Metal Hammer (UK)

BETWEEN The Buried and Me and car BOMB ignite at Germany’s EUROBLAST.

THURSDAY/FRIDAY Car Bomb and Between The Buried And Me head a four-day fret party


Euroblast has become a key date in any tech-metalhead’s calendar. Currently in its 15th iteration, the festival has grown from a 250-capacity curio to hosting more than 1,500 patrons across four nights and two stages. While the festival proper doesn’t start until the Friday, a warm-up evening gets us in the proggy mood. French crew MOBIUS perform instrument­ally due to frontwoman Heli Andrea’s recent surgery, but their Middle Eastern-influenced djent still shines.

SOULSPLITT­ER are, well, batshit. With up to nine members and a palette that includes prog, spoken-word, vaudeville, folk and metal, they could make Devin Townsend look uninspired. Closing post-rock act TOUNDRA know we’re just here for the gnarly riffs, and oblige, ending Thursday in an exciting flurry.

With their melodic technical wizardry, complex time signatures and mix of clean and screamed vocals,

KADINJA could easily be perceived as a typical Euroblast act. Pleasingly, the Parisian quintet are one of the better acts on a Friday bill riddled with such bands, providing more bite than bark.

WHEEL have drawn comparison­s to Undertow-era Tool and watching their heavily percussive, mystical set it’s easy to see why. Euroblast’s second stage is packed to capacity and the songs from debut full-length Moving Backwards prove even more impactful than their recorded counterpar­ts. THE HIRSCH EFFEKT put on an incredible headline show on their home turf. The mathcore prog trio’s display of composed rage, frenetic left-turns and melodic transition­s is complement­ed with a mesmerisin­g light show. They deserve more recognitio­n on a global scale.


With their blend of Egyptian aesthetics and metalcore, SHOKRAN are an intriguing propositio­n. The elements, however, boil down to Eastern-inflected intro tapes preceding cliché-ridden metalcore. The ludicrous amount of backing track makes this a hideously sub-par and mechanical performanc­e from a band that shows little to no promise. Copenhagen’s GHOST IRIS

suffer from many of the same problems, although vocalist Jesper Vicencio Gün has enough charisma to get the crowd moving. Sub-drops are hideously hackneyed in 2019; with their overabunda­nt use, the sense of the quartet going through motions is hard to shake.

The hype surroundin­g SLEEP TOKEN

has been building rapidly and their mix of epic, ambient soundscape­s and crushing djent guitar tones is a potent collage. The masked and robed band pull all sorts of exaggerate­d movements to accentuate the songs, something that’ll either enrapture audiences or irritate them. The question is not will this band be big, but rather how big will they get. BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME play two 130-minute sets traversing their extensive back catalogue. Note-perfect, they transcend their impressive chops and connect on an emotionall­y resonant level, which gives them a humanity most of their peers lack. Some Euroblast patrons either disagree or have simply partied too hard, as their second set is noticeably quieter, but the band finish on a glorious trinity of Selkies: The Endless Obsession, Viridian and White Walls that cements their superiorit­y.


Norway’s FROSTBITT are indebted to Korn, right down to the pained vocals of Ivan Hansen. With their guitar tone stolen from Meshuggah, this could be a recipe for something interestin­g, but there aren’t enough dynamics in their songwritin­g to require more than a cursory glance. It’s hard to tear yourself away from the clusterfuc­k that is THE HAARP MACHINE, though. Former guitarist and sole remaining original member Al Mu’min takes on vocal duties tonight with disastrous results. Lacking any stage presence, he butchers the songs of this once-respected band, as the room clears to just a couple of hundred people, who stare in disbelief as Mu’min nonchalant­ly sings every note a semi-tone flat. The band become the butt of the joke for the rest of the day, as memes and impression­s of Mu’min’s singing spread across the festival site. This should be a careerendi­ng set, but one suspects Mu’min’s ego is oblivious to the derision. TIDES

FROM NEBULA bring a simple yet effective light show to their dystopian sci-fi soundscape­s, making for an emotional and visceral performanc­e with no need for backing tracks. With their synchronis­ed stage moves, sporadic blasts of keytar and squeakycle­an melodic vocals, Australia’s

VOYAGER have a cheesy sensibilit­y that fits in perfectly with their European metal brethren, and their high-energy show is undeniably entertaini­ng, with the band receiving one of the most energetic crowds of the entire festival. They do have chunky riffs to sink your teeth into, although you’ll have to have a heavy stomach for cheese in order to find the whole concoction palatable. Which just leaves New York’s CAR

BOMB to drop jaws and desecrate minds. Since Meshuggah reinvented the extreme progressiv­e metal template in the 90s, only a handful of bands have managed to develop it further. Car Bomb are one of that small handful and their latest full-length, Mordial, is their most precise and outstandin­g effort to date. Live, there’s no backing track, no click track, no bullshit. The ease with which Greg Kubacki peels out hitherto unheard sounds from his guitar is staggering. Car Bomb’s tempos pulsate and shift like an organic organism and it’s entrancing to watch. A fittingly destructiv­e end to a weekend of (mostly) technical mastery. REMFRY DEDMAN/MATT MILLS

 ??  ?? Ghost Iris: another sub-drop in three, two, one…
Ghost Iris: another sub-drop in three, two, one…
 ??  ?? Between the Buried and me: oh, the humanity car Bomb: an explosive
Between the Buried and me: oh, the humanity car Bomb: an explosive performanc­e

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