Elias and Marta from Germany, 2 years.

Bru­tal Assault’s heavy met­al lovers

Love is in the air! The Czech Republic’s annual heavy metal festival featured mosh pits, walls of death and plenty of... snogs.

Bru­tal Assault. No, it’s not a tor­tur­ous boot camp made for the men­tal­ly weak. It’s The Czech Republic’s annu­al heavy met­al fes­ti­val that start­ed back in 1996. One that show­cas­es every­thing from black met­al and grind­core to sludge and doom, death met­al and even a hard­core band or two. 

So what can its hard­core guests expect? Well, crush­ing walls of death, bru­tal mosh pits, sem­i­nal sets from under­ground acts and head­line per­for­mances from the big dogs of heavy met­al. And not to men­tion the occa­sion­al masked plague doc­tor” appear­ing upon the bat­tle­ments. But if you think this is the stuff of night­mares, think again.

The festival’s set­ting is unique to say the least. Locat­ed in rur­al Czech Repub­lic, pumped up guests wel­come an 18th-cen­tu­ry mil­i­tary fortress as their tem­po­rary home. And, per­haps sur­pris­ing­ly, it boasts a hor­ror cin­e­ma, ambi­ent chill-out space, art gal­leries and under­ground hor­ror tours. Oh, and free tat­toos. A far cry from the burg­er stands we’re used to at Love­box, then.

At this year’s event, GUT magazine’s Ami Hugh­es lensed the heavy met­al lovers – and their inti­mate moments – in between the car­nage, with the lovers far out­weigh­ing the haters because… there weren’t any. If I had decid­ed to cap­ture the haters, well, I’d have no images to show,” says Ami post-Bru­tal Assault.

Every set began with mov­ing speech­es from the lead singer, preach­ing anti-homo­pho­bia, anti-racism, anti-sex­ism, anti-fas­cism, anti-war and anti-reli­gion, with a strong focus on end­ing envi­ron­men­tal issues and marine sea plas­tic pol­lu­tion,” says Ami. Bru­tal Assault was arguably the best week of my life. The met­al com­mu­ni­ty is so often mis­un­der­stood by peo­ple out­side of the scene – I want­ed to high­light the com­mu­ni­ty spir­it of the scene and also to human­ise my people.”

Heavy met­al com­mu­ni­ties have long been sub­ject to mis­re­port­ing and unfair judge­ments, whether from the dai­ly rags, Fox News scare­mon­ger­ing, or you read­ing this. Whether it was rumours of Mar­i­lyn Manson’s dev­il wor­ship or Slipknot’s appar­ent cor­re­la­tion with mur­der­ous acts in Amer­i­ca. Bru­tal Assault, how­ev­er, is here to prove heavy met­al­heads can be just as cute and sop­py as the rest of us.

But before you dive into the mosh pit of lur­rrv, here’s Ami’s favourite line that opened a set at the fes­ti­val, just to round off the week­end: Some of us are going to live, some of us are going to die, and in the end the sun will stop.”

How sweet.

00:00 / 00:00