Brutal Assault 2019 – Fortress Josefov CZ

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Metal-Rules.Com made a visit to the mighty Brutal Assault festival for the third time in a row. The whole festival is such an awesome event with an amazing line-up, great atmosphere, and of course delicious beer and food. During the four days, all in all, 130 bands and artists performed on five different stages, starting at 11.00 and finishing at 2.00 am. Spending four days under the red hot sun was a brutal experience, but all the bands looked and sounded so splendid.

 Brutal Assault in Jaromer, Czech Republic is a great destination to head to in early August. This already traditional festival seems to get better, more stacked up, and more extreme every year. The main body of the festival line-up contains mostly extreme metal and some hardcore (which at least I could live without…) but the festival tends to throw in some surprises to keep things diverse. This year’s band count of a whopping 130 is a handful even for us seasoned stalwarts of metal, but we did our best. We also knew it’s going to be the hot end of the week, as Europe was scorched by the relentless heatwave. (TH)

Article by Arto Lehtinen and Timo Hanhirova / Pics by Arto Lehtinen

 


Wednesday

When arriving at the area, the multinational slam death metallers Kraanium were offering a lesson of the brutal and technical playing. Despite the early playing time, the five had piece got a huge crowd following and enjoying the set. Kraanium didn’t slow down despite the massive crowd, instead, the band hit hard and heavy at the stage. Even though the band is used to playing for the big crowd, but some of the guys were tensing. The vocalist’s deep brutal growling sounded insane. His way of growling was a mix of different kinds of brutal approach, from the gutted deadly style to the insane croaking. The band didn’t spend any second in the one spot, just using the whole big stage.

There’s not an abundance of brutal slamming death metal in Brutal Assault but at least we had Kraanium, this formerly Norwegian band, now consisting guys across Europe. The band was blasting away in the early afternoon but there were some pit folks having fun so I think the band got they wanted from their main stage appearance. Their material is nothing super special to me but they just do their slam well, so it’s always a pleasure. “Classics” like Midget Fucker (with that classic Oz quote) and Double Barrel Penetration were a nice way to start the day. (TH)

The next was one the old school hardcore from Boston when the long-time hc veterans Slapshot hit the stage.  The frontman Jack “Choke” Kelly turned out to be one hell of an energic frontman. He ran and jumped all around the stage like a Duracell bunny having got an electric shock. The other members were extremely energic as well. Jack “Choke” Kelly is known for waving a mic quite wildly and relentlessly. Well, the mic hit his forehead, causing massive bleeding. The guy’s face was entirely covered by the blood. He didn’t notice the bleeding in the first place unless it started spilling. He ironically asked the audience “who is having fun”… And had a taste of blood and continued “I do”… And the audience cheered.

As a hockey fan, it was cool to see Boston’s Slapshot, the true hardcore with hockey themes in their visuals. Their music is as barebone as it gets, no-frill good old school stuff. The thing that stands out is the vocalist Choke’s bloodied face after he punches himself with the mic. Commitment to the cause I’d say. (TH)

Voivod has been a more regular visitor at Brutal Assault. They made a previous visit a few years ago and received a good response from the audience. Returning to the fest was just a matter of time. The Canadian legendary sci-fi metallers did and offered a more updated set. It consisted of a lot of songs from the latest outputs WAKE and POST SOCIETY. It is understandable even older bands have to perform the newer material, not focusing on these old classic ones. Voivod did for example “Post Society”, Obsolete Being” from those brand new outputs. Of course, the older material was mandatory, or the audience would have been more or less disappointed. The most pleasant surprise was “The Prow” taken from the ANGELRAT album. After all, due to the limited playing time, the band managed to do eight songs. But hey Voivod always rules.

Post Society
Psychic Vacuum
Obsolete Beings
The Prow
Iconspiracy
Overreaction
Fall
Voivod

The Finnish larping pagan metallers Ensiferum already started the set of their own at the second stage, next to Voivod. The set was started by “Ajattomasta Unesta” taken from the TWO PATHS album and continued by several known songs such as “Lai Lai Lei” and “From Afar”. The setlist was basically “best of the best” of Ensiferum to please and give a rapid dissection of the songs from their long career. Even though the band has undergone line-up changes, but the most recent line-up didn’t seem to have a keyboard player for a reason or another. These songs needed a melodic vibe of the keyboards, cos the songs have been composed along with the parts of the keyboards. As for their performance, the bass player kept banging, whereas the founder of the bands and the guitarist mostly focused on the playing.

