KEEP IT TRUE XII - 2009

* April 24-25, 2009 *

INTRODUCTION

It’s April again and it´s time to go to the heavy metal capitol of the world: Lauda-Königshofen in Germany. Although Wacken may have this reputation already for years, the fans of the underground metal scene have much other ideas. Wacken has slowly become the no. 1 festival for the more well-established names. However, if you like the sound of cult names, then you travel to Lauda, near Wurzburg, once a year. It’s Friday, April 24th , when the two-days festival will take off. But we arrive on Thursday already, to make sure that we are prepared for this two-days musical slaughter fest. I think, we’re gonna need it!

Friday, April 24th, 2009

KEEP IT TRUE XII: AXES AND ARMOR
Tauberfrankenhalle, Lauda-Königshofen, Germany

After a good night sleep, nothing can stop us anymore. Two days of heavy metal mayhem will fill up our time and when the doors of the hall finally open, we decide to stop by the metal market first and do some shopping. Mainly because there won’t be too much time left for that during these two days. The bill is jam-packed and it will be hard to have a good look around at the many booths here. Three bands didn’t make it from the original bill. MELTDOWN (MANIC RITUAL), HITTMAN and HELL were forced to cancel their gig. They were being replaced by PROCESSION (Chile), PICTURE and CLOVEN HOOF.
At about twelve o’clock, IN SOLITUDE starts the official program. The band hails from Sweden and with their self-titled debut album, they already gained quite a lot of popularity. Their vocalist Hornper is being compared to KING DIAMOND everywhere. Honestly, I think he sounds a lot more monotonous than the Danish emperor of high screaming heavy metal vocals. Which doesn’t mean that their show was dull or uninspired. They even lit a bunch of black candles, before starting their show and when “In The Darkness” left the speakers, Keep It True XII has officially started. IN SOLITUDE introduces us to ‘The Seventh Ghost’, ‘The Monolith’, ‘Temple Of The Unknown’, ‘Kathedral’ and ‘Witches Sabbath’, to name but a few. And already in the first song, Hornper sways around with a knife to add some show elements as well, but it doesn’t get much further than this. A good start of the festival though.
ATLANTEAN KODEX is the first German delegation, who are able to show their skills. I already knew, that I could expect some looooong songs here, containing some epic metal lyrics. The fans just loved their warrior metal and the magic mix of exciting instrumental parts and hymn-like songs. Not a bad forty-five minutes for a band, that I didn’t know too much about. After this, the program would become a large stream of interesting bands, many of which I have never seen live before on stage. Including a small break for a quick meal at the right time.
ASKA is one of the bands, that I’d been realy looking forward to seeing live. Their albums, filled with melodic power metal, contain some very strong songs and well-thought of compositions. The fact, that the band hails from Texas is in their advantage too, because Texas metal bands always deliver the best quality metal, which is my experience. Anyway, when the band opens with ‘Angels Of War’, I know that this is gonna be a great performance. I hear some stunning guitarwork by the two guitarplayers, Daryl and George. With ‘Leprosy’, ‘Invasion’, ‘Immortal’, they slowly build up the tension, then closing with ‘Valkyries’, ‘Longships’ and ‘Crown Of Thorns’, leaving behind the crowd in extasy. You can tell, that ASKA has gained a lot of experience by playing for the American troops out in the fields, far away from home. On Sunday, the band was added to a special show of MILITIA, which would take place in Frankfurt. This band definitely takes every opportunity to grow bigger and bigger and they also spend a lot of time to recruit new fans during these two festival days. Way to go brothers, that’s the true metal spirit!
