Every year around this time, I take to various social media outlets to flagellate myself for missing out on Roadburn for another year. Seeing people’s live accounts and looking at photos is enough to drive me in a jealous rage that always is conquered annually by my fear of flying. It’s also conquered by my bank account, but one year, right?
What’s cool is, for jerks and losers like me who never make it to the annual festival, we get a slate of releases featuring bands’ performances from the legendary gathering in Tilburg, the Netherlands. Via Burning World Records, we’ve been treated to recordings of bands such as Neurosis, Elder, Wolves in the Throne Room, Nihill, Ulver, Conan, Bongripper, Windhand, Enslaved, you name it. And in case you weren’t present for the 2014 go-around, the world is being treated to vinyl versions of sets from the mighty, sadly defunct Indian and the atmospherically challenging Samothrace, a band that doesn’t get nearly enough credit for their greatness. Each collection is worth your while, especially if you like the various tentacles of doom, and you’d best hurry to get your hands on these records as they are available in extremely limited number.
Chicago’s Indian was a vicious, imposing force. You don’t always get a taste of a band’s true power by listening to a live album (and sadly, so many miss the mark these days), but you can practically taste the hatred and disgust behind Indian’s music on “Live at Roadburn XXIV.” It is scathing, furious, spits poison, and absolutely destroys you. I can only imagine the punishment the band dealt to the gatherers last year, as just listening to it on headphones was a deathly experience. You can almost envision the band’s catharsis ripping forth the six songs they serve up over 55 minutes, and there’s never a question they are monsters out for your blood. Their passing as a band is a sad one, as they were one of doom’s meanest groups of the past decade. Many of them have moved onto the reconfigured Lord Mantis, but at least we have this devastating platter to enjoy and fear for years to come.
The lineup of guitarist/vocalist Dylan O’Toole, guitarist/vocalist Will Lindsay, bassist Ron DeFries, and drummer Bill Bumgardner rip open six cuts that concentrate entirely on their final three albums—2008’s “The Sycophant,” 2011’s “Guiltless,” and 2014’s “From All Purity”—and from the opening of “The Impetus Bleeds” to their ungodly closer “Rape,” where the vocals feel like they rip through your soul, they completely own the stage. The insanity over tracks including “Banality,” “Rhetoric of No,” “Guiltless,” and “The Sycophant” that act as the oozing filling keep you crushed with their sludgy power and also mesmerized by their noise interludes that must have been captivating live. Every moment of this set is absolutely on fire, and if it’s the last we ever hear from Indian on a recording, they went out on one hell of an infernal note.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/IndianDoom
Seattle’s Samothrace have been around for nearly a decade now, and their full-length output of two full-length records—their 2008 debut “Life’s Trade” and 2012’s “Reverence to Stone”—have been revelations. They fit right along Neurosis and ISIS just fine, but they take their creations into the stratosphere and beyond, clouding your head with great melody as they also chew on your nerve endings with their transmissions and penchant for delivering graceful loud-soft compositions filled with emotional highs and lows. For their Roadburn set, they offer up the entire “Reverence” album, broken up by one song from their debut “Awkward Hearts.” It’s decidedly more laid back and less confrontational than Indian’s output, but they’ve always gone for pushing your mind rather than decimating you with bad feelings and hatred.
The band is in fine form on “Live at Roadburn 2014,” with “When We Emerged” getting a properly watery opening that spills generously moments later. After the extended first section of the song, we finally get to hear the vocals. Well, sort of. Samothrace never have put the singing very high up in the mix, instead letting it act as another element in their swirling formula. But you really have to pay close attention to hear them on the entire record, and someone new to Samothrace might not even realize there is singing at all in various sections. That’s not a criticism and merely an observation. Musically, this thing hypnotizes when the need arises but also unloads the damn lumber on the rest of this effort, including the amazing closer “A Horse of Our Own” that runs nearly 18 minutes and shows what this heavily underrated band is capable of doing. This band is awesome, and if you haven’t crossed paths with them yet, this could be a nice introduction for you.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/samothracedoom
These are two more excellent offerings that let those who haven’t been to Roadburn before, or who didn’t attend this edition, what they missed. Or, if you were there, it’s a chance to relive two killer sets that helped make Roadburn what it was in 2014. These two records give doom fans a chance to revel in different sub-levels of the genre and hear two of the best that metal had to offer at last year’s festival.
To buy the albums, go here: http://burningworldrecords.com/label/roadburn-records
For more on the festival, go here: http://www.roadburn.com/
For more on the label, go here: http://burningworldrecords.com/