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ROADBURN Festival 2016 • DAY THREE : Saturday, April 16th

La Muerte

After the longest Roadburn night on Friday, Saturday's programme began relatively early.

While Het Patronaat was already in use as a cinema for the screening of Diamanda Galás' advantgarde film "Schrei 27" which deemed me too stressful at this point, I began my day revisiting the Cul de Sac, where I hadn't been the whole Friday.

Under the slogan "Roadburn introduces" a new dutch group of seasoned musicians was ready to wake up even the most tired hangover zombies with an adrenalin rushing dose of rock'n'roll.


Though it wouldn't be adequate to reduce them to that, you cannot talk about Dool without mentioning The Devil's Blood, since the band includes two former TDB members on bass and drums. This precisely pushing rhythm section is just unmistakable, especially since Dool also mix the sound of distorted, cleaner and sometimes acoustic guitars in a way that is very akin to The Devil's Blood. Which - to be clear - is a very good thing.

It would probably be redundant to copy the overly occult part, so Dool obviously appeared a little less otherworldy and more grounded, which was espacially embodied in the energetic straight forward rock demeanor of front woman Ryanne van Dorst.
There's was also a noteworthy influence of gothic rock (the good shit, not the boring kitsch) to be found in Dool's music, which however didn't take away from the thrilling power of the simultanously raw and perfectly skilled performance.

On top of that Dool had the best sound I've heard in the Cul de Sac during the whole week, so all in all the day couldn't have started better.


The contrast between the rock party of Dool and the first band on the Main Stage was as big as it gets. It seriously took me a while to innerly adjust to the solemn gravity and bleakness of Skepticism.

The white roses, the painfully dragging slow motion, the minimalist stageacting and above all the montrously mournful organ left no doubt why the genre is called funeral doom.
Skepticism performed a fan-picked setlist, which was a slight disappointment for me, given how much I love the recent album "Ordeal", which is also the only one I'm really familiar with. But in a democratic fan decision new material hardly has a chance, if there are decade old classics in its way.

On the other hand there's nothing wrong with the old compositions, of which at least I recognized "The March And The Stream". The whole performance of Skepticism was doom at it`s gloomiest, not without beauty, but undoubted without hope. We will all die at some point and Skepticism reminded us of that with great sincerity.

Galley Beggar

After thus being confronted with the reality of the indissoluble dichotomy of life and death, the next band in Het Patronaat was a much happier affair.

Galley Beggar  are an english folk rock band that - while featuring a trippy lead guitar and leaning to the psychedelic in general - have a far stronger emphasis on their celtic folk roots than on the rock side of things. So their show cleary missed the heaviness which even Roadburn bands with related influences show from time to time. In a way that made Galley Beggar the band the closest to being displaced at the festival.

However I enjoyed the light-hearted musicianship and otherness (in the festival context) of Galley Beggar. Their hour-long set was absolutely enjoyable and got me in the perfect mood for the next band on the Main Stage, which I had anticipated like almost none other...

Tau Cross
Tau Cross

Tau Cross, the new band of Amebix mastermind Rob Miller, which also includes Voivod's Michel Langevin (aka Away) on drums, had my expectations at the roof, not just for the line-up, but also because their self-titled debut from last year is already a classic in my ears. And if their show proved one thing, it is that I'm not alone with this feeling. It's surely not that often that the choruses of a debut album are sung along by the audience that loud at Roadburn.

Relentlessly pushed forward by Away, who always makes it look so unbelievable effortless, the band just killed it with every song, be it the opener "Fire In The Sky" (even though Miller's voice was muffled by the mask he wore for it), the snotty "You People", "Lazarus" or the phenomenal "We Control The Fear", where Miller played the acoustic guitar. He obviously delegates the bass guitar live, which gives him more freedom as a frontman.

Is Tau Cross predominantly a metal band? Or is it punk? Crust? Rock'n'roll?

I don't care, no one cares. It's just raw, rousing, catchy yet still intelligent, fantastic music.

And if I had to chose the one greatest concert of Roadburn 2016 - this is it!

Converge (feat. Steve von Till & Chelsea Wolfe)

Converge followed on the same stage with their "Blood Moon" set.

Emerged from hardcore and reaching into all kinds of sonic and emotionally heavy "post" music with a big setup and line-up they clearly belonged to the cluster of bands related to Neurosis of which this Roadburn saw quite a few.
Though not as infernally noisy as the godfathers nor as epic and layered as Cult Of Luna the band played an intense set on the verge of big feelings and mechanical brutality.

