Musical Roadmaps For San Miguel Primavera Sound

The road to bad vibes

The third musical roadmap for this year's Primavera Sound, as recommended by PlayGround. This time the leitmotiv is the extreme, noisy, metallic and pagan part of the bill; something we've called 'bad vibes', featuring heavy metal, hardcore and slowcore.

Though the controversial hashtag #bandasjevisPS12 (Spanish for #metalbandsPS12) has been growing (even becoming a Spanish trending topic), when the San Miguel Primavera Sound added Mayhem, Napalm Death, Wolves In The Throne Room, Sleep, Liturgy, Orthodox, Melvins and Harvey Milk to the bill last December, many unconditional fans of the event raised every eyebrow they could find on them. Because even though the festival has always featured metal bands ( Jesu, Sunn O))), Melvins), this year's line-up is by far the most extreme they've ever done in that regards. In other words; this time it makes sense to get the full festival pass, even if you couldn't care less about the latest indie flavour of the week. Here's a selection of names you shouldn't miss if you like your guitars titanic, your drumrolls infinite and your vocals guttural. Because it's not all happy happy birthday clappy in spring.

1. Mudhoney

Thursday, 31st May. ATP Stage. 22:00h.

Oddly enough, they've always been in the small print of grunge. However, that hasn't stopped the Seattle band from setting fire to stages around the world with their raging songs. They return to San Miguel Primavera Sound to dust off an album they recorded in the mid-90s with Kim Salmon, from The Scientist. High voltage guitars and a lot of wisdom guaranteed.

2. Refused

Thursday, 31st May. Ray-Ban Stage. 00:30h.

Primavera Sound has always been alert when it comes to booking the most important reunited bands of the season. One of them is, without a doubt, Refused. Capital figures of Swedish hardcore punk, with an iron fistful of politically well-defined albums under their belt, the boys from Umeå disbanded in 1998 because of differences of opinions and all-round tiredness. We suppose that the 14 years of silence have been more than sufficient to recharge and come back harder than ever.

3. Sleep

Thursday, 31st May, ATP Stage. 1:00h

Though last year Al Cisneros played at the festival with Om, his return at the helm of Sleep is an absolute must-see. Disbanded at the end of the 90s, the band reappeared in 2009 to remind us about their head honcho status in matters of stoner rock. During what will be one of the few concerts they're doing this year, they'll play tunes from such seminal albums as “Sleep's Holy Mountain” and “Dopesmoker”, a doomed album that has been reissued this year. Lovers of narcotic abrasion, this one's for you.

4. Wolves In The Throne Room

Thursday, 31st May. ATP Stage. 02:30h.

There are band names that say it all, and Wolves In The Throne Room couldn't be more descriptive. The Olympia band are icons of American post-black metal, especially thanks to works like the cutting edge “Celestial Lineage”. Rejecting the definable aesthetic many of their precursors use, their songs go deep into noise and experimentation, with references to Nordic metal, doom and dark ambient folk.

5. Liturgy

Friday, 1st June, Vice Stage. 21:45h

Emerging from Brooklyn at the end of the last decade, Liturgy achieved something that seemed unlikely: they brought black metal to the hipsters. Both that and the pompous dialectics of their leader, Hunter Hunt-Hendrix, have landed them an army of haters in the most sectarian parts of the scene. Records like “Aesthetica” (2011), however, should serve to redeem all of their “sins” (also take note of another characteristic: they play at metal festivals dressed in jeans and casual T-shirts). After all, the fact that they're the first metal band to sign with such a revered label as Thrill Jockey can't be a coincidence.

6. Napalm Death

Friday, 1st June, Vice Stage. 23:00h

Napalm Death are, without a doubt, one of the jewels in the crown of the extreme rock line-up of this year's Primavera Sound. Because, apart from being the daddies of grindcore, their recent “Utilitarian” confirmed they're still in top shape, after more than 30 years on the, er, grind. A career during which, in spite of the infinite mutations the line-up has suffered, their devastating live show has always been one of the most ferocious musical experiences one can face. And stay alert at the moments of silence, because they might just play the shortest song in history: the three-second long You Suffer”.

7. Mayhem

Friday, 1st June. Vice Stage. 00:15h.

Their history is enough for three volumes of bad vibes. The coming and going of band members, the suicide of their lead vocalist Dead (eternalised on the sleeve of “Dawn Of The Black Hearts”) and the murder of Euronymous by Varg Vikernes are all part of the encyclopaedia of Norwegian black metal. Prepare yourself for a feast of impaled pig heads and streams of blood. It will be extreme.

8. Codeine

Friday, 1st June. ATP Stage. 00:45h.

Formed at the end of the 80s, in their short-lived career (they only released two albums, “Frigid Stars” and “The Witch Birch”), New York trio Codeine laid the foundations of slowcore and sadcore, always highly experimental. Their music was extremely slow, like the band name would suggest, and aggressive. In 1994, the band members started other projects, and it wasn't until Mogwai called them for a reunion for I’ll Be Your Mirror that we heard from them again. Their gig at Primavera Sound is another key date in their reunion tour.

9. Lisabö

Saturday, 2nd June. Ray-Ban Stage. 19:20h.

The Irún band are at their peak right now. With almost a decade of playing great hardcore with a txapela on, thanks to their latest album “Animalia Lotsatuen Putzua”, they have managed to expand their sound more than ever, in 45 minutes of emotion and guitar stabs. The concert promises to be extremely heart-felt, apart from being a golden opportunity to get to know the most important representatives of the Basque scene.

10. OFF!

Saturday, 2nd June. Vice Stage. 22:55h.

OFF! are an LA super-group formed at the end of 2009 by Keith Morris (Black Flag), Dimitri Coats (Burning Brides), Steven Shane McDonald (Redd Kross) and Mario Rubalcaba (Hot Snakes). This winning combination couldn't produce anything else but wild energy, merciless and with plenty of bile. Their songs are hardcore punk flashes that most of the time don't cross the one-minute mark. An essential gig for the headbangers.

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