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Roadburn 2014 - Praise the riff (wednesday and thursday)
Months and months have we been longing for the second weekend of April, to this single event in the south of the Netherlands, to the home of the riff, a home away from home; the Roadburn Festival. Roadburn has become Europe’s leading underground festival for psychedelic, avant-garde, doom or any other variation of leftfield sonic pleasures that push the boundaries of music. Just like the previous years we of Metalrage were present with a couple of writers, Lennart Verhoef (LV), Tibor Kuijs (TK), Roy Meijnen (RM) and Gerard Gilles (GG), to cover as much of the festival as physically possible (for some the 11th time already). Trying to give you a glimpse of what Roadburn is all about, ‘cause what happens during those couple of days cannot possibly be done justice by any kind of review. This festival is such an intense experience. For the visitors, the organizers, the bands, for everyone involved. Such a new universe that’s created in the realms and streets of Tilburg. Completely tucked away from the real world, this is our habitat for 5 days a year. Completed with our own rules, artistic freedom, no sound restrictions, lifestyle, politics and even maybe our own religion! We all worship the riff right? This is our report of this 5 day madness…

All pictures by Paul Verhagen (Achrome Moments) -


It all started on Wednesday, with the hardrock hide-out in Cul De Sac, the annual pre-party, with Death Alley and Evil Invaders and a lot of Belgium strong ales! That’s also probably the reason; I can’t remember that much about the bands. I only knew that I was quite impressed, by the new comers of Death Alley. Their heavily induced MC5/the Stooges proto-garagerock ‘n roll, with here and there some Motorhead influences, rocked as hell! (RM)
My Roadburn opening was Brutus in the Green Room. I wasn’t familiar with the band and found out they played solid 70s bluesy hard rock which only got better the more beer we consumed. The vocalist wasn’t properly hitting all his notes, but he also seemed to get more into it the more he drank. (LV)
First band I got to see properly, after shopping for merch and hanging out with all the fellow Roadburners, that I only meet once a year. This Sourvein set, existed out of their three EP’s Ghetto Angel, Emerald Vulture and Imperial Bastard as a trilogy! The show suffered from a real bad sound and lack of volume. I always have a dought about bands of the caliber of Sourvein, playing the mainstage. In my humble opinion they are a bit too underground and not really up to the task to play such a big stage! Luckily for us, the sound got better after a while, still no power in volume though and this music NEEDS sheer volume! The set was dedicated to their previous bass-player Boone Doom, that passed away last year! None the less, it was an enjoyable show, but it seemed just a bit too early for both T-Roy and gang as well as the crowd! (RM)
Next up was Hull in the Batcave. (I still refuse to call it Stage 01..) Their blend of techy sludge doom mixed with some more harsh parts is live as appealing as it is on record. Effective three-vocal attack and a varied musical approach with the only gripe being a barely audible bass guitar. A bit less oomph in the sound than we wanted. (LV)
Patrick Walker and company were back after two years to present a slew of new material from 40 Watt Sun. Seated on stage and with a half distorted approach (also with material from debut The Inside Room) the band asked quite a lot from the audience to keep their full attention. The new songs however sounded as emotional and solemn as ever. (LV)
Regarde Les Hommes Tomber; this was one of the must see for me this year! I just discovered this rough diamond just literally days before Roadburn. This French sludge/post-black metal band have just released one album in the end of 2013 and it is a brilliant slab of black plastic! The band performed in a packed Green Room; in almost pitch black surroundings with the occasional white and red lighting. From the very first tone, a certain eerie, dark vibe arose from the stage, backed up with a perfect and loud sound. They started their loud and atmospheric set, with probably the best song of their record called ‘Ov Flames, Flesh And Sins’. The energy that came of the band and especially of their singer (probably one of the sickest vocals I heard in a long time), was mind-blowing! You could feel, this was about to become a goosebump moment and brilliant show. You know, before a show there is a certain electric vibe in the room, that you can almost taste? Then you know that this show will become brilliant! Today it was there… The band delivered this kind of show and I was left with tears in my eyes and goosebumps all over. Getting all excited again, only thinking about this show. This was for me the highlight of Roadburn! Brilliant show… (RM)
Although having released one of my favorite records from last year, Beastmilk still was one of the odd ones out at the festival. Their blend of dark 80s postpunk with heavy guitars was one of the most catchy ever witnessed at the festival with even potential mainstream success. With one song missing they almost played their entire debut Climax and added some songs from their first 7”. Kvohst’s vocals were was powerful as on record (and he’s a great frontman) but I kinda missed them having an extra guitar player on stage for adding a bit of fullness and all the details as on their debut. (LV)
