Brutal Assault 2011 - Festival review

The 16th anniversary edition of one of the biggest European extreme metal festivals took place in the Old Army Fortress from Josefov - around 130 km from Prague, close to the Polish border. The festival gathered approx. 17 000 visitors coming from different parts of the world to enjoy an unique metal festival atmosphere. The two main stages were situated in the central part of the fortress one next to another and were surrounded by high bricks walls. While on one stage a band was performing on the other the sound checks were going on so there was no time waste and music always flowed.

The metalheads found around 30 refreshment kiosks with various kinds of food for everybody - including vegetarian and vegan food, 4 big “beer tents” offering 5 brands of draught beer. The beer price was very decent for an European festival - around 1.20 Euro for one beer. There were also several kiosks selling a wide offer of various kinds of alcoholic drinks and beverages, even a hookah-tea shop. A big advantage was the so called Greenfield - a green grass place inside of the fortress not far from the main stages where you could take a break from the noise and agitation; you could enjoy a beer while resting on the grass or stare at the metal merchandise - the metal market with more than 50 stalls offering all kind of things from CDs to drinking horns and clothing. In the same area could be found the meet and greet tent and the famous horror cinema projecting movies all day long from all over the world.

Another good point was the natural stand - a place on the hill in front of the main stages with own sound coverage. If you were tired of standing you could sit on the grass and watch the bands perform - of course you need a really sharp view or a pair of binoculars.

This year’s organisation was very good; it improved a lot from the previous editions. As strong points we can mention the cash machine from the festival area, the pharmacy, the security attitude, water supply, cleaned toilets etc. As about accommodation there were a few options available: the normal camping site situated approx. 300 m from the festival gate, the VIP camping (guarded, fenced, with toilets, washbasin and depository, with a 3 day pass to the natural stand otherwise paid separately and one time pass to the showers), private camping or accommodation in the city of Jaromer. Most metalheads went for the normal camping where again problems appeared - things missing from the tents, robberies etc. Parking was only allowed in the city, not on the camping grounds.

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Motorhead
Photo: Wintertale / Studio Rock

The 2011 festival playlist was really impressive with more than 70 bands covering various musical styles. The festival opened its gates on Wednesday 10th August with local bands as Smashed Face, Silent Stream of Godless Elegy, Psychotic Despair, Gride, Frontside etc. Was a perfect occasion to accommodate yourself and start to experience the Czech metal atmosphere.

First day of the festival - Thursday 11th August started to be very crowded from early morning. The gates were full of people waiting to get their tickets or to enter the festival site. Bands as Hecate Enthroned, Skeletonwitch, Asphyx (an impressive death metal performance), Sceptic Flesh, Suicidal Tendencies, Motorhead, Morbid Angel, Kreator, Exhumed and Tyr ensured a perfect audience and made the place become very crowded for the full day despite the hot weather. Though Suicidal Tendencies becomes a popular and appreciated band in the metal world we can not say their performance was impressive but rather monotonous, too systematic and the only alive moment was when they invited guests from the audience to join them on stage. Watching Motorhead was like watching a rock’n roll fairy tale with a set of greatest hits from past till present times: Get Back In Line, I Know How To Die, The World Is Yours, Metropolis, Over The Top, One Night Stand, Rock Out, Killed By Death, legendary Ace Of Spades where everybody was jumping etc. Morbid Angel started their show with a performance from their very first record Altars Of Madness and continued for the first half of the show with songs from early glorious times of the band. Kreator were in an impressive shape and Mille Petrozza deserves all the good remarks - clear, loud and sharp voice. Their playlist contained greatest hits as Warcurse, Coma Of Souls, Pleasure To Kill, Destroy What Destroys You, Voices Of The Dead, Enemy Of God, Flag Of Hate and of course Tormentor. It was a great performance, all respects to the band.

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Mayhem
Photo: Wintertale / Studio Rock

Second day – Friday 12th August: Excrementory Grindfuckers, Cannabis Corpse, Dordeduh, Scar Symmetry, Dew Scented, Decapitated, Kypck, The Exploited, Katatonia, Exodus, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Satyricon, Soilwork, Cathedral, Mayhem, Hail Of Bullets etc. The festival day was opened by the German band Excrementory Grindfuckers. Even they started their show early at 10 am the place was full. Many metalheads forgot about their hangover and woke up on time to see the band - a memorable performance strong as a morning coffee. We were curious and didn’t know what to expect for Dordeduh from audience point of view as there can be no doubt on the band size with such experienced, professional and dedicated musicians. And the surprise was huge when we saw how many people came (a lot of Romanians and not only) at an early hour to see them. The Romanian band managed to wake up the spirits and involve the crowd in a transcendental experience. The Swedish melodic death metal band Scar Symmetry impressed the audience with a nice combination of harsh and clean vocals and Dew Scented played perfectly with a lot of energy. Decapitated served a good portion of Polish death metal and Atheist were replaced by a French technical death metal band named Gorod. Even the weather was not that great and it started to rain the Scottish street punk quartet The Exploited brought a lot of smiles and joy through the audience. Katatonia had a bit weird place in the festival program - between The Exploited and Exodus and they tried their best with well known hits… still, was too slow for that moment and time. Satyricon was a well expected act by everybody. The Norwegians gathered an impressive amount of fans and delivered a great show from the very first song - Walk The Path Of Sorrow till the last one - Mother North. Cathedral provided a set of must hear greatest hits as a last Czech Republic gig where Lee Dorian and his team perform on stage. One of the last acts for Friday was the black metal famous band Mayhem. We can not say their performance was bad, maybe a bit too dull and theatrical (skulls, Jack Daniel’s and crosses), monotone and with a poor sound quality.

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Anathema
Photo: Wintertale / Studio Rock

Third day - Saturday 13th August: A Pale Horse Named Death, Absu, Dagoba, Draconian, Kverlertak, Skyforger, Forbidden, Haemorrhage, Blood For Blood, Vader, Turisas, Cryptopsy, Anathema, Sepultura, Triptykon, Kataklysm, 1349, Khold, Ahab etc. The Latvian pagan folk band Skyforger tried its best to provide an impressive show but the sound problems became an obstacle (especially for the crowd as the band didn’t look too affected). Well expected band and with a lot of fans present Vader proved once again what means Polish death metal. Their performance started with a song from their very first album - Crucified Ones and ended with two cover versions (a surprise for everybody) - Black Sabbath and Slayer’s Raining Bood. And then the metal battle could continue with Turisas. As a calm break Anathema changed the festival atmosphere. Many said it didn’t fit between the other bands but let’s be serious - they did gather an impressive crowd and provided one of their best shows with songs as Thin Air, A Natural Disaster, Fragile Dreams etc. And then immediately was time for Sepultura. Everybody was jumping and signing and the band took care to provide a memorable show as they always do: Arise, Refuse/Resist!, Troops Of Doom, Escape To The Void, Territory and of course Roots Bloody Roots as an ending so that everybody will sing it all night long. Triptykon didn’t exactly manage to fulfil the public expectations of old Sceptic Frost era but presented a newer Procreation and Circle Of The Tyrants. Kataklysm was the last band to move the crowd for the 2011 edition. They were full of energy and took care to devastate everything. After, the bands as 1349, Khold played their part and everybody went to sleep or drink till the dawns.

Next edition (the 2012 one) is again promising great names (as Moonspell already announced) and atmosphere so be sure not to miss it. For more info about tickets, bands, camping (incl. VIP Camp), accommodation and other important things please visit the official website www.brutalassault.cz

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Impressions
Photo: Wintertale / Studio Rock

The full gallery is available here.