Live Review: CvltFest Resurrected – Day One

Live Review: CvltFest Resurrected - Day One
@ Rebellion, Manchester
23dr February 2024
featuring: Dvne, Pijn, Mastiff, Hundred Year old Man
Words: Matt Noble
Photos: Tim Finch

Lizard King Promotions and Riffolution Promotions have teamed up to bring Cvltfest Resurrected, with two days of the finest in sludge, doom and post-metal at Rebellion in Manchester. It’s the first Cvltfest event in some time, and along with its stellar lineup, had created quite a buzz online in the weeks and months leading up to the event. Would this ultimately translate to bodies through the door?

By the time I arrived, towards the end of Hundred Year Old Man’s set - the first of the weekend - the venue was already nicely packed out with the crowds nodding along in appreciation to their sprawling, majestic and epic performance. They create incredible soundscapes throughout, with one of the guitars even being played with a bow to really produce something special. Hundred Year Old Man need only to say very little, letting their powerful music do all of the talking.

Mastiff are a different beast entirely. Boasting an extremely filthy bass tone, an outstanding extreme metal drumming performance, and a commanding, towering presence from frontman Jim, their grinding, death metal-inspired sludge is a world apart from Hundred Year Old Man before them. The mosh pits get going straight away, becoming particularly wide towards the end of Repulse, and the weekend’s first stage divers are seen during some of their new tracks. Indeed, their latest full-length Deprecipice is barely a month away now, with a particularly seething rendition of ‘Void’ working the room into a frenzy. After a set of punishing riffs and a crisp vocal performance, they leave to massive, rousing cheers, proving why they are the real deal.

Photo Credit: Tim Finch Photography

After teasing the crowd with a couple of Dvne riffs during their line check, Pijn are truly spellbinding, locking the crowd firmly into a trance. With cello, keys, and a violin, they don’t come across as a conventional band, even at an event like this - not that they have any interest in such. Their five pieces of instrumental post-rock allow the music to breathe, space out, wring emotion, and pause for dramatic tension during their time on stage, amid a huge guitar and bass sound - but not in the typically super-heavy way that many of their peers go for. The different passages of each track fall effortlessly into each other, and with the vast range of instruments and soundscapes they tastefully emphasise the power of the unit rather than any single of its components. On a dimly lit stage they evoke a real sense of mystery and intrigue, though band leader Joe can be seen whipping his hair about during the more climactic sections, making their presence very much real and powerful. Excellent as always from Pijn.

Tonight’s headliners are post-metallers Dvne, who closed out the Etemen Ænka cycle six months ago at Arctangent Festival. The next chapter for the band, therefore, starts today - though they wisely know to warm up the crowd first with a few fan favourites from their last album, with ‘Towers’ and ‘Court of the Matriarch’ starting the set nicely. The guitar work, powerful drumming and atmospherics on these tracks never fail to dazzle a crowd, causing a euphoric response across the room. Finally, it’s time for the first glimpse at their first new material since 2021, with a sprawling and powerful prog-metal epic titled ‘Pleroma’ on the setlist. It goes down a treat and many in the crowd near the front can be seen to be thrilled to be amongst the very first to hear this material. Vocalist/guitarist Victor can be seen with a wide smile on his face after the first play through of a new song, equally excited to have started the next chapter of the band.

The following unheard track starts with a seriously groovy and filthy downtuned opening riff, which really captures the attention of the crowd. In true Dvne style, though, they don’t sit on it for too long and lead into a soft interlude, with some particularly cool bass guitar work harmonising in an interesting way with the intricate guitar patterns. It’s the kind of track to draw the crowd in with its bombastic beginning before lulling them into a trance. Another of their new songs similarly has quite a chaotic intro riff before leading into a section that’s much more ethereal, yet complex. Dvne go back into more familiar territory for ‘SÌ-XIV’, possibly the standout centrepiece track from Etemen Ænka before playing one more new one. With a mournful opening chord sequence and more spellbinding mammoth riff work, it forces tonight’s crowd to demand an encore. ‘Of Blade and Carapace’, with its hardcore-inspired beat, gets the pit going for the first time in their set, with the rowdy, beer-fuelled audience chanting along and crowd surfing to end the night. At the end of their performance, Dvne look relieved as much as they do elated that their new material has gone down well tonight. The lucky attendees to have caught the start of this chapter definitely seem to all show a look of amazement and excitement for what is around the corner.

Photo credits: Tim Finch Photography

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