Ajattomasta Unesta
Blood is the Price of Glory
Token of Time
One More Magic Potion
From Afar
In My Sword I Trust
Lai Lai Hei
Way of the Warrior
Two of Spades

Local Czech cult-act Forgotten Silence is a name from a distant past. I am sure that I have not given their material a spin in this millennium but maybe I should. They played their ’96 small classic Thots in its entirety and their somewhat dated but sympathetic take on mid-to-late nineties avantgarde death metal took me into some sort of nostalgia trip. (TH)

When death metal reigned in the early ’90s, several bands wanted to sound brutal and more brutal than others. Some of them ventured to a weird direction of the melodies and different kinds of approaches. Some of them remained loyal to the roots of the brutal death metal, never slipping to the other styles, even though they have faced grumpy response over these years. But after all, they have won more and more new fanbase. For example Incantation, that never ever lets down. John McEntee has guided Incantation and gained the monumental underground following, but never got catapulted to the level of the success of the mainstream. Incantation played at the Octagon Stage at BA a few years. The area was packed by thousands of people. Therefore their appearance at the tent Stage was a smart move. The 50-minute set was started by “Entrantment of Evil” off from their debut album, ONWARD TO GOLGOTHA. The set contained songs from four albums. Incantation’s performance was an excellent testimony of how death metal should sound and be played. Incantation was as usual raw and brutal, yet technical.

And then it was Incantation, again! This band is everywhere nowadays. What you can even say about these legends anymore. They slay. I hope though that next time I see these guys they have a new album out. (TH)

Entrantment of Evil
Devoured Death
Carrion Prophecy
Unholy Massacre
Deliverance of Horrific Prophecies
The Ibex Moon
Impending Diabolical Conquest
Profanation

 

The Polish Orthodox black metal squad Batushka has been in the inner turmoil during the past year, when the guitarist and founder of the group, Krzysztof Drabikowski, was dethroned from his band.  The current on-going version of Batushka, run by Bartłomiej Krysiuk, recently released the HOSPODI album via Metal Blade. Which one of them is the right version of Batushka and wrong ?! Who knows after all. But Bartłomiej Krysiuk’s Batushka had been booked by Brutal Assault. The orthodox blasphemers once again must have mauled an altar and other gimmicks from some Polish Orthodox church. The stage was filled by a look like an altar, icons, candles and a helluva more. These things had a more symbolic and metaphoric value because the whole orthodox dogmatic has been turned downside by Batushka; inverted crosses, satanic symbols. The whole construction looked amazing and pompous. Because of the hassles and legal matters between members, the set didn’t have to include any songs off from the debut album. Instead, the HOSPODI album was played nearly entirely. The rain kinda created the ritualistic atmosphere for the show as the lights and the whole stage construction got more justified. If this version of Batushka arrived in your town, would it be reasonable to enter to witness it? Sure why not… This is pure entertainment, which shouldn’t be taken that seriously.

I didn’t do any research on Therion’s intentions in Brutal Assault beforehand so I am glad that I was there to see this Theli set, basically by an accident as “normal” Therion gig is not that interesting anymore. I have a soft spot for this 1996 album. Even it should sound somewhat obnoxious to me nowadays with its over-the-top goofy bombastic, I was entertained and in a nostalgic rush, while hearing clips like Nightside of Eden, The Siren of the Woods and cool instrumental Grand Finale / Postlodium live. Therion was never the same after this. They turned boring. But Theli was in is craziness the pinnacle of this era and this was probably only Therion worth seeing. Ok, if they’d play four first album set someday… (TH)

If Therion did the whole THELI album, it would have been awesome from Prong to do the whole CLEANSING album. The album celebrates its 25th anniversary.  “Snap Your Finger- Snap Your Neck” is one of the most well-known Prong songs as it was on the heavy rotation on MTV over 20 years ago. Besides that song, three other songs got played from that particular album. Otherwise, the set had these typical songs from the Prong history such as “Beg to Differ”, “Lost And Found”. As for the newer material, a song from X-N ABSOLUTES was performed.  Tommy Viktor along with the bassist Jason Christopher used the room of the stage well by moving a lot. Especially Jason Christopher looked a guy with whom no-one wouldn’t like to mess with.

