This year’s edition of the Brutal Assault Festival was an insanely massacre of good heavy music! Whoever’s an extreme music fan, you should definitely think about going there next year and I will tell you why!
By Klemer Santiago
For 17 years, this Festival has made its way through to become an international destination for the metal community during the European Summer. Bringing the best within a variety of metal genres, over 75 bands in total in 4 days of festival! Two main stages and this year one more day have been added together with a side stage to open up a doorway for local bands to present their great work.
To get there from Czech Republic’s capital, Prague, the best way is to head by train to Jaromer’s train station. It is about a 30 minute walk to get to the surroundings of the Fortress and about 100 crowns (5 dollars) by taxi. Yes this is a unique festival! Picture this: The two main stages are between the huge outer and inner defensive walls of the fortress, with everything you need from food, water, relaxing areas, other attractions, drinks, etc., in the immediate surrounding area. The mighty Old Army Fortress Josefov is a complex structure stretching for many kilometres and it simply blows your mind away with the imposing scenery it presents and it is surrounded by a small forest, where you can find your place to camp, reserve a place at the vip camping area or if you prefer, you can book a Hotel in the city area nearby.
Thursday morning, camp set up, got my wrist band, great hot summer weather, awesome metal girls everywhere, bought some coupons, got my first Czech Bud beer and let the party begin!
The first band to rock the stage was the Czech band Noostrak, they play a killer combination of Death Metal and Deathcore, showing a great technical avalanche of riffs, sick fast drumming with pedals in synch with the guitar riffs and a great vocal technique, with deep growls and great stage presence. The crowd was there already present in great numbers to appreciate this great opening act.
Brutal Assault’s two main stages set side by side, one called Metalshop and the other Jagermeister stage, they form a perfect combination for non-stop acts. After one band has finished their act, 5 minutes later another band starts playing on the other stage.
Brutally Deceased, Czech Death Metal band, presents a more old school Death Metal, brutal riffs, brutal fast and old-school drumming, great bass playing and an insane headbanger vocalist that possesses caveman/bear growls and strong stage presence.
Next band I checked out was American Thrash Core band Toxic Holocaust. It was 1 PM and they had a huge crowd present and many were calling for their act. Front man Joel Grind guitarist enters stage and the crowd goes crazy. He is responsible for composing all instruments of the first 2 albums and is very well praised by the fans. They present a more straightforward old-school mixture of German/American Thrash Metal, with vocals slightly remembering Sepultura Max Cavalera in the album “Morbid Visions“. This time we saw many mosh pits and people doing crowd-surfing, what a nice scene!
People were already gathering on the Jagermeister stage to wait for the next act. And when Toxic Holocaust finished, it was hard to find a place to watch Russian Pagan Metal band Arkona. A huge crowd was expecting this act and when the musicians started entering stage, a wall of screaming sound and cheering echoed through the Walls of Old Army Fortress!
Mixing Metal drumming, extreme guitar and bass lines, flute, bagpipes, strong Pagan visuals, great voice, screams and growls and great presence of vocalist Masha, who goes from one side to the other on stage, dances, headbangs and has a great charisma with the crowd, this was one hell of a great show!
After many great acts such as Crowbar, The Black Dahlia Murder and Swallow The Sun, the night was slowly falling and this is the time when we can see the full scale and power of the Brutal Assault festival, I am sure they got really close to reaching sold-out (15000 people), because everywhere you looked it was packed!
Brazilian Extreme Death Metalers Krisiun were next and this huge crowd was expecting their act. These three brothers form a mighty metal machine of brutal riffs and guitar solos played by Moises Colesne, drum pedal work so fast that it resembles a machine gun pouring down bullets by Max Kolesne and great bass work by Alex Camargo together with strong low and rough voice, always humble and strong stage presence and everywhere they go, they win the crowd! It was an amazing scene to see this huge crowd with their horns in the air, many singing their songs, mosh pits and crowd surfing when we saw this guy holding the Brazilian flag. Alex Camargo told everyone on the song Descending Abomination: “We got a song from the new album and for those that still haven’t heard it, just band your head“ During this song the crowd was a unison of headbangers doing what they really love: Headbanging!!!
Following their presentation, there was an avalanche of great bands: Ministry, Dimu Borgir which had the greatest crowd of the day, Samael, Nile, and this was only the first day!
Friday morning, nice cup of coffee to try stopping the hung-over, a fast walk arroung the city and back to check out the first act of the day, the American Death Metal band Cattle Decaptation. Nice vocal lines and extremely technical bass/guitar/drums work and the crowd was hungry for metal, as a great crowd was already waken up for this presentation.
British Metalcore band Bleed from Within was next and this is were we could see most of the younger metalheads of the festival. As you can see, this festival opens up the doors for a huge crowd ranging from many different metal genres and everything flows perfectly.
Next band I checked out was Warbringer. This American bastards have been well praised for doing old school thrash metal and are famous for touring for 300 days straight out of one year in a van. This is a very energetic band and they know how to drive the crowd wild for huge mosh pits.
I could go on and on, but to make things simpler the best acts of the day were Municipal Waste, Napalm Death, Hatebreed, Incantation, Amon Amarth which had the crowd going nuts singing all songs by heart and also singing the guitar riffs, what a spectacle, Machine Head with the greatest crowd of the day, and Paradise Lost.
Saturday’s first act I checked was Bielo-Russian band Gods Tower, a Pagan Metal band that is really well known in Eastern Europe and had many fans there to watch their show.
Sodom had a problem during their way to the festival and was announced as the last act of the day.
The Death Metallers of Six Feet Under made a good show, but it only when vocalist asked to band to stop the show: “ Stop, Stop, Stop.. Stop this shit…“ and the band suddenly started playing Skull Full of Maggots from his former band Cannibal Corpse, surprising everyone present and driving the crowd insane! An insane and monstrous mosh pit was formed!
Agnostic Front, one of the earliest and longest standing NY Hardcore bands to date, made one of the best shows of the festival. As one of the last shows and the vibe was like: this festival is ending, let’s get the most out of it! The crowd was so excited and corresponding to what was singing, what a damn good show!
Black Metalers from Immortal, had a surprise to everyone! There were huge walls of fire on stage and behind the stage during the intense moments of the songs. This incredible fire spectacle, together with the three of them playing their songs so hard that it seemed as if there were 10 guitars and basses on stage and an impressive stage presence, gave the crowd something to remember for years to come! This was the best show of the festival, period.
As the last act of the festival, the German Thrashers Sodom got on stage and vocalist/bassist Tom Angelripper said: “We got a problem on the way, but we wouldn’t let you down!“ More than 30 years on the road and they played with so much energy that it looked like as if they haven’t aged at all! As it was late, most of the crowd had dispersed, but the diehard fans were there and in good numbers to see their show. They played songs from their new album In War and Pieces and classics like Agent Orange, and the crowd still found energy for mosh pits!
Summing up, Brutal Assault is one of the best European summer festivals for extreme music fans and with the great organization, huge variety of music genres, nice metal vibe, amazing location and great Czech beer, you should definitely go there and check it out for yourself.