Incubate Festival- Part I: Live at Tilburg, NL

Incubate-2014

Incubate Festival has come and gone and what remains is a legacy of being the most successful event in its history. The organizers reported that an impressive 16,000 fans from 29 countries visited Tiburg for the week in mid-September, recalling that with musical acts, featured films, comedy and other attractions, has a little something for everyone. Ghost Cult’s Dutch crew was on hand for the review of the musical acts of interest to our followers.

Monday:

Nadja - Copy

Nadja is an ambient/drone project from Canada by Aiden Baker and Leah Buckareff. They played in

The Paradox, which is very dark, but also very full. The crowd is also very silent, however, as Nadja features in a very special project from The Consouling store: They record Nadja’s show on Monday the 15th, and produce the album during the week, ready on vinyl and cd for the pre-sale on the 20th and 21st. Making a record in only five days is an amazing achievement, and gives the Incubate audience a chance to look at exactly what goes into the making of a record.

It is probably due to this amazing project that this is not a show with much audience interaction, but more of a demonstration of soundscaping. It is with deep concentration that Baker and Buckareff play their distortion driven guitar and bass over programmed synth and drums. Clean vocals alternate with guitar for the melody and drone, and the result is very dark and atmospheric. They even use bows on their bass and guitar as if they were playing cello’s, and the haunting sounds of Nadja combined with the ambitiousness of the project they are involved in make for a truly chilling experience.

 

Kerretta - Copy

Kerretta hails from New Zealand and plays instrumental post-rock. The Extase is quite crowded and it’s already hot and steamy before the band takes to the stage. The trio play a very strong set, in a genre very close to heavy prog. The songs are instrumental but you don’t miss the vocals, because the mid to high range, where the vocals usually reside, are already filed by very melodious guitar and bass lines. In fact, the bass especially supplies lines that could have belonged to vocals. One of the reasons this three-piece band fill up the full range of sound is the amount of pedals they have, which, rather than building a massive wall of sound, provide a great mixture light and heavy sound.

The musicians themselves are obviously very passionate, and the crowd is well pleased with the performance. Their latest album, Pirohia, came out just this month, and if their live performance is at all indicative of this album, it is bound to be good.

 

moon duo - Copy

 

 

Moon Duo was formed in 2009 by Ripley Johnson, guitarist for Wooden Shijps, and Sanae Yamada. They play a mixture of rock and psychedelic which can be described as space-rock, or perhaps repeat-o-rock. However you want to label it, the repetitive riffs are soothing to the ear and easy to move to, especially with the occasional stoner touches to the music. The Midi is very dark, which means that the projections pull a lot of attention. It’s pretty busy in there, and the crowd is spacing out. This show was a very relaxing end to my first day of Incubate, providing the audience a chance to unwind and enjoy the repetitive riffs and projections in the near darkness.

 

 

Tuesday:

long distance calling 2

While many port-rock bands inspire to move and dance, Long Distance Calling inspires to dream. Elemental in this is the clean lead guitar, sometimes even played with a slide. The sound ranges from atmospheric to heavy progressive, as well as having a few breaks in which the drum and bass play a central role. They sound a bit like a cross between Anathema and Alcest, so if you enjoy both those bands you’re likely to enjoy them.

 

long distance calling 4

Although they had already worked with guest vocalists on their previous albums, they’ve been adding more vocals of their own on their latest album The Flood Inside, as well as a guest performances, and the band has therefore been reinforced by Martin “Marsen” Fischer, who does keyboards and vocals. His clear voice reminds me of Poets of the Fall, and takes on the dreamy quality which in other songs belongs to the guitar.

Long Distance Calling are planning a new album for next year.

 

Wednesday:

 

dodecahedron 7

Even before the first note sounds this show is spectacular to the multitude of fans gathered in the Midi theatre. This is due to the fact that Dodecahedron, whose self-titled debut album came out in 2012, don’t play live very often; in fact, I’ve been told this was their second live show.

 

It doesn’t take long to enthuse the rest of the audience: Dodecahedron have very good theatricals, and a very impressive and original black metal sound. The show has a lot of smoke and four of the five band members are wearing cowls. The vocalist even has a facemask under his cowl, to further his undefinable persona. The music is heavy and idiosyncratic, and the guitars are often flirting with dissonance. The vocals are bestial, and fit in well with the overall heaviness of the music. There is a lot of nuance in the drumming, which helps set this band out from their peers. The music is at times lethargic, which is supported by the somewhat minimalistic lighting, but features some surprisingly progressive breaks.

In short, Dodecahedron manage to squeeze every ungodly wave of sound out of their instruments, and even include 3-person chanting. They have a decent amount of heavy prog riffs and some downright brutal sections among their high quality black metal.

 

Svart Crown 6

The Extase may be a small venue, but the energy and stage presence of Svart Crown is anything but small and they play with the gusto of a band headlining a large festival. They have a lot of audience interaction, which resonated well with the crowd. Much of the audience was enjoying a good head-banging party.

Svart crown is a French band that started in 2005. Because their sound is a mixture of black and death metal, the pace of the music is faster than most black metal. The songs are very energetic and powerful, and the band do a very good job of transposing the pace of their music to the show itself, with very little waiting or banter in between. This seemed to go down very well with the audience, and on the whole, this band gave of a very positive vibe.

 Incubate_Metal2014

Since this is Krallice’s first time touring Europe, the expectations are high, and the fans are plentiful. Although advertised as progressive black metal band, Krallice has a lot more sludge to its sound than that moniker would suggest. They have some very good melodies in the calmer sections, which are indeed more to the progressive end of the scale. However, I have to admit that their music does not charm me, despite my love for prog and black metal. The main reason for this is the drums. I have a long-standing distrust of blast-beats, because if they are not exactly at the start of the count, they sound as if the drummer is too slow. Unfortunately for me, this drummer seems to try to place his blast-beats as far behind the beat as he possibly can. Luckily, while it may not be the band for me, there are a lot of fans who have less trouble with this musical aspect, and while I vacated my spot for some other audience members, I could clearly see the massive grins of people who had waited a long time to see their idols play.

The Extase is jampacked for Ggu:ll, a Hypnotic Droning Doom band from Tilburg itself. It is evident, however, that this band doesn’t just pull crowds by being local: They have one of the heaviest sounds I’ve heard so far at Incubate. A few of the adjectives that spring to mind are ear-splitting, bone-grinding, and chest-vibrating. The growls are heavy, and so is everything else! However, the band doesn’t focus solely on sounding heavy, their guitar sound fills the mid range very well, and there are no gaps in the veritable wall of sound that assaults you with music that, despite its obvious gloom, manages to put a smile on everyone’s face.

 

 

WORDS: LORRAINE LYSEN

PHOTOS: SUSANNE MAATHUIS