Brutal Assault Part #2 // Pevnost Josefov, Jaromer, Czech Republic // 08-11.08.12

– Aggelos “Redneck” Katsouras:

Cattle Decapitation: The first band of the second day were the wacos from San Diego, California. Their latest album ”Monolith Of Inhumanity” has achieved praising reviews everywhere and they are definitely on the peak of their fifteen year existence. They are all flawless players (especially the rhythm section is amazing, both bassist and drummer are out of control and they don’t know what they’re playing) and their tracks sound much better live, even the ones from the older albums. They played for only half an hour but their adrenaline was so high that they transmitted it easily to the people. Right after their performance, I saw many people purchasing their t-shirts and I guess this means a lot more than I described above. I think that they can do even better if this is possible, the momentum is by their side for sure.

Vildhjarta: Next band I saw were the Swedes who admit without fear and regret that they are a Meshuggah rip-off band. Believe me, this doesn’t only show musically but also on their presence on the stage, as they bang their whole bodies just like the gods from Umea. Their speciality with the seven strings and the two singers is something that can’t go unnoticed and I can clearly tell you that they are much better live than on the album. This mid-tempo style they have sounds larger on the stage and if they play a little faster material, it’s sure that they’ll become more obsessive. Still they were great and I’m lucky I saw them now that they try to create a strong name. They played six songs including ”Benblast”, ”Dagger”, ”Deceit”, ”Shadow”, ”Eternal Golden Monk” and they closed with ”All These Feelings” with the singers asking to see which our feelings are. The six-piece is a special case and if they stop copying Meshuggah, they might sound even friendlier to other ears. Time wil tell.

 Warbringer: Time for a little more thrash metal from California with Warbringer, who come out very energetic and they show they came to Brutal Assault to enjoy it. ”Living Weapon” and ”Severed Reality” are the first two tracks and on ”Wake Up…Destroy”, a large moshpit is created and makes the singer smile a lot, without being merciful though and the band continues with ”Shoot To Kill”, ”Shattered Like Glass” and ”Total War” (another large moshpit on this one). The Americans are surely one of the best new thrash bands the last five years and that’s why I see many members from other bands wearing their t-shirts. The end of the set includes ”Living In A Whirlwind” and of course, ”Combat Shock” (with the largest moshpit so far on the festival). A short but rather convincing performance from Warbringer who were greeted by the fans, knowing they had done their best. Another band I never believed I would see but got lucky and achieved this performance. And the day had just begun…

– Stathis “Sethianus” Ntailianas:

Norther: The seventeenth Brutal Assault festival had something special. It was the last live show that Norther had. A couple of months before, the band announced that their appearance would be the last as Norther and after the gig will be disbanded. It was my first band for the second day, and it started pleasantly with a very good stage performance, even if they were not with the original line-up. They played many of their greatest old songs like “Deep Inside”, “To Hell”, “Last Breath” and “Death Unlimited” and two from their latest album, “Circle Regenerated”, “Truth”, “Break Myself Away”. The people seemed to enjoy them, but after the closing with “We Rock”, the band members were off the stage and Norther was history.

Incantation: Well, I couldn’t imagine that I would see Incantation live ever and the fact that they were on tour in Europe and they would play in many European metal fests, was the perfect chance to see one of the most sick and dark death metal bands and at the same time, one of the most underrated. It was five minutes before 2 o’clock when Incantation came out and the sick growls of John McEntee begun to shake Pevnost Josefov. With the live drummer of Mortician in their line-up and songs like “Anoint The Chosen” and “Devoured Death” their performance was an ultimate death metal fest. Also, “Absolved In Blood” from their latest split was distinguished and the highlight song, at least for me, was “The Ibex Moon” where John’s growls were even more sick and morbid. A great live show that certainly left the underground death metal fans astonished.

