We arrived at day three of Brutal Assault prepared for a busy day of stage-hopping. As we started to make our way to watch Grave, we noticed something different was abuzz…bees. Maybe it finally warmed up enough for them to bang their head? Who knows, anyway, they were everywhere. Where we’re from we’re accustomed to Africanized bees so we were a little anxious at first but eventually enjoyed their presence after we realized they were harmless honey bees. Back to Grave, they were what you would come to expect the twenty-two year old Swedish Death Metal band to be at this point in their career. Still fucking brutal!
Next up for us was Voivod. It took a while to crisscross the fortress since we had to stop for libations and snacks but we finally made it in time to catch "Forgotten in Space", "Tribal Convictions" and their finale, "Korgüll the Exterminator". After Voivod, we checked out the Greek Symphonic death metal vets, Septicflesh. This was my first time actually sitting down and watching them and even though it’s not my thing, the rest of Brutal Assault was into them big time.
Check out the Brutal Assault festival trailer
Before catching the next four bands on our list, we needed something more nourishing than just absinthe lemonade and mojitos. The metal fests in Europe have the best festival food and I can attest to this because I’ve attended plenty in the United States. For one thing, there are plenty of meats being cooked via wood-fired grills throughout the grounds, to include sausages, every cut of pork imaginable and even lowly burgers. At one point, I had gyros on a baguette that I got from a Chinese Food stand, in the Czech Republic no less. The world seems very small at times. There was also an area on the festival that was solely dedicated to vegan and vegetarian diets. This was a well-planned festival when it came down to having something to eat for everyone.
After exceeding our daily calorie intake count the third day in a row, we felt like we were slowly rotting and made our way to see Obituary. We noticed a few Confederate flags being displayed around the crowd. I don’t like getting political in my reviews, but don’t they have a clue of what this flag stands for in the United States? Anyway, Obituary played a tight set consisting of material off their first two albums. At one point during their set, an ambulance was crawling its way through the crowd towards a pickup point near the soundboard tent. As if there couldn’t be more juxtaposition to this, Coroner was set to play after Obituary. I hope everything turned out OK for the person taken away in the ambulance....
Satyricon was up next for us and played a set almost exclusively consisting of the Nemesis Divina album. They recently re-mastered and re-released this album labeling it the most important of their career citing the amount of bands that have credited that particular release for influencing them. After Satyricon, we headed over to catch another Norwegian black metal powerhouse, Taake. Hoest and company took the stage and just annihilated the corpse paint-laden crowd. Taake played a wide range of material that encompassed their 23 year existence. It must have been a good night for Hoest because he actually killed off two bottles of wine during their hour long set; usually it’s just one. I have to say this was one of my favorite sets of the festival just because they are so fun to watch.
By the time we left the tent, the wet weather had returned and is was starting to sprinkle. We traversed the fortress and ended our night with a partial set from Dark Funeral. They opened the festivities with the first track from Where Shadows Forever Reign, "Unchain My Soul". Dark Funeral gave the remaining damp crowd what they wanted… true Black Metal with all the aesthetics. Fire pots were blasting continuously in sync, smoke machines were pumping away non-stop, and there was enough leather, spikes and corpse paint onstage to represent the Swedish Black Metal scene well after following two powerhouse Norwegian acts. Tonight was about Black Metal, what would tomorrow have in store for us?