KIT XIV Day 1 @ Lauda-Königshofen (DE)

MASTERS OF METAL / VICIOUS RUMORS / GRIFFIN / BREAKER / BROCAS HELM / SLAUTER XSTROYES / BITCH / DAMIEN THORNE / HELLHOUND / ALPHA TIGER

Date: 29th April, 2011
Venue: Tauberfrankenhalle
Promoter: Keep It True
Tickets: €43
Photos: Erika The Photo Ripper Wallberg


Even if there are other festivals during winter but for some reason it always feels like ‘Keep It True’ is the start of the festival season. It all is like a big party right at home with all of your friends invited. It’s just so nice to hang out, drink beer and enjoy the killer lineup the promoters always manage to put together. It doesn’t matter if you’ve heard the bands before because you can always count on high quality.

And that’s the way it started. High quality! ALPHA TIGER didn’t save any energy and took on the stage like whirlwinds. Their IRON MAIDEN influenced Heavy Metal went down well for me as well as for the crowd. I think great that there are new upcoming bands in this, very basic Heavy Metal genre and it’s cool that they do get the opportunity to play for a crowd that really appreciate this kind of music. APLHA TIGER released their debut album “Man Or Machine” at the same time with the festival which I for some reason forgot to pick up. It would have been really nice to listen to this a little more afterwards since they were all new to me. The thing though, even if everything sounded great they need to find their own identity. Musically they’re on a good way even if there were a few Heavy Metal clichés in their music. Visually it was hysteric, like a competition on who could strike the most poses. Quite fun to watch but it felt a little over the edge after a while. But ALPHA TIGER sure has talent, a cover of QUEENSRYCHE’s “Queen Of The Reich” performed flawlessly says a lot about what this band can do and how far they can go in the future.

ALPHA TIGER

Alpha Tiger @ Keep It True XIV @  Lauda-Königshofen (GER) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Alpha Tiger @ Keep It True XIV @  Lauda-Königshofen (GER) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Alpha Tiger @ Keep It True XIV @  Lauda-Königshofen (GER) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Alpha Tiger @ Keep It True XIV @  Lauda-Königshofen (GER) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Alpha Tiger @ Keep It True XIV @  Lauda-Königshofen (GER) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)

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HELLHOUND was next on the schedule and this could really go either way. The available recordings, the “Anthology” that was released a few years back is very rough and the production leaves quite a lot to wish for. But one thing I’ve learned over the years is that it normally sounds waaaaay better live. That was exactly the way with HELLHOUND, old school Bay Area Thrash, extremely well played. HELLHOUND sounded fantastic really; they had that drive in the music the recording was lacking, the only thing talking against them was that their performance was rather stationary. There was not at all much going on on stage which didn’t really match the energy and the drive in the music. But in general HELLHOUND did a good gig and brand new “Circle Of Trust” sure sounds promising for the future. Also, the closer of the gig, RAINBOW classic “Kill The King” was a nice feature.

HELLHOUND setlist:

01. “Flee The Bomb”
02. “Red Sun, Black Sand”
03. “As the Needle Drips”
04. “Circle Of Trust”
05. “Blood Feud”
06. “Killing Spree”
07. “Bleeding Edge”
08. “Kill The King”

HELLHOUND

Hellhound @ Keep It True XIV @  Lauda-Königshofen (GER) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Crimson Glory @ Keep It True XIV @ Lauda-Konigshofen (GER) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Hellhound @ Keep It True XIV @  Lauda-Königshofen (GER) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Hellhound @ Keep It True XIV @  Lauda-Königshofen (GER) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Hellhound @ Keep It True XIV @  Lauda-Königshofen (GER) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)

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And then to the complete opposite… DAMIEN THORNE looked damn cool and rocked hard but it didn’t sound at all what I’d expected. Ok, the only album that has been available here in the dark north is “Sign Of The Jackal” so that was my reference point and Martin DeBourge way of singing is quite far away from Justin Fate’s smooth voice so today’s version of DAMIEN THORNE is a lot harder than the old one. Not saying the new version is bad, it just wasn’t really what I expected. One thing that struck me was they didn’t really believe it what they were doing themselves. Things like that do come through very clear, even if neither ALPHA TIGER nor HELLHOUND did perfect performances they came across as a lot stronger than DAMIEN THORNE. It’s a shame really that DAMIEN THORNE’s records has been so hard to get hold of because listening to the ones after “Sign Of The Jackal” and especially new “End Of The Game” released just prior to the ‘Keep It True’ festival sounds very good. Different from the old ones of course but here Martin’s voice is perfect to the more Heavy Groove.

