A Forest Of Stars, P60, Amstelveen, 10 February 2017

It has been many years since I have been in the P60 club in Amstelveen even though it is actually quite lost. Apparently they didn’t program any gigs that interest me much. I think the last time, probably the only time was when Cynic played there. Anyway, this Friday and Saturday they programmed a new black metal festival named Diabolica Sonis. I’m not much of a black metal fan, but the headliner of the Friday was certainly very interesting – the English band A Forest of Stars.

As I entered the hall the Dutch Countess was already playing. They play mostly traditional black metal in the vein of Venom and early Bathory and Sodom with more traditional heavy metal influences and mostly just mid placed and quite minimalistic. Only the guitar solos are a bit more adventurous. They have been doing that for over 25 years and 15 albums. Not really a band that I enjoy much but they seem to have a small cult following.

Next was a band called Mortuus. I was mistakenly expecting Mortiis instead. Not that it matters much tho. Mortuus is a more modern black metal band. They never the less vaguely reminded me of later Emperor, with lots of melodic lead guitar work. Most of the songs are quite repetitive. The guitarist / singer shunned any crowd interaction. I don’t know if that is style or that he just had a bad day. He seemed to walk off stage seemingly agitated after the last song was finished. Anyway, not a very interesting band.

Then there was Wiegedood. A Belgian band whose name translates to sudden infant death syndrome. They play black metal mostly in the vein of the mid 90s, with long drawn out songs and lots of melody. They have no bass player, only two guitars and a drummer. Not really my kind of music. They also had troubles with the sound, the vocals were very hard to hear and they seemed quite frustrated with the sound man.

I was a little worried that the sound would be bad during A Forest Of Stars as well, as that would probably be disastrous for the layered music they play. Well fortunately it turned out quite well. Only Katie’s microphone was a bit low in the mix, everything else was just fine. As always they dress up in Victorian style, with 3-piece suits and Katie in a fancy dress. Only singer mr Curse seems to forgo on such outfits. After a long intro they started with the concluding track of the second album – Delay’s Progression. It sounded a bit stiff early on, but further in the song they seemed to warm up. The set comprised mostly of the first three albums, only Drawing Down the Rain of the latest album was played. Not that it matters much all their albums are really good. They played really good and their complex and long songs came across real well which seems quite a feat by itself. The set ended with the last song of the debut album, called Microcosm. And as an encore they played another song of the debut – Female. Really an outstanding performance. They made a really big impression on me previous time I saw them and this time it was not any different.

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