It was not a good idea to lose a couple of gas cylinders on the highway near Cologne. Causing a one and a half hour delay and a lot of frustration on our journey to Keep It True VIII in Germany. With a line up, that was so much better than last time, it’s one of the very few metal events, that we’re looking forward to months before it takes place.
Friday, April 13th, 2007.
STORM OF STEEL (warm up evening)
Sportshalle, Dittigheim, Germany.
The traffic jam mentioned earlier would also be the reason why we missed IVORY NIGHT. They opened the Storm Of Steel warm up show this edition. Two members were already on stage in the backing band of ROSS THE BOSS earlier. When we entered the hall in Dittingheim, WARRANT was about to start their show. I’ve seen the band many years ago at the Wacken Open Air festival, but there they played in the middle of the night.
I am not really into the German trash scene, but somehow I always liked the sound by these three German trash executioners. Highlight of their set was “Condemned Forever” and I also recognised songs like “Satan”, “Scavenger’s Daughter”, “The Rack”, “Nuns Have No Fun”, “Bang That Head”, “Ready To Command”, “Ordeal Of Death”, The Enforcer”, “Betrayer”, “Send Ya To Hell” and “Torture In The Tower”. A nice warm up gig, in my opinion. The executioner swayed his axe a couple of times, but fortunately, he seem to miss his target. Otherwise, it would have been a bloody mess up on stage, I guess.
TANKARD was up next. They dedicated their music to the tonz of beer, they consumed in their lives. I think, that this is a statement, that their music is only enjoyable, when you can put your mouth directly to the beer tap, because I just can’t imagine that someone will even like their music when they’re sober. It’s a big accomplishment, that the band starts and ends at the same time, because this always seemed to be a problem for them. And this band already exist for twenty years? The audience didn’t seem to mind much though, but to me, it was a real ‘tour de force’ to stay until the end without bursting out in tears. Beer metal isn’t really a joy for a non-alcoholic, as you can see.
DESTRUCTOR made up for this mess pretty easily. Their CD was set to be released this weekend, but all we got was the release of a mini CD, which was also a pleasant surprise. The band enjoyed playing and their opening song “Blackest Night” even sounded better than the whole hour of TANKARD. And althought their new album wasn’t out yet, the band treated their fans to some new material already, like “Tear Down The Heavens” and “Skull Splitter”. The songs have that same brutal speed thrash sound as “Iron Curtain” or “Pounding Evil”. “Pounding Warriors” was a real surprise in their set. The interaction with the audience was good and this was a great warming up for their second show on the festival the next day, where DESTRUCTOR would replace ARTILLERY, that had cancelled their gig. But before this would happen, bassplayer Jamie decided to destroy his guitar and feed it to the hungry wolves in front of the stage. You have to do something to stop the fans from getting bored easily. And DESTRUCTOR just knows how to please their fans. They saved the day, that started out not too well on the highway to hell. And all their “Sonic Bullets” really caused a “Maximum Destruction”.
Saturday, April 14th, 2007.
KEEP IT TRUE VIII: CITY'S GONNA BURN
Tauberfrankenhall, Lauda-Königshofen, Germany
CAULDRON was the opener of the main festival. But before this would happen, we had more than a full hour to spend our hard-earned money on the metal market. We always have to take care that we don’t spend too much, because we also have passengers in our car that need to have enough space to get home again safely. Anyway, we had a jam-packed program ahead of us and only a very few moments during this day would be less interesting. The bill looked fine and much less thrashy than last time. My compliments for another great line up!
CAULDRON was high on my list of bands, that I definitely needed to see. Build upon the carcasses of GOAT HORN, the band easily convinced me in the thirty-five minutes they were on stage. They didn’t just play songs from their mini album “Into The Cauldron” like title track “Into The Cauldron” and “Torture’s Too Kind”, but they also did a few GOAT HORN songs, like “To The Cliff”, “Ride Into The Night” and “The Last Force”. It seemed like the band had the time of their life and this reflected back to the public. They spread the power of a five piece band, despite the fact they are only with three people on stage. Their last song was a new one, telling their story of today in a nutshell, simply called “Making Noise And Drinking Beer”. The band did very well in my opinion. Great opener!
