FESTIVAL PREVIEW: Damnation Festival 2019, Leeds University

Events Center, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/18/19

Damnation Festival is upon us, returning tomorrow, 2 November for that is extreme, unholy, and revolutionary in music. The festival is Sold out completely. Among the bands on the stacked bill are Opeth, Mayhem, The Vintage Caravan, Alcest, Venom Prison, Birds in Row, Dawn Ray’d, Imperial Triumphant, Lord Dying, Inter Arma, Primordial, Dragged Into Sunlight, Gaahl’s Wyrd, Gost, Voices, Blood Red Throne, Jo Quail and Carnation, and more. Continue reading

Mayhem, The Vintage Caravan, Gaahl’s Wyrd, Inter Arma, Gost and more Added to Damnation Festival 2019

A major announcement of lineup additions arrives today as Damnation Festival has added sick bands such as Mayhem, playing on the main stage with Opeth on November 2nd. They are joined by a cadre of awesome bands such as The Vintage Caravan, Gaahl’s Wyrd, Inter Arma, Gost, and Carnation. They joined the aforementioned Opeth, Primordial, Venom Prison, Blood Red Throne, Birds In Row, Jo Quail and Imperial Triumphant. More bands to be announced. Damnation takes place Saturday, November 2, at Leeds University Union and tickets are on sale now at the value price of £49 at the link below. Continue reading

GUEST POST: Black Mirrors – Top Albums Of 2018

One of the most exciting bands of 2018 has been Black Mirrors. Their summer release Look Into The Black Mirrors released via Napalm Records. The band has been kind enough to share their top albums of 2018 with Ghost Cult and our readers. Continue reading

Desertscene To Curate The Roadhouse Stage At Black Deer Festival 2019

Black Deer Festival made a smashing debut in 2018 as prime UK-based music festival for Americana and Country music. Now in addition to a strong, growing bill, Desertscene will now curate bands on the Roadhouse Stage! The first bands announced are Left Lane Cruiser, Radio Moscow, The Vintage Caravan, Asteroid, The Black Wizards, Mountains, Stubb, and Duel, with more to come soon. They join the already announced lineup of Band Of Horses, John Butler Trio, Jade Bird, The Dead South, Larkin Poe, Ryan Bingham, Fantastic Negrito, Hayseed Dixie, John Smith, Martin Harley, Watermelon Slim, Chance Mccoy, Worry Dolls, Gordie Mackeeman & His Rhythm Boys, Irish Mythen, William Crighton, and Morganway. Black Deer Fest takes place 21st – 23rd June 2019 at Eridge Park, Kent. Tickets are on sale now at the link below.

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The Vintage Caravan – Gateways

Like Earache, Nuclear Blast was initially known for their roster of heavier metal, but have widened their net in recent years to include vintage rock acts like Black Star Riders, Tax The Heat, The Night Flight Orchestra, Blues Pills and the focus of this review, The Vintage Caravan. From Iceland, they formed in 2006 and have their fourth album Gateways, which is forty-eight minutes of bluesy Hard Rock straight from the annals of the late sixties and seventies. Continue reading

Resurrection Fest 2017 Lineup Includes Rammstein, Suicidal Tendencies, Arch Enemy And More

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The 2017 Resurrection Fest will be taking from July 5th-8th in Viveiro, Spain, and the lineup is BIG. Continue reading

The 2017 Hellfest Open Air Festival Lineup Has Been Revealed

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The 2017 Hellfest Open Air Festival will be taking place from June 16th-18th in Clisson, France next year, and the final lineup has now been confirmed. Continue reading

Roadburn Festival 2016 Part II: Various Venues, Tilburg NL

neurosis 30th anniversary at roadburn

Part II

Noticing Amenra would be doing an acoustic set on Saturday, it brought nothing but confusion since they are well-known for their vigorous, powerful live performances. Acoustic? Singer Colin van Eeckhout even admitted feeling very nervous at the beginning of the set. The band was sat in a circle in the semi-darkness of the stage, only slightly illuminated by beams of light. 013’s brand new main stage felt almost obscenely big for such an intimate setting. However, once they got started, this added a vibe of disconnection from the band that almost gave you a feeling you were watching something you weren’t supposed to see. They managed to find a way to play their 2009’s acoustic EP Afterlife so timid and delicate, that the crowd seemed to be in trance and didn’t wake up until their cover of Tool’s ‘Parabol’, which earned them a deafening applause. For their second set at the Afterburner, they were back to their post-metal selves, screeching, pounding and shredding in exactly the way we know and love them. Leaving us to timidly watch the ripples forming in our beers as if a T-rex came stomping by, while the magic from the night before faded to a distant memory.

