Now that we’re four days in, this should theoretically require little preamble, but I’m a wordy bastard. Roadburn begins in just over a week and with five stages and five days (the pre-party counts, naturally) there’s a lot of ground to cover. Who should you see? What does that one unfamiliar band sound like? Black Metal & Brews is here to help, albeit with a strong personal bias. If you’ve been reading for any amount of time, you know where my sonic allegiance lies and you know it’s always going to be with bands pushing things forward in new and challenging ways. While Roadburn is a festival with a legacy built on that exact notion, it’s still nice to have a guide highlighting some of the acts that are slightly less prominent, no? No love lost towards main stage giants like Wolves in the Throne Room, but we’re digging up gold today with another two recommendations.
Pick Four: Dälek
As far as new experiences go, Roadburn is certainly the place for it. Still, this is a first for even Roadburn. There’s never been a hip-hop performance at Roadburn prior to the 2017 edition, although there are few artists like Dälek in this world. They’re a highly energetic and commanding live band and their new album, Asphalt for Eden, is as emotionally jarring as it is imaginative and game-changing, even for a band that’s been pushing the envelope as long as they have, with noisy electronics and passionately crafted lines transcending genre and blurring into pure feeling. This is a strong departure from the guitar-driven and psychedelic music that many Roadburn attendees crave and thrive on, but isn’t a good shaking up and waking up exactly what we all crave from our music? Those wanting a comfortable, familiar, or safe experience don’t go to a festival of this nature, which is exactly why those who’ve never picked up a hip-hop record or seen an act of this nature should stop in and catch this set. What do you have to lose other than five minutes of your time? They’ll be in the gorgeous Het Patronaat venue on Friday, April 21st, from 9:20 to 10:20PM, overlapping partially with sets by Suma and The Devil & the Almighty Blues.
Discovery Four: Zaum
This is a real trip, in more ways than one. Psychedelic doom duo Zaum may hail from Canada, but their music is culled right out of tales of voyages to far-off lands of mystery and enchantment. With sounds and art that call upon places and cultures forgotten by time, Zaum’s a more complete package as a two-piece than some bands could conjure with a small orchestra. Often, music like this can fall off the spectrum of hypnotic and into tired repetition, yet on songs like “The Enlightenment,” Zaum remains fresh and focused, invigorating vast expanses of the imagination with pulsing sound that touches into something deep and unnameable. It’s hard to describe, but it’s easy to feel. Catch Zaum at Cul de Sac on Friday, April 21st, from 12:50 to 1:50AM, winding the night down. They overlap partially with sets from Harsh Toke, Integrity, and Auðn, and are entirely eclipsed by Perturbator’s lengthy set, but this is well worth at least a few minutes of your late night experience. Get carried off into something unknown before wandering out into the night.