CIRITH UNGOL / FIFTH ANGEL / ASHBURY / LEATHER / ATLANTEAN KODEX / NIGHT DEMON / TRAITORS GATE / DEVIL IN DISGUISE / VISIGOTH / ETERNAL CHAMPION
Date: 29th April, 2017
Ticket: €63 / $69 (two days)
Promoter: Keep It True
Photos: Erika Wallberg
Erika: The second day of the 'Keep It True Festival' didn't start as heavy as expected. Well, musically it did, as US newcomers ETERNAL CHAMPION served a heavy show. This band was one of the ones I was looking forward to seeing the most. It took a while for me to wake up and get around to listen to it, but when I finally did, I couldn't put it down and the record kept spinning for weeks and weeks. And I wasn't the only one stoked about this, Tauberfranken Halle filled up very well when it was time to hit the stage. Parts of the crowd looked rather pale though.
After “Retaliator”, “The Armor Of Ire” struck hard. I have to admit it is the full-length with the same title I've listened to the most. It was great to hear the dynamics in the rather fast track and the mellow vocals, and that worked live too. Something happened with one of the guitars though, all of a sudden it sounded very out of tune and since the beginning had been flawless it was hard to believe the band was messing up the song.
It's always fascinating to see how bands resolve situations like this, if they panic, if it affects the rest of their performance, especially with a new band like this. ETERNAL CHAMPION handled it with grace, sure, they broke some sweat for a few seconds but up came the back-up guitar and the song ended just as perfect as it started. “The Last King Of Pictdom” is easy to dig a long to and that sure worked. The hall was definitely awake by now and supported the band, the front line was really packed. It didn't ease up when vocalist Jason Tarpey jumped off stage and climbed the security fence I tell you. Also, the mellow start of “Invoker” was fantastic, it gave me goose-bumps all over. The dynamics in ETERNAL CHAMPION's music really does a lot, and they really managed to capture this in a grand way here. The sound early in the day has been rather harsh since the Metal Market was moved out of the venue but it was definitely better from start this Saturday than the day before.
Both the rather odd “Sing A Last Song Of Valdese” and very hitty “I Am The Hammer” went down well and that ended the ETERNAL CHAMPION set. Awesome start of the second day, that's for sure. It was a very impressive performance by the band and they sure set the standard very high right from the start.
ETERNAL CHAMPION setlist:
01. Intro - “Ride For Revenge”
03. “The Armor Of Ire”
04. “The Last King Of Pictdom”
06. “Sing A Last Song Of Valdese”
07. “I Am The Hammer”
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Erika: I thought VISIGOTH would get it rather hard when following the fantastic show from ETERNAL CHAMPION. I was recommended to listen to “The Revenant King” when it was released but it passed by rather unnoticed. That this show didn't! Everything that I thought the album wasn't (back then) this show had, which is strange since most of the set was from that album. Perhaps it needs another chance now?
Right from start Jake Rogers demanded everyone's attention. The intensity in opening “Dungeon Master” as well as following “Mammoth Rider” was crazy. Even if the latter is a rather slow-grooving tune. But the power VISIGOTH showed really made the whole house rock. Brand new “Vatt'ghern (By Steel And Silver)” gab about a very promising future for the band, if the new record hold the same class as this one. The crowd seemed pleased with VISIGOTH also. At ‘Keep It True’ there's always a very good support at the direct front. And even with the rearranged venue, the crowd filled almost the whole place. Even now, the second year around, it affects the sound. But in the front, especially in the photo-pit, there was nothing to complain about. On “The Revenant King”, VISIGOTH did a cover of the MANILLA ROAD classic “Necropolis”. But since they also were featured on the bill, the cover this time became Danish RANDY's “The Beast”. The Punky style worked well and with the VISIGOTH touch it actually sounded a whole lot like MANILLA ROAD.
Anyway, VISIGOTH really delivered energy and a bunch of great tracks, so if people didn't wake up to ETERNAL CHAMPION, this definitely should have shook them enough to get going.
01. “Dungeon Master”
02. “Mammoth Rider”
03. “Vatt'ghern (By Steel And Silver)”
04. “Blood Sacrifice”
05. “The Beast” (RANDY cover)
06. “The Revenant King”
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Erika: There are so many gems from the '80s in the US Heavy Metal genre that never got the recognition they deserved, it's crazy. GLACIER’s self titled EP sure is one of them. If it is as interesting to see all the bands who have been inactive for decades is another question. Ok, now it was just vocalist Michael Podrybau from the original line-up here, with a new backing-up band. I must say it's admirable to pick a new name for your band due to respect of the rest of the members, even if it initially was for a one-off thing. So, regardless if it's called GLACIER or DEVIL IN DISGUISE, we're talking about the same thing. And damn, Michael can sing still. Right from “Ready For Battle” it sounded fantastic and what a frenzy delivered by the band! The volume, energy and stage presence did these oldies good. Also, the son the band picked their name from, second one out “Devil In Disguise” sounded fantastic. I never expected this and I love it when I'm blown away quite unexpected like this.
I can't say I've listened all that much to GLACIER during my days as a metalhead, and with that, it says a lot when songs strike as hard as it did here. The dynamic “Vendetta” track for example, it holds amazing melodies both for guitars and vocals and it sounded just as good here.
