The Chronicles of the Battlefield. OEF. Czech Republic 2019

Summer means a lot for me, it’s great time to have fun and travel. But, most of all, summer is a time for a bunch of great festivals. After my debut at last years OEF, I knew that I must get there again. So I booked a vacation, got press accreditation, and bought comfortable flip-flops. This year, these guys prepared a monstrous present for old punk rock fans – Punk As Fuck Fest. And of course I can’t avoid mentioning such grandpas as Repulsion, Siege, Negative Approach, and Rot. These bands (and many others) were like a huge magnet for grind freaks, haha! 

So just like last year we traveled by car. I must say, that was a very hard 1500 km trip… bad Ukrainian roads, more than 24 hours without sleep, angry Polish border guards, and shitty food at gas stations. These obstacles did not stop us, and in the evening of Tuesday we were finally at the battlefield. 

Compared with last year I see some great changes here. First of all, it’s a small chip on your festival ribbon, where you could put some money and pay for your beer. Well at first I was skeptical about this idea, but this thing really works! No need to stay in long line for a beer, maximum I waited a few minutes for a drink or food. Also the beer, this year there was so much tasty kind of beer, damn that was almost Oktoberfest, haha!  Local brewery made 2 kinds of beer for OEF, it was Blaster (IPA) and Grinder (this stuff remind me APA, but with lighter taste). And of course the lockers in the camp are, they were really helpful. But let’s go back to our story…

First day promised to be really interesting and noisy. Curby gathered together 10 punk bands for this special Punk As Fuck Fest. Everything should be started at 16.00 so I have a lot of time to take a good look at Trutnov. I didn’t get a chance to make a proper excursion last time, so I fixed this unpleasant issue this time. It’s hard to get here, Trutnov is located far from Prague but, hey, this view and emotions that you will get worth of long trip. Small streets, old building very comfortable, well hidden courtyards and of course hills, forests, and fields around this small town. That hard to transform into the words, damn I still see that picture, what a place. So we tasted a local beer eat local burger and that’s it, it was almost time to go back to the festival. Opening band (Final Flag) was good. Then second, third… I didn’t even notice when it became dark, what a dynamic line up. I don’t want to be an asshole but there were two bands that killed me that day; it was Warhead and GBH. They were so powerful, cool, and full of energy.

 


After a good sleep and shower, I slowly walked to the stage, I wanted to see Clovek V Plisni band, because they are local grind band. And it was interesting to see how grind band from the most grinding city in Europe sounds. Well they were nice, a good warm up for the second day. The next big surprise for me was Nerve Grind, I’ve known that band for a long time that was the first time when I saw them live. Damn these guys were red and savage! Then was fast Suffering Quota, guys tried to destroy the crowd with their powerful music.  Young thrash-y grinders Noisem were really interesting. Their noise was bright, fast and catchy, really cool one.

My old buddies Cryptic Void played some serious shit. Their mix of grindcore and death metal sounds technical, with a chainsaw guitar sound, endless blasting and great vocal it was perfect “bucket of ice” for people, especially before double attack from Japan! It took a long time for Final Exit to set their drums, but everything was worth the wait. That duo was so crazy and skillful. Damn on one hand that was really funny show but on the other hand they matched each other perfectly, even in improvisations, honestly that shocked me, haha. Next band was Forward, I never heard them so I didn’t know what to expect. I was killed by their energy (let’s not forget that these guys are pretty old), they perfectly showed to young generation how to play real hardcore punk. The best moment of their set was when the singer jumped of the stage and people started slaming around him, that was amazing! After that badass performance, USA’s Misery Index looked pretty boring to me. So I walked back stage and drank a couple of beers with Japanese punk warriors.

I waited for Dropdead show, and I got what I expected. Powerful and unstoppable, that’s how I remembered these guys. Of course Bob is still recovering and that has some effect on him, but he was strong as a rock and made a great gig. Cannibal Corpse was next on the line. Honestly I didn’t expect anything good from their show, because a few years ago I saw them in my home city and they were horribly boring. But after their set I changed my mind. These grandpas made a great death metal show. And finally Negative Approach, their noise was like a breath of fresh air after tight, loud and heavy death metal injection. That was furious, intensive and sick. After their show I saw an iconic picture when Robert Williams told John Brannon that his music inspired him when he started Siege back in the 80s. Damn, I just was in the right place and right time, haha!


