BRUTAL ASSAULT 2017
The experience at Brutal Assault 2016 was an ultimate great and brilliant one that returning to the festival was definitely a must. It isn’t any wonder why Brutal Assault is an insane credible pleasant fest because of the stellar line-up, a lot of great food, a wonderful old fortress as a festival area, and above all….cheap beer! This festival easily blows most other festivals away. Once again the line-up was huge, but still varied, covering a wide range of extreme from the side to the side. All in all 110 bands had once again been booked for the four day metal inferno. Trying to witness as many bands as possible was quite challenging and near impossible. Here is the brief article of the mighty Brutal Assault.
When arriving at the area the Swedish all-star death whatever metal combo Lurking Fear was at one of the main stage. The outfit is such an interesting name as these Swedish old school death metal characters have teamed up to create some hymns. It’s no surprise that the At The Gates / Disfear frontman, Tompa Lindberg, was handling the vocals. Even though the material was at that time quite unknown for most of the people, but however the stuff sounded catchy. Therefore it is a worthy endeavor to check out.
The Czechian black metal legends Root led by Big Boss enjoys the loyal and even fanatical following. The area of the one of the main stages was overly packed when Big Boss’s league hit the stage. Big Boss’ health ain’t that strong and he had to monitor the lyrics from the separate stand. That had been carried out for years, there it ain’t any surprise. Root delivered a bunch of songs from their long career even from the first debut album ZVEJENI.
Brutal Assault always offers a wide range of extreme music for the extreme crowd. Besides the death/black other types of styles have always been an important factor in the line-up of Brutal Assault. Madball was an obvious pick-up and they have always offered a real blasting show. The gig at Brutal Assault wasn’t any exception what comes to the intensity to being at the stage. The frontman Freddy Cricien didn’t spend any second in the one spot, moving as restless along the stage. The hard core four piece literally made the audience go wild as the energic hard core show always brings up that kind of wild and out-of control feeling in the pit.
Metal Church sounded truly splendid in the darkened evening. The set was a perfect balance of the old and new material. Mike Howe’s role as a real redeemer of Metal Church by returning to the mic definitely rescued this great band from the demise The 60 minute set just proved that fact right again as it was kicked off by Fake Healer and was followed by a bunch of great songs from the long career. Howe’s performance definitely left other guys into the dark.
One of the reasons to make a visit to Brutal Assault was the return of the mighty Masters Hammer. The band had previously played a comeback in Prag and Brutal Assault was the first festival date ever. It was widely known and advertised the legendary RITUAL album was the key on the setlist. The expections were floating high and exciments were tremenedous. Seeing Master’s Hammer for the first time ever. The band had rehearsed well and all the stage manners like a few chicks standing with the As Below So Above position. The RITUAL album was played throughout and both the songs off from the KLAVIERSTUCK 7’ep and one song off JILEMNICKY OKULTISTA. Even though the set was supposed to be focused on the older stuff, but one newer song from VAGUS VETUS was on the list. However Franta Storm with the back-up forces sounded brutal and tight, but something was missing from the performance. Obviously the expectations had been set a bit too high and some kind of old school black metal outburst didn’t blow up the fortress, but without extravaganzing seeing Master’s Hammer at the stage was something that never expected to happen in this life.
It has been weird to witness how quickly the Polish Batushka has got catapulted to the level of the immersive success. The Polish monk chorus has been crisscrossing European festivals. Being at the main stage in front of the huge sea of people wasn’t any surprise. The orthodox oriented ritualistic performance with the left-hand-path feeling was indeed an eye capturing and bombastic.
Overkill is always a full on energy grinding wheel with the pure ironbornattitude. The band never disappoints or let the fans down, just offering and giving 110 % energic lesson of the NY thrash metal. That could be witnessed at Brutal Assault. NY thrash veterans have got a new oiled power behind the drum artillery. That has definitely brought the new vibe and energy to this Wrecking Crew.
The thrash quartet Havok got some media stir because of disagreements with the Mustaine management teams. However the band is the part of the newer thrash generation coming out of The States. Even though Havok sounded extremely skilled and technical, but somehow these newer thrash bands such as Havok haven’t achieved bigger status. The four piece knew how to create lethal thrash hymns. The 60 minute set with the skilled playing was truly enjoyable.
If the NY hard core squad got the wild and out-of-control respond a day before, another hard core outfits Terror managed to create the total mayhemic riot in the pit. The whole band, as a hard core outfit has to be at the stage, literally raged all around the stage. Once again the vocalist was utterly insane going total apeshit.
Arkona presents the more folk/pagan/forest whatever metal. The band pulled a nice set influenced by the Russian folk music as those elements sounded extremely strong. The frontlady’s energy performance definitely made the crowd get into the band’s Russian folk approach. This sort of catchy stuff sounded so easy to get into.