Towards the end of the set, folksy “Eastern Guns” stood out. I really liked the groove of the song and it's crazy that music as good as this never was officially released. So again, as in many cases old school proved they still have it and can still rock. Sure, the band could have been a little bit tighter. After the smack in the face given by ETERNAL CHAMPION, it was just to turn the other cheek for VISIGOTH and that one struck harder. DEVIL IN DISGUISE couldn't match that but they had good energy and it sounded good so it's a petty to mark. Ok, there's actually one more thing to complain about. DEVIL IN DISGUISE's set was rather short which left me wanting more, but I guess THAT one is all good.
DEVIL IN DISGUISE setlist:
01. “Ready For Battle” (GLACIER cover)
02. “Devil In Disguise” (GLACIER cover)
03. “When Heaven's At Hand” (GLACIER cover)
04. “Live For The whip” (GLACIER cover)
05. “Vendetta” (GLACIER cover)
06. “Eastern Guns” (GLACIER cover)
07. “Speak No Evil” (GLACIER cover)
DEVIL IN DISGUISE
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MariaV: “What about some UK classic powerful Metal from Wales?” - that was the first thought that came to mind the moment I looked at my watch and realized that it was almost 3pm. Yeah, that’s a slow hour of day for a festival, so something uplifting and refreshing is what a slow crowd needs to rev up the engines. I’ve never really had the chance to see TRAITORS GATE before, so that would be a first for me. Vocalist Sy Davies looked really comfortable onstage, having the time of his life, and the rest of the band showed to be in a really good mood too. It was a pity the first two songs were served in front of a rather weak audience, but as the time passed, more and more came closer to the stage. “Shoot To Kill” was welcomed really well and took us back to 1985, while some new songs were on the menu too, with the slower “The Devil Rides Again” and “New Gods” showcasing what TRAITORS GATE have to serve nowadays. But the ‘KIT’ audience seemed to love the older stuff more; the moment “Love After Midnight” hit the speakers, the Halle looked like hosting an entire different audience. There was more action in the front rows and it was really nice to see some fists pumping in the air. And of course, it’s needless to comment on what followed the minute “Devil Takes The High Road” stepped in; singing-along during the refrain and some really cool headbanging were in order, and that marked the best moment of the Brits’ riffing-up set that ended right on time, before NIGHT DEMON’s turn.
“Come with me and we'll go / faster, higher than any star”
TRAITORS GATE setlist:
01. “Nothing To Lose”
02. “Back Down”
03. “Shoot To Kill”
04. “The Devil Rides Again”
05. “New Gods”
06. “Love After Midnight”
07. “Soul Destroyer”
08. “Here Comes The Night”
09. “Devil Takes The High Road”
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DimK: Having checked NIGHT DEMON prior to the festival, I knew how damn well they fitted the ‘KIT’ billing, but I had no idea of how this Heavy Metal trio would behave onstage. Oh man, was I for a treat? After the short intro, the UK-sounding trio from the US kicked off the set with pedal to the Metal with “Welcome To The Night”. The ‘KIT’ stage is a big one so a trio should have difficulties filling it up. Well, this applies to some other bands but not to NIGHT DEMON as bassist Jarvis Leatherby and guitarist Armand Anthony showed up in the highest of moods and started playing as if it was in the middle of the set. Yeah, there was no warming-up with “Full Speed Ahead” and “Maiden Hell” hitting all the right spots to get people from the front rows all the way back and on the stands. Jarvis’ shouting-type of singing and full-on attitude have a lot in common with the ferocity of those NWOBHM bands that were aware of the work and sweat a Metal performance needs to be true and captivating. I am sure I will sound like an old geezer complaining but I think some of the younger bands wrongfully believe that just by showing up onstage is enough to make it big.
The band’s most addictive energy proved its worth with the loud chant “NIGHT DEMON, NIGHT DEMON” started as a response to already sweating Jarvis’ question “how the fuck are you doing?”. Yeah, we’re doing great and “Hallowed Ground” from the band’s latest LP hit us hard with the galloping rhythm section that show lots of headbanging action and many fist pumping in the air. The drum groove of “On You Own” kept the energy high and it was obvious that NIGHT DEMON had already set the bar really high for all the bands who will be following them. The soaked in the NWOBHM sound “Screams In The Night” was absolutely awesome but then it was time to bring the Ripper on the stage to taunt the Metal-happy audience during the a tad slower “The Chalice”. Bringing such props on a festival show is always a plus and gave a brief breather before getting back on the fast-playing wagon with “Dawn Rider”. By the way, I love when the bass is taking over the rhythm section during the guitar leads without the sound lacking of the volume. “Darkness Remains” saw the band living the stage one by one but I think everyone inside the stadium wanted a bit more. And yes, NIGHT DEMON came and Jarvis introduced the last one like this: “if you don’t know this one the fuckin’ exits are in the back”. Armand started playing the riff of “Wasted Years” and as expected, everyone joined in singing, marking this one of the festival’s highlights. And this shows how important is the crowd’s participation in a Metal show because when this happens, it sends shivers down your spine. Awesome!
NIGHT DEMON setlist:
01. “Welcome To The Night”
02. “Full Speed Ahead”
03. “Maiden Hell”
04. “Heavy Metal Heat”
06. “Hallowed Ground”
07. “On Your Own”
08. “Screams In The Night”
09. “The Chalice”
10. “Dawn Rider”
11. “Night Demon”
12. “Darkness Remains”
13. “Wasted Years” (IRON MAIDEN cover)
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