Backstage News, Front Row Pics

Roadburn 2014: Music & Metal Mecca

Roadburn 2

By Jordan Young




Wednesday, April 9, 2014, thousands of self-proclaimed misfits dressed in all black or wearing denim covered with evil-looking patches  filtered into the Netherlands from around the world, ready to partake in the unique experience that is Roadburn Fesitval. What is it exactly that sets this festival apart from others and draws such an international crowd? For starters, there’s the size and layout. Unlike the massive, outdoor, hundred thousand plus people events that come to mind when you hear the words “music festival,” Roadburn is kept intimate, staged at multiple indoor venues designed for fantastic sound and situated no more than a five-minute walk from each other in central Tilburg. Located in the south of the Netherlands, the annual festival convenes in mid-April, beginning with a small Wednesday night kick-off at Cul de Sac and closing out on Sunday, which is appropriately referred to as the “Afterburner” in deference to the festival’s roots in the stoner rock of the 90s. Attendees are guaranteed a “gezellig” ~ Dutch for cozy ~ auditory adventure. The largest venue, the Main Stage of the 013, has a 2,200 person capacity and the smallest, Stage01 ~ nicknamed the Bat Cave ~ has a mere 150 person capacity, so there are no nosebleed sections or muddy cesspools of drunken fools to contend with as you try to lose yourself to the music.

Roadburn 1Most important are the people behind the Festival: Roadburn is led by a beloved trinity ~ Walter Hoeijmakers (Promoter, Artistic director), Yvonne Maclean (Marketing, Promotion), and Jurgen van den Brand (Managing director financing, strategy) ~ and features a day curated by a different respected genre-appropriate musician each year. Past curators include Jus Osborn (Electric Wizard), Voivod, Sunn O))), Tom G Warrior (Triptykon, Celtic Frost, Hellhammer), and Neurosis. Glancing over past festival lineups will cause many a music nerd to drool, and one of the challenges each year is attempting to catch as many acts as possible and wanting to be in multiple places at once. At Roadburn, you are sure to be exposed to new music that will woo your ears first and then latch directly onto your temporal lobe.

The annual festival has such a loyal fanbase that it has been known to sell out within minutes of tickets being released. Attending Roadburn is a yearly pilgrimage for many, and the familiar faces truly are an extended family with whom to headbang, air guitar, and enthusiastically discuss all forms of metal and music.

Beastmilk 5


Thursday, April 10, marked the first day of the 19th annual Roadburn Festival, and Beastmilk were one of the major highlights. Their catchy, apocalyptic death rock leaves you no choice but to dance like no one is watching, and their hooks, delivered by Mathew McNerney’s ghostly, sexy voice, will be stuck in your head for days. To understand Beastmilk’s power, check out favorite tracks “Genocidal Crush” and “Fear Your Mind” off their album Climax. Thursday’s surprise Roadburn treat was walking into the Green Room upon a friend’s suggestion ~ these tips rarely steer you wrong at Roadburn ~ to find Freedom Hawk. It was like this band had a direct line to Black Sabbath, but not in a cover band way; they were able to put their own stamp on that cherished sound and were a great way to end the first night.

Friday, April 11, was curated by Opeth’s Mikael Åkerfeldt, and Opeth headlined the Main Stage of the 013 playing a mix of their heavier and more progressive tunes. As curator, Åkerfeldt selected bands of which he is fan, including French progressive rock, jazz-fusion band Magma from 1969, Swedish doom metal band Candlemass circa 1984, and the more recent Chilean/Swedish doom metal band ~ and another favorite performance of the weekend ~ Procession. Procession are full-on guitars-to-the-face, headbanging glory. If they play a show anywhere near you, do not miss it!

For Saturday, Tribulation seized the top spot on my favorites list, playing in the chapel-like hall, het Patronaat. They brought loud, evil, death metal played properly by corpse-painted men with long hair. What’s not to love?

Selim Lemouchi’s Enemies

Selim Lemouchi’s Enemies

The most poignant performance of the weekend took place early Sunday afternoon, when Selim Lemouchi’s Enemies (Selim Lemouchi and his Enemies) graced the stage of the 013 for an emotional in memoriam to Selim Lemouchi. His former band, The Devil’s Blood, first played the festival in 2008. Lemouchi, who possessed an incredible talent and a phenomenal presence, left us only a few weeks prior to Roadburn, and hearts were still heavy with grief.  Former The Devil’s Blood guitarists Ron van Herpen and Oeds Beydals (Death Alley) channeled healing magick through their instruments as the crowd released their tears. Lemouchi was and always will be a major part of the Roadburn family.



More extraordinary performances followed on Sunday, starting with death metal from Switzerland in the manifestation of Bölzer. Comprised of only a guitarist and drummer, the amount of sound they are able to produce is nothing short of amazing. Bölzer filled the 350 capacity Green Room completely ~ and not just with people, but with outstanding, angry noise. If you get the chance to see them, pay close attention to guitarist KzR‘s right hand and let your jaw drop; I’ll just say that he can play the strings abnormally fast and leave your mind to do the dirty work. Shockingly, KzR apologized to the crowd with “This isn’t our day,” leaving us to imagine the insanity they must create on a good day.



Headlining the Afterburner and launching their new album Melana Chasmata, Triptykon ~ a Celtic Frost side project by singer, guitarist, and main songwriter Tom Gabriel Fischer (a.k.a. Tom G Warrior) ~ buried us all with an encore-worthy performance at the 013. The sophomore album, scheduled for release the following day, was available for sale early at the festival. Lucky attendees were some of the first to listen to and experience the new songs live; one song of particular note was “Black Snow,” featuring chugging, heavy guitars and growling vocals. One of the best parts of watching their set is seeing Vanja Slajh (formerly of Swiss black metal project Freitod) attack her bass with absolute precision, all while making it look like it just comes to her naturally. To the Roadburn crowd’s delight, Triptykon played covers of Celtic Frost’s “Circle of the Tyrants” and Hellhammer’s “Messiah,” and ended fittingly with “The Prolonging,” leaving the audience beseeching Satan for more.


Roadburn 3Favorite performances from Roadburn 2014:

Selim Lemouchi’s Enemies – psychedelic rock

Triptykon – doom/death/black

Beastmilk – apocalyptic death rock

Procession – doom

Tribulation – death

BÖLZER- black/death

YOB – doom


Honorable mentions:

Samothrace – doom

Napalm Death – grindcore

Freedom Hawk – rock

Opeth – progressive metal

Candlemass – doom

Noothgrush – sludge

Obelysskh – stoner doom

Momentum – psychedelic progressive doom


All photos by and courtesy of Jordan Young

Jordan has 14+ years of music industry experience. She enjoys freelance writing and photography. Jordan co-founded and was Publisher and Web Director of Boxx Magazine from May 2012 – December 2013. She has written for Runway Magazine, Venus Zine, and Illinois Meetings + Events. Jordan can be reached at