|Event:||Brutal Assault 2013|
|Date:||07/08/2013 – 10/08/2013|
|Location:|| Fortress Josefov, Jaroměř,
Brutal Assault 2013
As you may know, Aristocrazia had three reporters at the Brutal Assault 2013, and each of us naturally experienced it in a different way. In this article you will find my comments about some of the bands that stood out for me in a not necessarily comprehensive report.
I will get started from the band that arguably represented my main reason to go the Brutal Assault last year. Everybody knows that doom metal is frequently ignored at big festivals and usually you always see the same names coming up. Therefore, to finally have the chance to see this American band in Europe — especially with two shows over the three days (and a half) — was extremely interesting for me.
After having seen some bands in the morning without paying much attention — like Proximity and Coffins — and enjoyed Decrepit Birth and Dr. Living Dead’s performances, it was time for the band from Chicago to get on stage, under a sun not exactly suitable for their more "mellow" side. Novembers Doom made clear from the start that the first leg of their Brutal Assault would have been dedicated to their metal face, while Friday night would have been "more intimate".
The setlist comprised six tracks of that death/doom mixture that has been their trademark, especially from 2005 on with "The Pale Haunt Departure" (which I believe has been their best period). Three songs from "Aphotic" and then one each from the other three albums of this era. Novembers Doom was the first band to set the bar quite high at this festival, something that would have happened many other times after this. Great show and good interaction with the audience. They closed with "Rain", that actually seemed to have brought rain to Jaroměř.
Friday's acoustic show was a completely different matter: Larry Roberts and the others prepared an atmosphere closer to their "autumnal" side and, although the audience was not huge (Carcass was playing on the main stage), there were good numbers and a great feedback anyway. Here the band played material from all of its career — even including a song from their first EP — and gave a thorough idea of their style. During the afternoon I had also been to their meet and greet session in order to get a picture (featured on our website) and their signatures, really nice people.
Friday was definitely more intense than Thursday starting from the headliners, but I will speak about someone else here. After a solid performance by Antropofagus (one of only two Italian bands at the festival, with Aborym), the morning went on without surprises until the Obscura delivered the usual load of death metal.
My first "new" name was the black metal act Glorior Belli, which contributed to strengthening the French grip on the bill (which also included bands like Gojira and Alcest). The band from Auxerre got on stage wearing leather jackets and starts a really aggressive setlist right away . In terms of attitude and contents, we are confronted with some sort of "Lucifer meets Southern Europe". Although the vocalist-guitarist J. was the only member remaining from 2002, The quartet seemed well-oiled and their show is one of the best in the afternoon.
As soon as the French band finished on the Metalshop Stage, it was time for one of the main names in the local scene to make their appearance on the Jägermeister Stage: Hypnos. Their historic reunion at the 2010 Brutal Assault brought them back to being one of the best-known Czech bands, with their works available all over the festival merchandise area in 2012. Bruno and the others went on to crush the audience with 35/40 minutes of solid death metal "à la Vader" (perhaps even better than the other Polish act, Behemoth, over the weekend). Hypnos managed to gather a good crowd and their show was arguably the best one by a local band throughout the festival.
Here we come to one of the least "brutal" bands of the whole festival, which should have already performed in 2012 (unfortunately they had to cancel because of family matters a couple of weeks before it). This time, Carl McCoy and the others took part in the festival and they welcomed darkness after a good performance by Alcest; they started the show playing some of their more metal tracks.
The result was quite enjoyable, before becoming a little confused when it came to perform their hits from the gothic rock era (like "Moonchild"), I believe the latter suffered a little from not suitable equalizations and generally speaking sounded a little out of context. However, a noteworthy concert by one of the main names in '80s-'90s gothic rock.
After the majestic Meshuggah, I walked towards the Obscure Stage (I honestly don’t care much about In Flames): it was Atari Teenage Riot's turn to set foot on stage. They turned out to be the wildcard of Brutal Assault 2013, the unexpected band that destroys the evening, dances on it and sets it on fire. This electronic trio literally transformed the warehouse in a dancefloor through politics and pounding beats, with metalheads dancing for almost an hour with an unpredictable engagement.
After Novembers Doom and the last few bits of Carcass, I had to stoically endure Overkill before enjoying one of the most anticipated bands for me. It was a pity that Cult Of Luna was placed so late in the bill as they would have definitely deserved more visibility. One of the "historic" names of that strange phenomenon called post-metal and one of the few to have come out of Europe in a scene mostly based in North America at that time. The opener "I: The Weapon" from their latest album "Vertikal" kicks off one of the best shows of the festival; not many songs, but all pretty long and genuine. The performance was closed by the crescendo of "In Awe Of", taken off "Vertikal" as well. Again, the bar was set really high.
On Friday, thanks to the devastating performances delivered by Meshuggah and Cult Of Luna (and despite In Flames), Sweden seemed to have clinched the spot as the "best country" of the festival. Saturday began differently, with a more Norwegian air starting with Vreid in the afternoon. This somewhat historic band — born from the ashes of Windir (after Valfar’s death) — plays a style not too far musically from the good old Spite Extreme Wing, but with less conceptual complexity. Their performance was solid and could hint at a higher spot in the bill in the future.
As usual, Primordial and Ihsahn were safe bets, so I reckon it is fair to say something about one of the discoveries of this year’s festival. While Trivium were about to conclude their show on the Jägermeister, a Norwegian band which has been on the rise in the last few years got stepped on the Obscure Stage: In Vain.The sextet delivers an extremely engaging show, especially featuring tracks from their latest work "Ænigma"; one of the highlights was seeing Solefald’s Cornelius going on stage to sing a song with them.
Norway's "comeback" went on with one of the main names of the festival, and In Vain stayed on stage together with Cornelius and Lazare. The following hour was completely delirious, easily Saturday’s best performance and arguably of the whole Brutal Assault. The duo played songs from all their albums — "The Linear Scaffold" was the most featured — including the majestic "Sun I Call" which as usual explained how it is done to dozens of viking metal bands.
The intimate atmosphere of the Obscure Stage contributed to giving the show a different aura, perhaps it wouldn’t have had the same effect outdoors. I am sorry that the other guys from Aristocrazia missed on the last bits of this memorable concert: a devastating "Revolt" as a closure and then an intense encore despite the tight schedule. With "When The Moon Is On The Wave" the Norwegian band said goodbye to an extremely excited audience.
As previously hinted, Behemoth wasn't exactly the best band around this year, while Opeth's performance was both solid and fun as usual, a good show by Borknagar (drummer Baard Kolstadt had already played with his fellow countryman on the Obscure Stage). After the enjoyable performance by Aborym on the small stage, the main reason for me to stay awake — this time enduring Madball and Carpathian Forest — was Saturnus.
Among the best known bands of death-doom metal's second wave (especially because of "Paradise Belongs To You"), the Danish band had released a new album six years after "Veronika Decides To Die" (2006). After having played at the 2007 Brutal Assault during the day, the band this time was placed in a more suitable night slot (as highlighted by Thomas Jensen).
Although composed of only four songs, the show is emotionally charged and the closure with "Christ Goodbye" was a great conclusion to a good edition of the Brutal Assault; compared to 2012, this year there were probably less interesting "mid-bill" bands, but more high profile names. Just like My Dying Bride closed my 2010 Summer Breeze and Shape Of Despair did the same at the 2012 Brutal Assault, yet another time it was a solid doom metal band to end my experience at the festival. Time to go.