Roadburn 2012: day 3 and Afterburner

Day 3.

The main band of the day for me was, of course, Jesu. So I came to Patronaat in very good time, while Celestial Season still were finishing their set. I'm not a fan of sympho-doom metal, so I didn't regret I only listened to some final songs.

By the time Jesu hit the stage I managed to find a sitting place in the first row on the balcony. The place was very cosy indeed, in the very corner, I was really glad I found it. However, when Jesu finally started, I quickly understood while this place was free for so long time. The only thing I could clearly see was a back of a lamp just in front of me. And there was nowhere to go, as long-awaited Jesu attracted so many people that Patronaat was absolutely full. The only thing left for me was to twist myself, turn the head and try to enjoy the brief moments I could see Justin's head in a small opening.

Luckily Jesu is not the band you really must see on stage, their music is enjoyable itself. The set-list was arranged chronologically: first two songs from Jesu, then a melody from Silver, then a sound from Conqueror, and then... And then I could finally stretch myself again, stand up and leave, because I don't like Jesu's latest stuff as much as I do like their earlier pieces. Besides, Pelican was starting on the main stage.

The most remarkable thing about Pelican performing live for me is the behaviour of their guitar players. It always looks like they have some program that controls their movements -- so regular and routine are their motions. You could check and tune your stopwatch by their jumps and head bobbings. Looks kind of funny to me. Luckily, their sound is never funny, but groovy, driving and energetic, this time multiplied by the perfect sound quality and loudness of Roadburn. Even the late material that does not impress me much on records sounded powerful in the big hall of 013. Before the festival I actually thought it was a mistake to put them on the main stage. Now I see it was my mistake to think that, Pelican fully deserves the largest possible attendance.

Before I had only heard two songs by The Wounded Kings, whom I went to see after Pelican. And I liked these songs. But when I entered Green Room I was really surprised to see that the male vocalist, who did vocals on the songs I heard, is not a member any more. Instead, a girl was by the microphone. I like girls, but not in doom metal. Can't remember any doom band with female members that I like. And this band was no exception. So I only listened to two songs and left.

The compatriots of The Wounded Kings -- another electronic band Necro Deathmort I liked much more. Cool beats and good light show:

And of course intense screaming from the stage:

Even double screaming.

Very good show.

And then was time to come back to Patronaat again. Not on the balcony, right to the front lines before the stage. Luckily, since Sleep began headlining Roadburn on the main stage, Patronaat was not full, so I could look at awaited Tombs at arms length.

This fast and mighty mixture of sludge and hardcore left a very good impression. It was also very pleasant to be in the crowd, since the crowd was very active and supportive. No surprise, most of the people went to Sleep :)), so only the public that really waited for Tombs came to see them.

Tombs did not spend a lot of time selecting songs for a setlist: they simply began with the first song from the last album -- and continued to play the album in straight order. Stopped after 7 or 8 songs, becoming one more band that did not play for the whole time dedicated to them. Nevertheless, I really liked their performance and stayed at their show from the first to the last minute.

I also heard to 15 first minutes of Bongripper's set, but since they were to play at Afterburner too, I decided to call it a day and go home.

Day 4: Afterburner

Unlike previous Roadburns, at this one the number of bands I saw decreased each day: I saw 11 bands on the first day, 8 on the second, 7 on the third. On Afterburner I only saw 3 bands. And one of the bands was Yob, that I already saw two days ago. Hell, I saw Yob at Roadburn more times that I've been to Roadburn! But Yob is always good to see.

However, among these 3 bands that I saw was the one I waited for most (maybe except Ancient VVisdom) -- Bongripper, that should play "Satan Worshipping Doom" album in its entirety. "SWD" is the best album I've heard recently. Do I need to say how much I expected this particular show?

And the guys completely fulfilled my expectations. Bongripper is a unique band. All the musicians are dressed in shirts, have no visible tattoos, their beards are of normal length or absent. Still, when they start to play -- most of tattoed, haired, long-bearded players with flesh tunnels shall just step aside and listen in awe. And when their tractor-like sound is amplified by Roadburn -- this is the sludge excellence in its ultimate form!

I simply can't find right words to express all the admiration of hearing to the favourite album being performed on the main stage of Roadburn. But believe me, it is unforgettable.

Bongripper were definitely my personal headliners of Afterburner (and of the whole fest too), but the official Afterburner headliners were Coroner. They did not impress me much, and not because noone could compare with Bongripper. Maybe I also was sceptical, because I'm always sceptical to reunited bands, but in any case the Swiss thrashers did not invoke any emotions inside me. The only thing that caught my interest on the stage were effects to the band's logo in the background.

After Coroner there were more band to play, but no particular interest in any of them and the overall Roadburn tiredness made me complete the festival right then.

To summarize: for me personally this Roadburn was not so crushing as the previous two I visited, but you can never expect that the lineup will be always filled according to your preferences. Not 3 years in a row at least. Still, I saw enough good and some really great bands at this festival, so I never regretted a second that was spent there. And I'm already looking forward to the next Roadburn. After all, it is curated by Jus Oborn from Electric Wizard, and Godflesh is already in the lineup. So let there be doom!


  1. Sounds like a great time. I keep missing Pelican, and no excuse, as they're from my city. Will be sure to catch them next time. But I'm sorry to see the comment about women singers in doom though. Many of my favorites have female leads. There's got to be some you like? I just updated this piece about 'em - http://www.fastnbulbous.com/metal-sirens.htm

    1. Everybody's got his own taste and it's great. There is however one female-fronted band I like, it's Acid King, but at Roadburn 2010 their performance was a bit disappointing because of the woman's awkward behavior on the stage.