgettable concerts. Each of the five stages has perfect sound and often feature distinctive visuals by commissioned artists. You know that every band has pulled out all the stops to put on an amazing performance, and they’re likely to be milling around with a beer afterwards. As well as the music there are art exhibitions, film screenings, more vinyl than you can shake a stylus at, workshops, panels…I could go on (I frequently do). Perhaps most importantly, it has one of the friendliest vibes you could imagine.
You should totally go, Dear Reader, it sounds like just your sort of thing.
With the 2016 edition just around the corner, Weird Metal Blog offers some predictions for the Weirdest moments of the festival…
Blood Ceremony, ‘The Great God Pan’, Living With The Ancients (2011)
Somewhere between Black Sabbath and Jethro Tull, Canada’s Blood Ceremony are no strangers to all things Gothic, occult and Weird. A heavy riff-laden homage to Arthur Machen’s classic novella, this track may prove to be a safer method for piercing the barrier into the spiritual world than the brain surgery adopted by Machen’s character Dr Raymond.
Diamanda Galás, ‘The Litanies of Satan’, The Litanies of Satan (1982)
Eccentric, avant-garde, experimental, Weird – none of these terms does the fiercely outspoken, controversial and diverse vocalist Diamanda Galás any justice. Equal parts opera, performance art and the ecstatic gibbering wail of an unsettlingly-beautiful demon, if this track from Galás’s debut doesn’t provoke a reaction in you somehow (cue: terror) then you’re already totally dead inside. Kudos.
Lugubrum Trio, ‘Herval’, Herval (2015)
Brown (metal) is the new black. Or so Lugubrum Trio would have us believe. These Belgian oddballs mix raw black metal, upbeat surf rock, drone/doom, African rhythms and improv-jazz into an eclectic, murky stew of Weirdness. Have a little taste of their latest broth…
New Keepers of the Water Towers, ‘The Forever War’, The Infernal Machine (2016)
Science fiction is just as much a part of the Weird as is horror and fantasy, and the music and imagery of these Swedish proggers is infused with it. Let’s hope they play this space rock take on Joe Haldeman’s SF classic of the same name from 1974 at this year’s festival.
Abysmal Grief, ‘Sinister Gleams’, We Lead The Procession (2014)
If like me your childhood was deprived and you never attended a black mass (#firstworldproblems etc etc), then traditional doomers Absymal Grief might be the next best thing. Ornate candelabra, black candles, fuggy mausoleums, blood-saturated riffs, swelling organs (your brain did that, not mine), growling of the undead – they may hail from Italy, land of Giallo horror, but Abysmal Grief’s atmosphere is pure Hammer.
Arktau Eos, ‘Sunken Luminaries (promo)’, Ioh-Maera (2012)
Last but by no means least, this deeply mysterious duo from a dark forest somewhere in Finland is a Weird Tale unto itself. An Arktau Eos show is less a musical performance and more a sombre occult ritual with dark ambient soundtrack. Their two performances at Roadburn 2016 promise to be intimate, intense and transcendental.