God Is An Astronaut – Epitaph

It has never felt that God Is An Astronaut have gotten nearly as much love as they deserve. County Wicklow’s favourite sons have been a mainstay of the prog and post-rock scene for the better part of 20 years, and with one of the strongest and most consistent back catalogues you’re likely to delve into, it feels like there should be just as much praise for GIAA as there is for 65daysofstatic or Sleepmakeswaves. With Epitaph (Napalm), however, it seems that we’re getting a much more personal look into the artists behind the music, as they take you on a journey of grief and its many challenges. Continue reading

GUEST POST: Simon Glacken Of I Like Press Top Ten Of 2016

Ghost Cult once again brings you another “End Of Year” list, full of memories, and other shenanigans from our favorite bands, partners, music industry peers, and other folks we respect across the world. Today we have Simon Glacken of I Like Press, one of the top publicists in the UK. If you happen to not know his name, you certainly know the bands he reps due to his tireless work such as Anathema, Paradise Lost, Katatonia, Darkthrone, 65daysofstatic, Bloodbath, Black Moth, The Pineapple Thief, My Dying Bride, TesseracT, Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard, SikTh, Mos Generator, Crippled Black Phoenix, and Cradle Of Filth to name just a few. We thank Simon for his thoughtful and detailed list of his Top Ten Albums of 2016. Continue reading

Incubate 2014: Re-Revisited

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The Tenth edition of the Incubate Festival, festival celebrated by tens of thousands in Tilburg, closed this weekend after their biggest fest ever. The Ghost Cult Team in Tilburg was at the festival and our reviews are live here on the website. We wanted to to take one more look at this ground breaking, week -long event via the lens of our photographer Susanne A. Maathuis and some of the terrific images she captured. Thanks again also goes to our correspondent Lorraine Lysen for her excellent account of the artists that mattered. Enjoy!

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Incubate Review Part I

Incubate Review Part II

Incubate Review Part III

 

Incubate Festival on Facebook

Susanne A. Maathuis Photography on Facebook

 

 

Incubate Festival- Part III: Live at Tilburg, NL

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Saturday

It’s early evening and The Midi is host to Spindrift, a band who play what can only be called ‘Psychedelic Western Cinematic Rock ‘n Roll.’ Most members of the band are, in fact, wearing cowboy hats, and the audience is having a ball dancing along to these tunes. The vocals are often used as an instrument, creating haunting melodies largely without lyrics. Kirkpatrick Thomas’ vocals are strong, and he sings very well in his falsetto range. The drums are very percussive and are occasionally supported by tambourines and some very intensely played maracas.

Projections are a very important part of Spindrift’s shows: the band is currently touring Spindrift – Ghost of the West, where they play the album that serves as the score to the film. Spindrift have done something like this before, with the 2007 film The Legend of God’s Gun, which was based on their 2002 album by the same name. One big difference between the two film projects is the substance of the films, with The Legend of God’s Gun being a homage to the band’s favourite spaghetti westerns, while Ghost of the West focuses on the past, present, and future of the west.

They played a great new song called ‘Kama Sutra Tiger Attack’.

 

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A good 20 minutes before the show and it is already getting difficult to actually enter the venue; it seems most of Incubate has come to see Wovenhand play. They start off very heavily, and the sound is close to stoner and dark psychedelic. The music is accented by percussive drumming, and features David Eugene Edwards’ characteristic vocals through a condenser microphone. After a couple of songs Edwards’ takes out his banjo for a few songs with a more country feel, before going back to his guitar.

Naturally, the focus of this show is Wovenhand’s latest album, Refractory Obdurate, which was released in April of this year. This album is much heavier in sound than the previous few, and while this means the bearded rhythm section of the band can showcase their excellence, it also meant that a few members of the audience were taken aback by the ferocity of the music.

 

As usual, Edwards puts his heart and soul into his performance, and the show is filled with a tranquil sort of energy which is quite unique to this band.

 

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If I had to summarise a show GOAT in one word it would probably be spellbinding. Luckily, I am allowed to expand upon that, and try to explain just how magical this show is to someone who was not there.

