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Roadburn Festival Live Review - The Netherlands

Live Review

Venue: Poppodium 013, Tilberg, The Netherlands

Team Prog take in the more progressive acts at this year's Roadburn Festival.

Roadburn is a mind-bending mecca for anyone fascinated by music that’s pushed to its outer limits: from trippy psych to out-there avant-garde, from bone-crushing heaviness to vanguard prog and far beyond.

The queue for Oranssi Pazuzu on Thursday snakes around the second largest of four venues, the church Het Patronaat. Once inside, we witness one of the most intense performances of the weekend: gripping, psychedelic black metal played as the band whorl their manes to the music.

Although Black Mountain take to the stage as the clock reaches 12am, there are still plenty there to lap up their 70s-style grooves. Bathed under purple lights, they provide a perfect chilled-out end to the first day.

One look at Mondo Drag’s swirling logo on the backdrop of their stage on Friday afternoon gives their style away: keyboard-heavy hallucinogenic rock, loaded with instrumentals and more than a hint of Pink Floyd.

One of the most anticipated acts at Roadburn this year, and indeed, at any Roadburn so far, is Diamanda Galás, whose performance today is entitled Death Will Come And Have Your Eyes. As Prog arrives early, we learn that the venue doors will only open in between songs. This news together with the eerie-looking stage set up – a single spotlight atop a piano – adds to the anxious anticipation as we wait to witness the woman whose multi-octave voice ranges from hauntingly beautiful to ruthlessly terrifying.

Suddenly Diamanda appears onstage swathed in black robes. She begins with a ferocious intensity; high-pitched screams run into low growls that sound as though they were birthed in the bowels of hell. It’s too much for some; after the first song, many scamper.

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