Rejoicing still in the simple fact we can have a physical Roadburn again, the final two days definitely wore on our pandemic shocked psyche and physique. Stumbling more and wearing down in a way I’m not used to, I mentioned to some friends during the weekend the Pandemic has made us all old, and 5 days on our feet now feel a lot longer. Saturday started with the feeling it felt like a Sunday, traditionally called the afterburner, because by that time you are fairly burnt out.
Arctangent Festival already has one of THE line ups for 2022 festivals, and today they announce the very final new band additions for the event, as well as move TesseracT up to main stage headliner status. The fest already features headliners Opeth, Cult of Luna, and more. For the FULL list of newly added bands and artists being announced for ATG Festival today:
After three years of waiting and longing, finally there will be an in person Roadburn Festival again. While the 2021 online edition Roadburn Redux, was in itself, innovative and the best digital festival I’ve seen set up during the dark days of the pandemic, nothing beats being physically shaken by bass heavy music and hugging friends from all over the world you only see once a year.
As we continue to live in one of the most challenging times in history, one this for certain: music lovers are relieved to have somewhat of a return to normalcy. The return of live music, especially heavy music, provides the cathartic relief we have all been looking for. After over a year of postponements, cancellations, and livestreams, it’s a relief to get to experience live music, and return to experiencing art in the best way possible – together!
Emma Ruth Rundle – Orpheus Looking Back (Sargent House)
On the back of 2021’s exceptional Engine of Hell release, melancholic song-writer extraordinaire Emma Ruth Rundle cannot resist but cast one last longing look over her shoulder at the material prepared, written, and relating to that period, which included the break-up of a significant relationship – the subject of her previous, delicate, powerful full-length.
Consisting of three songs, each different in sound and style that didn’t completely fit with the dynamic of Engine…, Orpheus Looking Back nonetheless brings beauty in its wistful minimalism. ‘Gilded Cage’ is a strummed acoustic piece, ‘Pump Organ Song’ a spontaneous creation during the recording sessions on, well, a pump organ, while ‘St. Non’ is a breathy, guitar / vocal reflection.
While the format is less immersive than the previous full-length, Orpheus… is further example of Rundle’s class as a song-writer and ability to transfer emotion to bare music.
7 / 10
Emily Jane White – Alluvion (Talitres)
Taking a fuller approach to production, singer-songwriter Emily Jane White is reflecting on loss, grief and the impact of recent events on Alluvion, her downbeat and reflective sixth album.
Coaxing a gothic beauty to the underlying synths and minimal instrumentation, there is something of a gentle electro-pop feel to tracks like ‘Show Me The War’ and ‘The Hands Above Me’, a song that introduces subtle guitar peals and swells, and a hint of folk and shoegaze – as does the cello-backed ‘I Spent The Years Frozen’. ‘Mute Swan’ mixes in a repetitive eighties synth refrain with a comforting and underplayed vocal, and the standout track ‘Heresy’ is an ominous and effective duet with Darkher, with sparse chants recalling elements of Chelsea Wolfe.
There is plenty of scope in this reflective offering, as White’s intimate and open tones sit softly over the lush arrangements of multi-instrumentalist Anton Patzner and offer not just escape but hope amongst the darkness of our current situations.
7 / 10
Eight Bells – Legacy of Ruin (Prophecy Productions)
Patience is indeed a virtue, and good things doth verily come to those who are prepared to take their time dwelling in anticipation. It may be six years (and an overhaul of the supporting cast) since the last Eight Bells release, but the progressive, introspective vehicle of Melynda Jackson (guitars, vocals) is all the better for it. The addition of Cormorant’s Matt Solis works as a perfect counterfoil, either with harsh blackened backing vocals, or when chanting in unison with Jackson’s haunting, melancholic intonations. Solis also pops up in the spaces with as some interesting meandering bass runs, working intuitively with the atmospheres that Jackson creates.