Unconditional
Lost and Found
Beg to Differ
For Dear Life
Cut-Rate
Ultimate Authority
Prove You Wrong
Revenge…Best Served Cold
Test
Whose Fist Is This Anyway?
Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck

When Coven triumphantly did the first European appearance at the Roadburn festival a few years ago, since then Jinx has been crisscrossing Europe quite a lot. Coven’s leader Jinx Dawson has gained a new and young Coven generation worshipping her coven. Besides Covent has been idolized by several occult rock as well as  metal bands.  Coven has started every show with a coffin being carried to the stage. There was no exception in that case. When the casket opened, Dawson stepped out in wake of the first riffs coming out of. The gig could be described as some kind of ritual occurrence. Dawson had covered her face with a silver mask that she later took away. The audience seemed to enjoy the magical performance by Coven as it sounded mesmerizing.  The band did all the Coven classic ones such as “Wicked Woman”, “Black Sabbath”.

 

Thursday

Thursday It was early, that I can say but sacrifices need to be made because Czech Swedeath merchant Brutally Deceased is not a bad band at all. They are not the most annoying replica of Swedish sound as they have some own tones in their music. Some good riffs got me going for that day. Later they would replace last-minute cancellation of Deicide. Good for them. (TH)

Starting the second day with the old school death metal was a perfect way of waking up. The latest album by Jungle Rot simply called JUNGLE ROT was a fine piece of the old school death metal. The frontman Dave Matrise has navigated the band thru years, leaving him as a sole and surviving member of the band. Jungle Rot’s set was a cross-section of their long career, but of course the songs from the latest JUNGLE ROT album got played. Despite the early playing time, the band had got a nice amount of people to enjoy the deadly metal.

The Brazilian death metal trio patrol has a supremely working morale; the trio has spent only four days at home this year. They have been on the road all the time, playing gigs in a different part of the world and constantly being on several tours. The summer has also been a busy time for the Brazilian death metallers. Krisiun headed to Party San after Brutal Assault. It could be witnessed in their performance, the year has been rough and long. The trio has calmed down, as they didn’t rage that intensively,  even though they gave 100 % of themselves at the stage. Krisiun’s death metal machine sounded tight and well-oiled. The band never forgets to thank the audience as this just testifies they are truly down-to-earth types of guys, which is indeed respectful.

The audience was recommended to give a chance to young and new bands in the official festival guide of Brutal Assult. One of these young and new bands could be Crystal Age from Japan. Although they have already started out in 2002, they have mostly toured in their home country like being an opening act for big names such as Hatebreed. Thus their name and music ain’t known that well in Europe. The name of the game is metalcore. The five-piece turned out to be insane wild and relentless act at the stage. Especially the singer lived up to his performance; who appeared to out of control at the stage, demanding the audience go berserk. His facelifts were priceless. These Japanese bands have to be kept on the eye, there is amazing stuff, only very few people seem to be aware of them.

Sacred Reich is yet another returning band to the festival. The infernal thunderstorm interrupted Sacred Reich’s gig at Brutal Assault a few years ago. Everyone had to find a shelter to run away from the area. Therefore the return to the fest was quite expected and welcomed indeed. The Arizona veteran thrash squad’s line-up went quite radical changes as Greg stepped down and was replaced by Dave McClain. The guitarist and founder of Sacred Reich Jason Rainey had to quit due to the healthy things and was replaced by a young lap Joey Radziwill. As Phil Rind said to the crowd, he was super excited about the upcoming new album AWAKENING and new members in the band. The three songs were played off from the forthcoming album. The rest of the set didn’t offer any surprise as having these obligatory Sacred Reich evergreen songs. As for the new guitarist, the guy has brought the new fire and excitement to the band. At least Phil Rind had got more young spirit in his stage manners. Sacred Reich will be touring a lot this year, go to see them.

