Brutal Assault, 12-14 August 2010

The 15th year’s anniversary edition of the Brutal Assault festival took place between 12th and 14th August 2010 in the Old Army Fortress Josefov (about 130 km from Prague), Czech Republic. The open air event gathered this year around 15 000 people from all over Europe (and not only) and presented us around 75 great metal bands from around the world. Great and famous names from the metal scene enchanted the audience during the 3 festival days.

The festival organisation was in big lines good but there is always space for improvements. As in the previous years there were two stages one next to another. On one stage one band was performing, on the other stage another band was preparing. The sound was good with very few exceptions during some day bands. A bit annoying was the pit entrance for photographers- from the crowd. Each time you had you fight to get till the pit bars and you were disturbing a lot of fans gathered in the first lines to see their favourite artists. Would have been much better for everybody to be arranged a side entrance for the pits.

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Gorgoreth
Photo: Wintertale / Studiorock

There was a wide offer of foods and drinks to be found within the festival area: 4 big beer tents with 5 brands of beer (one beer was around 1.15 euro), different alcoholic drinks to choose from, various food options for all tastes (including vegan and vegetarian food). A chill out zone called Greenfield was arranged inside the fortress, few meters walk from the stages. There you could take a break and relax. The merchandise stalls (around 50) could be found near the Horror Cinema. A great aspect to mention was the natural stand in front of the stages, up on a hill with separate sound coverage. It offered a great view on both stages and the possibility to watch the concerts in a bit more relaxed atmosphere sitting on the grass.

As accommodation you could choose between the official festival camping (standard plus VIP), a room in the village or villages around or other private camps. The closest was the festival camping (around 300 m from the festival area) situated in a green meadow surrounded by hills (not the greatest in case of rain). The VIP camping was closed, guarded, with own toilets and washbasins, safe depository and was granting you a free 3-day pass to the natural stand and one time pass to the showers situated in the normal camping site. After a rainy day it was also granting you free access to a natural rain pool found between and under the tents.

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Fear Factory
Photo: Wintertale / Studiorock

The festival pre- sale tickets could be purchased from the previous year in December (officially released at Winter Assault event in Prague). The presale price was around 49 euro (until July) and the gate price around 59 euro.

Day 1 bands: Demonic Resurrection, Insania, Bonded by Blood, Rotten Sound, Trail of Tears, Suicidal Angels, The Black Dahlia Murder, Obituary, Ensiferum, Gojira, Sepultura, Fear Factory, Children of Bodom, Gorgoroth, Candlemass, Despised Icon, GWAR etc…

Trail of Tears and Suicidal Angels didn’t manage to gather too many people in front of the stages- was too early and too hot for metal. Instead the Black Dhalia Murder was like a magnet. The space in front of the stages started to be crowded and fans were flying in circle pits on each song. A great performance followed by the legendary Obituary who seem never to forget how to offer a metal lesson. Ensiferum looked a bit bored of playing over and over again the same pagan metal during the day. Gojira prepared the atmosphere for the great unannounced surprise Sepultura. Their show was not properly communicated- they weren’t supposed to play during the first day so many just missed them. So did we. Many fans gathered to watch Fear Factory and Children of Bodom. Was so crowded that you could hardly move.

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My Dying Bride
Photo: Wintertale / Studiorock

Especially Children of Bodom managed to gather a good part of the female audience in the front rows. Their show was good but the commercial covers more than their music can offer. It is not the first example when a band is becoming simpler and less elaborated during the years from musical point of view. Gorgoroth experienced some sound problems but nothing seemed to stop the black metal spirit from spreading across the fans gathered in high number. Candlemass are better to be seen in their own gig where they can afford the time to perform and act accordingly. Despised Icon were like a strong coffee (great appearance) before the theatre circus offered by GWAR. A lot of fake blood thrown over the crowd, monsters, the pope, satan and his super best friends could be found on the stage. Funny show (especially for the drunken and the ones with a moderate IQ level) but not much to say about the “music”…

Day 2 bands: Catamenia, Monstruosity, Kalmah, Sigh, Mnemic, Hypnos, Ill Nino, Necrophagist, Converge, Devin Townsend, Cannibal Corpse, Ihsahn, Napalm Death, Aura Noir etc…

