Necrolust: Roadburn’s Finest


roadburn 2014I got back from Europe a couple of weeks ago, and it’s taken me ‘til now to get all caught up on the soul-crushing ugliness that is real life. I was overseas for various reasons, chief of which was my yearly pilgrimage to the Netherlands for the almighty Roadburn Festival. Noisey just posted a neat little mini-doc about the festival and its creator, Walter (aka The Nicest Guy in the World) which gives a pretty good idea of what happens there. The lineup was as insane as ever and the whole weekend was absolutely stuffed to the gills with quality music, good beer, and special moments (like watching Primordial’s Alan Averill do guest vocals for Candlemass!). There were dozens of incredible bands playing, some of whom I’ve been lucky enough to see multiple times, but the following four were especially memorable.


The last time I saw Noothgrush was at MDF a year or two back, so I already knew they were going to be great at Roadburn. I wasn’t ready for just how great, though! Oakland’s DIY-bred harbingers of doom seemed caught off-guard by the 013’s massive main stage, but persevered, and fucking delivered. The video doesn’t do justice to just how fucking HEAVY those songs felt live; you could feel ‘em in your bones, rearranging your guts. Dino’s acidic howl was in fine form even as he eyed the sizable crowd with a hint of trepidation. We were more afraid of him than he was of us, though. I staked out a spot on the side of the stage so I could marvel at the sheer power and physicality of Chiyo Nukaga’s drumming, and let the hateful, howling waves of sludge wash over me.


I happened upon these lunatics by chance. A few friends with good taste had insisted that I make sure to check out Terra Tenebrosa’s set at Het Patronaat, so I dutifully elbowed my way inside the church and wriggled up to the front to see what all the fuss was about. Holy shit. The sights and sounds that greeted me were nothing short of nightmarish as this Swedish collective churned out hellish waves of black metal, doom, and screaming noise while clad in robes and freakish prosthetic makeup. They sound even better on record, but that live performance gave me chills.


By now it’s no secret that Bölzer is amazing, but now that I’ve seen them for myself, I’m even more impressed with this Swiss death metal duo. Their set at Roadburn’s Sunday Afterburner sounded fucking HUGE – it’s mad to think that two people can conjure up that kind of sound, and yet, they did. Bathed in blue lights and blessed with impeccable sound, Bölzer rampaged through cuts from their slim discography – and yes, “Entranced by Wolfshook” sounded amazing. I can’t wait to see them again at MDF!


Joe Buck Yourself may be best known for his work alongside Hank Williams III in Assjack and as part of ol’ Shelton’s “Damn Band” but he’s a killer musician in his own right. As one might expect, his tunes carry a certain cockeyed hellbilly charm (and he looks a bit like a bleach-haired Sid Vicious with a lot more wrinkles). His sound is all bluesy, boozy rock’n’roll meets old-school country, and I was delighted to stumble across him at the Little Devil bar after Roadburn’s smoke had cleared. Dutch punks with lame patches and longhairs in leather danced around like loons in front of the stage as Joe hunched over his acoustic singing ‘bout death and Satan in a raspy twang and looking up every few moments to flash a gap-toothed grin. He was clearly having a ball, and so were we. Catch a glimpse of him in this Afterburner highlights reel at 0:58!

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