Riffs! That’s one of the main things Roadburn is all about: the love for the riff. And with Lord Dying programmed in the Stage01 you know it’s going to be really hard to get of glimpse of this band. With Summon The Faithless they delivered a really strong debut album last year and, after squeezing in the Stage01 when they just started their set, the same can be said about their live show. Their crushing sludgy doom  was just what I needed to really get in the mood for these 4 days of mayhem. Unfortunately I only allowed myself to watch half an hour, because Roadburn is also all about conflicts in the time schedule, making choices. So many good bands, so many even greater. (GG)
At this point I made the call to walk to Het Patronaat to see Samothrace play their Reverance To Stone in its entirely. And man was I blown away. Literally as well. These guys were pretty damn heavy and especially the bass sounds kicked in hard. Besides their heavy side, it’s especially the atmosphere they created, with the spacing guitars and the dynamic vocals, that makes their sound stand out. Jaw-dropping performance. First real personal highlight of the day. (GG)
Corrections House is the collective effort of Mike IX Williams (Eyehategod), Scot Kelly (Neurosis), Bruce Lamont (Yakuza) and Sanford Parker (Minsk). On a half filled Main Stage the band is giving an energetic show which can best be described as a unique combination of skills. They produce a sound which they describe themselves as transcendent musical deconstruction. The poetic lyrics on top of this sound creates a hypnotic vibe which reminds me of Ministry. A strange act to see but somehow quite interesting! (TK)
The first of the shoegazers today, Nothing filled Het Patronaat with a barrage of noisy guitars and ethereal vocals. Sounding a lot more powerful (and louder!) than on their record Guilty Of Everything I’m kinda hinging on playing their album on 11 at home soon to try and replicate the impact. (LV)
For some bands Roadburn will be the only chance for me to see them live. This isn’t the case with Dutch sludge / doom act Ortega, but still they didn’t let me down when I decided to go and see them in Cul de Sac. This bar, the this year officially added 5th stage, is a nice example of the integration of Roadburn in the city of Tilburg, making it a bit more accessible for curious bystanders to catch a bit of the Roadburn magic. Ortega on the other hand presented itself in an outstanding way towards its international audience. Especially the long instrumental parts were beautifully executed and pulled me down in their suffocating swamp of heaviness. (GG)
We only saw a bit of the second part of Napalm Death's show due to a quick bite outside and we were lucky enough to hear them play the new song ‘Dear Slum Landlord’. Especially this has been causing quite a buzz on the internet the last couple of days. The slower and more groovy guitar sound is a nice addition. The band also adjusted their set especially for Roadburn according to front man Mark. All in all a nice show. (TK)
In between all the sludge and doom I needed a break and I got it with ASG’s catchy hooks and groovy riffs. Their appealing southern rock, especially from their breakthrough record Blood Drive, was transferred in the perfect way to the stage. With having watched mostly dark and heavy performances until now this was truly the refreshing show I needed at this point. (GG)
Kirk Windstein and Crowbar always had a special place in my heart. This band is actually the reason, why I am a fan of heavy riffed music like doom and sludge. I discovered this band back in 1993, through their clip ‘All I Had I Gave’. From the moment I heard that riff, I knew that this would be the music; I would listen to the rest of my life! They are basically the reason, why I am at Roadburn every freaking year! So how hard is it to write at this point, that their show wasn’t that good! I really hoped for a ball to the wall sound with all the classics and maybe some new tunes. What we got was a weak sounding band, that didn’t seem to have their day and on top of that Kirk sounded absolutely terrible vocals wise. They did play a lot of classics, even my very own funeral song ‘Planets Collide’ and yes I still banged my head and sing from the top of my lungs, but it wasn’t a good show! After 40 minutes I couldn’t bare it any longer and walked out of one of my very few musical heroes… (RM)
True Widow followed the same approach but in a bit more laid back fashion. I only caught a couple of songs from their set because I had to catch my ride home but hearing them play ‘Four Teeth’ made it altogether a successful show by my standards. With the infusion of more shoegaze-ish bands in the festival it made me wonder how long it will take before Walter & Co would try their hand at booking something like Sonic Youth or My Bloody Valentine… (LV)
Still had the mind-blowing gig of theirs in the small bar Little Devil in my mind, so I had to see Graves At Sea on Roadburn! Boy did they deliver! Absolutely skull crushing heavy set, with loads of power and energy! This time their original bass-player was with them on tour, so for the first time in original line-up destroying Europe. The set list was a brilliant mix of older songs and from their recent split LP with Sourvein. They even slipped in a new tune, that sounding very promising! With songs like ‘Betting On Black’, they unleashed a thunderous heavy blanket of riffs over Het Patronaat and crowd. In front of the stage you felt their riffs, massaging your bowels. Goddamn this is the way to absorb music live! Backed up by the heavy hitting drummer and the sick vocals of Nathan Misterek, Nick Phit their riff-lord destroyed everything in his path! They left the stage with a standing ovation and leaving the crowd gasping for air. I couldn’t wish for a better ending of the first day. Top that mofo’s… (RM)

Click here fot the review of Roadburn 2014, day 2!

Click here fot the review of Roadburn 2014, day 3!

Click here fot the review of Roadburn 2014, The Afterburner!