BULLET was one of the bands today, that are not really my cup of tea, next to SABBAT. Their basic, cliché metal sounds like ACCEPT and looks like JUDAS PRIEST. This might be a great combination on paper, but it really has been done before and much better, too. I must admit, that they sounded much better at K.I.T than at the Heavy Metal Maniacs festival in Hoorn a couple of years ago. So, there you even have a positive remark towards this show. Apparently, the crowd seemed to have a much different opinion than me. And the fact, that this band is also opening at the Rock Hard festival shows, that they are getting pretty successful. However, they don’t really grab me by the balls. But these guys are still young and their music is growing, which is a really good start.
TWISTED TOWER DIRE however is another story. This is one of the bands, that I was looking forward to see. But their new singer has not got the charisma and powerful voice, that I liked so much from their previous singer Tony Taylor. Johnny Aune (ex-VIPER) is less experienced and he also looked a bit insecure. The songs are still great of course, and I very much enjoyed their set, which was a great mix of all the TWISTED TOWER DIRE albums released so far. They opened with “When The Daylight Fades”, followed by “By My Hand”, “Transfixed”, “The Isle Of Hydra”, “At Night”, “Axes & Honor”, “Final Stand”, “Rue Of The Forsaken Sleepkeeper Part II” and “Guardian Bloodline”. It might be strange in a way, but besides the fact that I liked Tony’s voice much better, I really wonder what these songs would sound like when Janet Rubin would still be behind the mike. But this is only interesting for silly folks like me, I guess.
DEFENDER really blew me away on this sunny Saturday afternoon! I truly believe that this band would have become very huge, if only they wouldn’t have disbanded shortly after releasing their much searched for “City Ad Mortis” album. Now they were back on stage and they sounded better than ever. What an excitement and what a presentation by singer Simon Menting, who is heating up the crowd in a more than perfect way. The right spirit is still there, and next to an awesome show, we also got a free lesson in DEFENDER history, because the band performed with several line-ups this afternoon. Each line up performing about three songs or so. Songs, ranging from ‘unreleased’ material, like “Lady Vanished”, “Mum’s The World”, to the real classics like “City Ad Mortis”, “Moloch”, “The Redeemer”, “Deadly Peril” and “Defender”. To everybody’s surprise, they also played two cover songs:“Metal Church” (METAL CHURCH) and “Alison Hell”(ANNIHILATOR), which were received in a very positive way. And even if you weren’t positively impressed by their musical outings, the stage presentation of Simon would at least have made you smile. His enthusiasm reflected towards the public and no Marshall stack was safe for the clownesque act by this great singer. His wild escapades didn’t harm his vocal abilities in any way, and so they easily won the hearts of the crowd. Of course the presence of Harm Noort, who a lot of people will know as Count August of GODDESS OF DESIRE, took care of a very positive vibe. Harm invaded the German stages maybe even more than he did in Holland, where they almost ignore GODDESS. And if he doesn’t show his face on stage, you can find him in the festival hall selling wristbands, studs, chains, buttons, flags and other metal merchandise stuff you are looking for. DEFENDER’s reunion gig was something, many people were looking forward to for a long time, and it turned out great. Their sound was so much better than in the eighties, when I had the privilege of seeing them live with ICE AGE, TOXIK and JEWEL many times. During the last song “Defender”, all band members joined in, and it was performed by seven ‘defenders of the faith’!! What a marvellous experience! After the festival, we heard that DEFENDER will be supporting DIAMOND HEAD in Holland in September this year. It will be another chapter in their book. And I hope, that this will last much longer than the first short chapter.
