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Roadburn Festival - 2008

This was the first year that Roadburn had to deal with some serious bad luck, namely five bands that had to cancel their appearance, among which headliners Celtic Frost. Major bummer. The other names  included Electric Wizard, Grails, Sourvein and Om. On top of that, one of the crew members of Roadburn passed away suddenly prior to the event. Talk about disaster. But nonetheless, the guys from Roadburn gave it their best effort to make this party work, so join us in a read filled with heavy guitar music, clouds of THC-smoke and oceans of beer.

Thursday - Pre-Heat

Capricorns (Main Stage)
When I entered the main stage of 013, Capricorns was about to wrap up their set. I didn’t know the band yet, but their music is in the style of acts like Pelican and Red Sparowes, which is instrumental rock with some psychedelic elements in it. I think I witnessed about the last two tracks, while enjoying the first beer and joint of the day. Too bad I only saw a little bit, but it motivated me to keep an eye out for their next European tour and see a full show. (DemonDust)

Serpent Cult (Bat Cave)
This Belgian band used to operate under a different name, yet it turned out that the vocalist was a paedophile and had to go to jail. The band is back with a different vocalist now, namely a girl. They still play massively heavy stoner rock, only with high (I wouldn’t say goth yet) female vocals. JEEESUUUS! At first I couldn’t believe what I heard, after that I had to laugh, and then I was just sad. She doesn’t have the most beautiful singing voice to begin with, but the two styles just don’t match. Another irritating factor was the bassist, who tried to be kind of funky between the lines, which really doesn’t work when all you need to do is be slow and heavy. I have to admit when I saw them when they were still called Thee Plague Of Gentlemen they were a lot better than now. Too bad. (DemonDust)

Grand Magus (Main Stage)
Grand Magus had an incredibly strong and awesome sound tonight. This in combination with simply great tight musicianship by this trio made this an excellent show. I’m not a big fan of the sometimes heavy metallish singing by Janne Christoffersson, who is also the frontman of Spiritual Beggars, but especially instrumentally I was impressed. Even when the skin of the snare drum was ripped apart they kept on rocking. That’s the attitude which we want to see and that’s what we got. No more, no less. (Sledgehammer Messiah)

Taint (Green Room)
I wasn’t familiar with Taint either, but the description I got from my pals contained the names Mastodon and Baroness, so I thought it would be a good idea to go and see these guys from the UK. Since the venue was totally packed with bearded people we had to stand in the back in order to stay on our intoxicated feet. The description that was given to me was quite correct I have to say; the classical rock (or Thin Lizzy) riffs combined with a heavy rock sound smashed into the crowd with great force. This trio knows how to do it the right way, yet I was still not as blown away as with a Mastodon concert (something that Baroness didn’t manage to do, either). I will check their record out as soon as I get the chance and see what they’re all about. Keep an eye out for this if you like the names I mentioned above. (DemonDust)

Down (Main Stage)
On the current European tour Down is playing a set of a full two hours, so people get value for their money. This time Down didn’t let the audience wait as long as at the show in Amsterdam. My colleague Gilles, who reviewed that show, was very enthusiastic about the performance, but tonight I had DemonDust on my side which just couldn’t stop making critic cynic remarks. Thanks for that again. Most important points of criticism were for instance the songs, which according to DemonDust are totally not original, and Phil who sung badly. I guess that Down isn’t really the band for people acquainted with trained stoner ears, who are of course in a great number on Roadburn. The crowd was smaller than I expected, but on the other hand there were still a good amount of húge Down fans. I had to conclude that Down didn’t fully live up to the high expectations which might be exaggerated by the ‘fuzz’ around this band. Anyway I still enjoyed the tight and professional show; it was awesome to see these guys rocking out and having fun. Whether or not the ‘fuzz’ around this band is justified, I had a good time with these ‘big stars’. (Sledgehammer Messiah)