Same goes for our British friends of CLOVEN HOOF. Did I report about their show at the British Steel festival a couple of weeks ago, this time they played live at the Keep It True festival and in a couple of weeks from now, they have also deserved a spot at the well-known Bang Your Head festival. The band surely knows to gain a huge fan base really fast. I still remember the first time, that we saw them at the second edition of K.I.T. Their show was a bit more static back then, but these days they know to blow us away pretty easily. With a short set, that was a little different than their show in London, they convinced us once again, that NWOBHM ain’t dead yet. Opening with ‘Inquisitor’, ‘Nova Battlestar’ and ‘Astral Rider’ (same as in London), they continued with ‘Mistress Of The Forrest’ and the power-driven ‘Mutilator’, which is one of my fave songs. ‘Highlander’ and ‘Road Of Eagles’ were re-introduced to their set and in the latter song, Russ North introduced the band to us. ‘Laying Down The Law’ closed their powerful set. If you miss ‘The Gates Of Gehenna’ here, than you’re right, because this song was left out for a very good reason. But you will read more about it in the review of the second day.
RUTHLESS had to top this fantastic performance, but they didn’t have much problems with that. The fact, that the band has recruited former DARK ANGEL guitarplayer Jim Durkin about a year ago, has done them a world of good. He’s a well-known name in the metal scene for that matter. The set of RUTHLESS was mainly focussed on their ‘Metal Without Mercy’ EP. They started out with the first three songs ‘Gates Of Hell’, ‘Metal Without Mercy’ and ‘Bury The Axe’, which were followed by ‘Wings Of War’ and the metal anthem ‘Discipline Of Steel’ from their full-length album. ‘Mass Killer’ and ‘Sign Of The Cross’ closed their energetic set. Throughout these two days, guitarplayer Ken and drummer Bob will develop themself as two brothers in metal, who check out every band on stage and regularly bang their heads like true fans do. Besides being a musician, they still have that ‘heavy metal fan’ spirit clinging to them and you could constantly see them wandering around in this heavy metal valhalla. This was a great kick ass performance and with a satisfied feeling, we are getting ready for our first dinner break.
Meaning (for all the German thrash metal fans among us), that EXUMER was ready to take the stage. I liked their intro tape, but after that it all sounded a bit alike to me. This is not my cup of tea, but I believe that a lot of German metalheads thought about it differently. Anyway, at the beginning of the set I still recognised songs like ‘Journey To Oblivion’ and ‘Fallen Saint’, but very soon my concentration was more focussed on our dinner break rather than on the music. I’m very sorry about that.
EXXPLORER was high on my list of ‘must see’ acts today and they easily lived up to my high expectations. They may not have left such an incredible impression as Lethal did a couple of years ago, but they surely impressed me a lot. Their set was mainly focussed on the ‘Symphonies Of Steel’ album, their best work ever, if you’d ask my opinion. And what more can you ask for, when you hear songs like ‘X-Termination’, ‘Guilty As Charged (part a. from ‘Objection Overruled’), ‘Run For Tomorrow’, ‘Exxplorer’ and ‘Metal Detectors’? From the second album they played ‘Ride The Storm’ and ‘Beg, Borrow Or Steal’, which matched very well with the earlier material. The fact, that they didn’t play anything from the poorer ‘Coldblackugly’ album may tell you enough about the high true metal level of the band’s performance today. New Jersey can be proud of EXXPLORER’s performance here. Their ‘symphonies of steel’ sounded mighty fine!
And the list goes on, because next on the bill was TYRANT, another heavy metal band which is high on my list of great metal bands, that can not be missed. They came to Germany in the well-known line up, consisting of four original members. That’s the way to do it. The band put down a terrific metal performance mainly focussing on their album ‘Legions Of The Dead’ and ‘Too Late To Pray’ with songs like ‘Warriors Of Metal’,‘Legions Of The Dead’, ‘Listen To The Preacher’, ‘Beyond The Grave’, ‘Too Late To Pray’, ‘The Nazarene’ and ‘Beginning Of The End’. Singer Glen and drummer Rob had painted their face to make everything look even more evil, than it already was. Glen has a great voice and even with one guitar player, the band still knows to create a solid heavy sound. From their latest album ‘King Of Kings’, the band played the title track and they closed their set with ‘War’ from the same album. A smashing performance and the fans of the band will definitely agree with this statement. It was really special to see bands like TYRANT and EXXPLORER live on stage after listening to their records for so many years. Better late than never, so the saying goes.
