The 18th edition of the already well known European metal festival Brutal Assault tool place in the Old Army Fortress Josefov - around 130 km from Prague, Czech Republic between 7th and 10th August 2013. The festival offered four days of metal music with a wide variety of genres (mostly metal). In total more than 75 bands from around the world performed during the festival days on three stages.
Comparing to last year’s experience when most metalheads had to endure waiting for the electronic tickets checkup this year a huge improvement was seen: no massive rows of people waiting and a much smoother organization. In the festival area all was perfectly arranged as in the previous editions but with an extra effort which was noticeable from the organizers side - great point that each year you can see improvements. Very well done, congratulations!
The two main stages were placed as always in the main square between the large defense brick walls, the sound was mostly perfect and except a few bands changing the program all went smooth. The beverages (different kinds of beer, spirits and non alcoholic) and food (all from tons of meat till vegan and vegetarian) offer was generous with many kiosks to pick from. There were four big “beer tents” offering five brands of draught 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 front 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. For those enjoying festival shopping there was the Metal Market with about many stalls with music merchandise, t-shirts, various clothing, jewelry and many others. 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 nearby city or village, to find a private camping in Josefov or Jaromer (there are a few private camps where the conditions are very 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 onetime free shower (rest you had to pay). 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). 24 hours “Guarded parking” was situated approx. 500m from the camping site by the river.
The tickets could be purchased in from previous year till the festival date (on spot). One ticked on place cost was around 85 euro which is a fair price comparing to the other similar scale European festivals. Another massive improvement was the guards’ attitude. In the previous years there were always issues with the fans diving to stage from the crowd and the guards picking them using a not fair approach (pretty aggressive). This year we were pleased to see a huge attitude change: fans were still diving to stage (which is normal act in such events) but there was no spotted violence or aggression. Smiles and a fun approach were seen on the guard’s side. Very nice approach :-)
Festival opened its gates on Wednesday with few Czech bands as Beast Within The Sound (metalcore trash), Dying Passion (rock metal with female singer), Malignant Tumor (crust rock’n’roll) and Hentai Corporation (metal crossover who had a funny appearance). Biggest highlight for Wednesday was Testament who performed exactly as expected a very structured old school trash metal. Along played also Jungle Rot (US death metal who was the first band to wake up the crowd and make it really move) and E.N.D (Croatian groove metal).
Thursday 8th August: Abstract Essence (Czech melodic death black with nice keyboard parts), Proximity (Czech modern metal), Coffins (Japan - death metal with sludge influences, good show but unfortunate due to sound problems), Decrepit Birth (US pure death metal), Magrudergrind (US power/violence grind), DR. Living Dead (Swedish funny trash metal with a NY trash/hardcore crossover vibe), Novembers Doom (US doom metal with better sound in the studio rather than live and a singer who can’t fit very well his voice to the songs), Hacride (French modern metal), Philm (US alternative metal with Dave Lombardo offering a nice raw show full of energy), Downset (US crossover hardcore), Belphegor (Austrian ultimate pagan black death metal with lots of red paint, goat bones put together on the singer’s microphone stand with sticking tape. They had a great and systematic show with an authentic vibe and many watched them till the last moment with great interest), Devildriver (US death metalcore with a fine show engaging mostly young age fans), Dying Fetus (US death metal with a stunning set, playing a good mix of tracks from early and recent releases), Ensiferum (Finnish pagan metal with a cheerful and funny atmosphere but showing a lack of musical coordination amongst the band members. Have the feeling Ensiferum are becoming worse and worse with each gig they perform live), Gojira (French progressive modern metal offered a combination of good sound and excellent tracks), Anthrax (US trash metal legend started once with the heavy rain so less people endured to stay. They had an impressive light show and delivered classic trash exactly as advertised), Fear Factory (US modern metal who had sound problems and a singer issue as he seems not to know his own plays after so many years), Voivod (Canada – progressive metal who had to perform with borrowed gear and yet gave an authentic and energetic show), Entombed (Swedish old school straightforward death metal), Whitechapel (US deathcore had a tight and technical show), Marduk (Swedish everlasting black metal who offered a quite weak show despite their musical background and experience).