The bare bones of it are as follows:

The band consists of drums, bass, guitar, and singers, and everyone is masked and dressed in an odd assortment of robes. The two singers wear African gowns and masks with feathers, and they dance around the stage with bells, bangles, ribbons, and sticks with feathers.

There is much more to the show however, as the music is an intoxicating blend of all sorts of tribal and folk music with a much heavier psychedelic rock and stoner base. The beats inspire to move and to completely lose yourself in the music, urged on by the shamanistic outfits of the singer and the ritualistic dancing on stage. There is no better time to witness GOAT than late at night, when they fill the darkness with chanting and haunting melodies, and the audience and the singers dance until they drop, or until their ritual is completed, and their spell is released.

GOAT’s new album, Commune, has just come out this September, and is filled with this wondrous spiritual and cultural mixture.

 

 

Sunday:

Sol Invictus (De NWE Vorst) are a British neofolk band who have been playing in a variety of settings since the band’s conception in 1987 by Tony Wakeford. They play good strong emotional songs, laced with a kind of melancholy that only the British can achieve. The bass, percussion, and electric guitar are very good at lending emphasis to the lyrics. The vocals are in a small range but have a great deal of expression. They sometimes seem closer to spoken word recitation than conventional singing. The violin and flute provide the melody that the vocals lack, and the drums lend a very dramatic air to the songs.

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Sol Invuctus also play a few songs form their new album for the first time. This new album, called Once Upon a Time, is out as of 26th of September, and is in the 70s progressive and dark folk genres.

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As we settle down into our seats in the theatre of Tilburg we are welcomed by Marinke, one of the curators for Incubate, who is proud to present Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra. This is one of many incarnations of the project usually called Silver Mt. Zion, whose official band name changes every time someone joins or leaves the band.

This orchestra, which consists of two violins, a bass, a guitar, and a drummer who also plays the organ, plays a mixture of any and all genres of music, including classical, reggae, blues, and stoner. The rhythm section sets the foundation, and the guitar and violins build on it, often with a drone played by guitar or violin and melodies played on top of that with the remaining instruments. The bass does not play the drone, but is in fact very melodic and weaves through the rest of the music. The vocals are often in duets, but this band can also sing five vocal lines at once. Sometimes the female vocals are below the male vocals and this creates a pleasant kind of tension.

Silver Mt. Zion pretty much played the entire 2014 album: Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light on Everything, and the loud applauding of the audience’s standing ovation called the band back on stage for an encore, for which we were very grateful.

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God is an Astronaut is the last band playing at Incubate 2014, and their show is a great end to the week. They manage to transition seamlessly between soft and heavy sounds, have a good balance in the guitar sound, very tasteful bass licks, and a drummer capable of great subtlety in his playing. Many of the songs are framed by keyboards, and the vocals, whether clear and delicate or synthesised, are ethereal in sound and remind a lot of the vocals by Alcest’s Neige. The music very atmospheric, but occasionally has sharper edges to the riffs and a slightly more aggressive sound, which make it very danceable.

The stage presence and audience interaction are both pretty good, they don’t shy away from speaking to the crowd and the new keyboard player / guitarist Jamie Dean jumped off stage into the audience a few times to headbang and borrow someone’s sunglasses. While drumming on the live shows is usually done by Stephan Whelan, due to an infection in his leg he had to leave for home. Luckily for the band, they write and record their albums with Lloyd Hanney, who flew in to finish the rest of the tour.

 

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GIAA also played a new song, and it is much heavier in sound, more in the post-metal and even post-black direction. The new album is planned for spring next year.

 

 

Incubate on Facebook

WORDS: LORRAINE LYSEN

PHOTOS: SUSANNE A. MAATHUIS PHOTOGRAPHY

Incubate Festival- Part II: Live at Tilburg, NL

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Thursday:

This show is held in the Consouling Store, which, for the duration of Incubate, is located in a storefront off the Pieter Vreedeplein, across the road from Midi and Extase. The seats for this matinee performance are soon filled, and the rest of the audience sits on the floor or stand around.

Kiss the Anus of a Black Cat’s latest album, which came out in 2012, is called Weltuntergansstimmung, and this album marks their transition from dark folk music into a more synth heavy darkwave genre. It may seem like an insurmountable difference in genres, but the dark atmosphere and Stef Heeren’s unpolished vocals make this new sound recognisable as KTAOABC.

