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Brutal Assault Part #1 // Pevnost Josefov, Jaromer, Czech Republic // 08-11.08.12

Despite the crisis and the difficult situation many people are going through, we decided that this year’s Brutal Assault festival was something that shouldn’t be missed at all. The line-up was a dreamy one from the very beginning and the first announcement of the first ten bands, so the decision was taken immediately. Some of the bands are likely not coming in Greece in this lifetime and we were more than lucky we saw them. The weather was good enough and thankfully it didn’t rain heavily during the bands’ performance (a little hints here and there only). Let’s see as close as it gets what the bands did, which ones impressed us, which ones were less good than required and maybe you’ll all understand why we had such a great time…

 // Warm-up Day // 

– Aggelos “Redneck” Katsouras:

Anaal Nathrakh: Just as soon as we finished getting our entrance pass, Anaal Nathrakh started their show with ”Drug-Fucking Abomination and immediately continued with ”Bellum Omnium Contra Omnes”. I see Dave Hunt for the fifth time in my life (three with Benediction and second time with Anaal Nathrakh) and though he’s carrying a crutch (!!!) because of an injury, he states that there were two options, either cancelling the show or playing like this, and the choice was obvious. ”More Of Fire Than Blood” and ”Submission Is For The Weak” prove that some things are not coincidence and Anaal Nathrakh are as fiendish and ferocious as the first time i saw them two years ago. With Napalm Death’s Shane Embury on bass, the band is as tight as concrete and ”In The Constellation Of The Black Widow” with ”Between Shit And Piss We Are Born” prove that the band is in tremendous shape. They play a new one from their upcoming album in October and they close the set with ”Do Not Speak” and ”Pandemonic Hyperblast”. If hell on earth was reincarnated, it would sound a lot like Anaal Nathrakh for sure. Thumbs up to the band and if the new album is on its whole like the new track, prepare for a pounding massacre to come.

– Stathis “Sethianus” Ntailianas:

Alcest: The last band who closed the warm up day was Alcest. Certainly for my standards, the French were the best band who could close a day full of  physical and mental tireness, because of the trip and the long queue in the ticket stands. Despite all these negative things, me and about two thousand people were left astonished by the superb atmosphere of their shoegaze/black metal music. Alcest played many songs from their last album, like “Les Voyages De L’Âme” and “Autre Temps” and older stuff as “Les Iris” but the highlight of the night was “Percées De Lumière”. Finally, they closed with “Summer’s Glory” and their dreamlike performance was something more than satisfactory.

 // First Day // 

– Aggelos “Redneck” Katsouras:

Toxic Holocaust: Thankfully, festivals offer you bands you’d always like to see and so far this was not possible. The American thrashers enrage from the beginning with ”War Is Hell” and ”Wild Dogs” and it’s about time for people to see how old school thrash sounds like. Joel Grind is the ideal person to give the lesson and ”Reaper’s Grave” with ”Death Brings Death” and ”In The Name Of Science” prepare the  ground for some epic moshpits that were created later. ”666”, ”I Am Disease”, ”Endless Armageddon” and ”The Lord Of The Wasteland” are already enough on their own, but the band decides to leave the best for the end with ”Nuke The Cross” and ”Bitch”, playing eleven tracks in half an hour and making many heads roll continuously. It’s no wonder why Toxic Holocaust achieve respect from all over the world, they are totally worth it and if Joel Grind finds some day a line-up that will stick to the band, then we’ll be waiting for a true masterpiece from the band. Until then, he chooses to go on his own and play with session members, He knows better than us for sure.

General Surgery:  Cult! This is how I can describe the situation with the crazy Swedes covered in blood in the doctor suites they were. Old school Swedish death metal at its best with all members offering blood and guts (utterly) non-stop and enjoying the fact that they are able to play on this festival. The sun has already started to burn a little more but the five-piece doesn’t care at all, and they give a performance greeted even by fans that don’t like death metal but can’t help but admitting that the band is flawless. The closing of their set brings an encore (!) asked by the fans and the lunatics play two of the most legendary songs in extreme metal’s history, ”The Day Man Lost” by Carnage (included on the self-titled demo!) and ”Maggots In Your Coffin” by Repulsion. If this is not the ideal ending for a set, then I don’t know what the hell it is. I’ll always remember this special performance until I die. Who’d believe I’d see General Surgery one day? Not even me.

