Youths Stage Brutal Assault on Castle in Quiet Corner of Eastern Czech Republic

TD Promo provided a discreet PA, a pair of E8s with a single E15X-SUB within the mix position

The brotherhood of bonding that is your typical heavy metal festival revolves largely around the nihilistic pursuit of music plugged directly into the emotional cortex of the listener. These days the mark of a successful metal festival is about managing the perception of volume; it must 'sound loud' but without all those nasty artefacts of volume, gross distortion for example, that can damage hearing. So it was that just outside a castle in a dark corner of the Czech Republic a group of worthy sound engineers strove their utmost to convey this most belligerent of musical emotion and they had just the PA system to deliver the goods.

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There were in fact two stages for Brutal Assault at Josefov castle, the 'Metalshop' and the 'Jaegermeister,' and both sported identical d&b audiotechnik J-Series systems provided by leading Czech rental house TD Promo. "The international reputation of d&b systems was one of the main aspects that we took into account when choosing a new system for our company," said Tomas Dvorak director of TD Promo. "We find d&b is one of the most preferred systems in technical riders and we are the only company in the Czech Republic with the J-Series giving us an undisputed advantage." Advantage is one thing, but you must be able to deliver, "The local audio guys from TD Promo were very helpful," said Arnie Annables from Motorhead. "When I arrived they had the PA system set up as just a left right system. So with no fuss they quickly changed it to left right and subs, it is very important for my shows to have the sub on an aux."

Blaise Bernier mixing for Unexpect, the avant-garde extreme metal band from Montreal had a similar smooth experience "The guys from TD actually did a great job, even if the language barrier was tricky at some points. Overall the PA was great, the band was pleased by the result, and even with this kind of music, which can really stretch a system, I found everything was standing where it was supposed to be in the mix."

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While d&b prides itself on quality of delivery there's no reason why this can't be achieved at extreme SPLs. "Actually I never believed I went that loud and I think this is what I liked the most about the d&b system," said Bernier. "I absolutely love d&b and I've mixed on many big systems, but all of them start sounding rough when you go over a certain limit. Usually I try to keep my level around 100 dB at the front of house position for an Unexpect performance."

Arnie (Annables) appeared to agree, though true to the band's reputation, he pushes the system much harder. "About the d&b J system; for me it's one of the best systems I have ever used for Motorhead. It's a plug and play system that has a very high SPL output for a small light box. I tour the J8, J12, J-SUB and Q1s on Motorhead's full production tours and find it's easy to fly and I can get a lot of boxes on a one ton point. So all in all a very well designed all round system that gives Motorhead the power, quality and aggression needed to do an excellent show."

In one slight deviation from the norm, TD Promo provided a discreet PA, a pair of E8s with a single E15X-SUB within the mix position. As the festival flip-flopped between stages, visiting engineers could at least get a feel for things as they flew in without soundcheck, plugged in, turned on, and hit the stage. "Because I tour J-Series I knew exactly what I was about to hear," said Arnie, "So I stuck to my headphones which is what I do for every show." Not so for Bernier, "I liked the fact that they setup a small reference system for the soundchecks. In Qu├ębec, we're usually stuck with our headphones during festivals, which is quite hard sometimes. You have to rely a lot on the system engineer's job and hope for the best when it starts. The reference was good, even if it lacked some low end, but this is normal when you compare the two systems. It felt good to leave my headphones in my bag for once."

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d&b dispatched Janko Ramuscak from the Application Support team for this, TD Promo's first ever festival with their new J-Series. "Our sound guys have been working in the rental field for many years," said Dvorak. "That combination of their experiences plus d&b training which they completed before we acquired the system is very powerful. And of course support from d&b brought the best results. Training gave them everything you need to know. Now they are getting their first experiences of using the system in practice and the support of Janko helped us a lot! We think this is the best way to learn, how to use the system in practice. We will see how the festival will be next year. I expect that our guys will be able to work at international standards on their own."

The musical maelstrom of Brutal Assault has now passed. The fans have drifted away, Josefov castle withstood the invasion, and no one got hurt in the process.

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