This is a try-out show with their new equipment, and they have quite a set-up of synths and a great many effects on the small stage. They create soundscapes by layering their synths with samples and covering them with Stef’s vocals. Due to the newness of the equipment the songs take a little time to set up, and some of the transitions were a bit more muddy than was perhaps intended, but once the sounds all come together the result is very captivating.

 

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Who knew an acoustic show could be this heavy?

The initial opinion of a King Buzzo show is likely to be ‘eccentric.’ From the King’s hair, vocal delivery, and guitar playing down to his use of the available stage, everything about him is somewhat odd and intriguing. He is also a very good storyteller, regaling the audience with tales of his favourite artist, Iggy Pop.

As the lead singer of The Melvins, acoustic is not Buzzo’s usual style, and while that may show in the delivery of a number of Melvins’ songs, his new solo work, which he wrote specifically for the acoustic guitar, are actually really intricately written and showcase just how good a guitarist Buzzo really is.

King Buzzo has put 31 years of song-writing experience into his acoustic album This Machine Kills Artists (Ipecac) and puts on a truly spectacular solo show.

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If we were planning an award for ‘best dressed band’ at Incubate, it would probably have gone to Kadavar. This Berlin-based trio, sporting long hair and beards over their button ups and waistcoats, are masters at combining the old with the new. The genre might best be described as heavy psychedelic rock, with strong clean vocals, and melodious guitar over strong bass licks over pounding drums. After their performance at Roadburn in 2013, where they promoted their new album, Abra Kadavar (Nuclear Blast), we knew this was going to be a show we didn’t want to miss, and the energy and stage presence of the band together with their super tight playing made this a show a definite crowd-pleaser.

 

Friday: 

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The projection behind the band initially shows the ocean, and even the lighting is mostly in blues and greens: The Ocean have obviously made an effort to present the band. The music builds from a calm and laid back sound with the occasional heavy accent to a hard rock or even metal sound. Clean vocals give way to grunts, and a shouting sort of singing. These developments are part of The Ocean’s sixth studio album, Pelagial (Pelagic Records/Metal Blade), which came out in 2013. The concept behind it is that the pressure keeps building as you go deeper beneath the sea. The projections are also part of Pelagial, and were shot as a movie by Craig Murray. In effect, Pelagial is a truly Wagnerian ‘Gesamtkunstwerk,’ a synthesis of different art media that work together to complete the experience.

Regardless of the artistry of the album, this band puts on a show that is undeniably good. The whole band oozes stage presence, and front man Loïc Rosetti jumps into the audience to starts a small moshpit, as well as crowd-surfing as far as the microphone cable will allow. So whether you appreciate art or just want to rock out to some great post-metal, The Ocean is definitely a band you will want to see live.

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The Midi is already pretty packed before the show even starts, so it would seem this band is very popular with the Incubate crowd, and it doesn’t take long to find out why: 65 Days of Static combine synths, drums, bass, and guitar and end up with soundscapes that are befitting of a sci-fi film. They mix rock and electronica by layering their live drums with samples and by the use of synths, and end up with a post-rock sound that occasionally touches on heavy psychedelic. From gloomy to energetic, peaceful to frightening, the variety and depth of the compositions is astounding.

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WORDS: LORRAINE LYSEN

PHOTOS: SUSANNE A. MAATHUIS PHOTOGRAPHY

Incubate Festival- Part I: Live at Tilburg, NL

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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:

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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:

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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.

 

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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:

 

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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.

 

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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.

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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

10th Edition of Incubate Comes To A Close, Biggest Fest Ever

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The Tenth edition of the Incubate Festival, festival celebrated by tens of thousands in Tilburg, closed this weekend after their biggest fest ever. The Ghost Cult Team in Tilburg was at the festival and will be bringing us a recap soon.