Amenra, by Susanne A. Maathuis Photography

Amenra, by Susanne A. Maathuis Photography

An unexpected highlight on the Saturday was Brothers of the Sonic Cloth. Both captivating and furiously loud, their psychedelic visuals and droning music created the perfect setting for a lot of people to hang out on the floor of the main stage and take in the wall of sound the Americans produced. For those of us feeling more awake, progressive space-rockers Astrosoniq, led by a very Rock’n’roll looking singer, gave a more fast-paced performance in the Green Room. Walter, in official terms the artistic director of Roadburn, but in reality the true heart and soul of the festival, brought out his visuals to accompany Astrosoniq’s very psychedelic guitar riffs.

 

Ghostcult Astrosoniq 47

Astroniq, by Susanne A. Maathuis Photography

Roadburn 2014 favorites The Vintage Caravan showed up for a surprise gig at café Cul de Sac on Sunday. Well, I say surprise, but 30 minutes before showtime the venue was absolutely packed with people. There is only one way to actually see a band in Cul de Sac: be hella early. So we found ourselves snuggly between 150 hot and sweaty, hungover fans with no chance of reaching the bar or the toilets in the next hour-and-a-half. But boy, was it WORTH it. The Islandic rockers tried to drill out our hangovers with their heavy bass and guitarist Oskar‘s relentless headbanging let us forget that this was our fourth day at the festival already and we were supposed to be very tired.

The greatest thing about Roadburn must be the diversity of the people you meet. Surrounded by more foreigners than native Dutch, you usually leave the festival a couple of Finnish words wiser than you were before (none of which probably as innocent as they led you to believe). However, I’m not going to lie: people watching is right up there on my list of favorite pastimes, and there really isn’t a better place for it than Roadburn. Mainly because metal shows in themselves are beacons of creative and eccentric people. And Roadburn, well, that is the holy grail of metal shows. Amidst a goldmine of glorious manes and enviously long beards, there seem to be more crust punks than usual (thank you G.I.S.M and Converge) and of course every back patch under the sun.

 

 

Neurosis, by Susanne A. Maathuis Photography

Neurosis, by Susanne A. Maathuis Photography

 

Neurosis, by Susanne A. Maathuis Photography

Neurosis, by Susanne A. Maathuis Photography

 

Neurosis, by Susanne A. Maathuis Photography

Neurosis, by Susanne A. Maathuis Photography

One of the most spotted patches this year was obviously Neurosis. You’d think that playing two ’30th Anniversary’ sets would bring about its problems. After all, having a thirty-year spanning discography to choose from can’t be easy. Remarkably enough Neurosis managed to represent each and every one of their records during their shows, right back to their 1985 hardcore punk debut Pain of Mind. It is astounding to see how much they have grown and changed over the years, before they settled into their skin of a contemporary hurricane of genres, set to a baseline of doom. When the final tones of 1999’s ‘The Doorway’ sounded at the Afterburner, it left us with nothing but goosebumps, hands sore from clapping and a profound sense that 366 days are way too many to wait until the next Roadburn.

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WORDS BY CÉLINE HUIZER

PHOTOS BY SUSANNE A. MAATHUIS

Eistnaflug Festival: Various Venues Neskaupstaður, Iceland

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In a little town on the east coast on Iceland, Eistnaflug is a small festival still barely noticed by the larger world. With names like Kvelertak, Behemoth, Enslaved, Rotting Christ, Inquisition and Carcass on the bill this year, the world is beginning to take notice. We make the long trek, passing through all of Iceland as we travel from Reykjavik on the west coast round the island perimeter all the way east. In the town of Neskaupstaður (pop. +-1000), the past 11 years Eistnaflug has been swelling with metal fans, this year by almost threefold. With the midnight sun in Iceland in July, and the festival’s average end at 2 in the morning, walking out of a dark venue into what feels like daylight is estranging. The party then rages on at various after parties and especially the camping. Usually these parties keep going until the local pool opens, which is outdoors, open early and until late and has several hot tubs, an ice tub and a sauna, next to some incredibly fun slides. It is so much part of the festival, several visitors choose not to sleep in their tents, but party until it opens, then nap in its shallow warm bath until the festival starts again at two in the afternoon.

Sólstafir, by Susanne A. Maathuis Photography

Sólstafir, by Susanne A. Maathuis Photography


Apart from the beautiful scenery and impressive party attitude, this is primarily an Icelandic music festival. Most of the Icelandic bands write their lyrics in Icelandic, and speak it on stage, which can be somewhat confusing for visitors. However the rugged beauty and isolation, desolation and cold of the landscape, yet the warmth and joy of the 350,000 population of this quirky land seeps into each bands music in such a way, that even native bands we have experienced before like
Sólstafir and The Vintage Caravan suddenly are placed into a much wealthier context. It was a very special feeling to stand in a crowd of rapt Icelanders who all sang along with Sólstafir’s masterpiece ‘Fjára.’ The Vintage Caravan show as notable, not because of its intense serene beauty and the locals singing along, but because they decided to have a surprise, appearing dressed and made up as lovely girls on stage, while being aired live on national TV. Well played lads, or, uhm, lasses?

