The Taunus Mountain rises in the outskirts of Frankfurt am Main. Beneath is situated the town of Oberursel where for fourth year a group of enthusiasts unite their efforts to create a praiseworthy mass to Metal. This year this feast was longing for two days!
The entry for the event is free. The stage is situated under a few enormous trees at the shore of a small lake. It is in front of a wide lawn turned to a playground.
With a great satisfaction I saw the metal fans that already arrived. I expect the people without patches on their jackets to be lynched… And I join the metal flow between the bar with the beers, the merchandise stall and the camp of tents in the bottom of the festival space.
Conditionally the two days are devoted to thrash and heavy metal. They will pass under the mark of the witches…
6th July, 2012
A short invitation spreads from the stage and at 18:00 h. comes out the trio MESSERSCHMITT. This is like a fast thrash cannonade from a submachine gun. The primary riffs are melted with plenty of melodies. The aggressive vocals without unnecessary articulations are followed by passages with high screams exactly as in the music of the pioneers in the gender. The regular rhythms give the bass a MOTORHEAD twang.
The energetic performance charges the audience. There are about 80 fans in front of the stage when the set ends at 18:30 h. We definitely could not saturate with their music but we are all out for the next dose of metal.
The torch is passed on in 18:55 h. to ELIMINATOR. The MESSERSCHMITT bass player – Florian in this case stands behind the microphone. The boys are five and the tempo is on the increase. Galloping fast and early SLAYER-solos are variegated with melodic harmonies. A little bit heavy metal orientated vocals determine the style of the band as speed metal.
Metal bacchanalia swifts on the stage. In the crowd there is no border between the fans on the fence and the people standing further on the lawn. In 19:40 h. we close this chapter of the feast.
At 19:55 h. GODSLAVE are already on the stage. The hair-raising speed is under control. The clear middle-tempo thrash riff conquers the crowd. The fast passages of the music are well-measured attacks in the mature compositions. The aggressive vocals impress with strength and expressivity. The precise solos and riffs carry a taste of KREATOR.
GODSLAVE touched a lot of the fans with their music… And the band decided to do this literally – four of them jump in front of the stage and stand still on the fence. The guys showed strong playing! They did a strict performance! GODSLAVE remained my personal favorite for this evening with their 40-minutes long set!
Yet with their appearance on the stage KINGDOM OF SALVATION have a little bit modern image. The melodic dark metal influences and the sound of AT THE GATES completely coincided with their presence on the stage. The music touched the amalgam of the Scandinavian-American melodies of the contemporary metal bands. The diverse songs have thrash riff, different melodies and different tempos.
The strong old-school community of fans draws back from the fence but not because of lack of interest – just to hear the music of full value. The last track leads us to a minor doom metal reality and the set fades out in 21:35 h...
The stage is being prepared to meet WITCHBURNER. They are coming out in 21:55 h. sweeping away the public with their first chords. Traditionally for the band the songs are fast and noisy. Besides the thrash style they are accommodating the metal as a whole. High doses testosterone and uncompromising vision on the stage indeed inspire the crowd to get wild. Aggressive proto-black vocals connect genetically the band with SODOM and VENOM. The free combination of inspirations burst out in punk-speed gristmill.
Here is the place where I should mention the old-school looking punk young men that decorates the conservative audience. Head-banging fills the stage all the time. The beer flows… Because of the time restrictions at 22:50 h. a controlled encore is implemented. The cover of “Agent Orange” (SODOM) is presented in an aggressive speed variant. At 23:00 h. the diverse rhythms of “Ultra Violence” hammer the end of the evening.
The thoroughgoing selection of the bands for the thrash evening turned all the 700 fans at the event in a steady piece of concrete. The union of metal fans and bands could be seen in the whole park. The meeting in front of the merchandise stall of WITCHBURNER was the beginning of the series of events, which… I don’t remember!
7th July, 2012
More people are joining the festival. The age structure of the fans’ mass fills up – I see families with children. In the catering zone I manage to film a refrigerator full with bratwursts. The usual invitation spreading from the stage thickens the rows of fans...
At 14:05 h. BIZZARRED set the beginning of the show with a style crossing the border between heavy and thrash. The quartet welcomes us with double riff attack and lots of melodies. The leading vocal lines are both clean and aggressive and the bass player supports them with harmonic back vocals. The RUNNING WILD riffs are rarefied with almost progressive melodies. The songs are rather diverse and they are in middle tempo. There are creeping influences from the late METALLICA and a little bit PANTERA for the sake of change.
Although a little bit cautious as performance the guys succeed to unite their different influences as performance presenting their band’s face. In 14:30 h. the set finishes with cover of “Roots” (SEPULTURA).
ELVENPATH appear on the stage at 14:55 h. Their music creates the feeling of sudden rising of the level. The memorizing songs in heavy metal style take the attention by first listening. The rhythm is galloping. Double guitar solos create a melodic vortex. The image of the vocalist Dragutin – Pavarotti emphasizes his high and clear voice.
The stage is conquered! The five musicians use their instruments with effortlessness. The memorizing harmonies are performed with an exceptional synchronization. At places the tenor training of the vocals is emphasized. The sound of a tolling bell comes with the music in such synchronization, so that in the first moment we are wondering if this is a sample from the sound-desk. At 15:30 h. only the bell tolls…
It became clear that in the cathedral nearby there is a wedding. Official gents and personally the mare of Oberursel ask the organizers of the festival to make a little break. They promise that the fest might proceed till late hours of the evening.
