Article by Grzegorz Levi Lukowski – Photos: Rafal Kotylak
(translated by Karol Skwarczewski, final edit re-written by Diane Parkes)
XVIII BRUTAL ASSAULT Festival
(August 7-10th 2013 Fortress Josefov – Czech Republic)
The 18th edition of BRUTAL ASSAULT Festival 2013 is now over and was excellent from both the organisational viewpoint and for the caliber of the artists who performed. Alas I could not attend the whole festival but thanks to the kindness of friends I managed to gather information together; and here is my short report from those 4 hot August days/nights.
Wednesday 7th August:
A warm-up day really, with limited numbers of people, and bands not of the best quality. JUNGLE ROT showed good form and their performance was a confirmation of the good things being said about them recently. Home representatives MALIGNANT TUMOUR appeared to play with total lassitude. TESTAMENT, the Day 1 headliner went on stage a bit late and then developed technical problems that started during “Rise up” and pretty much carried on to the end of their set. The guys however did not let this deter from their performance too much and both old and new tracks from this band covered the technical problems excellently – A very good performance!
Thursday 8th August:
Alas I was running late to see Japanese band COFFINS but from what i heard they played both spontaneously and well. Dave Lombardo‘s new band PHILM‘S performance was not spectacular but as always his playing caused a few jaws to drop. Next came excellent performances by BELPHEGOR and DYING FETUS, followed by GOJIRA, a band that never “shake my guts” but were really good live, a combination of good sound and excellent tracks made this a great set. ANTHRAX were up next and despite not being their biggest fan they gave a very good account of themselves – even JOEY BELLADONNA was capable lol Alas I cannot say the same about BURTON BELL of FEAR FACTORY – I will never understand how after over 20 years in the business he cannot learn the songs correctly! Personally I found it a false, moaning lamentation. Next up came VOIVOD, no moans here from me, without a doubt one of the best two performances of the festival. Despite equipment problems and having to use borrowed gear they gave an energetic, authentic and awesome show. At the end of the set a choir of voices sang “Happy Birthday” to SNAKE before the enthralling close with “Voivod”…for me, a total revelation. We quickly moved on to the stage close by where ENTOMBED played a cracking set like only they can. I also saw SKELETAL REMAINS on the small stage in the tent; old school death metal played with claw and passion…I LIKE IT!! And finally MARDUK, with a very poor performance which seemed almost designed to piss people off, waste of time!
Friday 9th August:
From the outset a very good performance from KATALEPSY, with a heavy and brutal drive. I had looked forward to the sets from GLORIOR BELLI, HYPNOS, MISANTHROPE and LOUDBLAST but alas their performances were distinctly lacking something. It’s not that they played badly, I just expected more! Thankfully HATE brought more emotion to the stage with experience, will-power and even a spot of fire-eating! MALEVOLENT CREATION did exactly as I expected they would and played excellently; free of drugs these guys have huge potential. ALCEST were up next, and to be honest I did not understand this band, to me they appeared to be just a pub band that performed pretty poorly. Up next was FIELDS OF NEPHILIM, a very good performance which would have been excellent later in the day when dark, less daylight was needed to appreciate the atmospheric stage setting. MESHUGGAH were a touch too acoustic for my liking, i expected more! I will also never understand the popularity of IN FLAMES, and after a few tracks I went off in search of a beer. AMORPHIS were playing as I returned to the stage, and led by total frontman TOMI KOIVUSAARI they were thoroughly enjoyable. Time now for metal gods CARCASS, and besides VOIVOD this was my most anticipated set of the entire festival! Bill Steer, Jeff Walker & Co did not let me down and played sensationally; this made me happy to be alive and grateful I had traveled many kilometres for this moment. OVERKILL confirmed their class to me too, with Bobby ‘Blitz’ Ellsworth a sheer champion on the stage. CULT OF LUNA was alas a let down, was too loud and very, very average.
Saturday 10th August:
The final day, and apparently some nice names coming on to the stage – in reality though, the least interesting of the entire festival. VOMITORY had to be exchanged with CENTURION due to travel problems, a pity as many people were looking forward to meeting the Dutch metallers. As a point of duty i will mention ROTTEN SOUND, BIOHAZARD, CLAWFINGER, OPETH & MADBALL, all of these performances were perfectly acceptable. INSAHN and LEPROUS were also well received by the audience. However the largest crowd of the day and probably the most well received band had to be BEHEMOTH, the setlist even included a new track “Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel” , which sharpened the appetite for the new album by NERGAL & Co! Special effects may have been a touch over the top but everyone appeared happy!
Brutal Assault 18th Edition was very successful with great organisation and a sensational climate. Many people attended and despite any bitching I may have done there were many bands worth seeing. Now I will wait impatiently for information about the 19th Festival and its line-up. See you next year!