The Vintage Caravan, by Susanne A. Maathuis Photography

The Vintage Caravan, by Susanne A. Maathuis Photography

 

The big Icelandic closers of each day are some of the biggest draws for the locals as they relate best to these acclaimed and respected bands. Dimma’s dark soulful pop-infused rock, with a sad smile, yet determined perseverance, Kontinuum’s almost new-wave soundscapes that are perfect for a drive around these beautiful lands, Ham’s funky soul rock music party that got everyone dancing topless, with their powerful “we are Ham, you are Ham!” earning cheering crowds. The big international headliners were an exciting novelty for the Icelanders, whose remote country is rarely visited by these bands. All gave excellent shows, as was expected, though Carcass and Enslaved I’ve both seen giving better performances at times. Behemoth gives an incredibly impressive and professional show, where ever little gesture is precisely thought out to support the music. Even the local police on duty, enjoyed them with the biggest grins I’ve ever seen on men in uniform. Kvelertak is known as an exhilarating live band, the immense energy they exude and the utter joy they instilled in the shouting crowd is something I’ve not seen often before. Their reputation is well founded.

Kvelertak, by Susanne A. Maathuis Photography

Kvelertak, by Susanne A. Maathuis Photography

 

Part of the incredible atmosphere of this little fest is how friendly the locals are, offering rides through the icy rain when the so called “East fjord mists” rolled in on the Friday evening, flooding the campground. The festival itself has a very merry DIY feeling, it’s amazing to feel the chaos almost tear things up, yet somehow through creativity and dedication of the organizers everything always goes well and even turns out better than expected. When the campground flooded, the Saturday to Sunday night the venue the festival used to be held at, this year serving as its “off venue” got cleared out for wet and cold campers to sleep in. Another special mention should be made of the ingenious idea to have a special early children’s program on the “pre-party” Wednesday of the festival, where until ten at night children under 16 (and many were well under) are allowed to visit the concert with their parents or guardians there.

Auðn, photo by Susanne A. Maathuis Photography

Auðn, by Susanne A. Maathuis Photography

The real gems of the festival however were the smaller mostly Icelandic bands that opened the festival days and played in the off venue. Sadly, it took me a long time to discover this second venue where the festival used to be held before, a place with a great atmosphere and built as a proper venue, not the gym hall used for the main event now. And with any festival that has as many bands as Eistnaflug on her bill, you always miss something great. I did. I missed the Icelandic black metal Wolf’s mass “Úlfsmessa”, and heard it was excellent beyond belief. This doesn’t mean I missed out on all the excellent new discoveries or acclaimed underground bands. Among these great shows were Auðn, Icelandic atmospheric black metal, with a gentility that reminds of Alcest, but a much more brutal set of pipes on the vocalist and a much gnarlier feeling in general. The groovy as hell Churchhouse Creepers. Misþyrming was also were involved with the wolf’s mass, and take black metal to a cold, grating upsetting place where it belongs, pushing and stretching it as far as it will go. The deep, slow moving LLNN form Denmark with their apocalyptic end of the world based lyrical material, rips you from reality. Britain’s acclaimed Conan almost shook the main venue out of bounds by sheer heaviness, and inspired much brotherly love between metal heads. Hardcore band Icarus, who managed to take me by surprise me by not having any of the general nuisances that turn me away from the genre as “too teen angsty” but keep the immense energy and destructive power this youthful genre is known for. Lvcifyre (UK) whose brutal and demonical mix of black and death will have your head spinning, with their impressive darkness sucking you in. And aside from all the metal, Eistnaflug also sports some interesting classic Icelandic punk bands, like Dys and the rather excellent Saktmoðigur. Of course there are always let downs. Two bands I’d heard many good things about but just failed to impress me, both Sinmara and Agent Fresco failed to live up to the buzz about them beforehand.

Icarus, by Susanne A. Maathuis Photography

Icarus, by Susanne A. Maathuis Photography

Conan, photo by Susanne A. Maathuis Photography

Conan, by Susanne A. Maathuis Photography

Behemoth, by Susanne A. Maathuis Photography

Behemoth, by Susanne A. Maathuis Photography

Enslaved, by Susanne A. Maathuis Photography

Enslaved, by Susanne A. Maathuis Photography

 

In all this I’ve barely had room to mention the silly stunts pulled and costumes worn during the festival, nor the excellent panels held in the Hildibrand hotel. Eistnaflug leaves one excited yet exhausted, and need some time to be reflected on, and being conveniently located on the world map as a stop-over between Europe and North America, all I can do is suggest you go see for yourself. It’s an experience that simply cannot be put into words.

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WORDS AND PHOTOS BY SUSANNE A. MAATHUIS