Crowbar: One of my biggest dreams in life was to see Crowbar, a band that can lift you up to the sky and make you one with the floor at the same time. Unfortunately the band had arrived just when they were about to play, so we saw them for something more than twenty minutes, which were enough to send us to hell and back. Starting with ”Conquering”, their sound is vast and heavy as fuck, ”Self-Inflicted” spits more riffs towards everybody and the dynamic duo of ”High Rate Extinction” and ”All I Had (I Gave)”  makes it more painful for us to bear their small setlist. ”Planets Collide” personally buries me to the ground and proves to be even larger live and the closing of the set with ”The Cemetary Angels” off their latest album ”Sever The Wicked Hand” leaves me with a big smile that I finally saw them, but unsatisfied that it only lasted about 25 minutes. I’m pretty sure that I’ll encounter them soon again and take back what I didn’t enjoy. Apart from all these, Crowbar will always remain an honest pioneering band.

– George “Mindstab” Zabos:

Black Dahlia Murder: America’s Black Dahlia Murder stepped on stage with the sounds of “A shrine to madness” from their latest album “ritual” giving us a perfect mix of death metal and that what people call core sound.Their sound was perfect for their entire set list which kept all of their fans, including me as one of them, happy and joyful for the upcoming shows. Some of the songs that BDM played were “moonlight equilibrium”, “what a horrible night to have a curse” “necropolis” and “miasma”. That was a really good performance on stage there by that  full of potential band.

– Stathis “Sethianus” Ntailianas:

Corrosion Of Conformity: COF was a little disappointment from the whole festival. Let’s not fool ourselves, Pepper Keenan is (if not more) at least the 40% of the band. But even that they stood worthily upon the stage and despite Mike Dean gave all of his self, it was clear that something was missing from them. The ageless yankees played almost all of their self-titled album, as it was expected,  “Psychic Vampire” and “The Doom” were distinguished a little bit, but they hardly played older songs, only “Deliverance” and the intro of “Vote With A Bullet”, so my disappointment for them was justified…

– George “Mindstab” Zabos:

Lock Up : Lock Up is one of the bands that I saw in Hellfest two months before Brutal Assault and I wanted to see them again because Lock Up are really cool on stage having some of the masters in the whole metal sound in their lineup. Their sound was cool, they played songs from their entire discography including “Fallen angel” , “pleasures pave sewers” and “violent reprisal” . In my opinion Lock Up reached their top with that performance and the crowd shown respect to those guys in many ways

– Stathis “Sethianus” Ntailianas:

Swallow The Sun: Swallow The Sun carried a very good performance. Although I would prefer to see them live in a club or something like that, the Finnish death/doom metalers were one of the most worthy bands of the first day’s billing.  They played nearly 40 minutes and they created immediately a dark atmosphere that summer evening. They begun with the title song of their latest work and “Hate, Lead The Way!” ’till they go to the “Ghosts Of Loss” album and “Psychopath’s Lair” which somehow warmed up the crowd. Back to their new album with “Cathedral Walls” and then they performed one of the best songs in their career, “New Moon” in which the band had some extra power on the stage. They closed with “Swallow (Horror Pt.1) and it was time for some beers to recover from that atmospheric death/doom metal shock.

– George “Mindstab” Zabos:

Heaven Shall Burn: When I came back to see HSB I still had memories of my last visit on Brutal Assault mixed with a lust to see again that band live after Hellfest and when they start playing I was finally sure that they won’t let me down.Heaven Shall Burn started their set with “Counterweight” and the crowd went fucking mental,right away they played “black tears” a cover from sweden’s  Edge Of Sanity.Many songs were played from their entire discography including “The Omen” , “ Whatever it may take” and “Endzeit”.Sound  was perfect as most of the festival’s bands so it kept all of us close to the stage to see what was going on,moshpit was crazy and I was a part of it as well.When HSB ended through applaud and cheering , vocalist  Marcus Bischoff stage dived!what a man!

Krisiun : I ve been patiently waiting to see Krisiun because their shows always rocks ( at least for me) . Crowd was excited when they start playing their intro before “Combustion Inferno”,having some problems with their sound in the beginning because guitar sound was off,then they start playing again with perfect sound this time.The trio from Brazil made us happy with their performance including songs like “Vicious wrath” , “hatred inherit” and “kings of killing”. These guys are really awesome on stage.Highlight of their performance was Krisiun’s bassist and vocalist Alex Camargo shouting at their engineer “cut the fucking intro”!hell yeah!

