Keep It True XII



24-25. April 2009


Article and pics by Herr Nabel

The 24th April 2009


As our travelling party missed first two bands because of the schedule Cloven Hoof was the start of my Keep it True this year. Entering hot Tauberfrankenhalle while hearing Russ North screaming Eye Of The Sun was not a bad way to start Friday evening. I had heard that Cloven Hoof is a great live band and now I can say for sure that they are. They should be witnessed at a club gig with a longer setlist and more material from their early years. But songs like Nova Battlestar, Higlander, Road Of Eagles and Laying Down The Law did the trick this time and overall Cloven Hoof was really a positive surprise.

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Skipping Ruthless in favour of browsing through endless stacks of vinyls, the next band I went to see was Exumer. To me their first LP POSSESSED BY FIRE is a thrash classic so I expected quite a lot from Exumer.

Anyway, they opened up with Winds Of Death, on to Journey To Oblivion and Fallen Saint (killer). But somehow I quickly lost my interest in watching them and following the youngsters and their huge moshpit was much more fun. There was some serious thrashing going on! I’m not sure what was the problem with Exumer, maybe it was little bit too clean and sharp. But still Xiron Dark Star gave me shivers and last song Possessed by Fire made me smile for some time.

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After Exumer the next band was Exxplorer from USA. They played their first gig ever in Europe and at least I was eagerly awaiting for it. The playing was good, Lennie Rizzo’s vocals were excellent but the set had the same problem as their debut album. Good, even great songs, melodies, riffs etc but the final nail in the coffin is missing. Run For Tomorrow came really close to blowing my head off but not close enough. Good band, good set but they are just that inch away from the really top league of classic US-metal.


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The next band to take the stage was another US metal group, and one of many many heavy metal tyrants, Tyrant from California. They have two classic records (LEGIONS OF THE DEAD 1985 & TOO LATE TO PRAY 1987, both released by Metal Blade) in their catalogue and one not so widely distributed (and forgotten) (KING OF KINGS) from 1996.

Tyrant started with Warriors Of Metal which also started their debut LP. Perfection. Then Beyond the Grave from TOO LATE TO PRAY and back to classic debut album. Listen To The Preacher-The Battle Of Armageddon-Legions Of Dead straight made me almost wet my pants. Excellent playing, not too tight as it was very live, raw and and heavy. Glen May’s voice was also almost like back in the day! Too bad they did not have as much iron on as in the old pictures! Set was ended with The Nazarene, Beginning of the End, King Of Kings, mighty Too Late To Pray and finally War from KING OF KINGS.

Top gigs of the weekend, Tyrant simply did not let you slip from their grip. Go see them if you ever have the chance.

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"Abattoir, Abattoir", sung Rob Halford back in ’78 and in 2009 "Abattoir, Abattoir" was heard from the audience. And that should tell that Abattoir delivered the goods! And you can’t really complain as they played all the songs from their debut LP VICIOUS ATTACK (1985), few songs from their follow-up THE ONLY SAFE PLACE (1986), something more recent which I did not recognise and even Annihilation Of Civilization by guitarist Juan Garcia’s other not so famous band, Evil Dead. But they should have dropped Ace Of Spades of the set, boring choice with capital letters.


The last band of Friday was Lizzy Borden. They have never been anything special to me but my and few other heads were turned after the show. And it was really a show, Mr. Lizzy Borden changed clothes, mask and whatever few times and kept the audience in his hold. As they played songs from their entire recording career (1984-2007) there was some quite boring moments I’m sorry to say but at least they had the show to back those moments. Excellent give ‘Em The Axe, Rod Of Iron and American Metal were highlights for me. Good gig or a show overall but little too much to handle after a long day on the road and in the über-hot Tauberfrankenhalle.






Doom metal titans The Gates Of Slumber opened up my eyes on Saturday, though thanks to GPS-system in our car I missed the first two songs. For the first time of the whole weekend I could even hear the drums clearly so TGOS really cleaned ears with their ultra heavy real doom metal. After finishing The Jury, we got to hear new favorite Ice Worm, an old (and my personal) favorite Broken On The Wheel, then fast and furious Angel Of Death (no, not the Thin Lizzy one or the one by that American band whose name now escapes me) and finally Trapped In The Web from their latest album THE CONQUEROR. TGOS proved to be one hell of a live band and if this is as they say a poor gig from them I wonder what they are like in top form? Well, hopefully one day I get to see and hear that.




Who would care about Militia from Texas who had only one release in the 80s which was limited to 100 copies? Luckily organisers of KIT did. When Mike Soliz opened his mouth to scream forth Objective: Termination, the whole venue seemed to stop and turn their heads to the stage. Militia is something you really have to listen to, fast, technical, even progressive hard hitting metal topped with already mentioned over the top screaming vocals of Mike Soliz. Too bad they had some problems with sound (especially Jesse Villegas’ guitar) but still they could play a really scorching gig! Especially the closing duo of Salem Square and Metal Axe topped with crowd singing was nail on the head!

Objective: Termination, Regiments Of Death, Search For Steel, Onslaught, The Sybling, Salem Square, Metal Axe.





Good old JR Ewing would have smiled as after Militia the stage was taken over by another Texas group, Rigor Mortis. The thrashing ceremony started with Mummified and by the time Rigor Mortis had reached the fourth song Die In Pain in was obvious that this was the thrash gig of the weekend. Bassist Casey Orr shouting Die In Pain was one the best thrash moments I have ever witnessed. And the whole gig was pure magic, I hope they stay active to show kids how to thrash! The setlist was gathered mostly from the classic debut album, three songs from RIGOR MORTIS VS THE EARTH album and one from FREAKS MLP.

Mummified, Shroud Of Gloom, Cattle Mutilation, Die In Pain, Wizard Of Gore, Contagious Contamination, Dead Fish), Demons, Vampire, Re-Animator.







Following Rigor Mortis, the stage was given to German’s own Living Death, it being their Last ever gig with Toto Bergman on vocals and all that. Expectations were really high, the first song Grippin’ A Heart showed some promises of something truly great… But as the show went on all the hopes were shot down. No songs from the first album played at all and only one besides opener Grippin’ A Heart from Metal Revolution (Screaming From The Chamber)… And to top everything with something really German, the last song was Eisbein (Mit Sauerkraut). In a nutshell: a huge fiasco.


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For those who don’t know, Zouille&Hantson is a band put together by ex-Sortilege vocalist Christian "Zouille" Augustin and drummer/vocalist Renaud Hantson of Satan Jokers fame. The theme of the night were songs of Sortilege but something else was also played. Basically it was two songs from Sortilege catalogue and one from Furious Zoo (Indien De Demain from Satan Jokers was also played), two songs from Sortilege etc. Of course those Furious Zoo songs could have been replaced with Sortilege classics (Metamorphose!) but for me it was enough to hear Zouille sing songs like D’Ailleurs (opener), Civilisation Perdue, Chasse Le Dragon, Cyclope De l’Etang and so on. And when they had to play those Furious Zoo songs they should have at least dropped the guitar and drum solos from the set. Total waste of time! I don’t think it needs to be said that Z&H ended the set with one of the all time greatest European heavy metal anthems, Sortilege. The way it started was in fact quite nice, from bass solo to ballad wich lasted for the first verse of the songs and then BANG! For me the moment of KIT XII. Of course one could argue that Dumont brothers were missing, but nobody should have expected this to be Sortilege gig, it was Zouille And Hantson!  


D’ailleurs (Metamorphose), Gladiateur (MLP), Just Keep Holding On (FURIOUS ZOO), Civilisation Perdue (Metamorphose), Quand Un Aveugle Rêve (Larmes de héros), Get Out (FURIOUS ZOO), Chasse le Dragon (Larmes de héros), Cyclope De l’Etang (Metamorphose), Indien De Demain (SATAN JOKERS), A Dead Man Won’t Lie (FURIOUS ZOO), Marchand d’Hommes (Larmes de héros) , Sortilège (MLP)







After classic French metal, the next band was Picture and they are hailed as the first ever Dutch metal band. Last time I saw them was HOA 2008 and to put it shortly they were much better this time. I’m not the biggest expert of Picture’s material but to hear Heavy Metal Ears, Diamond Dreamer, Eternal Dark and Lady Lightning for example should make every fist raise in to the air! Like every other band, Picture seemed to have the time of their life. Excellent gig from the Dutch metal veterans and my personal greetings with one finger in air to all those who class them as B, or even as C-class metal.






Last band of the night for me was German Roxxcalibut playing special tribute show with various guest stars to celebrate the 30th anniversary of NWOBHM (didn’t it "die" in 1983?).

The show was started with a Roxxcalibur medley and then guests started to flood the stage. First was good old Brian Ross singing Blitzkrieg and surprisingly Break Free from Satan! Then Jess (Tygers Of Pan Tang) Cox came to stage and performed Wild Cat. Next two singers were first Graham Saw of Bleak House singing the mighty Rainbow Warrior and second guest was Terry Dark of Jameson Raid singing the epic NWOBHM anthem 7 Days Of Splendour (personal highlight of the set for me).

Then Enid Williams gave us Race With The Devil and Emergency from Girlschool catalogue and Russ North and Lee Payne helped Roxxcalibur to perform classic Cloven Hoof song Gates Of Gehenna! As if this was not enough, the biggest sing-a-long of the weekend was to happen next. Dave Hill of Demon came on stage and after Night Of The Demon classic Don’t Break The Circle was played and the singing was probably heard far far away… Magical moment.

And if even that was not enough, a new drumkit was brought on stage, and a man wearing a leather mask sat behind and started to pound it like thunder! Yes, Thunderstick was in the house and who else than Harry Conklin came to take over the microphone. Quite a surprise to hear Samson (Bright & Too Close To Rock) performed by US metal legend The Tyrant himself!

I had heard rumours of the next two songs but it had to be seen to be believed. The stage was taken over by Cliff Evans, Mike Tucker, Tom Angelripper and Bobby Schottkowksi to play This Means War and Don’t Walk Away. Closest you can get to real Tank? Probably. The night was getting darker and only few songs were left to be played. First was See You In Hell (Grim Reaper) with Alexx Stahl from Roxxcalibur and Harry Conklin, then Iron Maiden & 22 Acacia Avenue featuring Harry Conklin and closing the set every guest star performing Running Free. Maybe little boring ending with Iron Maiden songs to a great start but still the whole set was a nice way to pay tribute to legendary bands!

And that was my KIT XII, I simply had no more power to think about Armored Saint, camping area/parking lot heavy metal session was what the doctor ordered for me at that point. Great Keep It True as always and next year will be the same madness again… And please, a little bit longer break between the bands?