Good old Sacred Reich was back with the material of their brand new album Awakening. Their new stuff feels more to their old sound than let’s say disappointing new Exhorder. At least they sound like Sacred Reich! Of course Ignorance it is not, but not crap either. Throw in ordinary classics and you have a nice little festival set for us old fans to enjoy. (TH)

Death Squad
Love…Hate
Awakening
Free
Who’s to Blame
Independent
Divide & Conquer
The American Way
Manifest Reality
Surf Nicaragua

Metal Church visited Brutal Assault a few years ago and made a return to this awesome festival. The slot was short as hell, but they did a nice set by balancing between the new and old stuff. The 45-minute set was started by “Damned If I do” with the recognizable ”hmm-hmm-hmm” hum. Metal Church sounded good and handled the gig with a professional attitude and grip.

Damned If You Do
Needle and Suture
Badlands
Start the Fire
Beyond the Black
By the Numbers
Fake Healer

What a huge crowd !! The whole area was entirely packed by thousands of people when Sodom got onstage. Sodom came and conquered. When Blackfire rejoined the band and the long-time German underground veteran Stefan Huskens, Sodom rose its profile several levels. Even a small glimpse of the smile appeared on Angelripper’s face when the huge crowd shouted “The Saw”. The sounds with the double guitar work were tighter and better and gave an entirely new approach to several old songs. Blackfire and Yorck Segatz have given the new breath and energy to Sodom. It ain’t any surprise that the old school metal fans have been more than happy to see Blackfire’s return in Sodom.

Silence Is Consent
The Crippler
The Saw Is the Law
Outbreak of Evil
Conflagration
Agent Orange
Blasphemer
One Step Over the Line
Partisan
Tired and Red
Bombenhagel

Skeletal Remains ladles the old school death metal roots from several classic bands. The band sounded live raw and primitive, yet technical and skilled. The frontman’s voice could be described as a mix of Martin Van Drunen’s and Chuck Schuldiner’s delivery. Skeletal Remains truly slew onstage

The Bay Area thrash veterans did the signing session a few earlier before their gig, the line was incredibly long and huge. When the session was over, the people were insane, trying to get the last minute autographs. Even the security had to push the people away. When Testament got onstage, the area wasn’t that packed and filled by thousands of people as it could have been expected.  As to their set, well Testament offered no surprises in the set as it was pretty much typical one for their festival appearance. They handled the gig with the professional routine. The band is so well-rehearsed and has a tremendous amount of experience onstage, therefore, they always put a great show.

Brotherhood of the Snake
The Pale King
More Than Meets the Eye
D.N.R. (Do Not Resuscitate)
Eyes of Wrath
Legions of the Dead
Low
Into the Pit
The Preacher
The New Order
Over the Wall
Disciples of the Watch
The Formation of Damnation

The second Vargrav gig of all time was a treat for Emperor-esque Black Metal fans. This Finnish group is utterly unapologetically mid-90ies, and it’s great. They are sort of an underground phenomenon but for some reason, it took some time that their music would grow on me. Still, I do think that they are a tad overrated, but they are not bad at what they do. Maybe I’d still like to hear more cheesiness, more synth, more bombastic retardation! Yeah, they are too classy. I’d also say that sound was better in Brutal Assault’s Oriental stage than it was in their first gig at Steelfest, so it was important as this thing is about layered nuances. (TH)

I must admit that I haven’t followed much Kampfar since their debut Mellom skogkledde aaser. Back in the later 90ies heyday band didn’t stand up enough me to make them part of the Norwegian black metal nucleus to me, even they were and are totally okay. So I was blown out by their good sound and drive and surprised myself that I didn’t leave after a few songs. Especially Dolk’s vocals sounded good. (TH)

Anthrax has been touring the European summer festivals during the whole summer. Anthrax is always a brilliant and great live band for sure. As for their show at Brutal Assault, the opening riff of “Cowboys From Hell” was immediately followed by “Caught In The Mosh”. The five-piece did an old school set with a few newer songs. The 60-minute set mainly consisted of the material from the heyday of the 80’s thrash metal. The whole band was in a fine mood and kept raging through the whole show.