Pfff, I remember that I saw The Devil’s Blood, but I got so drunk during the Down concert (many beards discovered that 0.5 litres for two coins was cheaper than 0.2 litres for one coin) that I honestly don’t know anything about this. All I remember is sitting on a chair talking to various people, after which I dangled in the direction of my bed. A good Pre-Heat party indeed. Time for the real action!!
Friday – 13th Roadburn Festival
Danava (Green Room)
The band to start off the day was Danava, a rock band from Oregon. The band immediately sounded like it was time-warped into this festival from four decades ago. Even the vocals gave me this feeling. Unfortunately, I don’t have too much in common with this type of music, since I always get the feeling they just should have done that thirty or forty years ago when it was still really impressive. Now it just sounds obsolete to me. Time to move on. (DemonDust)
Blood Of The Sun (Main Stage)
What a pleasant surprise! Blood Of The Sun from Texas came to start a party on the Main Stage with some kick ass rock ‘n’ roll, which succeeded perfectly! Easy party rhythms with nice grooves and hooks to it. Fun thing was that the vocalist was also the drummer, a quite obese guy who occasionally kicked his hi-hat with his foot in order to create a bigger bang when hitting his cymbals. What a great guy to see! The only thing I didn’t like were the keyboards, this guy plays a Korg. When all you’re allowed to play in this genre is a Hammond organ. After a while the ugly digital sound becomes really annoying, which is too bad considering his playing skills are on a pretty high level. I just hope they buy a Hammond organ in the near future, they need it! (DemonDust)
Baby Woodrose (Green Room)
Before I saw this Danish powertrio, I just heard of their name. So, I was pretty curious about this band. Off to the Green Room (small venue of 013)!! And of course it was packed, although I managed to get myself in. I must say, this band somehow surprised me. This powerhouse trio, played a good solid set of psychedelic heavily influenced by Monster Magnet kind off stoner-rock. It had drive, it had groove, it had heavy bits, but it also had some more mellow psychedelic parts. It wasn’t that entirely original, but just a good solid band, that enjoyed them playing in front of a crowd that was enjoying their music. (Balowski)