Friday 9th August: Antropofagus (Italian death metal), Attack Of Rage (Slovak grindcore), Katalepsy (Russian death metal very good performance with a heavy and brutal drive), Minority Sound (Czech cyber metal), Obscura (German progressive death metal), Glorior Belli (France – black metal), Hypnos (Czech death metal), Misanthrope (France – progressive metal who had a sophisticated and well structured show), Pro-Pain (US hard core with a large public audience), Loudblast (France – trash death metal), Hate (Polish death metal with a nice fire show offered by the band memebers), Orphaned Land (Israel – ethno metal who managed to perform a few songs and then heavy rain started so many run to search for shelter. The ones who picked to endure nature’s choice received a nice and smooth show), Malevolent Creation (US death metal), Alcest (France – post black metal with a surprising and captivating atmospheric music and a pretty shy singer), Fields Of The Nephilim (UK gothic music with a different style than the other festival bands who did not fit that well in the lineup. They a very good performance and played their hardest and heaviest songs in a trial to accommodate better to the atmosphere but would have been much better to play during later hours or rather in a club), Meshuggah (Sweden – innovative complicated metal who transported the public to an odd planet or dimension where they prove they never grow old. Their performance was incredibly technical and tight), In Flames (Sweden – modern metal with a very high performance act even though their musical style changed a lot during years from death metal origins to a more core approach. Their singer managed to get a great crowd interaction and all performance was melodic, technical and well structured), Amorphis (Finland – alternative metal with front man Tomi Koivusaari who always know how to deliver a nice and enjoyable show for almost everybody), Carcass (UK grind core/death metal who played many of their classic material. Jeff Walker is a great leader and they played a perfect and professional show with a nice and balanced sound), Overkill (US trash metal playing a bit already late in the program but old school trash Bobby Blitz Ellsworth knew how to keep their fans close), Cult Of Luna (Sweden – sludge/post metal who were bit too loud and too late).
Saturday 10th August: Gutalax (gore grind Czech band opened last day of the festival with lots of pig squealing, poo themed fairy tales and lots of toilet paper. The fans who bravely managed to wake up at the early hour were throwing toilet paper rolls around within the crowd and seemed to really enjoy the catchy grindcore), Master (US/Czech old school death metal with a good solid show), Crushing Caspars (German hardcore), War From A Harlots Mouth (German math neuro metal who were surprisingly good), We Butter The Bread With Butter (German electro deathcore young band with a lot of energy, commitment and funny disco electro music with chaotic guitar riffs and metal parts), Vreid (Norway – legendary black metal), Sylosis (UK trash/melodic metalcore with a spice of death), Rotten Sound (Finland – one of the best grindcore acts from the festival who celebrated their twentieth anniversary), Primordial (Irish awesome pagan, black and folk metal. They had an incredible short appearance during the day playing three songs, each having nine minutes. A pity such a great band had to play during the day on such an early hour), Biohazard (US hardcore), Leprous and Ihsahn (Norway – progressive avant-garde metal who represented one of the biggest festival attractions and performed their bizarre material during a 90 minutes long set. Leprous proved to be a very good band playing melodic and catchy metal with post rock influences from time to time. They are great and professional musicians and their singer has a powerful strong voice. Emperor voice and soul Ihsahn joined them after 30 minutes and delivered a wide selection of songs from his solo career mainly from the album After. Was by far the best, professional and incredible festival appearance and it was well recognized by the crowd), Trivium (US metalcore with a nice plastic stage décor imitating icicles and an ok show), Clawfinger (Swedish silly rap metal with a singer who is more interested on breaking his head rather than performing a live musical show), Hatebreed (US hardcore had a raw sound and that caused a great advantage), Behemoth (Polish black metal with a spicy touch of death. Good show appearance as always and a nice balanced setlist including even a new track “Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel” from their new album. Their show ended with a glitter canon fired over the crowd. It was maybe the most well received band of the festival considering the public amount and reactions), Opeth (Swedish progressive metal, the “Pink Floyd of Swedish Metal”. Awesome and entertaining appearance as the band is always delivering. Their set ended with the Blackwater Park work of art), Borknagar (Norway – avant-garde metal who were nice but easy to forget immediately after they finished their set), Madball (US NY hardcore who seemed to give a good performance for the ones enjoying their style), Carpathian Forest (Norway – black metal who cannot be taken seriously no matter how hard we try. The singer was so drunk that it was a surprise he can still perform), Saturnus (Denmark – the last band closing the festival with a well-structured doom metal act).
Brutal Assault 18th Edition was very successful and perfectly organized. Can’t wait to one year to pass and return to the wonderful location and festival. Visit www.obscure.cz for all news and updates.
The full gallery is available here.