Archive for May, 2013

Ash Bohrer / Godflesh / Asphyx at Roadburn 2013

Posted in Gigs, Travel with tags , , , , , on May 12, 2013 by Noise Road


Ash Bohrer were suitably grating to some that the guy in front of me had fingers in ears. That gear brings a smile to my face.

I am a big Wolves in the Throne Room fan, but it wasn’t until their last show in London that they sold me live. I have a preference for dynamics in black metal. There is another school that say the continual blast of black metal lulls you into a trance. Neurosis lull me into a trance. Non-stop 16th notes don’t.

Ash Bohrer DO have enough going on, working the nihilistic side of black metal rather than Wolves’ spiritual side. I was sorry that I couldn’t give them more of a chance – but Justin Broadrick and I have to continue our uneasy dance

Godflesh Plays Pure Album

It took me a long time, but I have grown to absolutely love Jesu’s first couple of albums and much of the Godflesh discography. However, I am not sure about the hip hop beats of the Pure album.

The Streetcleaner performance from a couple years ago was always going to be a hard act to top. I did enjoy when Godflesh locked into the machine beats. The set definitely moved towards my tastes with the growing ambience at the close of the set.

Broadrick sets are always worth your attendance. If he isn’t flooring you with Streetcleaner or Silver, there’s challenging music. Even his trainwrecks, where all his equipment falls over, is worthy of the spectacle.

Asphyx pumping

Asphyx closed my Roadburn 2013 with their stomping, death-metal bludgeon. The frontman effortlessly transitioned from a thick cockney accent to Dutch and back again.

By the close of their set, I was exhausted. Another cold night in a field outside of Tilburg, and I was back on a train to Schipol airport.

Roadburn Festival continues to grow every year, putting distance between it and ANY other festival ANYWHERE in the world.

High on Fire @ Roadburn 2013

Posted in Gigs, Travel with tags , , , on May 12, 2013 by Noise Road


I missed the first track of High on Fire’s second set for Roadburn 2013, due to a series of ATM / beer-coin machine mishaps.

Straight after Cult of Luna’s set, I booked for the merch table. With a new Cult of Luna hoodie in hand, I was glad that I wasn’t given the opportunity to drunkenly bore the life out of the Cult of Luna guitarist, like I had a couple of months previous at the Glasgow show.

I was then unable to pass up buying the Ocean’s “Giant Squid vs Blue Whale” t-shirt. That shit is me… Unfortunately this left me with no cash for the rest of the evening. The ATM then spat a 50 Euro note at me. I can’t feed the beer-coin machine 50 euros with only a fistful of hours left for the festival. Drama.

When I finally had a beer in mitt at the main stage, Matt Pike was barking out “Frost Hammer!”. For the rest of that week, whenever I finished a sentence, I had to restrain myself from not yelling out “Frost Hammer!” or “Fury Whip!”. Matt Pike is the king of that riff – a catchy phrase at the end of the riff. “His Evil Never Sleeps!”

The weed clouds even surpassed that of the Electric Wizard set, as the pummelling gallop of Devilution kicked in.

The Thunderstruck-esque riff of Snakes for the Divine, brought a huge crowd response, complete with a closing sing-along.

High on Fire filled the main venue twice, and received the biggest crowd response of the festival. A genuine triumph.

Cult of Luna @ Roadburn 2013

Posted in Gigs, Travel with tags , , , on May 12, 2013 by Noise Road

cult of luna 2

Cult of Luna opened with I: The Weapon off the new album, Vertikal. The blue/silver tinge lighting the stage matched the cold mechanical feel of the new record. It contrasted with the emotional epics of tracks off the previous 2 albums, that immediately followed.

cult of luna 1

As far as I am concerned, this blog acts a legal document. Therefore you are all witnesses to the fact that I demand Cult of Luna’s Ghost Trail be played at my funeral. The second repeated guitar lead should be queued up as the pyre, on which corpse is laid, is set alight.

Ghost Trail closed with an epileptic-fit-inducing light-show, as the tempo increases to a sudden stop. Finland continued the epicness, with repeated refrains that ebb, build and stomp.

Redemption brought us back to Vertikal’s struggle between desperate man and the cold mechanical world. Redemption displays the subtle use of electronics that make Vertikal. The momentary dubstep wobble is effective, but not overused.

Cult of Luna was THE highlight of Roadburn 2013.

