12.8.2023 Brutal Assault – Day 4 @ Jaromer, Czech Republic

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Brutal Assault may not be the biggest festival when it comes to the European metal festival scene, but it still manages to maintain a strong lineup that attracts a whole lot of metalheads. This year the festival took place from August 9th until August 12th, 2023. Located at monumental Fortress Josefov – which is probably one of the best locations to host a metal crowd – it not only boasts the atmosphere of a heavy festival but also allows participants to cool down in its chilly nooks and corridors, or hide from rain as it did on the festival’s first day.

The festival’s final day concluded with bands like OMNIUM GATHERUM, HYPNOS, INFECTED RAIN, ANAAL NATHRAKH, SUICIDAL ANGELS, DEICIDE, NAPALM DEATH, TRIVIUM, ORBIT CULTURE, AURA NOIR, MARDUK, and CARACH ANGREN.

Commencing the final day with Finnish melodic death metal with OMNIUM GATHERUM is an excellent choice, especially when led by Jukka Pelkonen and Markus Vanhala. Despite being a rare treat outside Finland, their vibrant stage presence leaves a mark that Continental Europe would benefit from experiencing more frequently. Touring with their recent release “Origin” from 2021, OMNIUM GATHERUM unleashed a captivating performance.

Founded after their bassist’s departure from the legendary Czech band KRABATHOR, HYPNOS continues to deliver high-quality death metal. Their 2020 LP “The Blackcrow” remains a focus as they consistently impress audiences, whether in a pub or on a grand festival stage. HYPNOS brings their unwavering dedication to every show.

The Moldovan powerhouse, INFECTED RAIN, demanded attention not only for the mesmerizing presence of Lena Scissorhands and Alice Lane but also for their fantastic stage antics. Fusing groove, metalcore, and melodic death metal, their eclectic sound was a refreshing departure from the norm. Touring with their 2022 release “Ecdysis,” Infected Rain brought color and charisma to the stage.

British force ANAAL NATHRAKH‘s reputation for obliterating audiences holds true. Led by V.I.T.R.I.O.L., their singer, the band’s setlist ramped up the intensity as he progressively spiraled into madness. Promoting their 2020 album “Endarkenment,” their blistering performance was an auditory assault that resonated deeply.

With a heavy Bay Area thrash influence, Greek band SUICIDAL ANGELS delivers unapologetic old-school thrash metal. Straightforward and energetic, they forgo ornamentation for a no-nonsense live show that resonates even more powerfully than elaborate theatrics. Their 2019 release “Years of Aggression” embodies their unrelenting dedication to the genre.

Death metal institution DEICIDE requires no introduction. They let their music speak for itself, shying away from any theatrics for an unrelenting, merciless performance. “Overtures of Blasphemy,” their most recent release, served as the cornerstone of their setlist. Performing their “Legion” album in its entirety, along with select tracks from other albums, DEICIDE delivered a potent display of their legacy.

Grindcore pioneers NAPALM DEATH are renowned for their uncompromising sound. With their 2022 release “Resentment Is Always Seismic – A Final Throw of Throes,” the British outfit showed their typical dry wit by simply taking the stage and starting the show. Weathering technical issues and Shane Embury’s absence, their raw, punk-infused performance captured the essence of their enduring legacy.

Festival staple TRIVIUM‘s blend of heavy metal and deathcore, infused with a modern twist, provides entertaining performances. With their dragon-themed stage decor in homage to their 2021 release “In the Court of the Dragon,” TRIVIUM delivers an engaging show that appeals to both old and new fans alike.

Hailing from Sweden, ORBIT CULTURE defies the typical Swedish death metal sound. Their melodic death/groove metal blend is characterized by their fantastic stage energy, captivating audiences instantaneously. With the release of their new album “Descent” in August 2023 (following “Nija” in 2020), Orbit Culture proves to be a welcome departure from the norm.

Norwegian outfit AURA NOIR masterfully merges black and thrash metal, creating a unique and fluid sound. Their almost self-titled 2018 album “Aura Noire” and the 2022 split “Knives Out II: Black Circle” showcase their prowess. Their live performance expertly channels this distinct fusion, offering a smooth and memorable experience.

A must-see for black metal enthusiasts, MARDUK holds nothing back. From the outset, their uncompromising approach captivated the audience, resulting in a joyous uproar. MARDUK revisited their older tracks while anticipating the release of their newest album in September 2023, solidifying their position as an enduring force.

The symphonic black metal with horror undertones provided by CARACH ANGREN served as a captivating festival closing act. Their distinctive style differentiates them from the standard black metal fare, particularly with the vivid presence of frontman Seregor. CARACH ANGREN‘s storytelling and their 2020 release “Franckensteina Strataemontanus” created a mesmerizing conclusion to the event.

Brutal Assault Festival‘s 2023 edition showcased a diverse lineup that resonated with a wide-ranging audience. The event weathered the rain on its opening day, emerging triumphant with a resounding success. From death metal legends to genre-blending newcomers, the festival delivered a musical journey that left no stone unturned. With memories of the many performances and electrifying stages, anticipation for next year’s edition is already building, promising another unforgettable experience.

Notes by Maria Sawicka, text by Laureline Tilkin
Photos by Maria Sawicka