20th – 23rd APRIL, Tilburg, Netherlands
Text & Photos: Kris T. Therrian / 17 seconds photography
DAY THREE – Saturday
The experimental collaboration between Earth’s Dylan Carlson and The Bug warranted a smooth start of the day, very slow and droning. The duo was steeped in darkness with occasional red lights on the Main Stage and it was not too long before I was onto something faster. The peeps obviously knew where it’s at cos it was impossible to go beyond the gates of Green Room where Cobalt were ripping it up big time. I couldn’t really make out much of the music but I did hear a lot of ‘fuck-the-law’ shouting coming from the stage and turned on my heel.
Oranssi Pazuzu can take pride in their superbly psyched shows that leave our collective consciousness branded for all eternity. Still, I was thrilled to see them back for the third time and with an upgrade to the Main Stage, at an immense satisfaction of all those who couldn’t see them last year. With the superb new album at hand, they wrought havoc to the venue like we knew they would.
Short stop for one of four artist-in-residence performances of GNOD ended up being a collaboration with KURO titled ‘Outside of the Dream Syndicate’. Sadly it was impossible to get into this minimalistic jam after Oranssi Pazuzu so I headed over to Patronaat for Youth Code. They were one of the acts I checked beforehand and was genuinely stoked to see them live. The onslaught of their harsh and intense eletronica reminded me of Skinny Puppy and, inevitably, times when ‘VIVIsectVI’ and ‘Last Rights’ were a soundtrack of my jeunesse. Nevertheless, Youth Code are a force to be reckoned with and by the end of the second track I was already dancing. It was impossible to peel away from the trance and I stayed almost until the end when I rushed off to see Warning. I understood it was a unique opportunity to behold this band coming together once again to play their much acclaimed doom staple ‘Watching from a Distance’ in its entirety. I’m almost angry with myself for not being in a right frame of mind to appreciate it after coming all pumped up from Youth Code’s set.
Anyhow, the old school death metal of Memoriam spearheaded by Bolt Thrower’s Karl Willetts was just what the doctor ordered. Their debut ‘For the Fallen’ was released only months ago so this was a wonderful opportunity to unleash all of its fury upon the famished Roadburners. Believe me when I say that a celebration of life through death metal has never been so joyful. I already hope for them to be invited back again.
Moving along to the pioneers of all things maritime, Ahab finally gave in and played their masterpiece of a debut ‘The Call of the Wretched Sea’ in its entirety. Judging from the slowmo head moshing waves in the audience, it was a total success. Just like the next band in line, the primeval harbingers of doom, My Dying Bride, with an eagerly awaited one-off set of classics. Accompanied by Aaron’s dramatic presence, the band led us through the gems of ‘Turn Loose the Swans’ and ‘The Angel and The Dark River ‘ finishing with my all time favourite ‘The Cry of Mankind’. It was fascinating to see time and again how powerful and tight they sound even after all these years, like time hasn’t touched them at all. This one’s a definite contender for Roadburn’s Hall of Fame.
As if we weren’t spoiled enough with all the special sets, performances and reunions, the elusive Mysticum possessed the Main Stage, taking the standards of production, light show and visuals to a whole new level. To say that it was a mindblowing experience would be a vast understatement. They purged our ears with their industrial black metal offensive and took us all the way to Planet Satan and back. Some are still recovering.