Winter Assault, Prague, December 12th, 2009

by Wintertale

image - see following caption
Photo: Wintertale / StudioRock

The 2009 Winter Assault edition presented by same legendary organizers in the area Obscure Promotion took place in Abaton Club, Prague on 12 December 2009. The one evening festival had a nice line-up: Posthum, Dark Fortress, Devious, Merauder, Shining, Entombed and included Satyricon as headliners.

As we are not living in Prague or Czech Republic and had a trip to make as well as considering the early starting hour 5 p.m. we did not manage to get in time to see the first band Posthum - black metal from Norway. I heard they had a long sound check and ended up playing only one song with the microphone off. Fell free to check them on:

http://www.myspace.com/posthum

We got to Abaton when second band was preparing to go on stage. Not for the first time there we knew what to expect. As a general overview the club is big enough to host such events, has the down part with bar and space for merchandise, at first level is located the stage, another bar and to the third one is a balcony from where you can enjoy the gigs and make pictures without getting too involved in the crowd. The sound is not the greatest: on the balcony you can hear how the ceiling is vibrating making noise and the acoustic is poor. The place would definitely need a renovation. During the gigs were several sound problems, crew members jumping on stage trying to fix it and the sound engineer doing his job mostly like sleeping or searching for the channel 18. We looked all over to find a program for the festival, even asked for it but the only way to find out what band is on stage was to make pictures at their playlists. Obscure had their own merchandise stand where Brutal Assault 2010 tickets could be bought at promotional price (1000 czk) among other promo materials. We also bought tickets for our Romanian friends and asked about the promised Brutal Assault 14 DVD which was not ready due to some delays from the bands involved in signing it. It was possible to shot pictures all time from wherever you could get as there was no pit. The fans were much closer to the bands this time.

The Bavarian black metal band Dark Fortress, signed under Century Media and with some good albums released from 1996 was the first to really be on stage. Their almost 30 minutes of death principle invocations did not impress too many people but helped to warm the atmosphere. More info on the German band representing the English translation for Dimmu Borgir can be found on:

http://www.myspace.com/darkfortress

Next on stage were Devious, death metal band with trash roots from Holland. Their performance did not say too much, was quite fade and the music was just going around people’s ears. Maybe was not a good moment to be impressed by a musical performance. Would be better to check them online at:

http://www.devious.nl/ or http://www.myspace.com/deviousdomain

        The festival was assaulted by Merauder, quite old band form US, New York. With a vast musical history in their back Merauder brought another hard core perspective from another lands with rebellion against society, stories about gangstas and survival hard lessons. Completely different from the other bands they did not fit too well in the line-up. Few huge guys from audience did their best to be noticed, jumping and hitting everybody around with very aggressive gestures. I was almost kicked down when a big guy was making his path through the public like a rocket…luckily I was not holding the camera at the moment.  Security was though relaxed and did not bother to move. The only one trying to cool down the atmosphere was the band singer asking audience to respect each other and behave. Later I saw the band speaking with one of the big aggressive guys. He was not very happy his idols to tell him he behaved inhuman and brainless. For hard core moments check Merauder at:

http://www.myspace.com/merauder

I never saw Shining live before but heard a lot about their intense, weird and bloody performances. The Swedish band playing suicidal black metal music expressing depression and anguish to high sensitive levels switched the general public attitude into something more ambiguous. The vocal Kvarforth seemed quite relaxed and more preoccupied by his cigarettes and alcohol bottle he shared with the other band members. Maybe the pit absence and the kids being so close made him restrain his usual stage behaviour (of creating new scars and rivers of blood) to only killing his cigars on himself. The sound was also not so great and there were times when the vocals and guitars could hardly be heard. For the ones not so sensitive check them on:

http://www.myspace.com/shininghalmstad

After the usual sound checks the legendary Swedish death metal Entombed stepped on stage. Lead by the half Macedonian vocal Lars Goran Petrov they changed completely the festival atmosphere, made everybody wake up and join in their enthusiastic death’n roll performance. The band was formed in 1987 under the name Nihilist, in 90’s approached a more hardcore punk style and suffered changes during the years. Their songs structure is simple but effective catching almost everybody’s attention. Too bad the singer that I consider to be the ugliest person in the metal scene found interesting spitting around and throwing beer from the stage on public. Well, I saw unfortunately this is a quite used brainless habit around so I don’t think somebody minded. For more info on Entombed check:

http://www.myspace.com/serpentsaints and http://www.entombed.com/

Time everybody was expecting came and the headliners black metal band Satyricon from the frozen Norway made a great show to remember. It was a huge difference comparing to all other bands of the evening. Formed in 1990 with Satyr (Sigurd Wongraven) as leader from 1991 and Frost (Kjetil-Vidar Haraldstad) at drums from 1992, 8 albums released and with a total of four Awards for Volcano album - the Norwegian Grammy for “Best Metal Album” Satyricon broke all boundaries and released the audience in a frantic headbanging. The sound was clear and Satyr helped contributing twice with guitar parts. Declared to be against any fashion, image and appearance the band style and attitude changed a lot during the years. The refined approach the band members are sharing (especially Satyr) made a bunch of girlies with shining eyes gather under stage. He seemed preoccupied all the time holding his massive microphone stand and staring around like analysing the crowd. Unfortunately the rumours were confirmed and the band will take a break to allow development on their musical creativity. Lets just hope we will see them live again soon with fresh energy. Please check them on their websites:

http://www.satyricon.no/ and http://www.myspace.com/satyricon

As a conclusion this years Winter Assault was a nice event with wonderful headliners. Check the photo gallery as well as the organizers page for more metal events http://www.obscure.cz/