What held me back from really digging this genre-defying performance was that I am just not a fan of the lead singer, who couldn't win me with both his clean and his screaming voice.

But I stayed long enough to see the special guests Steve von Till and Chelsea Wolfe enter the stage and suddenly everything was perfect. Especially the beautifully haunting singing of Wolfe just elevates everything into a whole new dimension.

There's only this thing... Since both enigma queen Chelsea Wolfe and also her partner in crime Ben Chisholm were already joining Converge, I couldn't help but wonder why there was no Wolfe concert at the festival. As good as Converge were; to see her "Abyss" tour show again would have meant a great deal more for me.

Dead To A Dying World

Dead To A Dying World, who followed in the Green Room, were great when they followed the footsteps of My Dying Bride, combining epic doom death with classical violin. They also brought black metal into the mix, which was generally ok, but sometimes leaned a little towards blast boredom.

The vocals were delivered by two singers, with the big bear guy doing the growls and the petite lady in the black metal shirt shrieking, so even in this formation the vocal range of the band was relatively limited. Which of course is ok in extreme metal. The greatest luxury in this was that there were many long instrumental passages, where the singers just sat in the middle of the stage and waited.

And as stupid as it is, I just have to mention the two mannerisms that totally distracted me from the serious tone of the music. Because once you discover that the male singer nods his head between every line or sometimes even word, while the female singer does "the flapping bird" (= to hold the microphone with  two hands and move your elbows with every scream) - you just can't take your eyes off it.

All in all Dead To A Dying World were quite entertaining, but not for the full one hour length of their show.

I returned to the Green Room soon after the set was over, because for the following band I really needed a place in the front row...

La Muerte

La Muerte

Fuck! Did I already crown Tau Cross as this year's best band at Roadburn?

Maybe they were, maybe it was Sinistro, but maybe ... bam! ... it was the excessive rock'n'roll whatthefuckery of this legendary band from Belgium: Laaaa Mmmuueeerrrrteeeee!

La Muerte are pulp and overdrive! La Muerte are the mist of evil in the insane asylum! La Muerte are ZZ Top brutally baseball-batting Johnny Rotten on Sunset Strip!

A few months back I would have never thought of this band playing at Roadburn. Twentyfive years ago I had read a totally ridiculous review of their then recent album in the german RockHard magazine. A few years later I discovered the CD somewhere and since then I loved this strange perverted bastard of death metalized biker rock and  sheer madness.
However I never dug deeper into the band's history. I even thought they were French. But when the reunited band was announced for Roadburn I instantly knew that it was a new life goal to see La Muerte play "Kustom Kar Kompetition".

And they played it. And I was there. And it was great.

And they played "Coutau Dans l'Eau". And they played new stuff from the "Murder Machine" EP and it was all great.

Viva La Muerte!

Blood Ceremony

Only one and a half hour left of this Roadburn Saturday. The last chance to watch a show in Het Patronaat.

The premise doesn't sound too original these days: Another group of Coven and Sabbath worshippers, an occult "retro" band mixing traditional doom and heavy metal with playful folk influences, with a female singer in boots and hot pants who also plays organ and concert flute.

But unholy shit! Blood Ceremony knocked it out of the park, delivering on all levels.

The foundation is just really good live suitable songwriting, where everything is in its right place. With this, the musical skills of the band and the pleasant charisma of front woman Alia O'Brien the audience rightfully ate out of Blood Ceremony's hands.

A worthy festival finale for the venue!


Meanwhile in the 013 Neurosis celebrated their 30th anniversary with the first of two two-hour shows, spanning material from their whole career.

During the whole festival I only glimpsed at a small portion of all the Neurosis stuff. It's not that I wouldn't like the band, no, they definitely meet my taste. But I`m just not that acquaintented with them, my only Neurosis record is their grim and gloomy masterpiece "Through Silver In Blood".
So the whole overkill around them was a bit overwhelming.

I didn't even try to find a place near the stage when I entered the packed hall shortly before the final two epic songs of their show, but settled for a place somewhere on the balcony.

And even though I couldn't really see a thing and this wasn't the ideal acoustic spot either, the crushing shamanistic intensity when of all things they played "Through Silver In Blood" was an unmatched experience. So devastating, hypnotic and cathartic at the same... pure perfection Roadburn style!

See you tomorrow, Neurosis!

more reviews:



Galley Beggar:

Tau Cross:


Dead To A Dying World:

La Muerte:

Blood Ceremony:


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