Vampillia and VMO will leave your brain bruised and disoriented at Roadburn 2018

We cannot even begin to presume that we can describe Vampillia in mere writing alone and do them any kind of justice. We know words are extremely powerful and they are supposed to be able to reflect anything that we want them to, but it’s probably time to recognise some of the outer limits of language just this once. We’ll still try our damnedest, but if you’re not familiar with this wild Japanese troupe, it’s highly recommended that you go listen to them straight away.

There, did you do it? Are you okay? We get it if you need a breather. It’s not every day that you’re hit with a “brutal orchestra” of ten (or often more) people, including electronics, two drummers and a piano player, mixing classical pieces and weird pop with brutal sludge and hardcore and, and, and you know what? We give up. It’s chaos, but it’s a beautiful chaos that works only when you listen to it, it’s an alien transmission that jumbles up your senses, prevents you from making any sense when talking about it, and it makes you feel paralysed and super powerful at the same time. They’re from Osaka, where the Boredoms and Corrupted, for example, also oozed out from, so maybe check the water supply for something funny there?

There’s a reason why Ben Frost has taken on production reigns of their last album (deliciously entitled Some Nightmares Take you Aurora Rainbow Darkness), or why some of our favourite nut jobs like The Body have enlisted them for collaborations – like us, they’ve recognised there’s an untapped, uncontrollable madness at work here, and an even more mysterious force at its core giving it some kind of method.

Crazy? We’d be crazy, if we didn’t invite them to come play Roadburn. We asked them for a comment on their appearance at the festival, and we didn’t even dare touch their original reply: “Vampillia promise that feelings become the muddy stream with the sound lump which is emotional and beat you completely. The original music that we let mono and Boris and envy and Boredoms occur frequently at the same time,” we’re told. So there.

But it’s never enough, is it? What if we told you that five of these musicians thought that Vampillia wasn’t quite enough for their exploratory needs, and have decided to create another kind of wild mix? That’s what happened when they contacted Pete Swanson (ex-Yellow Swans) and electronic music composer Paul Régimbeau (aka Mondkopf) for a collaboration, and thus, VMO aka Violent Magic Orchestra was born. More than an offshoot, this intimidating mass of black metal, industrial, noise and techno feels like a whole new creature, as unpredictable and completely unhinged as Dr. Franken Vampillia before them, so we thought, why not. Our brain will be mush anyway, might as well stir that mush a bit more and get VMO to play Roadburn too.

It was worth it just for their own quote alone. “We are convinced of our music will be existence that an overwhelming visual and techno, industrial and black metal which made full use of the latest technology like to threaten babymetal by Zastur of 19-year-old girl of the new member, and it will break fence of music and art at Roadburn!” Right, right. So, we’d tell you to “prepare yourself” or some other cute paragraph-ending expression like that, but no, none of us can be prepared for these two shows.

Vampillia will rearrange our synapses at Roadburn 2018 and then VMO will stomp on the end result on Sunday, 22 April at Het Patronaat.

José Carlos Santos / December 2017

Date: April 22

Time: 22.50

Stage: Het Patronaat