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Roadburn 2015 - Houses Of The Holistic reviewed (friday)
After an impressing first day of the 20th edition of this festival today it was finally time for “Houses Of The Holistic”, the name of the curated event by Enslaved’s Ivar Bjørnson and Einar Kvitrafn Selvik of Wardruna. They have been asked to curate this second day of the festival and they accepted to personally select the bands that would play this Saturday. They continue the tradition that began in 2008 by Current 93’s David Tibet, followed over the years by Neurosis, Tom G. Warrior, Sunn 0))), Voivod, Jus Osborn (Electric Wizard) and Mikael Åkerfeldt (Opeth). Metalrage was present with Maurice van der Heijden (MvdH), Lennart Verhoeff (LV) and Gerard Gilles (GG) to review this unique 4-day event. Even if we had another writer present it would be a pain in the ass to cover all the bands that play on Roadburn. Our selection of bands can therefore totally differ from other Roadburners, but the fact remains that the vibe, the music, the people, the venues, everything is top class and it remains year after year an extraordinary experience.
Pictures by Paul Verhagen (Achrome Moments) - and Pieter Heijboer

Today starting up is easy with the synthesizer and knob turner Steve Moore who shows us how to do a spacy trip in the best Klaus Schulze tradition. With subtle changes the audience grows into galaxy Steve Moore is presenting. He proves at Roadburn no guitars are necessary to create the same trip as an awesome spacerock act. Also funny to mention how he looks as engineer who just walked away from his cubicle creating great music instead of engineering parts for a space shuttle. (MvdH)

First band on Friday during “Houses of the Holistic” event on the main stage was Virus. I remember seeing them at Het Patronaat last time around and while impressive back then, today was even better mostly because of Carl-Michael Eide's vocals which seemed to fit better in the mix. Anyway, if you're not familiar with Virus or his previous somewhat similar band Ved Buens Ende; it's a completely unique blend of weird jazzy atonal black metal chords, Carl's commanding crooning vocals and a rhythm section which is almost fusion like. You either love or hate it, but for people who love it there was much to enjoy today.  Plenty of songs of personal fav Carheart and we were even treated to some new material which hopefully means a new album in the foreseeable future. (LV)  
Next up was Junius in the green room. This musical love baby of Katatonia, Khoma and (yes, really) Deftones might seem like a strange fit for a festival like Roadburn but then again, what isn't these days. While the band looked a bit shy and weren't really up for communicating , judging from the mumbled “thank you” after each song, the music sounded suitably atmospheric, heavy and vivacious. Counting the amount of bobbing heads around me, that seemed to be enough to please everyone. (LV)
Brimstone then. I went to Stage 01 because I wanted to see something else than Der Weg Einer Freiheit, but I wasn't at all familiar with the band. And the best thing about Roadburn is always those moments. Walking into a room where an unfamiliar band is playing and seeing one of your favourite shows. Brimstone can be described as a soulful classic psychedelic 70s prog rock band, which might sound pretentious but it's actually quite lighthearted like Motorpsycho in their Phanerothyme & Let Them Eat Cake days. After some research I found out Brimstone used to play as The Brimstone Solar Radiation Band and they sounded even more like Motorpsycho back then, so no surprises there. The band seemed to have lots of fun and it was a refreshing change from all the oppressive doom and gloom. Variety as they say, is indeed the spice of life. (LV)
A Roadburn festival, and a curated day in particular, mostly brings something extraordinary. Something you won’t see that often. Or at all. Many bands are also doing multiple gigs to give the audience something special, something to talk about. Personally I almost only saw bands today that would do multiple shows at this year’s edition. From Solstafir to Eyehategod and from The Heads via Enslaved to Mortals. Different bands, different backgrounds and many differences in the execution. Where Solstafir impressed with a stunning instrumental performance the day before, they now did an equally great show with their regular repertory. Two completely different sets, but both outstanding and interesting. With a band like Solstafir and this kind of realization of two sets it doesn’t ease the pressure in the running order, it only frustrated it more. First world problems I guess.
The show of Eyehategod on the other hand was less remarkable though. Don’t get me wrong, I loved their performance, but it was just another EHG gig. The venue was different this second show (Het Patronaat versus the main stage of 013), but the show far from. When being a fan of these New Orleans sludge metallers both gigs were highly enjoyable, but if you’re just curious and didn’t know the band it wouldn’t have mattered which show you would choose.
Just as Solstafir, also Enslaved knew how to act when playing two shows on the same festival. The show on Saturday would focus on their new album, while the gig during today’s “Houses Of The Holistic” event was entitled House Of Northern Gods. The concept consists of a walk-through of an imaginary, magical house, Valhalla with its inhabitants if you like. Enslaved put this set together specially for Roadburn and spans the entire catalogue of the band that embody the Norse gods. A nice concept and a good execution as well. Together with Wardruna before and afterwards Skuggsja, a unique project of Bjørnson and Selvik with the sound of Norway’s Norse history, they created a mythical atmosphere that won’t be matched soon.
And the last band I saw today that had a second slot this weekend was Mortals. I missed out this all-female band the day before, but heard some positive things about them, so I went to check it out at the Cul de Sac venue. This band released their debut last year via Relapse Records and were presenting themselves with a mixture of all sorts of dark and heavy genres. It wasn’t really something new, but this three-piece put everything they had in it and delivered a solid set of stoner/sludge/black metal. Raised fists and banging head as a result.
Looking back at the bands that got multiple shows going in I can’t say a saw a single bad gig, but one definitely made more of it than another. (GG)
After all the heavy, doomy, spacy and weird stuff you need a band that sticks to the standard alternative rock/hardcore tradition. City of Ships does and had to play their set in the bar Cul the Sac. They didn’t have the best sound and the dj music was still playing during their first three songs, but for a few maniacs they managed to create a sound somewhere between Helmet and Quicksand. The new record Ultraliminal is all about positivity and the band also looks re-energized on stage. Guitarist/singer Eric Jernigan comes up with the greatest melancholic riffs and guitar loops while his voice has that typical grunge singer vibe. For sure this underrated band stole some hearts at Roadburn and they only deserved more. (MvdH)
At day one Bongripper served the knockout, today it’s done by Finnish Funeral Doom specialists Profetus who are playing a funeral mass in the Patronaat church. This means 4 long and slow tracks with one of the saddest and melancholic tunes of the whole festival. The procession doesn’t include a bass player; instead three low tuned guitars are celebrating the last day of the dead and bring homage to the 1000 lakes in Finland. With a keyboard sound drenched in the (s)low songs it’s sure you are finished after this set. And I was; no other band afterwards could impress as much as Profetus did. (MvdH)
Click here for the review of Roadburn 2015, day 1!

Click here for the review of Roadburn 2015, day 3!

Click here for the review of Roadburn 2015, the Afterburner!