Probably one of the most extreme Metal festivals in Europe is Brutal Assault in the Czech Republic, and 2007 marks it´s 12th year in running. This year saw a new location for the festivities to take place, an old army fortress built the 18 th Century situated 130 km east of Prague in the town of Jaromer. Not the easiest destination to find for a festival, but the BA website was helpful with directions and links to transportation.
The event itself took place in one of the courtyards enclosed in the fortress, whilst the camping area was in close proximity in a surrounding field, so there was no need to trek for miles to get to the stages! There was a unique atmosphere here, gritty and decrepit due to the age of the place. This, combined with the ominous weather forecast (consisting of threatening black rain clouds between blistering rays of hot sunshine) and the mighty fine array of extreme Metal music was enough to satisfy the darkness within many.
The usual festival amenities you could expect were there, although just one shower for the entire place wasn´t really acceptable. Two stages of the same size, so no main stage as such, great organisation with regards to schedule and great sound more or less through out for all bands. Plenty of beer tents though with cheap booze, 90 cents for a beer…so, as imaginable, you could see many extremely drunken Metal heads,and several passed out wrecks lying unconscious in various corners during the fest!
Thursday 9th August
The ever tremendous Swedish Dismember were on great form and invoked an impressive mosh pit with their brand of powerful Death Metal, with songs amongst: Pieces, Children Of Bodom cover - Hatecrew Deathroll, Skin Her Alive, Dreaming In Red and Collection By Blood.
Suffocationwere another cult band playing that day, with a huge following having been influential on the scene for 17 years, and blasted everyone in attendance with their ludicrously fast and brutal/technical Death Metal.
DHG (Dødheimsgard) were interesting. Technically impressive live with their mix of extreme black metal and industrial/electronica elements, although executed well the vocals sounded pretty shoddy, and got rather boring after a while.
Friday 10th August
Playing very early were Obtest from Lithuania, so those who managed to make it witnessed a great show. They played a spirited set of Pagan/Folk Metal with the highlight being one of their most famous songs Aukaseniems.
The colossal She Said Destroy took to the stage mid afternoon. A band that can really pull it off live, fans went berserk as these purveyors of metal bruised eardrums with their absurdly heavy riffs, thunderous drumming, and guttural vocals that can switch to black metal screeching in an instant, that quite frankly are awe inspiring. A new song "This City Speaks In Tongues" was also played. I had to pick my jaw up from the ground after the set.
Katatonia performed to a dense audience, the Swedes played their beautiful and melodic songs amongst which were My Twin, Chrome, Right Into The Bliss, Teargas and it was great to hear old material in there - Murder. The entire set was sublime, with front man Jonas´ vocals sounding so emotional it could risk bringing a tear to your eye.
Another packed crowd gathered for Pain who started proceeding with The Same Old Song. Sounding good as ever live, with this industrial metal that still manages to contain the brutality that you would expect from front man and legend Peter. Other songs tonight included Shut Your Mouth, Just Hate Me, On And On and the venomous Bitch.
She Said Destroy
Gorgoroth plagued BA with their atmospheric, seething with evil, Black Metal. It was a highly anticipated show by A LOT of people here, evident from the hordes of fans wearing Gorgoroth shirts. Looking the part on stage, and also sounding great, highlights were Incipit Satan and Unchain My Heart.
Headliners of the evening were the Nordic gods of Black Progressive Metal that are Enslaved, and the night could not have been rounded up better. Devotees who managed to stand to the end of this very long day of music & beer were rewarded with a great set including Path To Vanir, Isa, The Dead Stare and As Fire Swept Clean The Earth. They were on top form and a highlight of that day!
Saturday 11th August
Keep Of Kalessin have made quite a name for themselves of late, especially with the stunning last album Armada, and attracted a lot of attention that day. A few good songs were played from the aforementioned album during this set, first rate thrashy yet melodic Black Metal that´s perfect to bang your head along to. And a nice band to watch also, bassist Wizziac´s more or less head spins from start to finish!
A serious band to witness live are the mighty Immolation. They steamroll over your spine with a pure and deafening Death Metal attack. Front man Ross Dolan´s vocals could strike fear into the heart of many, combined with an almighty heavy bass sound and blistering twin guitars, it was an attack on the senses. Challenge The Storm!
One of the many fine Norwegian acts playing at B.A, Madder Mortem are something special. A female fronted progressive/experimental Metal outfit Agnete mesmerized all present with her stunning vocals filled with emotion, backed by a fine & talented band playing e.g. : Rust Cleansing, M for Malice, My Name is Silence, Changeling and the unstoppable Necropolit. Enchanting stuff.
Dying Fetus have to be one of the sickest bands around, fitting into the bill of this festival perfectly, a blend of Death Metal and Grind Core. There must have been some casualties in the mosh pit for this, as they blasted out their ferocious songs, with obscenely heavy vocals, yet their music is filled with melody, you couldn´t help but throw yourself around. Made for quite a sore neck the following day…
Wrapping things up for the festival are the pioneers of dark, Industrial Metal from Norway - Red Harvest And a better choice could not have been made. They tore their way through an awe inspiring set - opener Omnipotent, Godtech, Absolut Dunkel:heit, Beyond The End, Sick Transit Gloria Mundi, Antidote, Mekanizm and Mouth Of Madness (in no particular order). A storm of cold sick sounds came from these masters of their craft, and they pulled off a sinister live show, leaving those who were able to stand around to the very end of the night, ready to drop!
This festival is certainly worth taking a look into. It really does have a tremendous line up of bands aimed for the most extreme of Metal fans out there, and held in a very unique location, is worth the trek, especially at the price of 37 euros for 3 full days of music! Whilst, as mentioned before, the organisation of the bands was next to perfect, organisation for the punters could be improved upon with regards to facilities. All in all though, a great time was had!