With the annual edition of Desertfest Antwerp and bands like Your Highness, the stoner metal scene in Antwerp is more alive and kicking than ever! People barely had the time to recover from the start of the new year, but on the 3rd of january, quite a lot of long-haired stoners gathered at Kavka, Antwerp for the instrumentallers of Karma To Burn, the Belgian powertrio Hedonist and the fairly new Interstellar Deathroll, straight outta town!
Interstellar Deathroll (***) kicked off the evening. What started off as an experiment between four Antwerp musicians, became a stoner-doom phenomenon in the local scene. Because of the floaty, raspy vocals by the ex-singer from Bliksem, performing under the name of Joan of d’Arque, the band reminds of Windhand just a little sometimes. In their slow, doomy song called Robot, they sneak in a little piece of War Pigs, which works surprisingly well. One of the band’s strongest virtues must be The Renaissance Man‘s thunderous bass sound and skills. With only one guitar, taken care of by Darth Vaper, they manage to create a big and heavy sound.
Hedonist (***) succeeds in combining speed metal and doom metal before your eyes, and you don’t even realise or get how they do it. The hard groovin’ power trio from Genk, Limburg gave another memorable show in the city of Antwerp. Every time they play a tight, energetic set, driven by strong riffs and an outstanding feel for groove. It’s obvious that the band members themselves have a great time on stage playing their music, and they give off that vibe to the audience too. Hedonist surely is one of the pioneers of the Belgian stoner scene that I’m -not very subtly- very proud of.
What stood out about this evening, is that all the bands that played have a fairly small number of members. Karma to Burn (****) from Morgantown, West Virginia, USA, is, too, a three-piece band. But not once this evening, it felt like the bands were missing something. Surely not with the headlining group, even though this band even has one instrument less than the other bands that played. The band experimented with vocals on their self-titled album for example, but decided to go back to just instrumentals and give the tracks numbers instead of titles. They played an incredibly tight show that made the people in the front move. After their set, the humble musicians came back on stage for an encore and started back off by playing some ZZ Top. I would try to recall some of the songs they played, but it’s pretty confusing because the songs don’t have titles that stick with you! But that’s part of the magic that is Karma to Burn. Without any lyrics to speak to you or memorable titles, the music is purely about the music itself, and the music was beast! 2018 has started off in a good way!