A Forest of Stars @ Little Devil, Tilburg, 19 October 2015

One day after the Krachtstroom festival I drove to Tilburg to see the band A Forest of Stars. A bit of a hard to classify band, rooted in modern black metal, but with obvious doom and folk influences and layers of complexity. I was curious, yet even a bit skeptical if they could actually pull that off in a live setting.

The opening band was Akelei. They are a Dutch doom metal band, with Dutch lyrics. I had seen them before and the awkward lyrics and vocals left a bitter taste of shitty dutch hitparade music. But now they have added a woman to handle the majority of the vocals instead of just Micha and the two of them even do harmony vocals. That turned out to be quite an improvement. Musically, it shifts towards the funeral doom, with long, slow instrumental sections, clean guitars, lots of melody and lacking grunts. I actually enjoyed it a lot more than their previous gigs.

I had heard of the Austrian Harakiri for the Sky but never actually heard them. They apparently play post-black metal, whatever that means. Like with many bands that aren’t immediately catchy and I don’t know them, yet blend complexity and even dissonance into their songs, the songs tend to sort of blend together and it becomes harder for me to focus on the music. Not bad, but it’s something I would have to listen more often too.

A Forest of Stars is a very unique band I have followed since their debut album but failed to see in a live setting. Little Devil is only a very small venue in a bar, and as the band were setting up, no less than seven persons – all dressed in formal attire, except the singer – appeared on the stage, with equipment and all and that left them very little space to move. They opened up with a song of the newest album, oddly titled Proboscis Master Versus the Powdered Seraphs. And despite some minor issues with the guitar and the sound, they managed to pull it off brilliantly. They even played the Pawn on the Universal Chessboard in its entirety. My initial skepticism had faded quite quickly and I much enjoyed this phenomenal gig.

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