The real slaughter however comes from the band ABATTOIR. That Juan Garcia and friends would create a giant moshpit in front of the stage, was something we already knew upfront. So we decided to watch this show from the tribune, to get a good view of the whole slaughterhouse massacre. When ABATTOIR starts their set with ‘Bring On The Damned’, there is already a lot of movement in front of the stage. And this movement gets bigger and bigger, when they pound out classics like ‘Everybody Dies’, ‘Hammer Of The Gods’, ‘Under My Skin’, ‘Don’t Walk Alone’, ‘The Enemy’, ‘Stroner Than Evil’ and ‘Vicious Attack’ in no particular order. The public goes crazy though, when the Motörhead classic ‘Ace Of Spades’ is played. But ABATTOIR has more surprises for us today. For example, they also play the EVIL DEAD cover ‘Annihilation Of Civilisation’. What a great choice! This song actually fits perfectly in the whole ABATTOIR set. The best song of the evening however is ‘Screams From The Grave’. The mess in the pit, that this song left behind, must have been seen to be believed. Tim Thomas has replaced Mark Caro, who was not available for the European shows. But he knows their songs like no other and he has a good bond with Juan Garcia, because he also plays in AGENT STEEL, when they are on tour. So Juan couldn’t wish for a better tandem twin brother than Tim, I guess. Cleaners had to get rid of all the blood, that was spilled on the holy grounds of the Lauda sportshall, before another blood spilling monster would take his place on stage.
LIZZY BORDEN is a real psychopath, he’s a monster, but he also knows to put down a ‘murderess metal road show’, which they’ve proved in the past already.Who knows the frontman from his long, wide, curly hair, it was quite a shock maybe to see LIZZY BORDEN with his new outfit on stage. However, the show this man puts down is always something to look forward to. He simply knows to create a good mix of great rock songs in combination with some nice show elements. Lizzy himself decided, that this has to become a sort of ‘best of’ show. And I think, that he did a great job there. From the first notes on, I was pretty sure that it would be a mighty spectacle, and the man wouldn’t let me down. With songs like ‘Appointment With Fear’, ‘Notorious’, ‘Give ‘Em The Axe’, ‘Tomorrow Never Comes’, ‘Abnormal’, ‘Psychopath’, ‘Under Your Skin’, ‘Me Against The World’, ‘Hell Is For Heroes’, ‘Rod Of Iron’, ‘Red Rum’ and ‘Outcast’, he definitely delivered the goods. Of course the musicians in the band came in the spotlights as well with solo spots for the guitar players, the drummer and the bass player, who paid tribute to Pippi Longstocking in his solo. While in ‘Master Of Disguise’, Lizzy really did a nice job, when he constantly changed masques in a very short amount of time. He really proved to be the master of disguise. A bit more spectacular was the ‘vampire sucking the blood out of an innocent girl’ act. The ladies Julia and Steffie are an essential part in the LIZZY BORDEN show and they don’t only dance and sing along to the songs. During the encore, one of the girls also shows a fire juggling act. They change clothes constantly and make sure that there is always something going on on stage. I reckon, that a very funny part was during “There Will Be Blood Tonight”. Lizzy was spreading blood over the first rows in the audience. And while going around, a crew member had to follow him with a small beaker filled with fake blood, so Lizzy could tank fresh blood every now and then. Hilarious and quite spectacular, if you look at it this way. You may think that ‘American Metal’ is a catchy, maybe even commercial song, but at the end of the set almost everybody sang it along with the band. The last song of tonight is ‘Long Live Rock And Roll’ and I think, that they chose the right song to close their set. It may not be an original LIZZY BORDEN song, but the message is so strong. And this crowd is the ultimate audience to sing this song to. They know the true meaning of the words and they stand proud for what they believe in. This wonderful show meant the end of day one. After a few hours, day two would start early again, so after the last notes faded, we went to our guest house right away. What a fantastic day it has been already!