Caught in a Mosh (with “Cowboys from Hell” intro)
Got the Time (Joe Jackson cover)
Madhouse
I Am the Law
Now It’s Dark
Hymn 1
In the End
A.I.R.
Antisocial(Trust cover)
Indians (with “Cowboys from Hell” outro)

The legendary crust punk squad Discharge got a new resurrection after a having deal inked with Nuclear Blast and the recruitment of a new vocalist Jeff “JJ” Janiak. Discharge was a perfect fit for the line-up of  Brutal Assault as their brutal and nihilistic and reckless hardcore approach appeal to metal fans. So did it and well, the tent was packed and the pits were brutal when d-beat rhythms roared with the powerful volume. The set consisted of the material from their last output and plenty of classic ones. Jeff “JJ” Janiak didn’t spend any second in one spot, relentlessly moving around the stage.

I’d say that synthwave selection of Brutal Assault is as boring as they get. First, it was Perturbator, and now two other names from the big three, Gost and Carpenter Brut. Too bad Gost canceled but we still had Carpenter Brut, and they are always enjoyable. They are also easier to digest for tradition metal audience than Gost, as Carpenter Brut has a band playing. I can’t get enough of Le Perv. (TH)

 

Friday

Dr. Living Dead from Sweden has been such an interesting cross name in the genre for a while. The Swedish cross over thrashed had to play early in the morning when several festival-goers were still sleeping. Dr. Living Dead didn’t mind that and raged through the whole set. The singer appeared to be such a reckless one. The band’s head bandana is direct from Suicidal Tendencies.

Ektomorf led by Zoltán Farkas has face up and downhill during the long hill. But as for their performance at Brutal Assault, the band had got a nice and huge crowd. Zoltan made the crowd jump and run in the circle pit. Ektomorf’s tribal sounding groove metal sounded tight and more or less Soulflyish.

Vuur led by Anneke van Giersbergen was a cheery exception when compared to several hardcore/thrash/death metal outfits at the festival. Anneke was such a sunny and happy person that brought an entirely different kind of angle to the performance. He was outspokenly happy about the reaction of the audience through the whole set. The set featured a couple of songs picked up from The Gathering “On Most Surfaces” and “Strange Machines” that concluded her set.

Slaegt hailing from Denmark already surprised the eccentric sounding tunes at the Roadburn festival earlier this year. The band had similar elements as Sweden’s Tribulation. The guitarist’s stage performance and moves were adopted from Tribulation as well. Even though Slaegt could be compared to Tribulation, but they do have things of their own in the sounds and image. Their image ain’t over the top as it was much down to the earth. Slaegt sounded melodic, but unpredictable great onstage.

Destruction’s previous show got plagued by technical problems when they played at Brutal Assault some years ago. Performing with one guitar is always risky. Destruction recently expanded the line-up to have the second guitarist, which was an interesting, but smart decision. When the German thrash patrol performed, they sounded tight.  The second guitar made the older songs sound tighter and heavier fulfilled by great double guitar work. The set consisted of the classic Destruction stuff as well as the brand new songs off from the new amazing BORN TO PERISH album. Destruction delivered the good gig. Randy Black is the right man behind the battery. He pounded with the clockwork precision and had the swing that brought the more tightness to the sounds of Destruction’s thrash.

Curse The Gods
Nailed to the Cross
Born to Perish
Mad Butcher
Life Without Sense
Betrayal
The Butcher Strikes Back
Thrash Till Death
Bestial Invasion

It ain’t any secret that Ross Dolan digs Brutal Assault and the promoter of Brutal Assault is a huge Immolation fan. When Immolation got onstage, the promoter was standing beside and playing the air drums and singing along.  Singing along with Ross Dolan could be a little bit challenging as the man’s voice was deadly as hell. Immolation did 13 songs from five albums. Even though Immolation’s stuff is brutal, but the newer material is way more complex and more varied than the older material like the self-titled song Immolation is always a killer act onstage. There was no exception at Brutal Assault as the four pieces were truly in the fire and delivered a fabulous set of songs picked up from several albums. Guitarist Vigna and Bouks created the murderous riffs. Especially Vigna’s movements were outstanding as usual.  Immolation once again showed how death metal should be played.