DAMIEN THORNE setlist:

01. “The Clincher”
02. “Indulgence”
03. “Damien's Procession”
04. “Psychosis”
05. “End Of The Game”
06. “Fire”
07. “Raise Your Horns”
08. “Escape Or Die”

DAMIEN THORNE

Damien Thorne @ Keep It True XIV @  Lauda-Königshofen (GER) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Damien Thorne @ Keep It True XIV @  Lauda-Königshofen (GER) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Damien Thorne @ Keep It True XIV @  Lauda-Königshofen (GER) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Damien Thorne @ Keep It True XIV @  Lauda-Königshofen (GER) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Damien Thorne @ Keep It True XIV @  Lauda-Königshofen (GER) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)

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Say what you want about all these brought to life bands that are playing here at ‘Keep It True’. Many times it’s a dream come true, other times you don’t know what to expect. BITCH did her thing in the 80’s, and playing on her looks and attitude like she did, could that really work now some 20-30 years later? I must say BITCH was a very pleasant surprise. First off, Betsy is still in great shape and can carry of the sexy leather outfit and the big 80’s hair. This could so easily been turned into something foul and pornographic. In some way she manages to keep everything just on the right side of the line and it’s just right. This is what it needed to be, a BITCH show cannot be something plain and ordinary and damn she did it in a great way. Betsy really is an amazing performer and absolutely dominated the crowd. I guess it takes some distance and a sense of humor to strut around on stage eating a lollipop and singing “Skull Crusher” at the same time. BITCH’s quite messy and Punk influenced Hard Rock came through really well too. BITCH sure was a pleasant surprise. I’ve always thought of them as a cool band with a gimmick but never any of my favorites. Still this sure was a very good gig.

BITCH

Bitch @ Keep It True XIV @  Lauda-Königshofen (GER) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Bitch @ Keep It True XIV @  Lauda-Königshofen (GER) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Bitch @ Keep It True XIV @  Lauda-Königshofen (GER) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Bitch @ Keep It True XIV @  Lauda-Königshofen (GER) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Bitch @ Keep It True XIV @  Lauda-Königshofen (GER) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)

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And then, in the middle of the line-up of day one of the festival it’s perfectly clear what has been missing up until now. Sure, BITCH did great job rocking too but compared to SLAUTER XSTROYES they didn’t have much of a chance. But these Americans are absolutely more in my taste musically. This is the way it shall be, when you can feel the band right in your face right from the start. They opened their set with title track of the fantastic first album “Winter Kill”, about half of that record covered half the set. It’s not often it happens that a concert passes by and you realize you haven’t looked away from stage. It wouldn’t matter if this was the first time you heard this band here or if you’ve been listening to them for ages, they really sucked you into the music. Well, SLAUTER XSTROYES can hardly be classified as party music, their very intricate Heavy Metal with tons of changes which come across quite angular on record. Now, live the feeling was very different, the music had a very nice flow to it. Or maybe it was just because SLAUTER XSTROYES took everything up at least one level compared to the ones on stage before them. John Stewart voice sounded perfect, just as diverse as it shall but still full control. And the others kept the craziness going through the set. This was absolutely one of the best I didn’t expect anything from.

