February 14, 2018

It’s like starting a marathon with a mad dash at top speed screaming at the top of your voice, until you pass out: highly ill-advised and certainly a little unhealthy, but tremendously fun and a rush you’ll never forget! That’s right, our traditional Hardrock Hideout at the Cul de Sac, is the over-the-top, high-octane welcome that all Roadburners anticipate fervently.

By now everyone has learned to pick themselves up after that bonkers initial speed burst and run the ThursdaySunday marathon like champs anyway. It’s a tradition we have all learned to love and cherish, and one that will continue, stronger than ever, building on all those crazy April Wednesday nights we have lived in Tilburg in the past.

This year, also keeping with Hardrock Hideout tradition, we have once again looked down south for where fists were raised highest, and in collaboration with Babylon Doom Cult Records, we have three of Belgium‘s loudest, rowdiest and most turbulent bands warming up the Cul de Sac to fires-of-hell level.

From the unashamedly old-school speed metal energy of Bütcher and Speed Queen, to the brutal impact of Witch Trail‘s genre-crossing darkness (that Roadburn repeat visitors should remember from the 2016 edition); 2018‘s Hardrock Hideout is both a celebration and the best preparation possible for the days ahead.

Nobody escapes the unmanned charging train that is Antwerp‘s Bütcher. 1985 may have called because it wants its speed metal back, but fuck it (actually, “fukk” it is more precise), we’re not returning them! We’re keeping them here to reminds us of a time when all that mattered was raising horns, headbanging along to fast shredding riffs and screaming lyrics about the devil and metal, with way too many ‘k’s and umlauts for regular people to know what to do with. From their anthem Speed Metal Attakk: “The stage is set, it will get wrecked / So bang your head or you’ll be dead / Show the devil’s sign and scream / Let the attakk begin!” Enough said!

No wait! There’s more to be said! Or screamed out loud, also, in this case. Speed Queen don’t play around. They describe themselves as “We’re Speed Queen and we play heavy fucking metal!”, their “influences” are exactly the Iron Maidens, Motörheads, W.A.S.P.s, Scorpions and Riots you’d expect, there are zero frills and the exact same number of fucks given too. Just keep the beer coming, the heads banging and the guitars squealing, and we’ll be fine. And again, they also come with an instruction manual in case of misunderstandings. From their anthem Stay Drunk: “Speed Queen is playing tonight / They’re hammered as fuck, but still looking tight / The crowd is going crazy and wild / They know what to do, they stay drunk!” Any questions?

Antwerp‘s Witch Trail are the more varied of our Hardrock Hideout wild bunch, but don’t expect roses – they’re just as chaotic and brutally urgent as anyone you might think of, they just do it while mercilessly visiting several of the scariest sub-genres. A punk-like barebones three-piece, they might punish you with a burst of black metal savagery as much as grinding you down with an unbearably heavy doom crunch. In the end, you’ll just feel like a raw wound, rubbed and scratched beyond recognition. There are no anthems or lyrics to scream along here – there’s just darkness and pain.

On Wednesday, April 18, from 8.30pm onwards, at the Cul de Sac (free entry!), we will thrash until we crash at Roadburn‘s Hardrock Hideout! Grab a beer, raise your fist and join us!

José Carlos Santos