Zuriaake from China brought the Chinese vibe to  Brutal Assault. The band’s eerie sounding metal with oriental influences sounded bombastic. Especially their dress code created a more exotic atmosphere. It is damn cool blackened metal from different cultures to their music and shows. Zuriaake’s darkened and blackened metal sounded fabulous and the band deserves more attention.

The Norwegian black metal squad Nordjevel has the former Morbid Angel and current Myrskog axeman in the line-up. Nordjevel’s savage and barbaric black metal

 

One of the waited and expected bands of Brutal Assault was without any doubts Thomas Gabriel Fischer’s Hellhammer-  Triumph Of Death. The field was entirely packed as the interest toward Hellhammer was incredible. Even though Hellhammer has had a little bit dismal period in Fischer’s life, but the band’s influence on the extreme metal scene can’t be denied. “The Third Of The Storms” opened the set and was followed by several known Hellhammer tunes. The sounds were incredibly amazing. It occasionally sounded a bit punkish approach meets the NWOBHM elements. The Celtic Frost song titled “Visions Of Mortality” was an exception on the setlist. The four-piece sounded tight and did a justified to the old classic tunes.  It was hilarious when the huge crowd did “UGH” to which Mr. Fischer responded “That’s how I am remembered by” and growled “UGH”. When Hellhammer – Triumph Of Death was all over, the audience was blown away. Some people were sitting, gasping for some fresh air and telling “That’s amazing”. It was amazing, indeed. The right atmosphere and the right timing created the magical moment to experience those legendary classic Hellhammer tunes.

The Third of the Storms (Evoked Damnation)
Massacre
Maniac
Blood Insanity
Decapitator
Crucifixion
Reaper
Buried and Forgotten
Aggressor
Messiah
Visions of Mortality (Celtic Frost cover)
Triumph of Death

Saturday

 

The Czechian Gutalax has gained an insane following in a short time. The piss and poo humor seems to appeal to the people in a different generation. For a reason or another Gutalax had been scheduled to start the final day of the fest at 10.30 am. A normal festival goer is still having a terrible morning hangover and sleeping in a tent at that time. But when it was about Gutalax, the whole area was full, packed as thousands of people had awake up to be able to crawl to the venue on time. Gutalax is such a funny group consisting of guys with white haulers and cover glasses. Gutalax’s goregrind ain’t the most brutal stuff, actually, it is quite mellow and easy to party with it. Both the band and the audience were having fun for sure, a lot of flying rubber toys, toilet papers, and even shit was thrown. The funniest aspect of the whole show was two crowd-surfing lavatories. Gutalax is a pure party band, which aims are to have fun and play with the piss and poo humor. When Gutalax’s party had ended, the audience started leaving the venue. When the next bands hit the stage, there were only a handful of people watching them. How pathetic…

Saturday morning and an almost empty Brutal Assault main stage after Gutulax party is a bad place to be, especially for a band like Spanish Altarage. Their thick blackened cavernous death metal is something made for dim, small club venues. I still admire that kinda pulled it off, but yes, they look orphaned out there as a trio on a big big stage, in full daylight. (TH)

The German thrash pioneer Exumer came and literally educated the audience with the old school thrash metal. The frontman Mem Von Sten as a frontman was wild and knew how to control and encourage the audience with strong and character performance.

 

The German doom/death metal combo Necros Christos was supposed to quit the career and go on a long hiatus years ago. Where was a minister cave and lovage ?! Now the whole band looked a more traditional band as all the gown had been abandoned. Necros Christos should have played at the Octagon stage in the night or the tent stage, as the main stage didn’t create that authentic and justified atmosphere for the death metal approach of Necros Christos. Although the band handled the gig with the routine and certainty, the magical feeling was kind of lost. Necros Christos needs a particular place and timing.