Samael did the anniversary run by playing the whole CEREMONY album at various festivals a few years back. Obviously that anniversary run is done and over as the band had returned to doing the normal set of songs picked up from various albums. The Swiss black industrial metallers if they wanna be called in that way went thru all the essential hymns, but the song from the PASSAGE album played the more dynamic role in the set as four songs got played. However Samael is gonna release a new album and for the taste of it the new song Wrath Of Angel roared out with the obvious Samael vibes.
Emperor’s gig was Brutal Assault was already announced a year ago by playing ANTHEMS album as a whole. However Emperor still causes an extra stir among the metal audience even though the last album PROMETHEUS saw the light of day back in 2001. However the legacy of Emperor still lives. Frankly the Emperor guys have been utter smart by playing a few carefully selected gigs at various festivals and then having a few years off in order to keep the interest toward the band up. The ANTHEMS album is definitely a real blueprint in the black metal genre. Utilizing the surrounding frames of Brutal Assault was a perfect place for Emperor for doing ANTHEMS. The great visual aspects and lights created the magical feeling in the ruins of the old fortress in the nighttime. The Norwegian black metal emperors began the gig by doing all the numbers in order from the album. The whole gig was enjoyable and to be honest musically genius. This was how Emperor had to look and sound.
The US black metal horde Uada could be spotted at various European festivals. Obviously Uada is supposed to be the next “thing”. Uada has got quite mixed reaction, but still pulled a solid crowd at the Oriental Stage. As usual the whole band had the faces covered with hooded masks. As for their musical ambitions, obviously Mgla could be the closest reference.
Suffocation had undergone odd line-up hassles as Frank Mullen had stepped aside and had obviously been replaced by Kevin Muller. Even the drummer and the second guitarist had joined the group in 2016. Well Terrance Hobbs and Derek Boyer are the part of Suffocation. Those line-up changes didn’t prevent the crowd to go utter nuts. The stand-in vocalist was able to growl extremely well that the Suffocation fans didn’t have to worry about that. Derek Boyer’s bassplaying looked pretty intensive. Despite the changeover in the line-up Suffocation rampaged at the stage, performing the real old school death metal.
The Greek long time extreme metallers Rotting Christ concluded the second day. At this point it started rain pouring down, but fortunately it didn’t prevent or bring any kind of unpleasant situation to follow Rotting Christ. The Greek extreme metallers sounded as razor tight as possible. The heads kept spinning with the ultimate banging throughout the whole show. “Zeg Nigmar” hit out of the speakers and was followed by songs picked up from a number of albums. The old coffin spirit kept breathing when the old Thou Art Lord song echoed in the catacombs of the old fortress. Sakis and his legion were once again in the terrific strike offering a pure ritualistic serviam for the audience of the Brutal Assault festival, standing and cheering in the rain. Hail Rotting Christ.
Before the Arizona thrashers Sacred Reich got on the stage, the dark clouds started gathering in the horizon and to be honest it didn’t look that tempting to spend any extra minute, but Sacred Reich had to be witnessed. Well after the opening song “Ignorance” , the massive rain and storm literally wiped the area so heavily, Sacred Reich was forced to cut the set shortly. The next hour was just waiting and drinking in the beer catacombs until the storm was completely over. Sacred Reich continued the playing as interrupted by the storm. Well unfortunately the set had been shortened a little bit, but however all the mandatory songs by Sacred Reich were played such as “The American Way”, “Independent”, “Death Squad”.
The schedule got a little bit confused due to the storm. However the next “must see” on the list was definitely Possessed. Possessed recently inked a deal with Nuclear Blast, meaning the new album will be coming out sooner or later. In 50 minutes Jeff Becerra exorcised all in all nine song feat. an entire new called ShadowCult. The whole EYES OF HORROR ep was pulled thru with the possessed grip and the mighty “Death Metal” concluded the set. The current line-up has knitted together as a lethal metal patrol, sounding extremely brutal, sharp and tight. Becerra himself hasn’t lost any inch in his recognizable voice- still brutal and barbaric with its own unique style. ShadowCult shows Possessed’s album is going to be a murderous death metal for sure.
Obviously the leader of Eluveitie had the house cleaning weeks last year when the most of the members dismissed the band. Even the vocalist Anna Murphy’s departure brought the sadness and sorrow for the Eluveitie fans for sure. The new current female vocalist Fabienne Erni is a real adorable and lovely character with a lovely voice. Her singing would have been listened more. Frankly, Eluveitie’s stuff is a bit of everything picked up from the various musical genres; from The celtic influences to the At The Gates sounding melo death metal approach. However the crowd enjoyed a lot and the band was pleased.