From The Press Release:

Interim president Entrepreneurs Fund Downtown Tilburg: “Incubate is of great value to the city”

Incubate held this year for the tenth time in Tilburg, with more than 300 artists from 28 countries, including Poland, Norway, Tanzania, Niger and Australia, and 16,000 visitors from 29 countries, including Lithuania, New Zealand, Canada and Malaysia. Tens of thousands of Tilburg also enjoyed programs in public spaces such as the ‘Lullaby’ bicycle project, which was cycled 75 bicycles decorated throughout Tilburg and performances by students at the Maastricht Theatre Academy. The organization looks back on a successful tenth edition, full of wonderful concerts, art refreshing, stimulating debate, challenging games, attractive bicycle tours, art films and guerrilla theater.

At Incubate 2014, these included Goat, Current 93, Woven Hand, Carter Tutti Void, Thee Silver Mt Zion Memorial Orchestra, 65daysofstatic and Angel Olsen. There was also an extensive free program called Incubate Zero and there were several collaborations with music organizations from Norway, Finland, Poland and Belgium.

Vincent Koreman, artistic director of Incubate:“I am especially proud of our volunteers for the Incubate camp the people of the Stadscamping have grand unpacked extra cozy to make it the first time we had games in our program also.. really worked out well. Much time and attention to this and it was clear to see, and was highly appreciated by the visitors. “

Joost Heijthuijsen, director of Incubate “The bicycle project by Luke Jerram was one of the highlights of Incubate 2014 Tens illuminated bikes through the streets of Tilburg reason yielded smiling faces everywhere, causing the entire city has been able to enjoy this fantastic project ., I could not be prouder than when I saw the television news interview about how nice they were to join. “meefietsende children

Niek van den Broek, interim president Entrepreneurs Fund Downtown Tilburg: “Incubate is of great value for the image of the city, they bring from a progressive art – and culture thought much life in the city that other organizations can not realize this makes for very.. many nice and positive surprises throughout the city. “

Photos of Incubate 2014 can be found viahttps://www.flickr.com/photos/incubatetilburg/sets/

Incubate 2015 took place from 14th to 20th September.

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Incubate is a city festival for groundbreaking culture. Driven by artistic innovation brings more than 200 cutting edge artists. Thus Incubate presents a wide program of progressive music, art, debate, film and theater. In an intimate context to an international audience. Black metal next to free folk. Refreshing art next to inspiring debate.

The tenth edition of Incubate took place from 15 to September 21, 2014 at over twenty locations in Tilburg. From the bar to church. From theater to cellar.

More information at www.incubate.org.

 

Incubate on Facebook

 

Festival Preview: An Introduction to Incubate

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The 15th of September sees the start of Incubate, an annual cultural festival held in the heart of Tilburg, The Netherlands. The entire week will be filled with exhibitions, lectures, and performances, spread throughout the entire city. The festival focuses on elements from the fringes of the city’s culture, and consequently houses many alternative bands which would not look out of place at Tilburg’s other alternative spectacle, Roadburn. Indeed, many of the bands who have performed at this and previous editions of Incubate have also played at Roadburn. I will walk you through some of the bands that will make their appearance this year.

One of the Dutch bands that will play Incubate is Dodecahedron. While they fit the genre of Black metal, they have an impressive originality with a lot of emphasis on atmospherics.

From Belgium comes the band with the interesting name: Kiss the Anus of a Black Cat. This psychedelic neo-folk band has focused heavily on dark folk in their previous albums, but their new album is very synth-heavy by comparison.

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Long Distance Calling from Germany are a progressive post-rock band who have experimented with many different sides of their music. This performance at Incubate will give them a chance to showcase their varied and melodious work.

A ‘haunted voodoo village’ in Sweden brings us Goat, a psychedelic worldbeat band which comprises of masked and costumed men and women performing energetic and original music which calls for a lot of dancing around. Goat are a stage-filling spectacle that will leave a lasting impression.

Another amazing show is expected from Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra (Godspeed You! Black Emperor). This Canadian quintet combines classical instruments with a punk-rock and post-punk style, and promise to fill the theatre with their sound.

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Probably the biggest band to grace Incubate with their presence this year is Wovenhand. This dark country band from the USA has a truly unique sound. The music combined with the deeply moving lyrics of David Eugene Edwards is truly spectacular, and with this year’s Refractory Obdurate still fresh, this is a show that mustn’t be missed.

 

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LORRAINE LYSEN