The music world continues to change along with the rest of the world as time goes on, but one fixture that has maintained its position in the community is Roadburn Festival. Held every year since 1999 in the Netherlands, it attracts artists in the heavy music community and its surroundings who are making waves thanks to going all out with their music. In that admittedly broad category falls artists ranging from Converge to Godspeed You! Black Emperor, the latter of which is an instrumental outfit crafting enveloping, engaging tides of sound — and both of which played the festival in 2018.
What follows are five bands and/or artists who played the 2018 edition of Roadburn that you need to know.
Converge: If you’re a heavy music fan who’s unfamiliar with Converge, change that. The band, comprised of Jacob Bannon, Nate Newton, Kurt Ballou, and Ben Koller, is one of the original masters of chaos. Their breakout album is widely considered to be 2001’s Jane Doe, which they played in full at the 2016 edition of Roadburn; their set featuring the album was subsequently made available for purchase and streaming as Jane Live.
At the 2018 edition of Roadburn, the band played not one but two of their albums in their entirety. On one night, they played 2004’s You Fail Me, and on a following night, they played 2017’s The Dusk In Us.
Wear Your Wounds: Wear Your Wounds is the chilled out but intense side project of Converge front man Jacob Bannon that even some Converge fans may be unfamiliar with. He’s so far released two full albums of original music under the moniker and a live album. Playing alongside him at times in the project are a number of musicians, including Mike McKensie from The Red Chord and Chris Maggio from Trap Them.
Stomach Earth: Speaking of side projects and Mike McKensie, at the 2018 installment of Roadburn, McKensie brought out his Stomach Earth project for a set, a name under which he released a self-titled album back in 2013. He played that album — packed to the brim with gripping, intensely heavy “doom” metal — in its entirety at Roadburn 2018.
Zola Jesus: Stomach Earth made an appearance at Roadburn as a part of Converge front man Jacob Bannon’s curation, and so did singer Zola Jesus, who crafts intricate, orchestral feeling compositions that are at once majestic and emotional. She has a background as an opera singer as her Spotify bio proudly relates, and she’s turned that background into a force to be reckoned with via thickly moving tunes that are definitely on the softer side of the spectrum.
Dawn Ray’d: As one last point of the Roadburn 2018 lineup that you should be aware of, England’s Dawn Ray’d definitely sticks out. The band crafts an intricate, engaging, at times folksy black metal that serves as the vehicle for the band to put out a fiercely anti-fascist message. They’re new and only have one album out so far. Called The Unlawful Assembly and released in 2017, it’s intense to say the least.
There are numerous other bands on the Roadburn 2018 lineup to know, but these five are a good starting point — as will no doubt be the case for future Roadburn lineups, too.