SLAUTER XSTROYES setlist:

01. “Winter Kill”
02. “The Stage”
03. “Charlotte”
04. “Wicked Bitch”
05. “Living in Peace”
06. “Saint's Revenge”
07. “Black Rose”
08. “Glacier”

SLAUTER XSTROYES

Slauter Xstroyes @ Keep It True XIV @  Lauda-Königshofen (GER) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Slauter Xstroyes @ Keep It True XIV @  Lauda-Königshofen (GER) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Slauter Xstroyes @ Keep It True XIV @  Lauda-Königshofen (GER) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Slauter Xstroyes @ Keep It True XIV @  Lauda-Königshofen (GER) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Slauter Xstroyes @ Keep It True XIV @  Lauda-Königshofen (GER) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)

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Then, in the middle of a little break charging up for BROCAS HELM we hear them play all the way out to the parking lot, and that about 10-15 minutes before their announced time. Crap, it’s not that BROCAS HELM has too long songs either so it really was a double-quick run back to the venue. I was in the photopit during “Drink And Drive” so I didn’t miss much of the show. It’s a lot of fun to see BROCAS HELM play, that kind of intensity must take so much energy from the band. Bass player Jim Schumacher looks completely untouched by the playing even if everything goes in a hysteric speed. His bass-lines aren’t really all simple either. Sometimes it even feels stressful to listen to BROCAS HELM, like you really need to keep up in their pace. A beer in your hand to this kind of music can be disastrous, especially if already being stressed out about almost missing the whole thing. The show passed by awfully fast it felt like but I guess that’s a good thing. It was hilarious to hear the whole crowd sing along to the bass intro of “Cry Of The Banshee”, in fact, Jim only hit one note and everyone knew what was going on and went nuts. That actually says two things, first that he has a very characteristic way of playing and a very unique tone but also that it is a lot of devoted metalheads at ‘Keep It True’ who knows about everything about all the bands on the bill. The crowd didn’t really cool down for the last song of the set “Skullfucker”, it all was just turned up another notch. This sure was a great one from BROCAS HELM, absolutely a step better than ‘Metal Merchants’ festival in Norway earlier this year.

BROCAS HELM setlist:

01. “Black Death”
02. “Drink And Drive”
03. “Time Of The Dark”
04. “Defender Of The Crown”
05. “Ravenwreck”
06. “Ghost Story”
07. “Drink The Blood Of The Priest”
08. “Into Battle”
09. “Cry Of The Banshee”
10. “Skullfucker”

BROCAS HELM

Brocas Helm @ Keep It True XIV @  Lauda-Königshofen (GER) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Brocas Helm @ Keep It True XIV @  Lauda-Königshofen (GER) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Brocas Helm @ Keep It True XIV @  Lauda-Königshofen (GER) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Brocas Helm @ Keep It True XIV @  Lauda-Königshofen (GER) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)

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There sure is a good reason why the running order looked the way it did. It all started with SLAUTER XSTROYES who too it up a notch. BROCAS HELM charged even more and now with BREAKER it almost turned hysteric. Damn they’re energetic on stage. I mean, the light was still good here and it still was quite impossible to catch them with the camera. There’s so much going on all the time so it’s impossible to catch everything. Guitar player Shaun Vanek (also in ETERNAL LEGACY) runs around tossing his guitar over the shoulder making faces towards the crowd and photo pit and vocalist Greg Wagner climbs off the stage and hangs out over the security fence singing accompanied by the crowd. In the middle of the action it’s easy to forget about Don and Derek who also do a great job keeping the spirit up only they’re not moving around as much as the other two in the front line. That’s so cool with this concert. If I ask a few of the metalheads hanging out on concerts up here in the north I doubt the major part would even have heard about the bands on the bill up until here and now but here, at Keep It True everyone knows BREAKER. It’s really amazing to hear a full venue scream a long to “Blood Money”, “Get Tough” and “Ten Seconds In”. After three songs in the photopit I’m exhausted and stressed, not because of the pressure the just because I realized I forgot to breathe trying to catch all the action on stage. I’ve seen BREAKER before but I don’t remember them being this frantic. This was a great performance by a cool band which I just like more and more every time I see them.

