Third time lucky, or so they say. It certainly was for this particular evening of Black Metal which was originally set to take place in October 2020, postponed until May 2021 and finally took place twenty months later. Still, it was more than worth the wait.
A Forest of Stars, Wolvencrown, Cistvaen, Adder
Underground, Plymouth – 28 May 2022
Words: Jools Green
Photography: Keith Conlin
Even more impressive was that Nytys Promotions managed to keep three of the four original bands in the line-up, the only change being Warwickshire’s Adder stepping up to fill the opening slot, and I can’t think of a better band for the job.
It’s the third occasion that I’ve seen Adder live, and every time they have impressed and delivered. So it was good to see a decent early turnout for this relatively new band, whose set consisted of their MMXIX demo in its entirety, from which, From Pillars To Ashes, always sends a chill down my spine.
Violet Shards is just a movingly sublime slice of Black Metal, along with their most recent single Knelt Upon Wreaths of Garnet, all delivered with precision, along with a powerfully dramatic and engaging performance from vocalist Damien, who I caught up with briefly after their set and informed me that they are also working on a full length. Exciting news, so watch this space! facebook.com/adderbanduk/
You wouldn’t believe “fate” could mess with this event more than has already happened over the last couple of years, but it did, firstly with Devon’s own, Cistvaen, whose EP Under The Silent Meadow Skies, which featured in their set, was reviewed here on MetalTalk last year.
Shortly before the gig, their vocalist Guy came down with an illness causing painful swelling in the throat, which meant that they were forced to play as an instrumental four-piece. However, given the complex and hauntingly atmospheric nature of their sound, they were able to deliver successfully, and it gave an opportunity for everyone to focus on just the music. But we all look forward to Guy’s recovery and return. facebook.com/Cistvaen/
The second support band, Nottingham’s Wolvencrown, also felt the wrath of “fate”. Firstly with bassist Reece fracturing his riffing hand (get well soon Reece), and if that wasn’t enough, there was again a noticeable absence of a lot of the vocal content, apparently also due to more throat issues.
But luckily, their gregarious and hugely entertaining live guitarist Nico (of Aklash), famed in part for his shirtless performances, was able to add some well-placed and well-delivered vocals as well as an eye-catching distraction for the ladies present, overall resulting in a well-received performance.
Headliners, the eclectic, eccentric and dapper seven piece, A Forest of Stars, filled the stage with barely elbow room and, in the case of their bassist, Mr Titus Lungbutter, headroom. However, this didn’t hamper their ability to deliver some wonderfully Atmospheric Avant-garde Black Metal that also incorporates subtle elements of folk and Psychedelic Rock most uniquely and entertainingly.
The violin work by Katheryne, Queen Of The Ghosts, added a beautifully mournful atmosphere to the sound and the dramatic and charismatic vocal delivery by Mister Curse was very visually engaging and entertaining on a stage that was clearly an utter sweatbox (as always – the perils of a basement venue) for the band.
They are a band that I have always wanted to see live, their reputation preceding them, and they did not disappoint. facebook.com/aforestofstars/
In summary, four bands, four great performances and a room packed with happy Black Metal fans. I know that sounds like a contradiction, but we are actually a deceptively cheerful bunch.