 

3rd day. I looked at my notes and realized that the first band that I want to see will play at 11.00. I grabbed a beer and was near the stage right in time to see LPP from South Korea. I really love Asian school of grind, these guys release all their energy on the stage, haha! After their set I walked to town, found an ATM and good hot soup. Unfortunately it took me a bit longer than I thought, so I missed Crippled Fox 😦 . Totally forgot to say, there is one really cool feature at OEF. You can walk to Toy Toy city or to the market are and meet your grind idol. You can take a picture with a legend and shake their hands. That is really great and no one will tell you “fuck off” or something like that. I really like that thing in this festival. So the next in my list were Paracoccidioidomicosissarcomucosis a really old gore guys from Mexico. Don’t know if it’s worth saying, but they sound awful, that was a total mess. Unfortunately they disappointed me. But Active Minds fixed my mood, their fast punky noise charged everyone near the stage. French Sublime Cadaveric Decomposition became a first (I mean first that I heard in few days of the festival) real gore band at OEF 2019. They made a solid noise and crowd was thankful for that, there was a lot of stagediving, slamming and that always means that band is good. Next on the stage was a strange guy with a cello, Mr Marcaill. Half grind, half rock and roll, his music fired up people at the festival. That was something new, wild and super interesting, that dude made people smile, haha! Then I returned with my friends from Baltic states to tents, to drink some beer and catch portion of fresh air and more or less silence before Viscera Infest set. When these maniacs started I didn’t believe my eyes and ears… that portion of brutal gore was so savage and deadly heavy. Also it was one of the fastest blast beats that I ever saw, holy shit! These Japanese sickos were incredible. Next was one of these bands that made me to do all this long trip… Rot! Huge and legendary name in grindcore history. Also they turned out to be very kind and friendly and this day they even saved my stupid ass, haha! So their set was really good, just pure and violent portion of old grindcore. It was really punchy and atmospheric, really memorable show. Great piece of history. It was really cool to be at backstage and see this band on the stage. And finally legend of the legends Repulsion. Crowd got crazy, everyone wanted to climb on the stage, haha. I was standing on the top of the hill and looking at these monsters. It was a dream that came true… I bet it was really hard for Vitamin X to play after Repulsion, but I know perfectly well that this band can kick ass. I watched half of their set and then I go to hang around with my friends. What a day…

 

 

4th day was the hardest one. Everyone was tired of partying, but no one was thinking of leaving. Unfortunately I lost track of time and I miss Cruel Face set, that was really sad for me. I saw a lot of bands that day, but I want to highlight only few of them. Legendary Purulent Spermcanal is the first band. These mad grinders came back from the grave to show how to play a real Czech grind. American noisers Suppression dropped a wall of angry noise on the crowd, I was amazed how only two people could made such noise. Well brutal death is not my genre, but a was shocked of Abnormality gig, especially about their singer. Pregnant woman who made so fantastick growl and guttural, I was amazed, what a badass! Guys from Siege nailed this day. Robert (the drummer) played with such crazy impression on his face with such power, fuck… it was clearly that hardcore is his life and very important thing in hi life, damn. It will be unfair to highlight only him, the whole band made this day, loud yelling, low bass sound and amazing guitar tone. All together they create amazing energy and atmosphere of old times. I met Rob after the show and he show me the broken snare drum, haha, what a man! The last name that I want to write is Schirenc Plays Pungent Stench. That was just a death metal tornado, so cool energy so many catchy songs. That show brings a smile on my face. Between these bands was a lot of nice vegan food and beer. A lot of hand shakes and jokes with old and new friends… That’s how I remember this festival.

From the negative I can only tell you that set Pulmonary Fibrosis in 3am was unfair, so many people wanted to see them (including me). But I give up at 1am and went back to the tent, damn it!
Anyway for me this was a great trip to the place of friendship and good music. I want to say thank you to Rot, Alex, Inguna, Artem, Max, Josh, Jeff, Jeffrey, Elli, the organizers, all old and new friend that I met there and our driver Edward. He brought us back safely even with a broken leg – you’re the man bro!

Photos by: Veronika Špundová and Brngr ov Lght

 

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