Violator has never ever played in front of a huge festival crowd before. The Brazilian thrashers were extra hyper excited and psyched about having an opportunity of playing at the main stage. Even the small rain didn’t prevent them from doing such a high energy filled set. Violator whipped the audience with the crazy intensive thrash stuff. Violator has the Brazilian vibe in the sound of their thrash assault, as it ain’t perfect and polished, it has more straight forward rage and devotion. That could be seen and felt when the four-piece thrashed at the stage.

Demolition Hammer hammered the ruins of the old castle down a few years ago. Their new rematch wasn’t that intensive. One of the reasons was the rain getting harder and harder. The thrash crowd didn’t feel like start running in the circle pit and besides most of the festival crowd had looked for shelter during the rain. The rain flattened the atmosphere amongst the festival attendance.  As far as Demolition Hammer is concerned, the four-piece thrash veteran thrashed

Vltimas being one kind of all-star group with the former and current members of Morbid Angel, Mayhem Cryptopsy released the debut album earlier this. If the album had been released 30 years ago, it would be considered a classic release nowadays. The whole album just testified that the older death metal legends are still cable of writing vicious and brutal sounding death metal hymns. As far as Vltimas’ set is concerned; David Vincent had dressed up to a  long leather jacket and black Stetson. He had some eye lines around his eyes. This was some sort of character in the wake of Mr. Hyde and Dr. Jekyll. As for the setlist –  no single song played from Morbid Angel or Cryptopsy, as the band just focused on the material of the first Vltimas album. That was a smart move indeed. The songs sounded strong and catchy. Seeing Vincent without the bass was quite odd, but he has to get used to performing without the bass a little bit more, as his way of using hands and body was for the bass player status. Vltimas sounded extremely vital and brutal.

 

Something Wicked Marches In
Praevalidus
Total Destroy
Monolilith
Truth and Consequence
Last Ones Alive Win Nothing
Everlasting
Diabolus Est Sanguis
Marching On

 

I was really stoked to see the legendary Ved Buens Ende play as I never imagined that they would active themselves ever again. But I guess everybody is coming back these days, eventually. The band is a unique experiment in very early Norwegian avant-garde and to me has stood time better than some of their contemporaries. We got classics after classics, dominantly from their one and only album Written in Waters. Czral’s wailing vocals are understandably loved or hate affair, but I like them, and he executed them perfectly. A minor issue was that some black metal parts didn’t sound as menacing and cold as in the record and got lost underneath of drums. It took me a while to understand why but I guess the reason was the lesser amount of buzz saw gain used in guitars.

 

The Greek Rotting Christ has been a regular visitor at Brutal Assault. The 60-minute set consisted of the songs taken from five different albums. The band has toured and gigged as that could be seen in their playing and performance. It was well coordinated and rehearsed. Even Themis’ minor problems with the drums didn’t prevent them from doing a killer playing. The set consisted of the older material from the legendary PASSAGE TO ARCTURO mini-album and the newer stuff from the most recent outputs such as HERETICS.

Antaeus was one of the few real black metal bands In this year’s edition and they didn’t disappoint as for me they are one of the best, if not the best in the current crop of French black metal. Their punishing and fast material can be a bit tedious but they still managed to keep me captivated enough. They also played a new song, or two, and it didn’t seem that there is going to be any radical departure style-wise.

Napalm Death is always an entertaining group onstage. Barney’s relentless running all around the stage, Embury’s insane bass playing are the basic trademarks for the outlook of the Napalms.  Napalm Death has always proclaimed political standpoints and agenda at gigs. These political aspects have become and become important for Napalm Death because of the current political climate. Anyone can’t avoid hearing their political views. That could be felt and seen in their performance and playing at BA. The set consisted of the new and old song, as expected. Barney’s way of using his voice and growling is changed within these years. For example old songs such as “Suffer The Children” sounded more straightforward played crust and grinding stuff than a death metal song. Napalm Death, however, was tight and well-oiled propaganda machine grinding and crushing live. The gig wasn’t any exception at Brutal Assault.

Carcass was the last act on the main stage and concluded the four-day event. The set was a basic best of type of gig with the most essential and known Carcass songs. The band didn’t offer any surprise and concentrated on a safety setlist. Carcass sounded good as usual and covered heaps of songs from several albums. It was a more normal day in a job kind of performance.

BRUTAL ASSAULT

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