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

KEEP IT TRUE XII: AXES AND ARMOR
Tauberfrankenhalle, Lauda-Königshofen, Germany

A déjà vu is, when something happens and you know for sure that it has happened before. And this morning would start off with a déjà vu. A déjà vu might be the wrong description, because I have never seen this first band in my life, but DEJA VU is the first band on the bill today. A good, but short night sleep and a large breakfast was enough to get us going again for this German heavy metal band. Listening to their songs, I regularly have to think of the band ACCEPT. Not that they have the same looks or show as the Solingen based cult metal band from the eighties, but their sound surely shows some resemblance to the band of Udo Dirkschneider. They open with ‘Wings Of Steel’ and their set is a perfect balance between the two albums that they’ve released so far; ‘Bullets To Spare’ and ‘Decibel Disease’. ‘Catch Me If You Can’, ‘Decibel Disease’, ‘Metalhead’, ‘Under Fire’, ‘Children Of The Eighties’ (with very recognisable lyrics), ‘Evil’ and ‘Nightmare’. This show was definitely not a nightmare nor a déjà vu and I really wouldn’t mind seeing this band once again.
I’d been really looking forward to seeing PROCESSION. Slow doom metal from Chile with a great underground feel. Doom metal has got to be slow and the band surely knows to play this style really well. With song titles like ‘Down The River Of Corpses’, ‘The Road To The Gravegarden’, ‘Incinerate’ and ‘Raven Of Disease’, you’ll already guess, that the party level is very low during the forty-five minutes, that PROCESSION is on stage. But the doom metal fans have certainly added a new band on their list, because their slow, dark riddles are very moreish, also in my eyes.
THE GATES OF SLUMBER can’t and won’t get the pace much faster. Their sound is also very slow, but with a little more speed than PROCESSION. I would make a comparison to the sound of the seventies. Old school traditional rock, mixed with doom metal, so to speak. It has a lot of space for instrumental parts and some speed and mood changes every now and then. No wonder, that THE GATES OF SLUMBER already has become a standard for the doom metal scene. Although I have the idea, that Karl Simon wasn’t too happy with their sound. Despite these problems, the band still cranked out some greasy tunes, that were welcomed wholeheartedly by the fans in front of the stage. ‘The Jury’, ‘Ice Worm’, ‘Conqueror’, ‘Angel Of Death’, ‘Broken On The Wheel’ were among the songs, that are played here this afternoon and I think that the audience was heated up well enough already.
Heated up for what would become the highlight of the festival in my eyes, before having even seen the band at all, MILITIA from Texas. Five musicians, US metal with many speed changes, forty-five mintes of action and a whole lot of satisfaction. I decided to move into the lions den for this opportunity to take some pictures. I’ve done this before on several rare ocassions. For a band like MILITIA, I’d gladly make this exception. Just to have some extra pictures, so I can cherish this moment for a long time afterwards. So the first three songs I watched through the camera eye. And I guess that some photographers must have seen me, because of all the slobber was dripping out of my mouth (which was wide open!). The more difficult songs were played with such power and ease, like they were so simple to play. Five hard working people, focussed on what they were doing and doing it well, doing it very well, if I may say so. After ‘Objective Termination’, ‘Regiments Of Death’ and ‘Search For Steel’, I went back into the audience. The only little setback for the band was, that guitarplayer Jesse Villegas did have some trouble with his gear. Tony Smith though was flying over his fretboard. And in Germany there are no speed limits, so this guy was allowed to play at full speed and at full force. And you could see, that he really liked to go all the way. Same goes for Mike Soliz. We wondered, if he still could do the high screams, which was his trademark. Judging by my wife’s comment, he could. She was wearing earplugs and even through these earplugs, he easily reached the pain level in her ears. What a fool I was to doubt, if Mike could still hit the high notes. He reached them with an ease that would make Rob Halford of JUDAS PRIEST jealous. The rhythm section consisting of Robert and Phil seemed invisible, but they were as tight as you can imagine, constantly concentrating on the many speed changes. Yes, to be in the rhythm section of a band like MILITIA is a tough job and hard work. But these guys managed to do this incredible job. ‘Onslaught’ was on next and then came the title track of the most wanted EP in the whole universe; ‘The Sybling’. There weren’t many people, who held up their hand, when Mike asked who had an original copy of this masterpiece. But even when he asked how many people had the bootleg version, there weren’t many who responded. After ‘Salem Square’, we had already listed to the last song. On the original setlist, there was a new song mentioned, but due to time limitations, the band was forced to skip this one. People, who went to MILITIA’s second show in Frankfurt with ASKA, would get an exclusive preview of the new material. MILITIA decided to play ‘Metal Axe’ as the last song of their set. Incredible and I got goosebumps all over. With music like this, I don’t need any Viagra until I die, just let the music do the talking. I really hope, that we don’t have to wait another twenty-five years to see this incredible metal band from Texas again. Both thumbs up for MILITIA!