Bruder Cle had visited Harm’s leather and chains store, I believe. He was dressed up in the best PILEDRIVER looks imaginable to introuduce the band to us. Their name has changed into THE EXALTED PILEDRIVER, but the big picture is just the same. PILEDRIVER came to Germany and everybody just wanted to see this legendary Canadian metal band with the high cult level. Of course, the band was led by The Exalted Piledriver himself, who else could be the singer in this outfit? The band was completed by Kinky Porn Cream on guitars, Lobo Elf Schnort on bass and Glace Frothfritter on drums. If you think that the band looked like a big carnival party, you didn’t understand the whole thing. The band members wore masks and The Exalted Piledriver wore his best leather SM outfit. PILEDRIVER is not a band, that dresses up in jeans or leather, PILEDRIVER is extravaganza extraordinaire! “Metal Manifesto” and “Blood Bath” were new songs, that the band tried on the harmless metal victims this afternoon. But they started out with “Piledriver”, which was followed by “The Fire God”, “Human Sacrifice”, “Sex With Satan”, “Witch Hunt” and of course “Metal Inquisition”. Besides the masks, there wasn’t too much of a show, but maybe I was expecting a bit too much from these living legends. What’s there to complain about from a band, who came up with the legendary slogan “If You Ain’t A Metalhead, You Might As Well Be Dead”?? After this, it was time for DESTRUCTOR again. And let me be honest with you. They saved yesterday, but today it almost seemed like there was a big wall between the band and the audience. A lot of people went outside to enjoy the nice weather, and the atmosphere was so much different than the night before. DESTRUCTOR stands out well in a small sweaty venue. This hall was simply too big for them and the sparks of their performance didn’t reach the crowd. Was their performance that bad? No, it wasn’t. Their set was a bit shorter, but I still enjoyed songs like “Storm Of Steel”, “World Of War”, “Maximum Destruction”, “Pounding Evil”, “Iron Curtain”, “Sonic Bullet”, “Overdose” and “Blackest Night”. Maybe two DESTRUCTOR gigs in two days are too much for some visitors. I dunno.
LETHAL was one of the main reasons, we drove all the way to Lauda again. We didn’t actually mourn about the rest of the program either, but to us this was really something to forward to. The first appearance of LETHAL on the European stages, which started with some technical problems. And that is the only negative thing I have to say about this awesome show. Kentucky can be proud of LETHAL’s performance here, because they really raised the roof. And they also raised the fists of many metalheads. Maybe their singer didn’t have the looks of a metal singer, but he sure had the voice of one. I had hoped, that the band would play a lot of songs from their brilliant “Programmed” album, that put them a lot higher on my list of favorite metal bands of all-time. And my prayers were rewarded with five tracks, namely “What They’ve Done”, “Obscure The Sky”, “Immune”, the very emotional “Pray For Me” and highlight “Killing Machine”. “Down” and “Swim Or Drown” completed their set. “Balancing Act” was the odd one out here, but a very nice surprise for all the die hard fans of the band. I could possibly write a novel about the good feeling this band gave me, but why waste words on something so special that it is almost impossible to create words for? You just have to see it and undergo to really believe it. This was a lethal dose of metal, regardless if you don’t like the band or not. It got the adrenaline running through my vains faster and faster, that’s for sure. LETHAL was the definate winner on this edition of K.I.T. and let’s hope they will be back soon. Latest news is that LETHAL will take over the place of STEELHEART on Bang Your Head, because STEELHEART was forced to cancel their gig. And a new LETHAL album is in the making. Life can be so beautiful sometimes!
