By Ann Sulaiman
Things on my bucket list, number 2400 – 2403:
– Finish my first comic
– Explore Norway
– Go to the Roadburn Festival in the Netherlands
– Buy a winged horse and name it Fluttershy
“My, Ann, what an odd list!”
”The festival! What is this – ‘Roadburn’? Why would you want to attend a Dutch biker convention?”
First of all, it’s a heavy metal festival, not a biker convention. Now before you walk out on me, because I threw the words ‘heavy metal’ out there, let me explain my eagerness to go:
For one, word on the street is that Roadburn has its own cult following, and with good reason, if you love doom metal and its subgenres.
The deep, low roars of funeral doom, the rock ‘n’ roll moves of traditional doom (for the record, see old-school Black Sabbath and Pentagram), the staggering crush of death doom (namely disEmbowelment and Hooded Menace) – hell, even stoner doom which draws on the rhythms of stoner rock for its down tuned psychedelia. (If you like stoner rock, that is, but I digress.)
In short, the chance to catch quality doom metal, live, in one spot sounds damn tasty to me.
Secondly, it’s been said that the lure of Roadburn is so great, that bands seem to reunite just to play it.
The aforementioned disEmbowelment, who are considered pioneers of the death doom sound, came back together after nineteen years to play Roadburn 2012; before swiftly returning to obscurity.
But Roadburn’s also a pull for bands just striking out, with young acts keen to make it over to the festival.
Case in point, Rhode Island upstarts Pilgrim performed their own, fresh take on old school metal, while fellow Americans Castle played a dirtier, smokier brand of heavy rock the same day.
Then England’s own traditional doom outfit Witchsorrow took the show at the Green Room stage on the Friday afterward.
What these three bands have in common, aside from a genuine quality and spirit behind the music they play, is that they’re all newcomers seeking to make a name for themselves in the doom genre, let alone heavy metal. So what better place to do this than a place where they can also rub heads with the likes of other, more established bands such as Electric Wizard or Sigh?
And if that’s not enough, my next point should further clarify my eagerness to get to Roadburn someday.
Apparently, some artists on the Roadburn bill dedicate their festival setlist to playing whole albums from their back catalogues.
For instance, doom metal legends Candlemass played their first album, ‘Epicus Doomicus Metallicus’ at the festival in 2011, while Canadian thrash legends Voivod Did the same for ‘Dimension Hatröss’ the following year.
Roadburn 2013 saw industrial metal heavyweights Godflesh, who – since getting back together some time ago – treated their fans to a full play of their third LP, ‘Pure’.
I have no idea who’s going to be playing at Roadburn 2014, but this premise is a music lover’s dream.
I’m still kicking myself for not finding out about Roadburn until last year. So come on, bucket list, make it happen. Let me go to the Roadburn Festival at least thrice (yes, thrice, since it sounds too good to only be experienced once in my lifetime).
Then you can get me a horse named Fluttershy.
Ann Sulaiman is Birmingham Review’s resident metal head, and author of Me(n)tal Meltdown.
Read more from Ann Sulaiman at http://metalmelt.wordpress.com