And the Texas metal attack went on and on with RIGOR MORTIS, a more brutal thrash metal attack. Continuing in the good Texas metal tradition, their guitarsolos were really breathtaking! Another cult metal band, that showed their skills on the Lauda stage. With songs like ‘Demons’, ‘Die In Pain’, ‘Wizard Of Gore’ and ‘Vampire’, they really impressed me, although thrash metal is not really my most favorite style. These guys also have a certain black kind of humour, that I like. They dedicated their song ‘Dead Fish’ to all five ladies in the audience, for example. Nice joke and a very convincing show by these Texas thrash metal guys.
Our diner break was coming up any moment now. From the time, that we knew this band was on the bill, we were sure that this would be the perfect time to get something to eat. I am talking about LIVING DEATH here. I don’t hate these guys, don’t get me wrong, but this is just not my cup of tea. I also know, that there are people who made the trip to Lauda, just to see LIVING DEATH once in their life. Obviously, not everyone has the same taste in music. I watched the first few songs like ‘Gripping A Heart’, ‘Vengenace’, ‘On The 17th Floor’ and ‘Natures Of Death’. When my wife came back from the photo pit, we went to stand in line for the food bar. I will continue my review from right after the LIVING DEATH show.
ZOUILLE & HANTSON may not be a name, that sounds familiar. But if I say SATAN JOKERS or SORTILEGE, then everybody will probably remember these two bands from the French heavy metal scene. ZOUILLE is the nickname of former SORTILEGE singer Christian Augustin, the frontman of this band, that would perform a sort of SORTILEGE/FURIOUS ZOO set tonight. For many fans, it would be as if they finally get to see SORTILEGE though. At least I have the feeling that many fans were very excited about the fact, that ZOUILLE & HANTSON were on the bill tonight. Although, the euphoria tempered for me a lot during the set. Having seen the band in 1984 at the Earthquake festival in Kaatsheuvel, Holland, I was very excited about the beginning of the set, after hearing ‘D’Ailleurs’ and ‘Gladiateur’. As a matter of fact I thought, that tonight would be a full hour of SORTILEGE songs. But the band also inserted songs like ‘Just Keep Holding On’, ‘Get Out’ and ‘A Dead Man Won’t Lie’. Zouille’s voice is a treat to listen to and also the guitar player was great to listen to. Even his STEVE VAI-like tricks worked fine by me and looked very professional. But my preferations were songs like ‘Civilisation Perdue’, ‘Quand Un Aveugle Rêve’, ‘Cyclope De L’Etang’, ‘Marchand D’Hommes’ and set closer ‘Sortilège’. At the end of the sixty minutes set, I had mixed feelings about this gig. In general, the music was quite good, but when you expect a full hour of SORTILEGE songs, it’s kind of a disappointment to hear the FURIOUS ZOO material instead of ‘Metamorphose’, which they didn’t play, for example. Zouille is still a great singer though and Renaud Hantson, the drummer of SATAN JOKERS is not an amateur either. I think, that we had the cream of the French metal scene on stage here and I do believe this appearance was as close to SORTILEGE as we will probably ever get to see. The real deal will never come together on stage again, so I'd better cherish my memories about Kaatsheuvel and the Breaking Sound Festival in France in 1984.
The PICTURE reunion has proved to be very succesful. After Sweden Rock and Headbangers Open Air, they can add Keep It True to their already impressive list of gigs, after the reunion. Not strange of course, because we count in fact five people on stage, that have played in PICTURE, in one line up or another. Rob van Enkhuizen, Pete Lovell, Laurens ‘Bakkie’ Bakker, Rinus Vreugdenhil and the Dutch Ritchie Blackmore (that’s how this riff king has been in my mind for a long time now), Jan Bechtum. After seeing the band many times, I knew that it would be nice to see them again under these circumstances. And after seeing them live today, I feel so damn proud to be a Dutch guy, like all the guys in PICTURE (even you, Pete!!!). PICTURE didn’t only bring up my patriotic feelings, but they also raised the roof. In my imagination many people had left the hall, when they started their set with ‘You’re All Alone’, ‘Heavy Metal Ears’ and ‘Diamond Dreamer’. But when the set got going, you could see the crowd growing and many more people enjoyed the show. Even new songs like ‘Old Dogs, New Tricks’ and ‘Blood Out Of The Stone’ received many cheers. Although the crowd’s most favorite songs are still oldies like ‘Eternal Dark’, ‘Griffon Guards The Gold’, ‘The Blade’ (What a terrific song!), ‘Battle Of The Universe’(ouch, my neck!), and ‘Lady Lightning’. PICTURE knows to serve both. And when you reckon that their new album is almost finished, I think that they did a good job by playing quite some songs from this new album, too. Just to see how the crowd reacts towards the new material. ‘Fill Your Head With Rock’, ‘Celtic Cross’, ‘Choosing Your Sign’ and ‘Live By The Sword’ received a good response, and I think that the new work matches very well to the old songs. At the end of the show, Rinus went wild and got into the photo pit, just to thank all the Dutch fans, that had gathered in front of the stage, I guess. And during ‘Bombers’, the whole atmosphere was quite the opposite of what I saw during the beginning of the show. PICTURE raised the roof with this steaming live show. I already can’t wait to hear their new CD, which is scheduled for a release later this year.
After PICTURE, the time was right for a huge party. The celebration of thirty years of NWOBHM. And I must say, that this was a great way to celebrate! The main band on stage is called ROXXCALIBUR, who hail from Germany. They are helped out by a lot of cool guests, mainly singers, who guided them through this marvellous celebration. When the ‘Big Ben’ rings, the show starts off. Names of guests wandered around the internet already and without any doubt, this would be a real treat for every die-hard NWOBHM addict, like me. After ROXXCALIBUR has played a few warming up songs, the part with the guest singers could start, where Brian Ross did some smashing versions of ‘Blitzkrieg’ (BLITZKRIEG) and ‘Break Free’(SATAN). Jess Cox had to leave his merchandise table to sing ‘Wild Cat’ (TYGERS OF PAN TANG). Then it got really interesting, when two singers showed up, that I have never seen before. First there was Graham Shaw of BLEAK HOUSE, who performed ‘Rainbow Warrior’, a song that he re-recorded recently together with his sons Simon and Chris. Next up, we saw Terry Dark of JAMESON RAID with ‘7 Days Of Splendour’, another cult metal classic from the early eighties. GIRLSCHOOL simply can not be left out. Whenever there is a party, GIRLSCHOOL is there. This time Enid Williams appeared on her own to sing ‘Race With The Devil’ and ‘Emergency’. What more can you ask for? By all means, she is my favorite GIRLSCHOOL member and proved once again, that she’s a great singer as well. Three members of CLOVEN HOOF appeared on stage to do ‘The Gates Of Gehenna’, namely Lee ‘Air’ Payne, Russ North and Ben Read. One of the highlights for me was the appearance by Dave Hill of DEMON. Next year, the band will be playing at this festival and this was a good pre-taste of ‘Night Of The Demon’ and ‘Don’t Break The Circle’. What a crazy atmosphere there was during these two songs! The mimic of Dave and his excellent voice were the cream on the cake. Then a bigger switch took place, because Neudi, the drummer of ROXXCALIBUR, had to leave his drum kit. It has to be changed with another drumkit for the appearance by THUNDERSTICK, including the coolest backpatch I’ve seen during the whole weekend, a pink Mickey Mouse. Now let this warning be a good lesson to everybody. Never let THUNDERSTICK (real name: Barry Purkis or Barry Graham) appear uncaged, because very soon the man left his drum stool to disappear into the audience, grab someone out and give him an official THUNDERSTICK mask. Oh, and the man also did a splendid SAMSON song, called ‘Bright Lights’. When THUNDERSTICK disappeared into the night, TANK got on stage to tell us that ‘This Means War’. I told these guys upfront: ‘Don’t Mention The War’, but they wouldn’t listen. ‘Don’t Walk Away’ was on next, and after that they simply walked away, leaving the stage for Harry ‘The Tyrant’ Conklin. He sang ‘See You In Hell’, the GRIM REAPER classic. I think, it was time for Steve Grimmet to appear on stage now, but he wasn’t there tonight. However, almost everyone in the audience sang along to it, I guess. The whole cast of guests entered the stage one more time (well, almost the whole cast) to do the last two IRON MAIDEN songs; ’22 Acacia Avenue’ and ‘Running Free’, which meant the end of this celebration. A big thanks to ROXXCALIBUR of course, because they were the main musicians here after all. ROXXCALIBUR consists of members of VIRON and ABANDONDED and they have just released an album, called "NWOBHM For Muthas".
And before you know it, it’s time for the headliners of the second day: ARMORED SAINT. A worthy closer of this two-days festival, who start their gig with ‘Reign Of Fire’, followed by ‘March of The Saint’. Their sound was very clear and musically, ARMORED SAINT still knows to do the trick. LIZZY BORDEN has got more show elements, but the Saint know to impress the crowd with their musical skills. After ‘Aftermath’, the stage gets cleared for the drumsolo of Gonzo. He added some computerized vocal parts to his wild solo part, which was a bit over the top for a traditional classic metal band, in my opinion. But more drummers, like Neil Peart and Simon Wright do these kind of things. After this, they close their set with ‘Symbol Of Salvation’, ‘Nervous Man” and ‘Chemical Euphoria’. Many people have left the hall by then, which is quite a shame for a headliner of this size of course. The encores of tonight are ‘Can U Deliver’ and ‘Mad House’, which is of course a nice name for the Tauberfrankenhalle for the last two days.
It was a madhouse, but besides that it was one of the best, and maybe even the very best edition of the Keep It True festival so far. The whole festival is getting better every edition and judging the bill of the thirteenth edition, it will be possibly even better than this edition. It all seems impossible, but with names like WHITE WIZARD, STRIKER, HEART OF CYGNUS, CRYSTAL VIPER, RAM, ADX, SIREN, KALAPACS, OBSESSION, SATAN'S HOST, AANACRUSIS, TYGERS OF PAN TANG, THOR, WHIPLASH, HADES, DEMON, WATCHTOWER, SAVAGE GRACE, FIFTH ANGEL and CANDLEMASS, you can be sure that it will become one of the coolest and truest metal festivals, that you’ve ever attended. This edition will stay in my mind forever, mainly because of the wonderful gigs of RUTHLESS, TYRANT, EXXPLORER, LIZZY BORDEN, PICTURE, the NWOBHM Anniversary and above all, MILITIA. Our thanks go out to Tarek and Oli (and all the other hard-working KIT volunteers ofcourse!) for making these days unforgettable. Keep It True, guys and see you again in 2010!!!

*Written by: Toine van Poorten/April 2009
*Photos by: Rita van Poorten [www.metalmaidens.com]

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