The editor-in-chief of Metal-Rules.Com definitely loves this (Editors note: I’m not much into industrial stuff) : the Canadian industrial pioneer Frontline Assembly. Well it has nothing to do with metal, but Brutal Assault has always had a few industrial likewise bands or names in the line-up. However the Canadian industrial combo seemed to be struggling with some technical dilemma. After wondering and pondering for a while, the trio offered the mesmerizing set of beats and ambient feelings. The whole gig by Frontline Assembly was the breathtaking as the audience was totally in some sort of trance. The Canadian industrial terror definitely pierced the ears.
Electric Wizard was supposed to perform at Brutal Assault, but forced to cancel because of some hassles with the authorizes in the homecountry. However the dope doomesters unleashed the total heaviness of pure slude doom approach.
The last festival day, but there were still a helluva lot of great bands coming up. First off the drink was need before heading out to check out any bands.
The thrash assault in a row. That’s a good way to wake up after the short slept nights. First off the Danish thrash patrol Artillery hit the stage to offer the lesson of the old school hey day. The current vocalist Michael Dahl ran around the stage like a 100 meter sprinter and pulled the set through with the good performance. It is quite strange how the leader of the band Michael Stützer still finds the passion and willingness to carry the torch of Artillery when the door has been under the heavy use. However their gig at Brutal Assault proved the band is still in good thrashing strike on the stage.
After the Danish thrashing, Prong led by Tommy Victor hit the stage by kicking “Beg To Differ” off. The set was pure Prongish sounding songs from their latest albums. Even though the newer material sounded totally splendid and catchy with these recognizable up and down hooks. Unfortunately the audience was quite unfamiliar with it. The grim looking bassist made the crowd move a bit more. Prong was good and enjoyable. As expected “Snap Your Finger” concluded the 50 minute set.
Decapitated have modified the sound world away from the death metal approach more into the groove sounding metal a’la Lamb Of God. Is that good or bad ? Well the fans of the older more death metal sounding material may have a bit hard times to approve of that change. The groove sounding metal seemed to be appreciated by the audience quite well. Obviously the Lamb Of God sounding ventured approach appealed to the masses better than the death metal. At least the crowd was going totally nuts during Decapitated.
Oathbreaker’s gig at Roadburn was definitely breathtaking and truly magical. Of coursean outdoor gig create a little bit different angle for the standpoint. However the frontman lady appeared to be one sort of child of nature and restless and wild and kind of out of control. Her performance was once again tremendous extremity of self whipping in the screaming and living up to the music in her performance. The frontlady truly enjoyed being out of control in a good day.
Demolition Hammer has got the busy summer by playing at several festivals. They have delivered the blasting thrash show at these ones and the crowd have gone totally nuts. The same thing could be witnessed at Brutal Assault. The reunited NY thrashers unleashed the total skull crushing thrash metal lesson. The pit was tremendous and merciless right from the beginning to the end.
Tiamat’s purporse was to play the WILDHONEY album as a whole. Johan Edlund- who appeared to be more or less out of radar – did quite an “interesting” job when interpreting the WILDHONEY songs. Frankly it was a real soul ripping to hear how songs got mangled to sound and have such lousy versions. Finally Edlund’s breathless singing didn’t create that convincing feeling. Missing the old tight playing Tiamat from the 90’s.
The mighty Incantation had the three gig slots at Brutal Assault. The first one covered a wide range of their catalogues, doing the most brutal ones. Whereas the second one was meant to focus on the doom/death material. In this case Incantation performed and stayed loyal to the roots of their death metal approach. John McEntee sounded totally fabulous, not loosing any inch in his trademark as far as the brutal voice is concerned. The four piece truly slayed at the stage. All the gig of Incantation are always pure feast of the real old school death metal. The slot at Brutal Assault wasn’t any exception.
When the lights, songs and the audience are nothing, but total perfect, the band can rely on being at stage to sacrifice themselves 100 % . That could be described to how Amorphis sounded and looked at the stage. Amorphis truly did a splendid performance as the lights created the magnificent atmosphere. The singer Joutsen has definitely captured the vibe and feeling as constantly encouraging the other members in the band to be . However the return of the original bassist was quite surprising, but on the other hand his role seemed to have become the essential part of the Amorphis line-up. To say it shortly ; Amorphis ruled.
Mayhem has been doing the mighty legendary De MYSTERIIS DOM SATHANAS for “ a while”. The album is definitely a pile in the modernday black metal genre. The whole area was as packed as Emperor’s. To be honest the whole gig from the beginning to the end was pure magic and above all evilness. Attila’s performance and acting on the stage was somehow planned after all, as some kind of altar type of table was brought to the stage. He moved his hands around the candle and nearly burnt it. Under the blue blazing light, Mayhem offered one hell of spectacle in the darkened landscape in the ancient fortress.
The four days in a row at the Brutal Assault was a tremendous great experience. Great bands and above all great friendly press people made the whole presence so enjoyable. It is going to be interesting which bands will be booked for 2018. Looking forward to that.