BREAKER setlist:

01. “Manifesto”
02. “Lie To Me”
03. “Blood Money”
04. “Action”
05. “Ten Seconds In”
06. “From The Heart”
07. “Afraid Of The Dark”
08. “I Destroy”
09. “Luck And Gasoline”
10. “Black Light Ark”
11. “Get Tough”
12. “Still Life”

BREAKER

Breaker @ Keep It True XIV @  Lauda-Königshofen (GER) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Breaker @ Keep It True XIV @  Lauda-Königshofen (GER) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Breaker @ Keep It True XIV @  Lauda-Königshofen (GER) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
Breaker @ Keep It True XIV @  Lauda-Königshofen (GER) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Breaker @ Keep It True XIV @  Lauda-Königshofen (GER) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)

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Sometimes it’s so hard with these reunions. Of course it was really cool to see GRIFFIN play. The albums are amazing, especially “Flight Of The Griffin”, an absolute classic. But when there are two members and then ROXXCALIBUR will not cut the deal. Don’t get me wrong, ROXXCLAIBUR are great, they’re like a live jukebox and can play everything and make it sound both good and fairly close to the original. But it do sound ROXXCALIBUR too and that was my problem here. I suppose it’s a petty to complain about a band sounding too good and who knows, maybe GRIFFIN would have sounded just as good with all original members but it would have been more for real. No matter what, I still might have been too excited about what was up next to really enjoy this, no matter of the line-up. Still, of course it’s great to be able to hang out, cheering with friends and listen to cult classics as “Heavy Metal Attack” or “Hawk The Slayer”. But of course it was good, it’s always at this point of the running order at this festival but it was not really enough GRIFFIN for me to fully enjoy it.

GRIFFIN setlist:

01. “Eulogy of Sorrow / Awakening”
02. “Hunger”
03. “Infinite Voyage”
04. “Heavy Metal Attack”
05. “Tame The Lion”
06. “Hawk The Slayer”
07. “Flight Of The Griffin”
08. “Entity / Watching From The Sky”
09. “Poseidon Society”
10. “Hell Runneth Over”

GRIFFIN

Griffin @ Keep It True XIV @  Lauda-Königshofen (GER) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Griffin @ Keep It True XIV @  Lauda-Königshofen (GER) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Griffin @ Keep It True XIV @  Lauda-Königshofen (GER) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Griffin @ Keep It True XIV @  Lauda-Königshofen (GER) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Griffin @ Keep It True XIV @  Lauda-Königshofen (GER) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)

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Of course I was waiting eagerly for this show. All rumors saying that Kevin Albert is the spitting image of his father when it comes to his vocal abilities and way of moving on stage sure sounded interesting. That Mark McGee still can play guitar there’s no doubts about even if his LUVPLANET not is totally convincing. So hell yeah, this show couldn’t be anything but amazing. On the other hand, I’ve seen VICIOUS RUMORS live numerous times and they’re always good, brand new “Razorback Killers” is a great receipt of a band on the roll. Also, the thing with all reunions, they start to get outdated now. Since this was a one off event, just like the one at ‘Headbangers Open Air’ a few years ago when they brought Gary St Pierre with them to sing a few songs it sure should be an interesting hour. And the rumors was right, Kevin sounds really much like Carl. It was a little weird seeing someone walking around on stage, shaved head and baggy jeans fitting in any Three-cool-word band singing “Digital Dictator”, “Out Of The Shadows” and “Dust To Dust” totally effortless. VICIOUS RUMORS have had (and has) amazing singers over the year but it has never looked THIS easy for them with the classics. The real band with Stephen, Kiyo and Brian got to get up there too, playing “Murderball” and “Let The Garden Burn” from the “Razorback Killers” album. Of course it’s easy to be charged for two songs but I must say they kicked ass and showed off a lot more energy than the classic line up. “Let The Garden Burn” sure will be a nice live tune. Back in with Kevin and the rest for some tracks that normally isn’t really featured in the VICIOUS RUMORS setlists, like “The Voice” and “Ministry Of Fear”.

There’s no way this could have been anything but great. I doubt Geoff would have let anything less than VICIOUS RUMORS standard have passed. The only thing that could have been something to comment about is the bands performance. The setlist was phenomenal, all classics and a few that they don’t normally play. Then to see a packed venue singing like crazy to “Abandoned”, “Lady Took A Chance” and “Hellraiser” was amazing.