Alcest @ Roadburn 2013

Posted in Gigs, Travel with tags , , , on May 12, 2013 by Noise Road


Alcest’s main man, Neige, was the Artist in residence for Roadurn 2013.

Neige is his music – a fully formed, unique identity, that seems an odd fit for metal. He’s softly spoken, gentle, and shy when you speak to him. Some turn into monsters when they board the stage. Neige does not.

Even his black metal screams aren’t aggressive. Alcest’s blast beats are climaxes, but they are not the soundtrack to urban nihilism or the northern gods of yore. This is pixie music – a unique mix of warm post-rock, that crescendos to blast beats or black metal screams.

alcest 2

Alcest played the entirety of the Les Voyages de l’Ame album – including the beautiful Autre Temps and the catchy alt-rock of La ou Naissent des Couleurs Nouvelles.

Alcest closed the set with the awesome riff of Percees de Lumiere.

Apologies for all the misspelt French. Madame Batten tried her best in my high school French classes.

The Ocean @ Roadburn 2013

Posted in Gigs, Travel with tags , , , on May 12, 2013 by Noise Road

the ocean 2

The Ocean are a fantastic act to see multiple times. Their performance has been different every time that I’ve seen them – from a near orchestral performance in an abandoned Berlin train station, to a Dillinger-like, hardcore performance in a uni bar in Leeds.

the ocean

This Roadburn performance was epic-y stuff. There were lots of long, building tracks sans vocals.

I have not heard the new album yet, but The Ocean have truly embraced the ocean theme. The set appeared to dive deeper into the ocean. The tracks became slower and thicker as the set progressed. I’m a sucker for this stuff – even though the term “post-metal” has become a dirty word, it’s my true love… and I am, by trade, a subsea engineer. How could I not love this?

Roadburn, and the acts themselves, really stepped up the visuals this year. Deep blues submerged the stage, whilst the screen behind looped footage of schools of fish, and more abstractly, a woman sinking into a bathtub… be it arty or grindhouse, there was a lot of female flesh on the screens this year

the ocean 3

It is a great performance, when you can step outside yourself for a few minutes. With a lot of live music you can be aware of your surroundings – the smelly dude in front of you, the dude convincing his girlfriend that they’ll take a break after this set… but at the Ocean’s set, I was able to lose myself for a few moments in the music and clear the head. The only other times I have experienced it is at Sunn 0))) gigs, and when running along the Clyde at midnight. A rare set indeed.

Noise Road @ Roadburn 2013 Day 3

Posted in Gigs, Travel with tags , , on May 12, 2013 by Noise Road

Light streams through the stainless glass window of the Dutch church, whilst Asphyx’s death metal stomps from where an altar should be. It’s the last set, of the last day, of Roadburn 2013!


Man, Northern Europe, get a sun that works. Your’s is broke. It’s the middle of spring and last night, at 0 degrees, it was too cold to sleep. Even in these times of austerity in the European Union, you would think that a functioning sun was an important piece of infrastructure.

Maybe I am to blame. I had a few stomach issues yesterday, and as such I could only get a couple of pints of Dutch beer into the system. So, while I was wearing a ski jacket, I wasn’t wearing the usual alcohol blanket.

Also, maybe it is time to invest in a sleeping bag that is NOT designed for Australian conditions. Our sun works TOO well.

On the plus side of not drinking much yesterday, I feel vaguely human this morning. It’s a big day ahead with the Ocean kicking off at 2pm and Asphyx finishing after midnight. So enough bullshit! Let’s get the bus in!

Amenra @ Roadburn 2013

Posted in Gigs, Travel with tags , , , on May 9, 2013 by Noise Road


I was fading hard when Amenra boarded the Het Patronaat stage. It was 12:30. Outside, the northern cold showed no mercy. Inside, the heat steamed the stained glass windows. I wished that I had shoved contacts into my eyes, rather than have my glasses steam up as I walked in the venue.

Amenra are Neurosis’ angrier little brother… There is no respite from their fury. No room in the steaming venue to escape.

The heads bang in unison as the building riff hits the resonant frequency of the weary crowd. Intense stuff.

Beaten raw, and drained empty by Amenra’s sonic ritual in the Het Patronaat furnace, I stumbled back to the campsite. Unbelievably, my tent is STILL standing! If we can manage a couple of hours kip in the 0 degrees of the Dutch field, tomorrow holds the Ocean, Alcest, Cult of Luna, High on Fire, Ash Borer, Godflesh and Asphyx!