Witchcraft (Main Stage)
I’ve reviewed the latest Witchcraft album recently here, so I was curious how they would sound live. Phil Anselmo claims them to be one of his new favourite bands, but I didn’t hear it on the record. Live I had the exact same feeling. Just like with Danava (with whom they were touring), I got the feeling like they were a couple of decades late with these songs. So I got bored quickly and tried to get into the Green Room to see Black Shape Of Nexus, an ultra heavy funeral doom band. But the venue was so packed I couldn’t see shit, too bad. (DemonDust)
Black Shape Of Nexus (Green Room)
After seeing Witchcraft playing some 70’s kinda rock, I was in the mood for some real heavy doom. So off to Black Shape Of Nexus aka B-Son. On record this German five-piece deliver us some real heavy downtuned doom-metal, which almost feels more like drone. I think a more catchy Moss is a good comparison of what they sound like. Again the Green Room was packed. A lot of people pushing, to just get a glimpse of this band. The music was heavy, the music was good. But what was up with that singer? He didn’t sing in a normal microphone, but in some kind of device hanging around his neck with a voice deformer. It looked like gorilla Bokito was performing on stage; it bugged the hell out of me… The music is good, but the singer needs to try to sing in a normal microphone. (Balowski)
Trouble (Main Stage)
I’ve always had sincere doubts about Trouble. There are high vocals, and the band supposedly has a Christian background. Yet their legendary status lured me to the Main Stage, were I got pummelled in the face with a tremendous amount of decibels. Seriously, I thought the stage was going to collapse under these ridiculously loud sound-waves. Yet I have to admit the songs they played were very much to my liking, this shit rocked, man! Tight and heavy as hell riffs, I like! Yet not all was good. The vocalist has obviously reached his heights several years ago, his performance was even worse than Phil Anselmo the day before. No power or conviction whatsoever. Just relying on status is not the way to enter a stage in my opinion. Another irritation factor was the number of roadies running around on stage during the show, picking up all sorts of things and doing all sorts of unnecessary chores. What a dirty show-offs! In the end I had to admit the band rocked (and I mean ROCKED!), but the vocalist sucked major cock and the band acted a bit too much like rock gods. Please do that at Arrow Classic Rock Open Air, not on Roadburn. Act cool at Roadburn, like everyone else! (DemonDust)
Witch (Green Room)
I couldn’t bring myself to watching the entire Trouble show at the Main Stage, so I quickly found myself checking out Witch. As you should’ve noticed by now, there are too many bands that have something to do with witches (namely this one, the one mentioned above and tomorrow we also get to see Dixie Witch). This one had an amazing shirt for sale, with two guys in monkey masks drinking a can of beer, so I had to know if I liked this in order to buy the shirt. Well, I again got the feeling I got with Danava and Witchcraft, like this music is too old for this century. Yet I was slightly more impressed here than with those other two, and recently I heard their latest effort which I will review here shortly, which is also pretty nice. In the end; I didn’t buy the shirt. (DemonDust)
Isis (Main Stage)
Why this band exactly got the honour to headline this Friday of the Roadburn festival is a mystery to me. Fans of Isis beware, I’m going to be sort of a critic. Both on record as with this live performance, all I hear is a weak copy of grandmasters Neurosis, who completely destroyed at the previous edition of this festival. Also I heard the comparison towards A Perfect Circle once which I found quite good (the comparison was that they also a weak copy of this band). Their music doesn’t touch me at all, I think Trouble would have even looked better as a headliner for this day to be honest. Not my cup of tea. (DemonDust)
Church Of Misery (Bat Cave)
I had avoided the Bat Cave all day long, because I knew I had to defy the intense heat and crowd at the end of the day in order to see the Japanese dudes of Church Of Misery. I saw them once before, which was an awesome fucking show. This time was no different, the band rocked my ass like no other band did this day. Stoner rock (‘n’ roll) from the top shelf! What amazed me the most in this band was the vocalist, this dude sounds like he lived in Texas all his life with a daily whiskey habit and a loose trigger finger, yet he is Japanese. Crushing riffs, pounding drums and extreme harsh dirty cowboy screams added together made this Church Of Misery show again to a great success. I for one will be there again with their next European tour. (DemonDust)
Scott Kelly (Green Room)
Neurosis delegate Scott Kelly came to perform his singer-songwriter material, at a too late hour I think. He had to start at midnight, a time when many visitors of this festival are either drunk, stoned, tripping their minds out, or a combination of these. No one is really in the mood to be quiet and listen to Scott’s delicate songs, which he also noticed. He’d like the chatting people to leave if possible. This started a running gag in the back of the venue where people started to 'ssshhhhhhhhhhh' each other, which led to more noise in the end. I think it would have been wiser if they had placed this somewhere in the start of the day. Especially after being rocked by Church Of Misery, this show made no impact on me. So I did the right thing and left. (DemonDust)
Earthless (Main Stage)
The last band to play at the Bat Cave got the honours of playing the Main Stage. This was a good choice, because the Main Stage was still packed with people which could have never fit in the small Bat Cave. Earthless is the name, spacing out is their game, which they’re quite good at. The band just plays one huge fucking jam, which is something very much in place at Roadburn. There’s not really much more to say about it, other than that a band like this is very nice to close an evening of Roadburn music with. This should be the in-house band of this fest! (DemonDust)
Saturday – 13th Roadburn Festival
Long Distance Calling (Main Stage)
This German atmospheric postrock outfit was one of the last conformations of the Roadburn bill. They opened the big venue of 013 on the Saturday. People started to get in slowly at the venue. So the venue wasn’t that filled. For the early Saturday afternoon, I must say it was a relaxed opening band. Their music is very much in the line of their big inspirations ISIS and Cult of Luna. Nothing special, but not bad. (Balowski)