VICIOUS RUMORS setlist:

01. “Digital Dictator”
02. “Out Of The Shadows”
03. “Down To The Temple”
04. “Dust To Dust”
05. “Murderball”
06. “Let The Garden Burn”
07. “Abandoned”
08. “You Only Live Twice”
09. “The Voice”
10. “Lady Took A Chance”
11. “Worlds and Machines”
12. “Ship Of Fools”
13. “Hellraiser”
14. “Ministry Of Fear”
15. “Don't Wait For Me”

VICIOUS RUMORS

Vicious Rumors @ Keep It True XIV @  Lauda-Königshofen (GER) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Vicious Rumors @ Keep It True XIV @  Lauda-Königshofen (GER) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Vicious Rumors @ Keep It True XIV @  Lauda-Königshofen (GER) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Vicious Rumors @ Keep It True XIV @  Lauda-Königshofen (GER) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Vicious Rumors @ Keep It True XIV @  Lauda-Königshofen (GER) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)

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In one way it’s a little bit of a shame that John Cyriis didn’t make it to ‘Keep It True’. Mainly since AGENT STEEL has been one of the top bands for me and it would have been cool to see them once with him singing. On the other hand, if he’s not up for it I rather have the back-up plan. Rick Mythiasin who normally houses in STEEL PROPHET felt like a good choice on paper and it turned out even better in reality. Damn his voice is good. “Tomb Of Ra” really proves he is a perfect singer for AGENT STEEL. And then, since I like the Bruce Hall era of AGENT STEEL just as much as the albums with John Cyriis I think this was for the best. It would have been a shame if the last decade of AGENT STEEL history would have been ruled out of the set. So, this sure was one of the things I was looking forward to the most of this edition of the ‘Keep It True’ festival. The fun thing is, the festival announced it as MASTERS OF METAL but I don’t think anyone of the visitors ever mentioned that, it was always AGENT STEEL. Rick’s quite clear voice suited everything perfectly, he can scream hysteric like John in songs as “Agents Of Steel” or “Guilty As Charged” but also sing very melodic and dynamic. “Ten Fists Of Nations” and “Know Your Master” are really good examples of that. But one thing that proved what a great singer he is was really the DIO medley in the middle of the set, “Children Of The Sea”, “The Last In Line” and “Stand Up And Shout”. It takes a lot to pull that off but he nailed them all perfectly. It’s amazing that AGENT STEEL got this all together, put on an amazing performance. And then, as an extra little treat James Rivera joined in on “The Ripper”. This was just the kick ass ending the first day should have. Really, there’s not much more to be said about AGENT STEEL more than that they always put on one hell of an performance. With Rick singing, for me it was like Christmas. Something that seemed great on paper turned out a million times better for real.

MASTERS OF METAL setlist:

01. “The Calling”
02. “Agents Of Steel”
03. “Never Surrender”
04. “Unstoppable Force”
05. “Nothin' Left”
06. “Children Of The Sun”
07. “Know Your Master”
08. “Traveler”
09. “Ten Fists Of Nations”
10. “Rager”
11. “Children Of The Sea” / “The Last in Line” / “Stand Up And Shout”
12. “The Day At Guyana”
13. “Guilty As Charged”
14. “Tomb Of Ra”
15. “The Ripper”
16. “Bleed For The Godz”

MASTERS OF METAL

Masters Of Metal @ Keep It True XIV @  Lauda-Königshofen (GER) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Masters Of Metal @ Keep It True XIV @  Lauda-Königshofen (GER) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Masters Of Metal @ Keep It True XIV @  Lauda-Königshofen (GER) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Masters Of Metal @ Keep It True XIV @  Lauda-Königshofen (GER) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Masters Of Metal @ Keep It True XIV @  Lauda-Königshofen (GER) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)

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And then day one of ‘Keep It True XIV’ came to an end. Sure a day filled with some really good music. Thinking back it seems like a impossible task to take in this much music at ones but it all worked out somehow and I sure could have handled more from both VICIOUS RUMORS and AGENT STEEL.

Damien Thorne @ Keep It True XIV @  Lauda-Königshofen (GER) (Photos By Eriak Wallberg)