Come to the sabbat…. KING DIAMOND once sang these well-known phrases. Well, there they were: the reunion of the UK Pagan metal band SABBAT, including top producer Andy Sneap and former SKYCLAD frontman Martin Walkyier. SABBAT was never my thing. I saw them at the Dynamo Open Air festival a long time ago, but I wasn’t really impressed by their show. Today, they convinced me a little bit more with a powerful set, and an enthusiastic performance by Martin and his Pagan knights. “Behind The Crooked Cross”, “I For An Eye”, “For Those Who Died”, “The Church Bizarre” and “Hosanna In Excelsis” were some points of recognition to me, but the sparks didn’t grow out to be a giant flame. “For Those Who Died” is a song, that was later covered by CRADLE OF FILTH. A band that has always admitted that SABBAT was one of their main influences. Get the picture? SABBAT, CRADLE OF FILTH, Keep It True. One of these names doesn’t really belong in this row, to my opinion. But again the audience seemed to like them very much and they sure convinced me more than in the early days. Impressive sword, by the way, Martin! I’d better stay friendly to people, who have a sword like that!
DIAMOND HEAD on Keep It True. Where does the madness end? DIAMOND HEAD’s comeback shows with MEGADETH set them in the spotlights again. And in my dictionary, DIAMOND HEAD is a huge name, next to all the other names that played here this edition. Nick Tart’s vocals are very similar to the voice of Sean Harris, the original singer of this legendary NWOBHM band. And Brian Tatler showed the audience how to play real guitarsolos. The rest can easily be described as a ‘best of ‘set, completed with some new, soon to be classics. “I Feel No Pain” was a totally new song, and with “Mine All Mine” and “Give It To Me” they played a couple of newer tracks. But a lot of people came to hear songs like “Borrowed Time”, “In The Heat Of The Night”, “Lightning To The Nations”, “The Prince”, “Sucking My Love”, “Helpless”, “It’s Electric” and of course “Am I Evil?” could not be missed as well. Was there something more I could wish for? Read the list again and you’ll come to the same conclusion as me, I think. DIAMOND HEAD delivered the goods, and the crowd just loved every second of it.
And that’s what I also did, when watching the powerful stage performance of Bay Area thrash band LAAZ ROCKIT. They were always well-known for their energetic live shows, sometimes a bit messy, but always convincing. And nothing had really changed since the reunion. They took the stage and everybody who was still moving in front of the stage, went in extasy. What else would you do after hearing “Shot To Hell”, “Say Goodbye M.F.”, “Euroshima”, “Last Breath”, “Bad Blood”, “Chasing Charlie”, “Mirror To Madness”, “Forced To Fight”, “Prelude”, “City’s Gonna Burn” and “Fire In The Hole”? They also played one song from the album they released as GACK, which was a very nice surprise. Biggest eye-catchers in the band are bassplayer Willy Lange and singer Michael Coons, but the musical firework comes from axe-heroes Aaron Jellum and Phil Kettner. They are the twin axe-attackers, who just don’t know when to stop playing those powerful riffs and fast solos. “Leatherface” ended this eight K.I.T. festival. Winners were LETHAL, DIAMOND HEAD, LAAZ ROCKIT, CAULDRON and DEFENDER in no particular order. Another highlight of the festival is always the flyer, on which you can see which metal dreams will come true in the next edition of the festival. And we’re in for a real treat this time. No wonder, that the ninth edition was sold out on the day that the eight edition was still going. The bill consists of ENFORCER, PORTRAIT, STEEL ASSASSIN (Wow!!), PAGAN ALTAR (cult!!), SACRED OATH (!), TOXIK and the original line-up of LEATHERWOLF. Count me in for a second. The special two days event of the tenth anniversary of this great festival is getting shape too already and bands, that are announced to play there will definitely please all you metalheads. Just watch the immense list of names: BATTLE RAM, DOOMSWORD, PHARAOH, DEMON EYES, CAGE, CRESCENT SHIELD, HELSTAR, MANILLA ROAD, PHANTOM X, OMEN, TITAN FORCE, ATTACKER and JAG PANZER. We see each other there, because these dates are already highlighted in our agenda! Thanks go out to Kim and Stefan and of course our good friend Gerrie Lemmens for again a wonderful time!!! And of course we’d like to thank the people of K.I.T. (especially Oliver and Tarek) for another great metal festival with top notch bands!!!!
*Written by: Toine van Poorten/May 2007
*Photos by: Rita van Poorten