Cephalic Carnage (Main Stage)
A grindcore band at the Roadburn festival?! What the fuck?! Well, Cephalic Carnage has never been the most standard extreme metal band, but has always been proud to work with any genre they please. The band has released a doom EP entitled Halls Of Amenti, which is comprised of just one track that lasts twenty minutes, which they’d perform here this afternoon for the second time ever in their career. Guitarist Zac Joe was absent for this performance, but their old bassist Jawsh was kind enough to fill in on the guitar. A good choice, since he was also co-responsible for Halls Of Amenti. That, and he is a fruitcake. The band started out with some other doomy tracks from their repertoire, like ‘G.lobal O.verhaul D.evice’ from their last album Xenosapien, which also features Tjerk Maas from Outburst on vocals, who did a nice guest performance in this show. Also they played ‘Ontogeny of Behavior’ and ‘Piecemaker’ from the Anomalies album. After this it was time for the twenty minutes of Halls Of Amenti. I have to say that I was already filled with joy the day I read they would perform this song at this festival, so not much could go wrong for me. Yet I have to say that the band wasn’t performing optimal, especially Jawsh was too late with striking his guitar at crucial moments all too often. A bit of a bummer, but I have to say it didn’t spoil the fun for me. The last track they played of course had to be a stab towards all stoners, it was ‘Black Metal Sabbath’ where they all put on ridiculous masks (the bassist wore a huge horse head, looked hilarious!) and play some brutal black metal of which the end transformed into fat stoner riffs. Awesome show, but not executed as good as it could have been. Didn’t matter to me, because I was still in ecstasy that I saw Cephalic Carnage (one of my favorite bands ever) perform this here today! (DemonDust)
Kruger (Bat Cave)
While I wasn't exactly able to 'see' Kruger that well due to a packed Bat Cave, it sounded amazing. This is one friggin' tight band. A lot of songs of their last album Redemption Through Looseness,(if you haven't heard it, check it out) were gunned into the audience and the vocalists barking voice is as amazing live as it is on record. Even a friend of mine who isn't into this Mastodon-ish metal at all, was pretty impressed and bangin' along. I think Kruger made some new friends that show. (Ce-El-Wan)
Boris (Main Stage)
The Japanese band Boris was definitely one of the bands which a lot of people were waiting for. Scheduled at a pretty decent time on the Main Stage, it was no surprise the big venue was pretty much packed. I must say, that I didn’t know what to expect of this band. Their releases are so diverse, that the show could turn out in every direction. I personally thought this band where a lot more drone/doom, than what we saw on this day. This band totally took me by surprise, with their total fuzzed out low-tuned rock ‘n roll. It was pretty much up-tempo, groovy and fun to look at!
Especially the drummer had a total blast with himself! Only the last song was a long, heavy doom/drone tune. At the end of the show, the drummer had such an energy blast, that he dove into the crowd!! Definitely one of the bands that took me by surprise and blew me away! (Balowski)
Cult Of Luna (Main Stage)
While I was curious to see Cult Of Luna live, them being of my favorite post/slow/core/metal bands, I didn't expect them to be that awesome. Sporting two drummers and a symmetrical stage set-up with a symmetrical backdrop as well, the visual part was already a plus. Musically, Cult Of Luna took a take no prisoners approach this show, forgoing a lot of intro's (echoes) and plunging the audience straight into the grinder. A good way to leave an impression on a festival. COL filled their limited time with maximum output. My personal highlight of the festival. (Ce-El-Wan)
Wolves In The Throne Room (Green Room)
I kind of got caught up in the buzz revolving around Wolves In The Throne Room, but unfortunately I missed their previous performance at 013. I was really curious to seeing this black/doom metal band live, so I made sure I was at the Green Room on time. And damn, my expectations were crushed by far. Ultra-tight, grimm, aggressive black metal with tremendous doom passages. The dreamy guitar distortion was in place here perfectly. The nasty, seemingly off-time blast beats created a fantastic uncomfortable feeling, and the hideous screams raised the hair in the back of my neck. For me, the black metal despising Metalrager, this was the best performance of all Roadburn. If you dig black metal and doom metal, be sure not too miss out on this band. I for sure can say I will be there at their next European tour. Amazing band! (DemonDust)
Enslaved (Main Stage)
As a last minute replacement for the disbanded Celtic Frost, Enslaved had some big shoes to fill. And while I severely enjoyed their set which consisted of a lot of material from their last two albums with a little Jotunblod in between, I couldn't really help but noticing that this band was a bit out of place. Maybe it was me, but I thought the response wasn't that great. Then again, I had a great time. Their current line-up is really tight, the sound was pretty ok but it was not the 'classic performance' you'd like to see in a headliner. (Ce-El-Wan)
Year Of No Light (Bat Cave)
Another Bat Cave band (packed) and they played almost at the same time as Enslaved. I really love their Nord album so I was curious to see how it would end up live. The stuff that I heard sounded promising enough (maybe two songs) to write a bit about it, and especially tell how awesome this band actually is. If you're into the Isis, Neurosis, Cult Of Luna, Mouth Of The Architect, Baroness etc. type of music, check this out. (Ce-El-Wan)
Acid Mothers Guru (Main Stage)
The band to play the aftershow at the Main Stage was Acid Mothers Guru, which isn’t a band actually but more of a collaboration between Kawabata Makoto and Tsuyama Atsushi from Acid Mothers Temple and Mani Neumeier from Guru Guru on drums. Sounded interesting, so I decided to take a look. What I saw was a Japanese version of Steve Vai (Makoto) trying to work with the rhythmic section. This was sort of out of place at this late hour, virtuous guitar work with bass and drums trying to support it. Not cool at all, to be honest, so I left. (DemonDust)