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Ensiferum
Photo: Wintertale / Studiorock

The Finnish melodic black metal Catamenia received a very early hour in the programme and performed like during the morning coffee break. A band that surprised everyone was Sigh- Japanese avangard black metal. The female singer appeared dressed as an angel in blood and assured all the attention during their performance. Her voice was exemplary and Sigh is a band to remember. Necrophagist played instead of Mnemic and they did not disappoint anyone- clear sound and great concept. We were not sure on what to except from Ill Nino but the band was just great. They interacted a lot with the crowd that could not stop from jumping and had a very straight music line. Devin Townsend had a natural force opportunity. During the first songs a very fast and strong storm started. Everybody was running to hide wherever possible, total chaos was around but the band was still playing on stage. It looked like nothing can stop them. The place became emptier after the storm and Cannibal Corpse did not receive the attention they earned to deserve. A proper and amazing death metal performance as always. Ihsahn was a great chance to relax and listen more elaborate music. His years spent with Emperor let a huge mark on his musical career. His professionalism and musical maturity were reflected on each song he enchanted us with. And when most were thinking the day is over Napalm Death stepped on stage and proved the contrary. It was another great performance with a hyper active singer and was a good musical exercise before the good night sleep.

Day 3 bands: Cock and Ball Torture, Ragnarok, Sadist, Barren Earth, Origin, Graveworm, Madder Mortem, Bal-Sagoth, Moonsorrow, Jesu, Macabre, Diablo Swing Orchestra, Voivod, Tankard, Dying Fetus, Meshuggah, Hypocrisy, Agnostic Front, My Dying Bride, Sarke, Watain etc…

Third day was the one with the strongest morning band- Cock and Ball Torture. They sure took care to wake up the spirits and prepare everyone for the festival’s greatest day. Origin has a good technical death show with clear and powerful sound combined with strong guitar riffs. The Norwegians from Madder Mortem offered a wide variety of music: rock, blues, alternative and progressive which made the crowd dance and swing. Moonsorrow could have given a bit more but also can not say that their appearance was weak. They announced a new album with great expectations. The day continued in a brutal way with lyrics and songs about murders and serial killers performed by Macabre- a band still in the original formula. Diablo Swing Orchestra was the most uncommon appearance on a metal festival: rock, jazz and classical music all mixed together. It definitely raised and totally changed the atmosphere- people dancing, spinning and jumping all over. And then was time to go back to the progressive trash metal with Voivod, to the adrenaline mix induced by Tankard, to the true rage American death metal performed by Dying Fetus and to the excellent technical show and great scenography arranged by the euphoric fans and performed by Meshuggah. By far one of the best bands from this years Brutal Assault festival was Hypocrisy the other being My Dying Bride. Hypocrisy was a name expected by many and they did their job as true professionals: the sound was excellent, the vocals were clear and strong and perfectly mastered. The singer Peter expressed his joy and delighted the audience with new and old famous songs as Killing Art, Eraser, Adjusting Sun. The crowd was crazy and in trance and so was the end: Roswell. Between Hypocrisy and My Dying Bride was served a portion of violent brutal music performed by the NY band Agnostic Front with a lot of energy and enthusiasm accompanied by structured and repetitive songs. My Dying Bride were in a perfect shape reminding of the old great glorious bands time. They performed new and old songs as The Angel and the Dark River, Turn Loose the Swans, The Cry of Mankind, Bring me Victory etc. The mix and the music were strong and intense. Was the best My Dying Bride show we ever saw and the singer had a marvellous mood, very clean, strong and deep vocals, amazing stage presence and was obvious he is really feeling and expressing his music in the most artistic way possible. Let’s hope this wont change and My Dying Bride wont fall back in the doomy cliché induced partially by their music. The other bands didn’t manage to catch any attention after as Sarke faded slowly with the passing time.

Was a great Brutal Assault edition with brilliant bands and artists. The metal spirit will continue next year with a new festival edition. Be sure not to miss it! More info on the festival can be found on: www.brutalassault.cz and the

#### full photo gallery here

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Photo: Wintertale / Studiorock