– Aggelos “Redneck” Katsouras:

Ministry: Let’s not lie, Ministry was the main reason of my decision to attend the festival, as they were part of the first announcement. Without knowing which other bands would play, I said ”That’s where I’m going to go this year”. The motive was given and I would finally see the emblematic Al Jourgensen. He comes out with the suit of an American master sergeant (or something like that at least) and the band unleashes tracks mainly from their last albums. ”Ghouldiggers”, ”No W”, ”Rio Grande Blood”, ”LiesLiesLies”, ”99 Percenters”, ”Watch Yourself”, ”Life Is Good”, ”Waiting”, ”Relapse” and ”The Last Sucker” are the main content of their set. I don’t know what keeps Jourgensen standing on his feet, maybe the stuff he’s drinking, maybe the experience he has as a frontman, one thing’s certain: He’s STONED AS FUCK and he doesn’t give a damn for anything. The last part of the set includes ”Psalm 69”, ”N.W.O.”, ”Just One Fix” and ”Thieves” which closes their performance. This mass of piercings and tattoos seems to have assimilated drugs as a part of his being, they don’t affect him, he’s immune to them. It’s a miracle he finished the set but my smile at the end of it leaves no room for thoughts. Fuckin’ Ministry live. Goosebumps!

Dimmu Borgir: The other headliners of the night were the Norwegian legendary Dimmu Borgir. It’s been nine years since I saw them for the first time and I was really curious to see how they would perform this time. Guess what, they were absolute professionals and they played a set that satisfied all their fans. ”Spellbound (By The Devil)” and ”In Death’s Embrace” is a surprising beginning, just before they continue with tracks from ”Abrahadabra” such as ”Dimmu Borgir”, ”Gateways” and ”Ritualist”. The runic scenery on the background is impressive and the new members seem to fit with the band perfectly. Silenoz has shaved his head and looks just like Galder, Shagrath on the other hand remains a great frontman and ”Vredesbyrd” continues the set, shortly before ”The Serpentine Offering”, ‘Puritania” and ”Progenies Of The Great Apocalypse”. Last but definitely not least was ”Mourning Palace” of course and the Norwegians gained the respect of all people that saw them. They played just as much as they had to take the crowd by their side, a clever setlist and many other stuff that lead to the conclusion that when you’re a large band, you prove it even if it seems you don’t try that much sometimes.

– George “Mindstab” Zabos:

Sick Of It All : New Yorkers blew the fest up when they stepped onstage. I ve been patiently waiting to see them live for the first time in my life and after what I saw there I was sure that it worth a damn! By the time that they start playing, the crowd was jumping , moshing and all the rest of it hearing SOIA both oldschool and new songs like “ Take the night off” , “ machete” , and “uprising nation” . Highlight of their performance was the time that were playing “Die alone”, half of the crowd was shouting die alone and the other half “DIE DIE” , and of course their masterpiece “step down” . After what I saw I was sure that sick of it all are the Iron maiden of Hardcore!

– Stathis “Sethianus” Ntailianas:

Samael: After the bad mood I had because I lost Inquisition due to this unacceptable box stage which was overcrowded, I decided to stay and watch Samael. From up the hill for better view and saving energy for the next night, I saw the band in one of its best performances.  They begun rapidly with “My Saviour”, “Shining Kingdom” and “Rain” from “Passage” album and under the Jägermeister stage the panic was standard. Next songs of the night were “Of War” and “Slavocracy”, ’till they return to some older stuff with “Reign Of Light” and much more industrial music with “Soul Invictus”. Samael had too excessive energy on the stage, perhaps because of the three or four thousand crazy people watching them, so they played some more black metal songs like “Earth Country” and “Baphomet’s Throne”. The perfect timing for total destruction. Samael surprised me positively that night, to be honest I wasn’t expecting such an explosive performance by them. Their last song was “The Truth Is Marching On”, before they leave and Nile come after on the next stage for another great show.

– George “Mindstab” Zabos:

Nile: The time has come to see one of my favorite bands again on stage.It was around midnight when they came on stage having a good sound and playing “Kafir” , the crowd seemed to enjoy them and from what I saw it was both stages full of people all the way from back to the stage. Nile had about 50 mins to 1 hour to play and they prepared a set list with songs from all of their albums including “sacrifice unto sebek” , “ithyphallic” , “sarcophagus” and a song from their latest album “supreme humanism of megalomania” . Meanwhile George Kollia’s left pedal had a problem so he played with one foot only ! It was a good performance overall.

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