Celebrating 10 years of signing artists who push the envelope of what is possible within the realm of heavy music and beyond, dark and experimental label The Flenser will showcase multiple artists at next year’s Roadburn Festival in April. Artists from the label will include Giles Corey (with full band), Midwife, Drowse, Elizabeth Colour Wheel, and Mamaleek.

The festival that takes place in Tilburg, Netherlands creates an intimate and boutique-style setting that is designed to be an immersive experience, with great attention to detail. Roadburn puts emphasis on highlighting noise-defining artists who create unrestricted and genre-blurring forms of heavy music. Roadburn couldn’t be a more perfect marriage for the San Francisco-based label to showcase some eclectic pieces from their current roster. 

The Flenser label manager Jonathan Tuite comments: “Roadburn is my absolute favorite festival in the world. The lineup is always diverse, the audience enthusiastic, and the curation is second-to-none. I can’t think of a more appropriate place for The Flenser to celebrate our ten years of existence.”

The year 2020 will mark the 10th anniversary of the label’s first release, Palace of Worms’ The Forgotten. Since then, The Flenser has grown into a fully functioning operation that houses some of the most intriguing and limitless translation of thought to sound in “heavy” music.

Listen to The Flenser artists here.

Roadburn tickets are available here.

For over 10 years, Dan Barrett has been cementing his role as a visionary in dark music history. Perhaps none of this work has resonated with more intimacy than Giles Corey, his acoustic guitar-led, ghost-noise-soaked, songwriting vessel.

While on paper an acoustic led-project sounds like a potentially low-key affair, Giles Corey is bursting with electric energy—recordings are awash in swirling organs, reverberating choirs, striking horns, and blown-out drums. While Giles Corey has performed as a solo-act, Roadburn 2020 will mark the project’s first appearance as a full band. Members of Have a Nice Life, including central figure Tim Macuga, will help bring the album’s haunted sounds to life. Expect the stage and audience to be left in a scorched earth state of desolation.

Read more about Giles Corey here.

“Otherworldly” is a description often applied to artists that evoke the ethereal, and while that is occasionally applicable to Elizabeth Colour Wheel, the otherworldliness they invoke is more to do with the fact that it’s not always clear if they really inhabit the same world as we do. Their debut album, Nocebo, laughs in the face of genre descriptors, forging a new path that may be tricky to describe but that offers a wildly enticing prospect.

Read more about Elizabeth Colour Wheel here.

Drowse is an outlet for Kyle Bates to explore his place in the world; his music echoes what he experiences on the varied paths of this internal-reflection. Sometimes those paths lead to extraordinary places—this year’s Light Mirror LP was inspired by an isolated trip to northern Iceland, where he took up an artistic residency in 2018.

The melancholic results are the sonic equivalent of a sliver of sunlight permeating an otherwise bleak and drizzly morning. The weight of Bates’ reflections are mighty, but they never quite succeed in suffocating the shards of harmonious hope that glint in the winter sun.

Read more about Drowse here.

Mamaleek have been unearthing truly un-categorizable sounds from the catacombs of black metal since 2008. Founded by two anonymous brothers, the Bay Area project has become known for both its wild experimentation and aesthetic cohesion.

The use of left-field samples threads their discography together with sound sources growing more bizarre with each release.  The current lineup mixes childhood friends and total strangers. Their participation is an outgrowth of the core duo, an experiment in a live setting using instruments and sounds that highlight experimentation and flout genre conventions. Who knows how long this iteration will last before the next metamorphosis.

Read more about Mamaleek here.

As a multi-instrumentalist, Madeline Johnson, aka Midwife, has sculpted a fuzzy take on experimental dream-pop drenched in melody and punctuated with distortion. Despite a central theme of “devastation,” Midwife makes for nuanced and evocative easy listening that can’t help but feel like something of an audio honey trap. We’ll have to wait until April to find out exactly what lurks beneath the surface…

Read more about Midwife here.

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