“What a good luck!” I thought… to have a metal festival on your wedding’s day! The newly married couple thought in a diametrical direction… I brought my thoughts to the bar full of beers.
It’s 16:30 h. The transparent with the logo full of eclectics on the background of the imperial Japanese flag of IRON KOBRA is also a background of their eclectic music. Hard ‘n’ Heavy harmonies from the 80’s are served to the public with aggressive thrash riff. At places we hear EXPLOITED punk with the proper vocals which otherwise are fitting the classic heavy and the early thrash, usually screaming at the final of the songs. The careless performance brought analogies with RUNNING WILD and ARTILLERY.
There is a space for head-banging. Some just hold the beers. But all the fans in front of the stage toss up… a sex-doll! Let someone say that we had not good party-time, when the band finished its set in 17.10 h.
At 17:30 h. we heard a female voice coming from a pink phone. It gently presents the band DRAGONSFIRE. They start their groovy metal show. The drummer Jan Muller got the audience into voice with impossibly high screaming to prepare it for the moments where the band expects vocal support from the fans. The music is inimitable mixture from heavy, punk and thrash with a raughty style. There is an echo from the late TANKARD in it.
A hard nucleus of fans of the quartet succeeds to sing with the band on the choruses. The sex doll did not bear the caresses of the public and its casing jumped on the stage where “she” remained when DRAGONSFIRE leave the stage at 18:05 h.
A battle introduction quakes the ground at 18:30 h. The Bulgarian heavy metal quartet RAMPART is on the stage. Although they are with one guitar the compact sound of their music immediately impresses the crowd. The seven-string bass and the articulations of its owner are a serious support to the compositions. The clear singing of the vocalist Maria covers the range from low, almost male, singing to high bursts into voice registers. The tempo of the different songs is diverse and it is the same inside the songs.
I caught a little bit distance to the public but RAMPART filled the stage with their presence. I remain with the impression for the feeling of a pleasant surprise in the audience. This classic heavy metal with components of HELLOWEEN and SAVATAGE ends at 19:10 h. with an original recitative.
At 19:30 h. BLEEDING RED cover us with a wave of melodic thrash/death reminding me about HEXEN. The aggressive vocals are melted in an exceptional approach. The middle-tempo places have clearly expressed the lyrics. There is a serious attitude toward the performance. The set enters the black/thrash territories. There are also modern influences but as a whole the impression is more old-school.
Showing no smiles but serious instrumental presence the quartet was the hard performance in the heavy metal evening, and it presented its music in a fitting manner.
I’ve listened to the releases of the Frenchmen LONEWOLF and I’ve read they the fans call them the French RUNNING WILD but I have no idea what should be their performance on stage when their set started in 20:25 h. Galloping rhythms, RUNNING riffs and conquering clear melodies of the songs impress everyone at the event. The hoarse vocals of Jens Borner (vocals, guitars) hammer the tones and the syllables with such precision that we have the feeling that we are standing in front of a big band. For me also is a surprise the perfect German in the pauses between the songs.
Plenty of people gather in front of the stage. Memorizing riffs and melodies and visual show are the qualities of LONEWOLF. After you visit their concert it is most likely RUNNING WILD to disappoint you. (For me) This was the band for the evening! Their set finished at 20:05 h.
The classic heavy metal feast continues at 21:20 h. with BLACK ABYSS. The roots of the songs as structures and melodic decisions are in the heavy metal of the 80es. Chords often replace the riffs. The feeling of something familiar disguises the own face of the band.
The performance is very energetic and the audience stands in front of the stage for any length of time. But it is indeed hard to play after LONEWOLF! A cover of “Metal Daze” (MANOWAR) finishes the set of the quintet at 22:10 h.
Now we have to see the veterans. Their band is founded in 1985 and in 1998 they are reformed in their original line up. The guys with unduly short discography METAL WITCH rise at 22:40 h. They refuse to die in the name of NWOBHM. The quintet had achieved a sound closer to this one of ACCEPT. Combining classic but diverse forms they succeeded to present us a bouquet of individual songs. Influences from TWISTED SISTERS and JUDAS PRIEST are not missing.
The show on the stage is in its height. Almost all 1000 people are in front of the stage. The five men know why they are on the podium and their lighting effects and fire show only helps the public to get everything for what it dreams. Everyone interested has the opportunity to meet METAL WITCH when their set ends after 23:45 h. at the merchandise stall.
While a boar with the piercing, the symbol of the festival draws lots I receive déjà vu that this was also the final of the first evening. Amongst the prizes there are bottles of wine and tickets for another festival.
In the selection of both the heavy and the thrash metal evenings there is also something uniting all bands. This day it was the classic basis enriched by the early radicalization of metal. The musicians in large numbers exchange compliments. And lots of fans charged their CD collections and the contents of their wardrobes.
TAUNUS METAL OPEN AIR IV was a local event which accommodated the strength of the metal culture!
The efforts of the organizers to predispose the bands, the togetherness of the bands and the public, the strong organization and the work of the sound technicians turn this festival in a small phenomenon in my eyes. In such a way as its fourth edition was the biggest of its series. So, TAUNUS METAL OPEN AIR is predestined to get bigger!
I am grateful for this experience and for this adventure!!!
Attending: Rock Thrashler