Insomnium: The best band in my opinion, not only in the second day, but in the whole festival.  The Finnish melodic death metal band has been consolidated in the metal scene, therefore a massive live show followed their name. Well, as it was expected, they played many songs from their last album “One For Sorrow” but that wasn’t bad at all. “Inertia”, “Through The Shadows” and “Only One Who Waits” made a stunning opening and a great warm up, but my mind was blown away with my favorite “Down With The Sun”, from “Across The Dark” record. “Unsung” rose a lot the people, but personally I wanted something more, and that something were “The Killjoy” and “Mortal Share” accompanied with the massive stage appearance of the Finnish band. Finally “One For Sorrow” was the last hit, leaving me speechless and trying to collect my pieces for watching Kampfar next.

Kampfar: One of the few black metal bands of the festival, and also one of the best. The Norwegians came around 15:15 in the middle of the midday, but their pagan black metal music brought all the cold winds from Norway. A solid appearance upon the stage, where they stayed nearly 40 minutes and played mostly songs from “Mare” as “Huldreland” (an amazing performance here) and the title song. Kampfar are easily a band for live shows, because their energy wasn’t  spent only in the “Mare” songs. “Vettekult” was a true thrill and “Troll, Død Og Trolldom” was the cause for many people to start headbanging. But such a great live couldn’t stop only there. “Norse” was epic, despite the midday sun, and the closing with “Ravenheart” was probably the most stunning song that was heard in Brutal Assault. Honestly, I can’t remember any black metal band with the stage energy of Kampfar, except from Immortal, of course.

– George “Mindstab” Zabos:

Darkest Hour: They started their set with their latest album song called “The World Engulfed In Flames”  giving their fans what they wanted to see including me  . Their sound was perfect and their setlist based mostly on “The human romance “ album including songs like “ love as a weapon” , “Savor the kill” , and “Violent by nature”. It was a good performance from Darkest hour and I hope to see them again.

– Aggelos “Redneck” Katsouras:

Vallenfyre: The new supergroup (!?) of Gregor Mackintosh from Paradise Lost made its fourth performance in its short existence on Brutal Assault. First of all, Greg seems to enjoy the role of the singer, he was smiling a lot (those who know, he doesn’t do that very often) and all the band accompanied him in presenting most of the tracks from their debut album ”A Fragile King”. They started with ”All Will Suffer” and when they played ”Cathedrals Of Dread” which is the track they did a video for, Mackintosh said ”it’s the first video we did, maybe it will also be the last one”. Typical English humor that makes only English enjoy it, what the hell, all that matters is the performance, Adrian Erlandsson fires continuously on the drums and generally, the band gives an honest performance. I doubt enough if the motivation to create Vallenfyre is the same honest, but on the other hand, the tragic condition of Paradise Lost the last years makes me admit that Mackintosh did a good job this day. Let’s see if there is more to come from them.

Morgoth: My beloved Germans who blasted my brain in Athens three months ago, had nothing to do with this glorious performance. The sound truly fucked them up and their enraging beginning with ”Body Count”, ”Unreal Imagination”. ”Suffer Life” and ”Sold Baptism” from the ”Cursed” album mainly caused me questions about the sound rather than making me bang my head. Unfortunately I had already lost my interest and thankfully, they played tracks from their first two EP’s like ”’White Gallery”, ”Burnt Identity” and my favourite one ”Pits Of Utumno”, before they closed their set with ”Isolated” as they always do. I also didn’t like the fact that they didn’t play a note from ”Odium” which is an album I love very much. They had little time to do that but still I find more negatives on their performance than positives. Marc Grewe did all he could, as well as the rest of the band. Without being bad, Morgoth didn’t reach the high standards they set for me some months ago. I’m waiting for their new album to be released and maybe see them again on Athens playing just like the first time.

– George “Mindstab” Zabos:

Suicidal Angels: It was time to see the Greek thrashers waking up people of Brutal Assault in the way that they only know how to do! A circle pit was always up while they were playing and the reaction of the crowd made me proud of these guys. Their sound been good for their time on stage and they played songs like “Chaos” , “morbid intention to kill” (YEAAH) “bleeding holocaust” and they closed with their most known song “Apokathilosis”.

 Hatebreed: Hatebreed lighted up once again on stage. After their performance in Hellfest I was reluctant to see them again. The festival area was full o people both fans of hatebreed and the ones that wanted to check them out. Once they started the party was on till the last minute of their set list including songs like “Never Let It Down” , “To The Threshold” , “Live For This” , “Last Breath” and “In The Ashes They Shall Reap”. For me Hatebreed was one of the top three performances of the whole festival.

– Aggelos “Redneck” Katsouras:

Municipal Waste: Another thrash party was created with Municipal Waste who came twice in Greece but couldn’t see them. Maybe I was lucky that my first time with them was in a festival, as they showed really energetic  They played so much songs that it’s hard to remember which ones, they must have been between fifteen and twenty. I surely remember that they started with ”Unleash The Bastards” and ”Mind Eraser” and they closed with ”Sadistic Magician” and ”Born To Party”. They played stuff from all their albums and of course, they based their set on the latest one, ”The Fatal Feast”. Thrash is about energy and riffs after all and Municipal Waste had these and more in quantity. The main message from their performance is the one that exists for years, especially for the ones that try to decrease their worth as a band: MUNICIPAL WASTE IS GONNA F*CK YOU UP!

Napalm Death: With a performance that entirely wiped out all I had seen the second day, the glorious Napalm Death proved that when they are in shape (as they always are), nothing can stand on their way. Their latest excellent album ”Utilitarian” was represented with eight songs on the set if I’m not mistaken and I personally had no problem with that, as tracks like ”Errors In The Signals”, ”Everyday Pox”, ”Protection Racket”, ”The Wolf I Feed”, ”Analysis Paralysis” and ”Quarantined” are ideal to be played live. With the addition of classics like ”Suffer The Children” and ”Unchallenged Hate” and some newer ones like ”Silence Is Deafening” and ”When All Is Said And Done”, the team plays not to win but destroy the opponent. With the cover of ”Nazi Punks Fuck Off” and some tracks from ”Scum” as always, we reached the end which was given with ”Instinct Of Survival” this time and not ”Siege Of Power” as they always used to close their set with. What can I say about Shane Embury who did three performances in total on the festival with Anaal Nathrakh the warm-up day, Lock UP on day 1 and Napalm Death on day 2? Simply unreached by many so called rock stars. Don’t miss Napalm Death on this tour. They bite ferociously!

– Stathis “Setianus” Ntailianas:

Amon Amarth: The first headliner band of the second day and it was natural to be headliners, because they’re known for their live shows. It was the second time I saw them, after Graspop Metal Meeting in 2010 and despite they hadn’t that special effects that they had in Belgium, it was still an awesome show. Eleven songs in their set-list and  “War Of The Gods” was the first one. In “Runes To My Memory” I started to warm and in “Destroyer Of The Universe” the things got serious. And because they have the fame of the greatest metal performers, Johan never stopped playing with the crowd and tried to cheer it up. “Death In Fire” was a real explosion and in “The Cry Of The Blackbirds”, people started going crazier. At that time, I started to think that they will return in “Surtur Rising” album and they wouldn’t play any older songs, but the scenery suddenly changed with different sets of viking warriors and they begun to play “Fate Of Norns”. With the characteristic guitar intro riff, I was trying to pick up my mouth which fell on the ground and the headbanging started automatically. In “The Pursuit Of Vikings” it was an absolute mayhem in front of the stage, ’til they return to their new album with “For Victory Or Death”. My neck was really in pain, but all seemed that I would continue discomfort it, because “Victorious March” was the next epic saga of them. Finally, they closed with “Twilight Of The Thundergod” and “Guardians Of Asgard”, before the second headliners Ministry appeared on the other stage.

– Aggelos “Redneck” Katsouras:

Machine Head: The headliners of the festival. The best live band in the world today. The reason that after their performance, the third day many people left the festival. Should I say more? I don’t think so. The only thing I must say is that this was the best festival gig Machine Head have done out of three I have witnessed and that even if some people accuse Robb Flynn of talking too much between the songs, this doesn’t change that they get theiir smiles and obsession returned. ”I Am Hell (Sonata In C#) starts the massacre, ”Old” continues, ”Imperium” starts making people believe they’re living a dream (or a nightmare), ”Locust” seems to ease things a bit and ”Aesthetics Of Hate” explodes all repressed energy around the festival, ”Darkness Within” with the large chorus is colossal live, then I start listening to ”Real Eyes, Real Lies, Realize” intro, and it’s ”Block” (BLOOOCK) that makes me smash everything and unfortunately everyone around me. Surely the biggest surprise of the festival. ”Halo” and ”Davidian” are simply the last nail in the coffin of all other metal bands who claim to play live gigs. There is no band like Machine Head on the stage, at least for the year of 2012. The best band of the second day and one of the two best of the festival. The other one is to be read below.

Converge: When you have so much albums and you start your set with ”Jane Doe”, you either are a large band or a bunch of insane beings. Converge are both and just like two years ago on the same festival and on the same scene, they show what repressed childhood can bfing: Nerves. So much nerves and ripped apart insides that make the vocalist Jacob Bannon seem out of place and time and on the other hand, knowing clearly what he does. Others would claim that alongside Bannon, a personality like Kurt Ballou could make no match. Wrong! Clue of their performance was the cover of Entombed’s ”Wolverine Blues” (!!!) with Tomas Lindberg on vocals (!!!). Lindberg who was everywhere on the festival, saw most of the bands and didn’t miss the chance to sing this anthem with Converge. The band closed with ”Concubine” and left us wonder when the ambulance is going to come and take them to the first possible sanitarium. A great performance by the great Converge, like pushing the rewind button and the year was 2010.

Paradise Lost: Their latest album is called ”Tragic Idol”. Their latest condition on live performances is called tragic without anything else accompanying them. I don’t know how, why and in which way Paradise Lost have become so dull, nerveless and boring on their gigs but as I said three months ago for their performance on Athens, they must immediately split up. I can’t see the band I once worshipped and still want to make a tattoo of them getting a bunch of professionals who just play to play. Even Adrian Erlandsson on drums has become a part of this tragedy and most responsible for all is Nick Holmes who reminds everything but a singer of a once METAL band. It doesn’t matter which songs they played, it doesn’t matter if I’m not the only one who wants to sometimes kill them for this turn of events, all that matters is that Paradise Lost must stop doing gigs at least. For the old times’ shake and for the weight of their brand name. Sadness and sorrow are the only remains inside me for them. The worst band of all I saw on the festival for sure. Not as bad as in Athens but still way below the bottom…

Gorguts: The opposite from Paradise Lost. A band I always admired for being different and never thought I would see live. Gorguts totally blew off everyone around me and their demanding material was played flawlessly (the bassist with the six-string did miracles with his instrument). ”From Wisdom To Hate” and ”The Carnal State” start the show and it’s clear that Gorguts is the source for bands like Deathspell Omega and Ulcerate (unless you can’t listen well). ”Orphans Of Sickness” puts our necks to the ground, ”Nostalgia”, ”Stiff And Cold” (what a track) and ”Inverted” continue leaving us with jaws dropped and it’s ‘Obscura” (yes, the German new gods took their name off the self-titled Gorguts album) and the title track off ”The Erosion Of Sanity” who close a set where everything was played. It doesn’t matter if they played more stuff from their latter albums compared to the first two, we saw Gorguts live and this was a gift from God on its own. We expected a good performance and instead, we got something we will always mention in any given chance. Long live Gorguts.

Pig Destroyer: These sweet and romantic gentlemen were the ones that closed the second day of the festival. Hard to recover from the Gorguts maelstrom, but soon enough, the four-piece from Washington DC managed to bring us back to reality. There is no bass player in Pig Destroyer for those who don’t know. Those who knew, realised that they don’t need any. Scott Hull’s riffs devastate everything, unmerciful drumming by Adam Jarvis and Blake Harrison…what a guy! Whenever he didn’t create various noises and samples from his keyboars, he would bang his whole being like an epileptic. These guys are to be taken under serious custody, they look and are way more dangerous than you think. They announced us their upcoming album from which they played two tracks (classic Pig Destroyer material, wait and you’ll see) and we went to sleep totally wasted after this slaughter. One more day to go we thought… How wrong we were…

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