Sunday - Roadburn's Afterburner

After partying for 3 days on some heavy Stoner tunes, hanging around with friends, drinking some beers and smoking some vague stuff… I have to say, that I didn’t felt that fit on the afterburner on Sunday. But hey !! You gotta do what you gotta do… Party some more!! On the Sunday, there were two separated “afterburner” shows. One in the big venue, with Current 93 and the likes. And one in the small venue with the Glasspack and the likes. I chose to go to the last one. Even though, the door-sign said SOLD OUT, most of the time the venue wasn’t even filled for ¾ !! Strange…
Graveyard (Bat Cave)
First band of the day were the Swedish hippies of Graveyard. I actually never heard of this band, but I can tell you right now… They’re the best band I’ve seen on this day. A band that went for the full 100%, even though the audience were still in their Sunday-morning sleep. Musically it was swinging hardrockin’ 70’s stoner. Influenced by the likes of Blue Cheer and Leaf Hound, but more from this time. Good band!! (Balowski)
Repoman (Green Room)
Second band that day were the Eindhoven Rockcity outfit Repoman. In which we can find the singer and lead-guitarist of our own Peter Pan Speedrock. In this band he plays the bass and sings. Today they also celebrated their release of the debut album they presented to the audience. They started off with an absolute bulldozer of a bass-sound!! Musically, you can hear the influences of “that” other band PPS, but the sound is way heavier and groovier! You can tell that Peter, their singer, is used to play in front of crowds. Even though the audience was lame as hell, he managed to get the party started. Halfway during the show, they had some surprise sexy Go-Go girls dancing around on the boxes. So the audience went even crazier…  Besides the slow start, a good show! (Balowski)
Beehoover (Bat Cave)
Between Graveyard and Repoman, I managed to see some songs of this two-man powerhouse in the Bat Cave. I must say, that normally I’m pretty much skeptic about two-man bands. No exception this day! But it was quite alright for this band. With just drums and a bass-guitar, they managed to blast out an original mix of up-tempo, groovy sludge and more freaky Primus-alike stuff. The band members had the time of their lives and joked around a lot with themselves and the audience. This made the show even more fun to watch. (Balowski)
Ramesses (Green Room)
English Doomsters Ramesses, had the unfortunate task of replacing Sourvein. But they pulled it off easily!! Opinions about this band are very diverse, whether it’s good or not. But seeing the queue at their merchandise-stand after the show… It seems they convinced a lot of people that day. The sound these 3 guys produce is absolute massive… I was glad to have earplugs. Musically they delivered us the Winter influenced doom, we know from their records. It was sometimes hard to hear the vocals, but with such a massive, dirty sound, it’s all good for me !! Goosebumps… (Balowski)
Dzjenghis Khan (Bat Cave)
Up to the Bat Cave!! Dzjenghis Khan already started playing when we arrived, I just saw a couple of songs, because I wanted to get something to eat. What we got was 70’s influenced garage-rock, by this American trio. I was too hungry to get into their show…. (Balowski)
The Glasspack (Green Room)
This American whiskey-soaked rock ‘n roll (as they call it their selves) outfit headlined this afterburner Sunday. This band out of Kentucky, Louisville just flew over to Roadburn to do this one show!! And just like Dzjenghis Khan they are a power-trio, but were Dzjenghis was just O.K., this band rocked… With a full, thick, kick ass rock ‘n roll sound. Even before they played just one tune, they were already having fun with the audience… Sharing several whiskey bottles amongst themselves and the audiences. This was set to become a huge party!! And it did. Just plain fun entertaining heavy ass, distorted Rock ‘n Roll. They got the crowd going for the last time this weekend… (Balowski)
After their show, there was a last minute Orange Sunshine show being arranged. Because all band members were present in the audience. But I was too tired after 4 days of heavy rocking, that I couldn’t care less… I’m already looking forward to the Roadburn 2009 edition. It’s gone be a 4 day Doom/Stoner party for sure again…
Reviews by:
Sledgehammer Messiah
Special thanks to Walter for organizing one of the greatest parties on the planet, keep it up and see you next year! Yeehaa!!!
Details Written on Wednesday May 14th, 2008
Writer @DemonDust

Tags: #Roadburn Festival
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