The 17th anniversary edition of the well known European metal festival Brutal Assault tool place in the Old Army Fortress Josefov- around 130 km from Prague. The festival opened its gates Wednesday 8th of August with a huge queue for ticket checking and wristbands picking up. Metalheads wasted many hours in the sun, without any water or beer waiting to have their electronic tickets checked.
But once you managed to get inside the festival area you could find all nice and perfect organized as in the previous editions. The two main stages were placed in the main â€œsquareâ€ between large defense brick walls, the sound was most of times perfect and except a few bands changing the program all went smooth. Very professional organization, well done :-) The beverages (different kinds of beer, spirits and non alcoholic) and food (all from lots and lots of meat till vegan and vegetarian) offer was generous with more than 30 kiosks to pick from. Great surprise was to see that Budweiser Budvar was this time the official festival beer. The festival pub situated close to the main stages was placed in the location of the ancient fortress prison.
Other well known pro was the Greenfield where you could relax, recover and clean out your ears from the brutal sound they have to endure and the natural stand on the hill right in font of the main stages. The natural stand had its own sound coverage and was a perfect spot to watch the bands performance and the festival life from a birdâ€™s eye perspective. For those enjoying festival shopping there was the Metal Market with about 50 stalls with music merchandise, t-shirts, various clothing, jewelry etc. In the same area could be found the Horror Cinema Tent and the hidden stage for more occult and dark bands.
As about accommodation you could pick to stay in a near by city/village, to find a private camping in Josefov or Jaromer (there are a few private camps where the conditions are decent and so are the prices) or to stay in the festival camping site (300 m from the festival ground on a grass field if the weather is nice or on a swamp if it rains). The VIP camping is a closed area (fenced), guarded 24 hours, with toilets, washbasin and depository to use for free. VIP camping offered a 3 day pass to the natural stand and a one time shower (does this mean you should take only one shower during 3 hot summer festival days? really??? uhâ€¦.). Also, forget about coming by car if you plan to stay in the festival camping- the only possibility is to park on the street (in case you manage to find a free spot without breaking the law).
On Wednesday was the first festival day when mostly local bands as Avenger (Czech death metal), Ingrowing (Czech grindcore), Forgotten Silence (Czech progressive metal), Engel (Swedish melodic trash), Anaal Nathrakh (Brithish extreme metal mixing black metal, grindcore, death and industrial), Root (Czech black metal with grandpa playing weird, strange and interesting music with a lot of theatrical appearance) and Alcest (originally French black metal band nowadays more post metal doomish depressive and enchanted with a great sound, performance and atmosphere) went on stage.
Thursday 9th August 2012: Trollech, Brutally Deceased, Totem, Toxic Holocaust, Arkona, General Surgery, Crowbar, The Black Dhalia Murder, Corrosion of Conformity, Lock up, Swallow the Sun, Heaven Shall Burn, Krisiun, Ministry, Dimmu Borgir, Sick of it All, Samael, Nile, Arcturus. Brutally Deceased (Czech death metal) was the first band to be well welcomed by the public followed up by the trash metal band Toxic Holocaust. Arkona came to change a bit the atmosphere (after death and trash a bit of flowery metal). They enjoyed a very nice audience, were full of energy (as they always are) and proved again that folk metal is convincing almost everyone to join in, sing and dance. The Swedish goregrind General Surgery were all wearing medical suits with a lot of red paint. True bloody surgery with a strong sound and enthusiastic appearance :-) Crowbar was nice until The Black Dhalia Murder went on stage and made the entire pit move. They had the perfect melodic death metal sound and energy. Corrosion of Conformity calmed down a bit the atmosphere making space for the grindy Lock Up. Swallow the Sun deceived us again as no sun vanished so Heaven Shall Burn tried their best to continue the elegy. The audience went mental, the circlepit was massive while they convinced us to fight social injustice and racism joining their aggressive German metal. Krisiun faced technical difficulties but managed to cope well and to offer a decent show. Ministry was once a great band but something somewhere happened. What remained: a monotone sound and a grumpy singer sharing his nasal mucus and spit all overâ€¦such a pity to see how great names end like. Norwegian symphonic black metal band Dimmu Borgir offered a well structured show combining old and new musical material while Sick of it All took care to awaken all spirits. Samael were not bad but would be much better to have seen this band many years ago before they started to wear red funny clothes and learnt their dance moves. The old fabulous songs as Ceremony of Opposites sounded like a bad trial version (can not say is much because of the sound but more because of the band). Arcturus would have deserved a better hour in the program as playing so late (last band at 1 am) has its downwards: small tired and sleepy crowd. Though the band was very awake and had a good performance.
Friday 10th August: Cattle Decapitation, Bleed From Within, Vildhjarta, Warbringer, Norther, Incantation, Insomnium, Kampfar, Darkesthour, Vallenfyre, Morgoth, Heathen, Hatebreed, Municipal Waste, Napalm Death, Amon Amarth, Machine Head, Converge, Paradise Lost, Gorguts, Pig Destroyer. British deathcore Bleed From Within started to move the audience and were quite musical on contrary to what was being expected. Vildhjarta (Swedish progressive metal) were one of the bands who went out from the standard festival lineup: unique music and appearance for the ones who enjoy their style. Warbringer were a great source of energy followed by the Norther Vikings and their glory happy songs where everybody was jumping, singing and dancing. Did we forget drinking? :-) Napalm Death were kind of technical and boring (as usually) and Mchine Head were not far either- pretty dull and in line appearance. Amon Amarth had as always all crowd on their side. Everybody you could see around was singing songs of Viking victory. Paradise Lost did not exactly fit in the festival atmosphere (bit too slow) but had a good show (have seen better but this one was decent). The singer appeared with short hair and was clearly not expecting the band to be so well received by the public present to a brutal metal festival.
Saturday 11th August: Ahumado Granujo, Gods Tower, Belakor, Skarhead, Solstafir, Aborted, The Safety Fire, Textures, Norma Jean, Kylesa, Sodom, Finntroll, Immolation, Six Feed Under, Agnostic Front, At the Gates, Immortal, Moonspell, Godflesh, Virus. Gods Tower quite lacked energy even for a pagan folk band while Belakor was a nice surprise for Brutal Assault. The Australians playing a melodic death metal proved age is not an issue when it comes to passion, talent and dedication. Aborted had an amazing detailed sound enjoying a great public reaction. New York hardcore metal band Agnostic Front has one of the best live appearances from Brutal Assault 2012. At the Gates went on stage before Immortal and had a solid Swedish melodic death metal show. Immortal enchanted with well known songs as Sons of Northern Darkness, Damned in Blackâ€¦ and had a nice fire show. Moonspell decided to on the battle field since Fernando Ribeiro was wearing a metal helmet for the first three songs. The band had a very good active performance, with clear a sound and got a lot of attention from the public while playing new songs but also the legendary ones as Alma Matter, Vampiria, Opium etc.
And this was Brutal Assault 2012 in a few lines. Great line up, excellent beer, amazing location, nice athomsphere, fair price. Definitely the right place to come back next year. Check the news and get your tickets as early as possible to grab some nice discounts. See you next year, thank you :-)
The full gallery is available here.