Battlemaster with Foretoken and Valletta at the Fuzzy Cactus

Battlemaster performing at The Fuzzy Cactus in Richmond, VA. on 05.04.2024. Photo Credit: Robert Escue

Richmond, VA – Hampton Roads symphonic metal band Foretoken plays its first live show with support from Richmond’s blackened death metal outfit Battlemaster and Raleigh, North Carolina’s Black ‘n’ Roll band Valletta.

The night kicked off with Foretoken, a side project of former Cyaegha vocalist Dan Cooley and The Day of The Beast‘s lead guitarist Steve Redmond. Initially Foretoken was meant to be a studio only band where Dan and Steve would work on symphonic metal and lyrics based on mythology and legends, a major departure from their H. P. Lovecraft influenced thrash and death metal respectively. Dan and Steve produced two albums, 2020’s “Ruin” and 2023’s “Triumphs”, which received critical acclaim.

Dan and Steve decided they wanted to play live and recruited Mike Tweed (bass), Andrew Mathers (guitar) and Chris Hylton (drums) and after a few practice sessions, they brought Foretoken to life. Dan said this was their first show and someone in the audience yelled out “bullshit!!” In a six song set they played a selection of songs covering their two albums and absolutely crushed everything!!!! Foretoken set the pace for the remaining two bands to follow.

Foretoken SETLIST

Revenant of Valor
Devil O’the Sea
Serpent King’s Venom
The Retribution
His Riastrad
Demon Queller



I had some preconceived notions of what I expected from Valletta as I think most of the audience did as well. When I hear black metal, I expect a certain kind of sound and what I got from Valletta was more jam band than black metal. While Keenan Carroll’s vocals were on point, the music was richer and layered as opposed to what most expect of black metal bands. I think this threw the crowd for a loop and it took them a few songs to get it. If you get a chance to see these guys live, give them a listen because I liked what I heard.

Valletta SETLIST

Soot and Ash
Serpents of Solomon
Bringing the Worst
Come Alive



Wasting no time Battlemaster took the stage and spun the crowd into a moshing frenzy. They were tight and taking no prisoners as they ripped through their set which covered at least one song from each of their four albums. They always bring the heavy when they play live and closed the night with the crowd wanting more.

Battlemaster SETLIST

Banquet of Names
The Decadence Of My Master’s Chores
Thaumaturgical Nonchalance
Masters of Battle, Masters of Death


Show Date: May 4, 2024