Roadburn Live Sets on Bandcamp

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Generally speaking, live albums and metal don’t mix well. (The exceptions—Live Undead, No Sleep ‘Til Hammersmith, Live After Death, et cetera—prove the rule. Unleashed in the East is at least partially a studio album.) I can think of two reasons why this is the case:

-The best live rock albums usually come from bands that improvise and interpret onstage—think Allman Bros. Most metal songs are rigidly structured, so there’s no element of surprise on live albums.

-Metal is heavily, heavily contingent upon instrumental tone. The more modern-sounding or underground a metal band is, the less likely they are to have the resources necessary to capture a flattering live recording.

Burning World Records, which runs Holland’s annual Roadburn festival, recently posted a number of live Roadburn sets to their Bandcamp site. Each set is available for pay-what-you-like download, and most buck the crappy-live-album trend.

Roadburn caters mostly to druggy doom and black metal; the former runs the risk of sacrificing its requisite huge tones, while the latter is hard to execute live in the first place. Surprisingly, these high-end recordings represent both styles warmly. Unlike most metal bands, the British psych-doom band Bong really do jam, and their set breathes like few live metal recordings do. Wolves in the Throne Room, who can feel brittle even in person, hit hard here. (Perhaps they should consider bringing a bassist on tour next time, if they ever tour again.) YOB, Bongripper, and Wino sound simply enormous; turn down the lights, crank up the volume, and pretend you were there.

All eight sets are streaming below. Most are available for sale in physical form on BW’s Bandcamp site as well.

— Doug Moore

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BONGRIPPER LIVE AT ROADBURN 2012:

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WHITE HILLS LIVE AT ROADBURN 2011:

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YOB LIVE AT ROADBURN 2010:

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BONG LIVE AT ROADBURN 2010:

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WINO LIVE AT ROADBURN 2009:

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CHURCH OF MISERY LIVE AT ROADBURN 2009:

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WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM LIVE AT ROADBURN 2008:

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YEAR OF NO LIGHT LIVE AT ROADBURN 2008: