Brutal Assault 2016

Brutal Assault 2016

10-13th of August 2016

Pevnost Josefov, Jaroměř, Czech Republic

Words: Oscar Wendt
Photos: Dawid Krosnia


Once again, the fortress in Josefov has been dominated with swarms of evil worshippers from around the world to celebrate the 21st edition of Brutal Assault festival. With much more merciful (and wetter) weather, we all revelled in the endless tunes of good metal, sipping Czech beer and trying to avoid the omnipresent mud. Every edition of Brutal Assault feels to be different, however, having some common elements each year, Fortress Josefov seems a perfect place to be in August. It was my 4th time there and, having developed a proper Brutal Assault addiction already, let me tell you some of the highlights of the whole festival.


Yes, I keep finding more proofs that everything with goat in its name is great! Goatwhore was the first band we’ve seen at this year’s Brutal Assault and I must say that it was a great reward for all the waiting and getting soaked with rain! So much energy and aggression on stage which was a perfect warm-up for us to start enjoying some good music at the festival. It was also the first time I’ve seen Goatwhore live and my interest in the band simply doubled! I loved the rock’n’roll vibe and death metal roughness combined. And you can easily see when someone is really having fun playing. Oh yeah, and I must say that Apocalyptic Havoc is a proper live killer!

Everyone that knows me, knows that I am properly addicted to Shining. Therefore, it could not be that they would get missed from the festival highlights. In all seriousness though, Shining is definitely not a festival band and the guys need to be appreciated in the small venue. However, the show definitely did not belong to bad ones and Mr. Kvarforth presented his vocals skills perfectly. With his insanity toned down and the enormous amount of smoke, we were more able to hear the band than see it. But still… It didn’t make those who chose Shining over Mastodon regret their decision. Show, perfectly polished with For the God Below, made me, the Shining junkie, wanting more and just counting days for my next trip with the band.

Okay, I know this was something quite far from the metal genre but how I enjoyed it! Perturbator played at Brutal Assault last year on the small stage but it was this year, on the main stage, where we were able to fully appreciate the beauty of dark synth music. The atmosphere was certainly dark and, I would say, spiritual. There might have been a lot of people thinking ‘what the hell is that doing here?’ but I was really surprised how many metalheads got involved in the show. Open-mindedness is bliss! The performance itself was rich in fat and juicy beats that for a moment made me forget I was at Brutal Assault. Alright, it was one of those ‘come and see my laptop live’ shows but I think it is a job to create an interesting show that way with no distractions, just pure concentration on music. And Perturbator makes it really well!

This is Armageddon!!! Oh yeah, Satyr was right – it was Armageddon! I was really excited to hear Nemesis Divina in its entirety as it was one of the first black metal albums which intoxicated my mind and soul years ago. Nemesis Divina is like a skilfully designed car – it doesn’t get old with time. And that’s very easy to hear. This solid piece of music is arguably the best that Satyricon has to offer – very diverse but uniform material works out perfect live. Their performance was finished up with some necessary classics like Fuel for Hatred and K.I.N.G. which definitely proved Satyricon’s strength and position in the black metal scene.

Helnorsk Svartmetall at its best! I’ve seen Taake a number of times but I must say that this was one of the better ones! Everything was as it’s supposed to be and Hoest has given 110% of himself to the audience. Just like with Shining, it was more about hearing Taake than seeing it, but who care when the music speaks for itself pefectly. Bergen’s best and closest to my heart band is always a pleasure to watch and the setlist never surprises. But this GG Allin cover! Holy shit! Such a short song but superbly falling into Taake aesthetics. This is, however, Nattestid Ser Porten Vid I that always steals the show for me. Never ending carnival of the best possible riffs and great tempo changes is enough to get me 100% involved into the show.

The Satanist in full? Yes, please! Behemoth is one of the biggest metal acts nowadays and they prove their name with each and every show! The ritualistic feel was overwhelming and I think photos from the show speak for themselves. Unbelievably professional and pure in its form, Behemoth has graced Brutal Assault once again but, comparing to their show 2 years ago, this year’s performance was simply impeccable. Nergal and his crew developed a certain brand, and with The Satanist album, they deliver a ritual that not many bands can do.

Hail Satan! Hail Lucifer! Seriously one of the greatest highlights of the festival! No surprise though as Archgoat always manage to provide a mind-blowing show! Putting the band on the smallest, Oriental stage, was a really good idea as soundwise it was hell of a concert! Those slow and juicy Archgoat riffs can easily possess and they always sound fantastic when combined with those ruthless black metal blasts. I always like to watch the bands that help me forget about the surrounding world – it may sound like a cliché but it only works with a handful of bands for me. Archgoat is certainly one of those. Their music played live gains the third dimension and transforms into a powerful beast that makes me think of murder. No, I’m not even joking! That Finnish formation is a pure incarnation of evil and I’m sure everyone that has seen Archgoat live would agree.

Oh dear… Having seen Mgła 2 years ago at Brutal Assault on the small stage, I must say I was really excited about seeing them on the main stage this year. Basically, the band proved that they are capable of playing any stage and they’re fit for both small shows and big festival. Once again, the material from the recent album, Exercises in Futility, does a perfect job live and, as always, made me sail away into the depths of my rotten mind. I’m really struggling to find any other band with so much emotions contained in music. All the songs from With Hearts toward None helped me cleanse my soul from the putrid dirt caused by an inability to coexist in this world. Oh god, did I actually say that? Anyway, every single time I see Mgła live, it gets better and better and it makes me really happy to see how they progress, because they deserve all the honour and glorification. I really missed Mdłości I in this set though. And guys, get yourself a bigger backdrop!

As soon as the bloody bride Onielar entered the stage, I knew there would be no mercy! I really wanted this show to be perfect as it was the last one for me at this year’s Brutal Assault. And I got what I wanted! No mercy, just pure Satanic blast. D. N. Slaughetrcult’s music is seasoned with phenomenal atmosphere which luckily didn’t get lost during the live performance. Yes, it was the first time for me to see the band and they perfectly captured what I knew from their records. I would have maybe chosen a little bit different setlist, however I have absolutely no reason to complain. Nocturnal March played at the finish was a perfect ending of Brutal Assault which left me in a flawless mood and prepared for the last night in the campsite.


+ King Dude – I absolutely adored this guy live. I didn’t expect that show to surprise me that much. ‘I can be your king. I can be you dude, take whatever you want from me.’ His charisma was really uncommon which put together with a demonic voice created a fantastic atmosphere which definitely made me enjoy the show. His representation of the devil was more convincing that many black metal bands out there.

+ Dark Tranquillity – another very positive surprise for me was Dark Tranquility which I certainly didn’t expect to enjoy that much. I’m not a massive fan but I love several songs from all of their career. And I managed to hear them at Brutal Assault and they sounded really good and having helped me bring back some high school memories.

+ Immolation – it was the first time I have properly seen this American legend on stage. Keeping in mind the fact that both Ross and Robert are really cool chaps, I couldn’t believe how much evil and wickedness there was during their performance.

+ Moonspell – very similar story like with Dark Tranquillity. High school memories brought back and hearing Full Moon Madness live made me full of emotions as well. Oh yeah, and it was the first time I’ve seen Moonspell live.

+ In spite of all the rain and mud at the beginning of the festival the weather was so much less tiring that billions degrees and constant sun like last year.

+ And finally, the fearerd cashless system seemed to work fine. Apart from a massive fuck up at the beginning when we had to run somewhere to production office to get the wristbands exchanged, the whole idea was quite convenient. As I say, if it works fine – it’s fine!


– Just like last year, I would reconsider the distribution of the bands around stages – main and small. Some of the bands would have sounded and played much better on the main stage.

– In relation to the above – Grave – The band was held up at the airport which made them unable to make it for the show in time. They were moved to the small stage which was a terrible idea as it really didn’t sound good. The sound was really flat and didn’t remind death metal at all. It was a huge shame as this was one the shows I was mostly waiting for. Well, I can’t wait to see Grave again in a good venue with nice sound.

– Yeah, and probably the queue at the beginning of the festival was not a great surprise either.

– And for fuck’s sake – please don’t put bands like Eskimo whatever. I was forced to listen to a several songs and I couldn’t stop thinking there should be a capital punishment established for certain musicians.


Copyright: Dawid Krosnia / The Goat Tavern


Copyright: Dawid Krosnia / The Goat Tavern


Copyright: Dawid Krosnia / The Goat Tavern


Copyright: Dawid Krosnia / The Goat Tavern

%d bloggers like this: