KEEP IT TRUE XIX - 2016

* April 29-30, 2016 *

INTRODUCTION
April is going to be a very busy month for us from now on, since Very ‘Eavy changed their location and moved one week before KIT. This is the nineteenth issue of Keep It True. Next year they will celebrate their twentieth anniversary with hopefully many more editions to come. But let’s first focus on the 2016 edition of the festival, that every metal head must’ve seen to be believed. Those of you who go there on a regular basis will know, that we are heading to sacred grounds. Story goes that Heavy Metal Pope Oliver Weinsheimer blessed the ground, on which the festival takes places and if he was asked to, he would even roll out the red carpet for those who attend the festival. The audience is his family, a true heavy metal family that gets together once a year. And because a lot of fans are expected to come over to see FATES WARNING in the original line-up, some major changes have been implemented. The metal market has been moved to a giant tent, outside the venue, which will create more space for many visitors. It has some advantages, but some disadvantages as well. Merchandise salesmen are not able to see the bands from a distance anymore, but plenty of extra space has been created this way. Oliver did not want to move the festival to another venue with a bigger capacity. He wants to keep it true and small. I’m so glad about that. I remember going to Wacken Open Air at the end of the nineties, when it was still a whole lot smaller. Five years afterwards, this festival turned into a giant event and you’ll get to see all the bands at every other festival and there are huge traffic jams and queues before you have even entered the festival ground. That was one of the reasons to leave Wacken for what it is and to attend the Keep It True instead. Well, that was then and this is now. Let’s talk about some music here. My personal view about the nineteenth edition of the Keep It True festival has been written below. Both days have been jam packed this year and this time there’s even a ‘secret’ band on the bill. Who? We’ll come back to that topic later on. Let’s first move to Thursday, April 28th , when our wake-up call sounds much too early. For a good reason, we will rise and shine to keep things true again. Enjoy the review that I put together, together with my lovely wife Rita, who delivered the nice pics as always. It’s always difficult to write a review on short notice, since I have to do it during the weekends and evening hours, next to my regular seven to five daytime job and next to so many other things, that a man has got to do in his life. I still want to write a detailed report about it, because the festival is too precious and important to rush through it in just a few words. A small apology is quite appropriate here for delivering the goods a bit late, but our intentions are good. So sit down and relax and enjoy our 2016 report of Keep It True.
On this first day there’s only a long ride on the German highways together with our good friend Gerrie Lemmens, who lives only a few steps away from the German border. Together we drive to our b&b in Lauda-Konigshofen with a lunch stop in between. This time the journey goes fast and there is not too much traffic on the road. And also road workers don’t give us much delay. So far so good. Our good friends Eddy and Christine from Belgium have arranged a surprise dinner for us. We already decided where we would eat, but they would provide a special guest for us tonight to give the festival a special start, so to speak. We didn’t know who it would be and we could only guess. Driving to Bad Mergentheim was the biggest challenge for that matter. Our GPS system put us back and forth, but after some phone calls with Gerrie, we finally arrived at the restaurant about ten minutes too late. No big deal and the surprise is quite huge, because MYTHRA singer Vince High and his wife Anne were invited to have dinner with us tonight. How awesome is that?! Anyway, we had a wonderful evening with some of the nicest people we have ever met. MYTHRA has already been on my list for being one of my personal faves. We have a strong bond together. I interviewed MYTHRA for Snakepit in 2001. I talked to John Roach back then and got to know the band a bit better. At the end of the interview session, which went by e-mail back then, he send me a copy of the ultra-rare “The Darkener” CD, which officially never saw the light of day and has only been used for promotion purposes. Tonight we finally met the singer of MYTHRA in person. Phew, what a great evening it was. It was covered with laughter, memories, but even some very emotional moments. It was a night to remember, to cherish and definitely never to forget. They were already in my heart and after this wonderful night, they will never leave it again. Our thanks go out to Eddy and Christine for this unforgettable experience and of course to Vince and his wife Anne for having dinner with some die-hard fans of the band. After dinner the night is still young, but we wanted to hit the sack, because there are still two long festival days ahead of us and sleep is essential here. A nice, but not so funny detail is that on our way to our bed and breakfast we got flashed in a little village. The fine wasn’t that high, but it was the first one in years. A few weeks after we received it at home we got a phone call from our good friend Gerrie. We talk about this and that and that he received a speeding ticket as well in a small village after dinner with Vince High. Is this a coincidence or what? Both of us have been fined in the same village. I think, that they really hate us and we didn’t even mention the war. (lol). Well, it’s time to see some bands now, what do you think?

Friday, April 29th, 2016

KEEP IT TRUE XIX: Day 1
Tauberfrankenhalle, Lauda-Königshofen, Germany

Today starts with breakfast, a look at the bill of today and the traditional stop at the bakery. Then a short stop to put away our lunch, a short chat with our Belgian friends and finally another short queue before the doors open. No problem, that’s the way it goes during the many years, that we’ve attended K.I.T. here. TERMINUS will be the opener of the festival. But I’m afraid things will not be going according to plan this time. When we arrive at the parking lot, there is a huge row in front of the tent, in which the metal market will be. I’ve never seen such madness before. There is no other option than to be the ‘last in line’ and to start waiting until the doors will open. While doing so, we meet a lot of friends who have to do the same and when we look behind, we see the queue growing bigger and bigger, going uphill into the corn fields. Where they disappear and never find their way back again. Oh, sorry I got swept away by the situation. All we want is to go inside, because the record dealers want our money. Time goes fast, when you’re talking to friends and meet new people and once the door opens, things go quite fast. It’s a thing though that could be organized much better next year, since we know this will also be the setup for next year. Once you’re inside the tent you’re welcomed by Manuela, and the sun begins to shine. The warm and friendly welcome makes you forget the long wait and makes you happy to be part of this family, at least it did with me. The festival guide is bought, so we can read in between the shows and have the pics autographed by the bands, if there is time for it. Let me take this opportunity to make a special comment about the festival guide. It’s always a pleasure to read it and I want to say ‘hello’ to the lady who’s taking care of this 56 page booklet, my facebook friend Tanja Weinekötter, who did another splendid job. Both horns up for Tanja! The metal market is waiting and we have some money to spend, which we saved for a whole year. This is the biggest record store that you can think of and all tables have the CD’s that you are searching for a long time. Step one is done and step two is to get inside the venue. Once again, there is a ritual that we have been doing for years. We buy the DVD of last year’s festival and any other stuff that is available and interesting enough for us. Okay, we have all of our stuff, so we now we have to get this into the car and get back in line to get in. The main difference is this time we have our wristbands on, which will allow us to get in the venue a lot easier…... Ok, it’s time to rock.

TERMINUS didn’t cross the pond for nothing. Hailing from Northern Ireland, TERMINUS starts the festival, which is always an honor, I guess. I was not familiar with the band, but obviously you’re dealing with a band that feels proud to be here today and they performed their songs with dignity. Opener is called “The Reaper’s Spiral”, which is followed by “The Encyclopedist”. Their lyrics have been inspired by the work of science fiction writer Isaac Asimov. Songs like “The Merchant Princess” are quite heavy and show us that TERMINUS really knows their score. “Fortress Titan” is next and the speed goes up for “The Traders”. “Poseidon’s Children” becomes one of the highlights of the set for me. The people seem to like what they see and TERMINUS makes a good entrance here. With “To Ash, To Dust” they also present a new song. The sound of the band is a mix of equal parts OMEN and MANILLA ROAD to give you an example in which direction you must think. They close their set with “The Psychohistorians” and “Centaurean”. TERMINUS is a good opener of the first day. And mind you, the first highlight of this festival is about to play next!

We already met Vince High, the singer of MYTHRA, the night before, but it was great to see John Roach for the first time. We did the Snakepit interview over the mail, so we actually never met face to face. However, several weeks before this festival would take place, we were in contact and having a countdown when we would finally meet. I just love the NWOBHM movement and there were a few bands that really caught my attention a little bit more, because of the rawness of their sound and their great guitar work and MYTHRA was definitely one of them. Starting their career as ZARATHUSTRA they remained unknown to many fans from the continent, but when they released that one song “Death And Destiny”, you just couldn’t go around them anymore. It was on my stereo almost every day, once I bought their twelve inch at Shades in London. I never would have guessed that I would ever be able to see this band in a live situation. I’ve seen many British bands back in those days, but MYTHRA disbanded very quickly after the release of that four track single and I could only dream of what a MYTHRA gig would have been like, until today. And I was even more excited about this gig after listening to the anthology album “Warrior Of Time”. I always listen to a new release with an open mind. If it catches my attention, it’s so much easier to focus upon and this one is a killer release without fillers from the first moment on. The artwork also looks really cool and I just knew that the music wouldn’t disappoint me. I know, that Vince was quite excited about the gig and a bit nervous, too. He shouldn’t be. They already delivered a great gig at Brofest in Newcastle, so I heard and this show was great, too. They opened with a new song, called “The Best Is Yet To Come” and they didn’t say a word too much there. It was very crowded in the front rows and I saw people clapping, singing and throwing their fists in the air. Yep, this is truly a winner at work. And the nicest chaps that I met on the whole festival. When Vince announced the second song and mentioned that it’s taken from that first four tracker, tears of joy are on my face. “U.F.O.” is not only the name of a killer band, it’s also the name of a killer song and it’s all happening in front of my very own eyes. This is the moment that I’ve been waiting for and thinking of for many years now. No, not getting laid with that blonde chick with the big knockers. I mean seeing MYTHRA live of course, you perverts. “Warrior Of Time” and “Vicious Bastard” are on next. Songs from the good old days, released only a couple of years ago. Firstly, they were self-made titles, because the real titles were still unknown at the time. What a great songs we discovered, not knowing that there was more, besides those four we already knew . “Face The Mirror” is another new song. And just like almost every other band from the NWOBHM scene, MYTHRA plays to kill and has some excellent guitar players, who actually know to play a guitar solo right. John Roach and Alex Perry get an equal share in solos, so they can’t fight afterwards. “Killer” gives me the shivers again and I remember very well that “England” was also on that same lot of songs, that we’ve been talking about. “Machine” continues and I strongly believe that MYTHRA should have had a much higher place on the bill, simply because they deserve it. Their enthusiasm and the joy they display their songs on stage has been one big highlight for me. With “You” we get to hear another new song. Can you tell the difference with the old material? No, it has got the same high quality. The absolute highlight part comes when two of the oldest songs that I know have been played. “Overlord” sounds truly amazing, but I think that this next song is the most well-known song of MYTHRA: “Death And Destiny”. The sleeve shows five men in black and white with unrecognizable faces and when you hear this track, you know that you’ve purchased an album that will change your life forever. I’ve been so blessed to be in touch with John Roach for that interview about that band that everybody liked but nobody knew too much about. But now we’ve seen the band in action and hear the song played live on stage. I feel like being in heavy metal heaven again for four to five minutes. Life can be very beautiful! And the fun ain’t over yet, but the festival has just reached its first highlight with this particular song, at least for me. The last songs of the afternoon are “Heaven Lies Above” and “New Life”. The audience is responding very warmly and enthusiastically and I think that MYTHRA has gained a lot of fans after this gig and I’m so glad for them. After the show, I was able to have a short chat with Vince and I thanked him for a splendid gig and the awesome performance this afternoon. I could see the emotion on his face and I believe the nerves were slowly cooling down, now it’s all over. And this was only the second band of today. What the hell is happening here in the south of Germany? A dream has finally come true for me. Why travel to Lourdes for miracles to happen, while you can see them right here in Lauda-Konigshofen?

S.D.I. stands for Satan’s Defloration Incorporated and loud thrash metal. A big transition for me, because I never really digged the music of the band. In a live situation things could be very different though. If you ever saw the cover of their album “Sign Of The Wicked”, then you will immediately recognize the face of singer, bassplayer Reinhard Kruse, who has been carving the name of the band in his arm. Remember the SLAYER fan, who did the same thing? This guy is a real die hard rocker and he’s willing and able to spread the word. Having played at Metal Assault before, he was already a bit familiar with the people coming over to KIT. They start off with “Fight” and “Panic In Wehrmacht”. This is speed metal with a fast beat and raw guitar work and not for the faint hearted. Here and there I hear some thrash influences although that movement originated, when S.D.I. experienced their heydays. The main focus of today is about that “Sign Of The Wicked” album. Their most well-known release, I guess. “Quick Shot” and “Alcohol” are taken from that speed metal masterpiece by this threesome and the first moves have been made in the first ranks. “Violence” is next and the band is really enjoying themselves a lot. The three remaining songs of this afternoon are also from the “Sign Of The Wicked” album. During the signing sessions I didn’t actually see if his arm was really carved with the name of his band. My guess is that he has actually done the cutting, but I’m not sure. The crowd takes the time to move around to “Coming Again” and title track “Sign Of The Wicked”, but during the last song “Megamosh” they actually create a real mega pit in front of the stage. For the German fans it will be ultra cool to have the band back in business again. They really showed their skills, so thumbs up for S.D.I. although it’s not really my cup of tea.

US Metal and NWOBHM have always had my special attention and with THRUST we would get to see a band that you won’t find on the European stages that often. For bands like that, you really have to come over to Lauda to see them. Say whatever you like about this power metal band, but their name has a small cult status for the real old school metal fan, who might remember an album with the title “Solidarnösc Rock For Poland” on the little label Erect Records (what’s in a name?). We write about 1982 here and many vinyl collectors have been holding this little gem in their hands once or twice, I guess. They were on there with four tracks, while the other four tracks were for a band, called LAZER HOUSE. None of those four songs have been played here this afternoon, but the Chicago based band starts their show with “Fist Held High” and mine went up, too. A lot of songs in the second half of the set have been taken from their debut album “Fist Held High”, which is by far their best release ever. It breathes a cool and true metal sound from the cover. However, on stage today they look more like a rock band with a sleazy attitude. Singer Andy Beaudrie is wearing a bandana and another thing I noticed right from the start are the fluorescent green strings on the bass guitar of Ray Gervais. No spikes and leather like on the drawing of that debut album. “War” and “Scream Girl Scream” are on next. This band proves that they really know the drill. Just have a taste of “Overdrive”, “Hypocrite” and “Thrasher”. Either songs are from this debut album or from the comeback album “Reincarnation”. “Wasted” is the last song from that album from 2015. From there on, real old school metal is the order of the day and THRUST takes you back to 1984 with “Metallic Attack”, “Fit Of Rage” and the absolute killer song “Posers Must Die!”. At the end of the show, I am still holding my fist high, but it’s all over now. What a nice experience to see this band live at last!

We switch back to NWOBHM again, if you don’t mind. TOKYO BLADE is a band that I’ve seen quite a lot these past few years and in their early days as well. The news that Vic Wright would be joining them is a real step back into the history of these sword bearers from the land of the rising sun. A couple of weeks before this show would actually take place, there was some bad and good news. Vic couldn’t make it (that’s the bad news) and his place would be taken over by nobody else but Alan Marsh (which is the good news). It’s been thirty-five years ago since he has been playing with TOKYO BLADE, but we knew that this would be a magic moment to happen here. It took a while before the band finally got the name TOKYO BLADE. They changed names many times before being called like that. WHITE DIAMOND, KILLER, GENGHIS KHAN, it’s all the same band. When they are starting with “Someone To Love” I gather myself among the people in the first rows. Despite the fact that I’ve seen the band numerous times, it’s always a pleasure seeing them and they have a very good guitar tandem consisting of John Wiggins and Andy Boulton, who khow to play an excellent guitar solo. The setlist is covered with classics mainly from the first two albums and it’s those two, that we came to hear. “Dead Of The Night” and “Lightning Strikes” are next and obviously Alan didn’t sing too much under such circumstances. However, the band is very eager to play and displaying a lot of joy and that’s also very important and gradually Alan is on a winning streak. It’s cool to see a spectacular thing like that happen here. “Mean Streak” and “Love Struck” are on next and The Blade is falling down on the people, who just love what they are seeing. In “Mean Streak”, the drummer is playing a short drum solo. The finale is really magnificent. “Sunrise In Tokyo”, “Night Of The Blade” and of course set closer “If Heaven Is Hell”, which sounds like a dream come true. “Night Of The Blade” is perfect to sing along to, while “If Heaven Is Hell” is one of the TOKYO BLADE classics, that simply can’t be missed. I have been hoping for “Powergame” with Alan Marsh, which is my all-time favorite TOKYO BLADE song, simply because it sounds so vicious, but it wasn’t meant to be. Besides that, I really had a great time with TOKYO BLADE and I know that I’m not the only one.

ROCK GODDESS is another band from the NWOBHM movement and it was good to see that they are back together again. Original line-up and the band members never seem to get any older. They already played a lot of gigs, so they were in the right swing. What could go wrong today? The three blonde vixens are starting their show with “Satisfied Then Crucified”, a killer track which immediately catches everyone’s attention. The set will include some new tracks, but I really wonder when the CD will finally come out. It has been postponed a couple of times already and the fans are dying to hear some new material. “God Be With You” is another nice basher from the good old days and also “Heartache” will please many long term fans. “Two Wrongs Don’t Make A Right” is a new song and has been welcomed very warmly by the crowd. In “You’ve Got Fire” it’s time to sing along. I didn’t take any singing lessons, so I passed this time. Jody Turner looks vicious and mean and she kicks and shouts like a madman, while her younger sister Julie Turner is looking the opposite. Or maybe she tries to hide her mean looks better than her sister? Tracey Lamb kicks ass like always. She was the one who kept the flame burning all these years and she kept the fans focused and awake all that time. “To Be Betrayed” continues, which is being followed by “Make My Night” and “My Angel”. This sounds like a ‘best of’ set, or what? “Take Your Love Away” is on next and after that it’s time for a new song with “Drive Me Away”. And if this isn’t enough there’s another one with “This Is The Day”. I think, that you must hear these songs a couple of times more, before judging them. And in a live setting, things might sound so much different than on CD. There you have a point of discussion maybe. Are they pleasing the fans by playing some new, yet unreleased stuff or are they creating the wrong flow and do the fans only want to hear the old stuff that they already know? The three blonde vixens won’t give a shit, I guess and they just press the pedal to the metal once again. “Back To You” is an oldie again but the ladies are spoiling their fans with yet another new song in “Bite You To Death”. They don’t just look vicious, they are vicious and have fangs that will suck the blood out of your neck until you start to look pale. The last song is a rocker we all know, because “Heavy Metal Rock And Roll” is one of the best ROCK GODDESS anthems ever! The axe work of Jody is still mind-boggling and many guitarists can learn a lot from this lady. Easy on the ears rock with a very crusty bite, ROCK GODDESS is back and they’ll kick you in the nuts, before you know it. BANG!! There you go. I think, I’ll limb for a couple of weeks with blue nuts.

THE RODS are next on the bill and we have seen them a week before at the Very ‘Eavy festival. Two times in a row is still fine, because the band delivers a show with a very high energy level. There is a lot happening and the band gives it a hundred percent to be sure that the audience is leaving home with a good feeling. They did so in Stadskanaal and they will do the same trick in Lauda. Their sound check takes long but the result is that they have a good and very powerful sound going. Just like in Stadskanaal, they open with the David ‘Rock’ Feinstein song “Evil In Me”. Maybe not a good move, but it seems good enough. “Hurricane” is a RODS’ tune pur sang and the crowd is eating out of their hands. THE RODS have been added to the bill later on, but I think that Oliver did a good thing here. When I saw them at the Heavy Metal Maniacs festival, they played a few medleys of different snippets of songs. This time they only played one medley and they did it right in the beginning of the set, which consisted of “Devil’s Child”, “Let Them Eat Metal” and “Born To Rock”. Can you guess the enthusiasm of the crowd after three bulls eye’s shots? They’re in front of the right audience today, because we are also born to rock. “The Night Lives To Rock” is next, followed by “Violation” and the Carl Canedy “Drum Solo”. It’s my personal opinion that a rock show of this caliber should have a drum solo and a guitar solo performance and only the best drummers are still daring to do it. The choice of the songs is exactly the same as Stadskanaal. Meaning that “Hold On For Your Life” and “Wild Dogs” are on next. “Hot City” must be about Lauda and the simultaneous moves by Rock and Garry are just crazy. They don’t only have the perfect choreography, but they also keep playing great songs without hesitation at the same time. “Cold Sweat And Blood” is the next move and one of the highlights of the set is the WILD HONEY penned classic “Nothing Going On In The City”. One more time they “Crank It Up” after this and the crowd really goes wild. One more song to go, which is “Power Lover”, another personal fave of yours truly. Just like in Stadskanaal, THE RODS were nailing it and this threesome really know to rock it out loud with the right moves.The perfect warming up for the secret band, that is about to go on stage next.

On the different forums there were a lot of rumors going on about the identity of the secret band. Funny rumors like the all-female band SECRET from Rumania. Rumors about big names like MERCYFUL FATE or QUEENSRYCHE, but also names like CHASTAIN, METAL CHURCH, ARMORED SAINT and SANCTUARY. Sorry, but no cigar. The right name has also been mentioned here and there. At first I thought that it was nice to see him again live. Not realizing that he would do an old school MANOWAR set with a more than fantastic singer. I’m talking about ROSS THE BOSS and I can tell you, a boss he really is, that’s for sure. Having seen a MANOWAR gig a couple of times, I never thought that I would ever see an old school set with all those old classics in such a perfect show. The older MANOWAR shows were sometimes not that perfect musically with lengthy speeches and disputable set lists. This show was just awesome beyond belief. ROSS THE BOSS playing old school MANOWAR. Think about the highlights of the first three albums. There you have the most classic songs that they ever wrote. After that, they made some great songs too, don’t get me wrong, I’m a dedicated MANOWAR fan. But to be quite honest with you, these first three albums are like pure gold to me. “Sign Of The Hammer” starts and the wonderful singer tonight is called Mike Cotoia. Did you ever hear of the guy? I sure didn’t. He sang in a band, called FATES BREAKS DAWN and he’s been a big MANOWAR fan. Ross checked him out and now he’s astonishing everybody with his fabulous vocal skills. All songs have one big background choir, the people in the Tauberfrankenhalle, because there is almost no one who doesn’t sing along to these classics. “Metal Daze”, need I say more? I see many people go totally out of their mind. No wonder, Ross is a winner and with a set list like that, you simply can’t go wrong. But Ross came to impress, not just to give a good show and he did impress everybody. “Blood Of My Enemies”, “Gates Of Valhalla” and “Secret Of Steel” are songs about swords, warriors, fighting and killing, and especially Greek, Italian and Spanish metal heads love these heraldic hymns by these heavy metal warriors. Epic metal is huge in these countries and bigger than in countries like Belgium or Holland or England. They also love the music, but the epic feeling is not always that strong. The speed goes up with “Kill With Power” and “Thor (The Powerhead)” and the crowd goes insane. “March For Revenge (By The Soldiers Of Death)” continues. The next song is definitely my own personal highlight. “Dark Avenger” belongs to the best metal songs ever (for me)! The speed and mood changes, the spoken word part, the lyrics, the power, the guitar work it’s all fan-freaking-tastic to me. There will always be arguing going on about who’s the best singer, Eric Adams or this newcomer Mike Cotoia. You can say that Cotoia wins by far with this incredible performance. Adams’ voice is of a very good quality too, you also have to take the difference in age into account. The performance of tonight was of a very high standard and it was the moment and the atmosphere and the place, that lifted it all up a higher and higher and higher level. This has been a show, that you could only dream about and the good news is that it wasn’t even over yet. “Hail And Kill” is another song, that could do with the help of a giant choir. And they did their very best not to let ‘The Boss’ down. Writing down the name of the very last song of tonight, “Battle Hymns”, makes my flesh crawl again. Word by word, the lyrics have been sung by the crowd, raising their fist in the air and even the sound of the guitar solo made quite an impression on the audience. I won’t jump into conclusions too easy, but this has been a great secret band and together with MYTHRA, the absolute big winner of today and perhaps even of the whole festival weekend. However, there is still one more day to go with a headliner as well. I think, that we will be seeing ROSS THE BOSS on every stage in Europe this year and maybe next year, because everybody wants to witness this incredible piece of magic. I felt exhausted after the show and I think, that RAZOR would be facing a very tough job, because who wants to play after this eight world wonder?

The Canadian speed metallers of RAZOR have a so-called ‘I Don’t Give A Damn’ attitude and they climb on stage as the headliner of the first day. They go for it, which is the best attitude to survive and they give it the full hundred percent. I must admit, that RAZOR knows the score and they know what they are doing. I doubted, if they would be worthy to be headlining the first day though. Not knowing who would be the ‘secret’ band. Still a lot of people seem to disagree with me. Maybe I’d chosen PRAYING MANTIS, for they have a huge name worldwide. Or maybe HEIR APPARENT, who also have a huge worldwide fan base. I guess, that Oliver opted for a melodic, classic rock band on day two and a brutal, fast, powerful band on day one to create some kind of balance. The focus of today’s show would be on the “Evil Invaders” album. RAZOR will play the entire album without the title track. Well, not completely, because the title track will follow a bit later on in the set as one of the highlights of the show. Back to the beginning though, don’t go too fast! If their music style is being called speed metal, it doesn’t mean that we have to rush to the end of this review. RAZOR fans know what to expect. “Nowhere Fast”, the instrumental opener, “Cross Me Fool”, “Legacy Of Doom”, “Iron Hammer”, “Instant Death”, “Cut Throat”, Speed Merchants”, “Tortured Skull” and “Thrashdance” follow up. The first slam in the face is a fact. The album is nailed and with “Hot Metal” they continue with the second half of the set. The first songs have been taken from the “Executioner’s Song” album and the songs stand out really well. Think of “Gatecrasher”, “Fast And Loud” and “City Of Damnation”. Obviously, the band is focusing on the early material of RAZOR. Founded in 1984, they know to handle a hungry crowd. Prove is given, that the very last minutes are strictly crowd’s favorites only. “Take This Torch” and the aforementioned title track of the “Evil Invaders” album that they have been playing in its entirety here tonight are the last songs on the first day. But the band is not really happy with the version of “Take This Torch” and they decide to play it one more time as an encore. They take revenge their own way. In front of the stage I noticed a lot of movement to the fast and vicious riffs. On stage it all looked so much different. My conclusion is, that RAZOR did their very best to convince the crowd, but ROSS THE BOSS was the real winner indeed. After a long day, we search for our b&b in the center of Lauda-Konigshofen. Day two will start soon, so we’d better try to get some sleep. What a great first day it has been!

Saturday, April 30th, 2016

KEEP IT TRUE XIX: Day 2
Tauberfrankenhalle, Lauda-Königshofen, Germany

A good breakfast will do you well. I’m still having a nightmare, that there’s a long queue in front of the tent and I have to get in line…..that starts in Wurzburg. I’m glad it was only a dream. No traffic jams in front of the tent today and after the usual talk about the day before, we are ready for a second day of ear bleeding heavy metal. The ritual remains. After a nice breakfast with Eddy and Christine, we walk to the bakery on the corner of the street and from there on it’s a victory march to the venue. Belgian metal heads are always crossing our path and Dirk Tabruijn shows us his new outfit consisting of a golden glitter pants. The ladies couldn’t take their eyes of him and everybody wants to take a photo with this lady killer. They’re always in for a good laugh and a good dose of heavy metal, these guys. The twentieth edition of Keep It True is a sold out event, meaning that you can only buy a ticket from the special online selling point from now on.
The category big surprises goes to the first band METALIAN from Canada, but first we finally have some time to spend on the metal market, before the festival gets started inside the venue.

METALIAN is looking like a bunch of punkers, not real hippies or metal heads, but what has got looks got to do with music? I don’t care about that anyway. I’ve seen old guys climb on stage here, that could be have been my granddad and looked much older, too. Once they picked up a guitar though, they really nailed it and everybody was having a great time. A good image is sometimes the start of a flashing career, but sometimes you can easily do without it especially when the music is good enough to impress everybody. METALIAN on the other hand has made quite an impression today with their outstanding performance. They started their powerful show with “Conquest” and “Metal, Fire & Ice”, the title track of their 2015 released EP. Although the music is definitely different, their show has the same energy as NIGHT DEMON in 2014. There is a lot of rough energy that catches your attention right away. Just listen to the pure and raw tones of “Into The Unknown” and “The Traveler”. This band is willing to give the full hundred percent and there they add just a little bit more to. “Warrior” and “Evil Knievel” follows next. Not all the songs are well-known, because their albums are hard to find, but on stage they give it their very best, so much is for sure. Right after the show, I tried to find their full length album “Wastelands”, but the item was sold out already and I still have to find one for that matter. This whirlwind of pure metal mayhem continues with “Bastards” and “Heat Ray”, who sound like they are the headliners and they know that they can only win today. METALIAN isn’t that well-known to the average headbanger among us, but after today this will definitely change, I guess. Their half an hour performance is over, before you know it. What a shame, I could absorb some more of this, to be quite honest. Montreal can be proud of this band. During the signing sessions, I complimented these guys with their show and their drummer told me that he was so full of energy after the final bash on his drum kit, that he had to throw up backstage from excitement. Now that’s what I call devotion and metal madness. I predict a great future for METALIAN and if things don’t work out that way, at least they can look back to a perfect gig over here.

Next on the list is DEXTER WARD from Athens in Greece. For them the unthankful task to be on the bill after this loud raging storm. An almost impossible task, but these Greeks have a lot of devoted fans, that will scream their lungs out during their show. I didn’t mention it yet, but during the weekend two members of the legendary cult outfit CIRITH UNGOL were invited by Oliver to come to Lauda-Konigshofen to socialize with their European fans and to do a signing session. For a nanosecond, I was hoping that the big surprise would be during the show of DEXTER WARD, because on their “Antartic Dream” EP they do a live version of the CIRITH UNGOL classic “Go It Alone”. It would have been nice, if the two members would have been on stage during this song. But my dream was over quickly and it didn’t happen. A missed opportunity or was it because of several other reasons? Well, the Dexter was on its own and they started their set with the title track of their aforementioned EP “Antartic Dream”, followed by “Rendezvous With Destiny” and “Ghost Rider”. They got the full support by Robert Garven and Tim Baker, by the way, because during their set they stood aside the stage and nodded that it was good. In comparison to METALIAN, the stage presentation of DEXTER WARD was at least to be called very static. The instrumental qualities of the musicians made up for that. Just lend your ear to the beautiful sounds of “Stone Age Warrior” and “These Metal Wings” for example. The contrast with the band before them is too big though and after them will be another band, that has got a lot on their sleeves, judging by their expressive live shows. Unfortunately, DEXTER WARD must be categorized as the odd one out here today. Not that they played bad, but they just had the wrong position on the bill, I guess. “Metal Rites” and “Back To Saigon” are the final songs of DEXTER WARD for today.

Another band that I was really looking forward to seeing on stage is SAVAGE MASTER. Just before Keep It True, we did an interview with the band and it had just gone online at Metal Maidens (www.metalmaidens.com). We couldn’t have planned it any better than this. In between the gigs yesterday we already had the privilege of meeting up with Stacey and some of the band members. The lady is young, she is beautiful and she has a great voice. She could easily get the next metal queen in our opinion, based upon the quality of their two previous albums. We haven’t seen them live before, but heard some good things about it. SAVAGE MASTER is a band, where their image plays a very important role. The band members appear with hoods over their head, like executioners in the middle-ages. Stacey is dressed in her finest leather and chains outfit. Well, not too much leather that is, but just enough to cover it all. It’s show time, when the band opens with “Dark Light Of The Moon” and their latest single “Black Hooves”. The energy is good and the band sounds amazing and gives your eyes enough to look at. What a great start of this second day of the festival! During “With Whips And Chains”, Stacey harms herself with a whip and the poor bass player is almost slaughtered to death. Sadomasochism on the stage of Keep It True?! If you get a kick out of this, then you’re having a damn good time right now. And we’re only at the third song of their set. I can’t help myself that I start singing along to the chorus, simply because this sounds awesome to me. SAVAGE MASTER knows to impress the audience with their show, but without even wanting it maybe, the eye of the camera keep on searching for Stacey, who is the main focus of all the mainly male viewers. Songs like “Satan’s Crown” and “Looking For A Sacrifice” however will easily appeal to all metal heads in this German venue. In front of the stage it’s getting pretty crowded, when the band continues with the fast and mean “Ready To Sin (Into The Night)” and “Path Of The Necromancer”. Stacey puts on her velvet cape for an amazing rendition of “The Ripper In Black”, which is a true metal anthem of the highest level. SAVAGE MASTER is another bunch of newcomers, that really knows to impress me big time with their astonishing show. And we’re not even done yet, because they continue with “The Mystifying Oracle” and “Mask Of The Devil”, which invites you to sing along to the lyrics. Just shout ‘Mask Of The Devil’ at the right time, and you’ll do alright. When the band closes their magnificent show with “Death Rides The Highway”, I think that nobody in this venue was disappointed. This has been a great performance of a band, that hopefully still has a long way ahead of them. Fans of BITCH, ACID or CHASTAIN will know that there is more to enjoy for the true metal fan, that want a lady behind the mike. And a talented, good looking lady she is, just like Betsy, Kate and Leather. Great show!

And yet another highlight will arrive. We just survived the show of SAVAGE MASTER and on stage we are waiting for the arrival of Florida true metallers IRON CROSS. I have seen someone in a wheelchair yesterday, not realizing that it was my good friend Rex of IRON CROSS. Let me be honest with you all. I was convinced that the Chicago based IRON CROSS would play here. Not knowing that the band, I’ve been in touch with for an interview in 2001, was the IRON CROSS we were about to see today. When we met during the signing sessions, I realized that this wasn’t the Chicago based band, but it was the legendary IRON CROSS who totally blew me away with their double vinyl album “Iron Cross” from 2000 on the legendary OPM Records label. I’m not very sensitive, but I have to admit that some tears of joy watered my eyes. Finally, I was meeting up with Rex and the rest of the band in person. Seeing that Rex had to move around in a wheelchair, I had to find a spot in the first ranks, because this was going to be awesome beyond belief for yours truly. IRON CROSS is power metal to the max. These guys know the score. After all they exist since about 1979. “Dark Dreams Of Evil” is a great song to start with. Rex is on the left side of the stage. The biggest part of the show he is sitting on a chair, but give the man a guitar in his hands and you’ll be amazed. IRON CROSS may not be as dynamic and energetic on stage like they were young, but for me it’s the music that counts and I can tell you that I get the shivers all over when listening to “Mistress Of The Dark” and “True Barbarians”. They also know to win over the audience, when they’re not totally convinced by their own penned material. Also, IRON CROSS is not afraid to pay tribute to Lemmy and MOTÖRHEAD during their show with a powerful rendition of “Killed By Death”. And of course, the crowd loved it, big time! Just like “Demons” and “Bloodlust” that follows thereafter. The songs are performed in a powerful way with some tasty guitar licks. Every now and then Rex stands up, but not for long. “Queen Of Deception” and “IC Brotherhood” are next and I think that the fine tasters among us had a great time during this show of Rex and his iron crossed companions. True metal warriors that give us the best they have got. I have so much respect for these guys. When they end their show with “Die Like That”, I’m in rock and roll heaven, as DIO would say, for about five minutes at least. Rex stands up and plays the solo part while standing and walking around a bit. Man, he must have saved his power for the last chords. What an awesome conclusion of a freaking fabulous show with a special emotional part. I have seen wonders happening here in Lauda-Konigshofen, and this was certainly one of them. If you’ve missed it, you can start being ashamed of yourself. It’s as simple as that. Thank you Rex, Dan, Tony and Mike for making my day.

SKI is on next and he has got a great reputation with the Keep It True audience, I can tell you that much. He played there with DEADLY BLESSING and FAITH FACTOR and appears now under his own name. Nobody would ever imagine that this was going to be a 18+ only show. Ladies beware, because Norman Kiersznowski is almost going full monty here! The main part of the show consists of DEADLY BLESSING songs. What else could we wish for, I should almost say?! After the “Intro” we are blown away by a storming version of “Search And Destroy” and “Salem’s Lot”. It would result in playing almost the complete “Ascend From The Cauldron” album. You don’t hear me complain. And like I mentioned before, the ladies would have a great evening as well. Ski did some kind of a striptease act. During songs like “Escape The Wrath”, “Silent Madness” and “Deliver Us From Evil” the man got rid of his clothes. Leather belts, leather jacket, sunglasses, boots, everything was thrown away into the audience. He treats his audience like his friends. No even better, as his own family. And another boot finds itself a way into the crowd. Crazy stuff is going on, on stage here. And the music continues, until the moment that Ski finds out that his cell phone was still in his jacket. The object soon finds a safe way back to the rightful owner though. The musical part of the show reaches its highlight with “Deadly Blessing” and “Cry Of Medusa”, sung by a half-naked singer. The band of Ski consists of members from WITHOUT WARNING and therefore it’s no shame that he played “Holy Soldier” at the end of the show. It all looked like a weird experience to me, that many people will never forget. The chauvinistic side of the American metal hero is not far away, when he finishes his show with the LIZZY BORDEN cover “American Metal”. Obviously, we get all kinds of entertainment here tonight. A weird combination of striptease, heavy metal and magic filled the air for a moment. If the man had false teeth, he would have donated them too, to the audience. And we’re not done yet, because the Vikings are getting on next.

I’ve seen ARTCH before, when they invaded Wacken Open Air in 2001. I thought it was a memorable concert back then. How would it sound to me fifteen years later? After openers “The Promised Land” and “Metal Life” it’s clear to me, that this Norwegian old school heavy metal band has just got that little bit of extra, which makes it very special to me. They put melody in their songs and still remain metal enough to stay focused to their show. Good guitar work, great singer and just that little bit of extra energy, that also surprised me at Wacken. Many songs are taken from their debut album “Another Return” from 1988. “Shoot To Kill” and “Loaded” are from that magnificent album as well. And another great guitar solo escapes from the claws of Gill and Cat. “Burn Down The Bridges” is from their second full-length album, that was released three year after their debut album. Apparently, these guys are very experienced musicians. Maybe not everybody was familiar with their songs, but this is a crowd of some the truest fine tasters around and they know if something is good or not. And this show is good. “Where I Go” and “Jezebel” are next and I’m glad that these Norwegian metal heads still give it all they have got. I must say, that this was really a nice surprise, fifteen years after seeing them at Wacken for the first time. “When Angels Cry” is next and they leave the venue today, head held up high, with “Conversio Prelude”, which is the instrumental intro to set closer “Another Return To Church Hill”. It’s a shame, that the band has been on such a long hiatus and they never really toured a lot on the continent. Their show however contained some cool Viking power metal and I throw both horns up again for ARTCH!

Probably, I will be lynched soon, because I may be one of the very few persons that has never been infected with the ANACRUSIS virus. Next on the bill we would be seeing ANACRUSIS frontman Kenn Nardi. His solo album received good reviews and his solo shows in Europe were very well visited. I’m glad, that Nardi decided not to play only stuff from his solo album, but he threw in some ANACRUSIS stuff as well for the fans. With an open-mind, I see Nardi start off with “Straining The Frayed” from his solo album “Dancing With The Past”, which is a good opener in my opinion. Maybe it would have been better to open with an ANACRUSIS song, but the evening is still young. When he wants to continue with the song “Release”, he messes up the beginning. As a real pro, he admits his fault and starts all over again. It’s a hard fight to win the public, except for the die-hard fans of course, but when title track “Dancing With The Past” from his solo album continues, he grabs the chance to get the public in his comfort zone. Slowly, the crowd is growing bigger and when he is playing the ANACRUSIS song “Something Real”, it will certainly help a lot. “Fragile” is on next and for those who followed the patron so far, Nardi continues with another ANACRUSIS classic, namely “Grateful”. A nice surprise for the fans is the NEW MODEL ARMY cover “I Love The World”. Don’t get me wrong, but if you would have written this twenty-five plus years ago, people would have laughed you in the face. You’d be tarred and feathered and dragged through the village on a tilt-cart, while people are throwing eggs at you. The music industry is getting so much broader and the audience puts up with that so much more than they did in the eighties. Writing about a band playing a NEW MODEL ARMY cover was like cursing in a church, but today I’m not afraid to write it down. And the audience seems to like this a lot. I must admit, that I liked the last segment of the show best. For “Sound The Alarm”, the guest vocals are done by Mario ‘Le Fate’ of MAYFAIR. The final medley that Nardi has got in mind this evening consists of “Butcher’s Block” and “Fighting Evil”. For me, this is a bit late to catch my full attention. Judging by the reaction of the audience, Nardi was highly entertaining for the average metal fan, but unfortunately he’s not really my cup of tea.

The three bands hereafter are more my taste. First of all, there’s the NWOBHM band PRAYING MANTIS that celebrate their thirty-fifth anniversary of “Time Tells No Lies”. The band consists of two Dutch musicians, which will make it even more interesting for us. It is highly questionable calling PRAYING MANTIS a NWOBHM outfit or not. They sound so much different and they even could be categorized as AOR, but if the story of NWOBHM has been told and you would forget to mention this band, the whole story would probably fail. The vocals and melodic rock sound are the main ingredients of the sound of PRAYING MANTIS and the bill already mentioned this would be an ‘old school’ set, focused on the “Time Tells No Lies” album. You know, that one with the praying mantis sitting on a stone saying his prayers to a skull that is surrounded by Saturn rings. The amazing artwork by Rodney Matthews alone is worth buying this piece of art. If you start the show with “Captured City” and “Panic In The Streets”, then you’re definitely pleasing the true fans of the band. What a magnificent start, that is. “Cheated” follows next and clearly, PRAYING MANTIS won the race before they even started it. The enthusiasm of the band is breathtaking and after “Time Slipping Away” they slow things down a bit for the exciting ballad “Lovers To The Grave”. The excitement is huge, when the band continues with “Fight For Your Honour” and “Running For Tomorrow”. Singer John Cuijpers proves to be a great frontman, but Tino Troy is a great ear-catcher as well. His guitar sound is amazing, sometimes sensitive yet always with a huge amount of emotion. Chris and Tino are the foundation of this band. The crowd sings along with “Flirting With Suicide” and “Turn The Tables”. These classic songs easily stood the test of time. However, after seeing the band a few times shortly after one another, the nicest surprise for me is that they crank out “Praying Mantis”. What follows is a standing ovation for this band, because of this awesome show today. No wonder that the band has got to get back for an encore. “Children Of The Earth” is another classic tune from the old days and the last song for tonight. I think, that this was the show of a headlining band and as Dutchies we can be very proud of John ‘Jaycee’ Kuijpers and drummer Hans in ‘t Zand. It’s good to see some Dutch musicians on stage here after an absence of a too long time. Both thumbs go up for PRAYING MANTIS. What a killer performance!

Still two bands to go and I was really looking forward to the show of HEIR APPARENT. It’s been thirty years ago since they toured Holland with SAVAGE GRACE and the edition of Keep It True, where they played as well is also ten years ago. That was one of the two editions that we missed unfortunately, next to the very first one. Nice detail is that ROSS THE BOSS replaced TOXIK in the year that HEIR APPARENT played here first, while ROSS THE BOSS was the surprise act for this edition. Call it a small reunion show of the two bands here in Lauda-Konigshofen. HEIR APPARENT also played at Wacken Open Air in 2000, the year with the amazing line-up and where they were one of the highlights for me, next to all those amazing NWOBHM bands playing there. Today they would introduce their new singer Will Shaw and I can assure you that this was one helluva nice introduction. It’s their thirty-year anniversary of the “Graceful Inheritance” album and worth celebrating, I think. The main focus will be on this album and when the band kicks off with “Dragon’s Lair” and “The Servant” two things have become quite clear to me. Will Shaw is a great singer and there is lot more coming from Seattle than grunge and HEIR APPARENT being one of them. Why? They have an original line-up, except for the singer, they come with a killer sound and a set full of killer songs. What could go wrong here? Nothing I guess, especially when you see the outrageous reaction of the crowd towards songs like “Crossing The Border” and “Hands Of Destiny”. Band leader Terry Gorle seems to be very pleased with the warm welcome and already in the beginning they play one of my own personal favorite songs. But I know for sure that “Tear Down The Walls” is everybody’s favorite and not just mine. Will Shaw on the other hand keeps amazing us with his powerful voice and many people are still talking about it after the show. They continue with “Running From The Thunder” and “A.N.D. Dogro Lived On”. The crowd may be getting tired but with a performance like that they get new energy and are cheering louder than ever. “We The People” and “Masters Of Invasion” are next in the glory ride of HEIR APPARENT. “R.I.P.” and the title track of the second full-length album “One Small Voice” follow thereafter. Obviously, these songs will make every fan happy, but Will has gained the most fans today, I guess. He is the great winner of tonight. “Decorated” and “The Fifth Season” are next and if you look at the grin on the faces of the people in the audience, you will know that HEIR APPARENT did a splendid job today, next to PRAYING MANTIS. It proves that the more melodic bands of today are the most successful ones on this second day. They close their show with “Keeper Of The Reign” and “Another Candle”. It’s all over and we must prepare ourselves for the final band, which is the first band that has been announced on this nineteenth Keep It True edition. Our conclusion is that HEIR APPARENT still knows to amaze the fans and yours truly and thank you for introducing your great new singer Will Shaw. He sure is one helluva guy with toncils of steel.

FATES WARNING will be playing an exclusive “Awaken The Guardian” 30th Anniversary show tonight from that very line-up, which sounds so amazing. People from all over the world wanted to see the band, resulting into one of the fastest sold out editions of this awesome festival. The metal market moved elsewhere to get more people inside the venue. Everybody was really excited and probably most of all, the band itself. John Arch is a living legend and his appearance with ARCH //MATHEOS in 2012 still brings back some great memories. I’ve seen people cry tears of joy back then and for sure that could very well happen again. FATES WARNING is not only noted in the heavy metal scene, but they also have an excellent reputation in the progressive scene. Things got very crowded in front of the stage, so I decided to get a better space, where I could get a good view of the stage and possibly have a good sound as well. FATES WARNING featuring John Arch sounds very different than the current FATES WARNING with Ray Alder. Influences of IRON MAIDEN have been obvious sometimes and they definitely sounded so much more heavy metal. Well, are you ready for a show of FATES WARNING from the “Awaken The Guardian” line-up, playing that classic awesome album in its entirety? A line-up consisting of John Arch on vocals, Frank Aresti on guitar, Joe Dibiase on bass, Steve Zimmerman on drums and Jim Matheos on guitar. For the first time in Europe, we are able to enjoy “The Sorceress” in a live situation. This will really get your flesh crawl from excitement. We had to wait for a long time, but then you’ll get some. “Valley of The Dolls” and “Fata Morgana” are on next and all songs are being sung word by word by the audience. For somebody, who doesn’t actually like to be on stage and be in the spotlights, Jon is doing an excellent job. “Guardian” continues and it’s just awesome to see all those metal heads enjoying what they have been waiting for since such a long time. It’s like one big family getting together and celebrating the reunion of this line-up. The sound may not always be perfect and I must say, that the sound during that legendary first performance of ARCH //MATHEOS here was much clearer or am I nitpicking here? I guess I am, because I simply have to dream away with “Prelude To Ruin” and “Giant’s Lore (Heart Of Winter)”. If you know the “Awaken the Guardian” album (and who doesn’t?), then you’ll know that the acoustic interlude “Time Long Past” will be next with Joe DiBiase on the acoustic guitar. The last song on the album is “Exodus”, which is one of my own personal faves. It also marks the end of the show. The long awaited show is over before you know it and the guardian did wake up. The only thing the crowd can do is to yell for more. Of course there’s more. The band plays four encores, starting with “The Apparition”. Two songs are taken from “The Spectre Within” and the other two songs are from “Night On Bröcken”. “Damnation” continues, followed by the title track of that amazing album with the fairytale-like sleeve “Night On Bröcken”. In the meantime, the photo pit has completely taken over by celebrities and special guests, who have come to see the masters play tonight. The very last song is called “Epitaph” and I think we can draw the conclusion, that FATES WARNING has been a very worthy headliner. John Arch doesn’t have to be afraid to show his face on stage, because he is one hell of a performer, which he proved again today.

At the end of the show, the clock strikes the full hour, meaning that it was May 1st, 2016. The best part of Keep It True comes next. The heartwarming birthday wishes for my wife, who is celebrating her 53rd birthday today. Small presents and lots of kisses and hugs, it was too good to be true to see that so many people didn’t forget the birthday girl, despite the great show we just witnessed or the late hour of the day (or very early hour, to be precise). Thank you all very much, you know who you are, good friends. It’s also time to say goodbye to our metal family here as well. Let’s meet each other again next year. It’ll be great fun seeing you all at the next edition of this heavy metal Valhalla. Next year will be a very important edition. It’s the twentieth edition of the festival and it will be some kind of a ‘best of’ edition with some amazing names on the bill. What about SATAN’S HALLOW, ETERNAL CHAMPION, VISIGOTH, NIGHT DEMON, ATLANTEAN KODEX, WYTCH HAZEL, MAJESTY (special K.I.T. set plus guest – I wonder who that is), LEATHER LEONE (doing a CHASTAIN set), ATROPHY, TRAITOR’S GATE, Q5, MEDIEVAL STEEL, ASHBURY, DEMOLITION HAMMER, OMEN, DEVIL IN DISGUISE (A Tribute To GLACIER), MANILLA ROAD (old school set), FIFTH ANGEL and that big epic headliner, that was hugely announced on the posters. Who could that be? Well, it’s no longer a secret anymore. The headliners have been recently announced and I think that many people will scream their lungs out from excitement and look their eyeballs out with the show of CIRITH UNGOL. If this would happen in Europe, it should happen here and in April 2017 and we will finally see the eight world wonder on stage in Lauda-Konigshofen. It’ll be the very first time that the band will set foot on the European continent and actually play there live. It’s going to be amazing, I can tell you that much. I’m counting the days and I hope that all our good friends will be there too to celebrate this awesome ‘must see’ show with us. See you in 2017 and don’t miss it.

Our thanks goes out to all our good friends, the volunteers, who worked for our convenience, security, filming crew (hello, Thomas Schneider!), record dealers from the Metal Market, the people from the catering and so on! There are just too many people to mention, but the whole crew did another amazing job and we felt very welcome again in Lauda-Konigshofen. Our biggest thanks is for Tarek and Oliver, Manuela (mädchen für alles!) and crew for organizing the best festival ever! The countdown to Keep It True 2017 starts from here. Be there and don’t miss it. \m/ \m/

*Written by: Toine van Poorten/November 2016
*Photos copyright by: Rita van Poorten [www.metalmaidens.com]

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