This request for patience bears out in the individual tracks, too. Opener ‘Destroyer’ walks us through hints of progressive metal, psych, sludgy tones and touches of blackened cascades, before using a sparse guitar refrain to take us home and into the doomier, eleven-minute sprawl of ‘The Well’. Dynamically as a whole, this is further played out with the mid-album conjoined dreamy pair of ‘Torpid Dreamer’ and ‘Nadir’ combining and paying off; the former dark and doomed, with the latter bringing us through a moment of reflection to peace with its integrated dual vocals, at times reminiscent of a heavier Fleet Foxes – a feeling which is continued into ‘The Crone’, before the blackened elements of the Portland natives arsenal are unleashed.
And all of this is with the hulking presence of standout track, and album closer, ‘Premonition’ still to come; a summation of all the previous parts. Tremolo refrains scythe under a merging of howls and chants, before things settle, breathe and expand into a stately, melancholic close to moody, yet welcoming album.
8 / 10
Hangman’s Chair – A Loner (Nuclear Blast)
Tags and sub-genres, when misapplied, can be quite detrimental at times to bands. Not only are they misleading and mis-set expectations but can lead to people who would embrace and celebrate an act missing out on something that would be a perfect addition to their collection. France’s Hangman’s Chair have been labelled as Stoner and / or Doom (which in itself has a couple of different applications), yet there is nothing Desert or Weed-based here, as their sixth album A Loner continues the evolution and progression of their sound, and is a gorgeously reflective album of downbeat, shimmering Downer alternative rock, laced with moments of shoegaze.
Where there is anything sludgy, it is in some of the Stephen Carpenter / Deftones style looping, rolling low-slung supporting guitar moments, such as on ‘Cold and Distant’, a track that demonstrates Hangman’s Chair have a neat line in understated chorus, too, as does ‘Second Wind’. Moreover songs such as with the aptly titled ‘Supreme’, underline a Type O Negative influence that runs throughout, building in Life of Agony melodies and moments. Cédric Toufouti deals in layered vocals and lines of harmonies to support a voice that sits perfectly floating on top of the cinematic music, at times (‘Who Wants To Die Old’) reminiscent of Kristoffer Rygg.
Atmospheric and considered, the pairing of ‘Pariah & The Plague’ – a beautiful, layered non-vocal piece of music with tinkling guitar effects and brooding electronics – and the melancholy title track sum up the strengths of this unsung album.
8 / 10
Roadburn 2022 has announced a massive wave of essential artists added to the line-up! Lingua Ignota, Emma Ruth Rundle, 40 Watt Sun, Mizmor and many more now join the festival! These bands join the previously announced acts Ulver, Sólstafir, Alcest, Backxwash, Russian Circles, artist in residence – Full of Hell and many others. Roadburn Festival will take place between April 21-24 in Tilburg, The Netherlands. Tickets for Roadburn 2022 are on sale now. Friday and Saturday day tickets are sold out. Thursday and Sunday day tickets, 3-day and 4-day tickets remain in limited numbers.
Purchase and Stream all the New Music released today
Emma Ruth Rundle seems to have become an artist with a licence to shift around stylistically as much as she wants while still maintaining, and continuing to build, her devoted fanbase. Last year’s revered collaboration with Thou — May Our Chambers Be Full (Sacred Bones) was dense, heavy, aggressive and complex. Whilst everything Rundle turns her hand to shares a certain delicate and fragile emotional openness, Engine Of Hell (Sargent House) in most other senses explores the opposite end of the Emma Ruth Rundle sonic spectrum.
Curated by Ivar Bjørnson of Enslaved, has booked its final bands for the 2022 festival! The fully immersive music, art, and wilderness festival will take place July 22-24 at Heart Six Ranch in the Teton Wilderness of Wyoming. Joining the bill are:
Dark Folk and Americana artist Emma Ruth Rundle has shared a new single, “Return,” her first new music from her forthcoming sixth solo album Engine of Hell. The album is due for release November 5th 2021, via her longtime label Sargent House. This will be her first new music since her last full-length, 2018’s amazing On Dark Horses (Sargent House), aside from her recent collaborative releases with Thou. Rundle has commented on social media recently that this album is just her as a solo act, no band with sparse instrumentation. More details for the album to follow, but in the meantime check out “Return.”