KEEP IT TRUE : The 13th & 14th of April Lauda-Köningshofen Germany

May 9th, 2007
by Arto Lehtinen

 

WARM UP  13.04.2007

 

Friday the 13th and we were brave enough to enter the plane and fly to Germany. From Helsinki via Frankfurt to Keep It True festival. After some traveling (It’s not easy to get the few taxis from the area) we arrived and there we were, outside a building having our first beers. The warm up was held in the same place as last time when I visited there one and a half years ago. I think it is a sport hall of a school concluding there were stall bars in one wall. Metal people from all over Europe, and some from other continents, were there meeting friends and trading records. Too bad we missed the first band Ivory Night (Ger) but you just can’t get everything in festival like this.(Saku)

The first band I managed to catch thanks to Deutsche Bahn and taxi service in Koenigshofen/Lauda was Warrant. Warrant is not the most original of bands from the eighties but their speed metal works out nicely. This was not the only gig they have played lately so their playing was good, they seemed to enjoy themselves so overall it was good gig. Nice looking fellow from their MLP and full-length covers also visited the stage swinging his axe but he seemed to have got few extra kilos since the eighties. (Nabel)

As far as I know, they have only one full-length album and one mini-album but they made a long enough set to satisfy my needs. Good german metal and a good start for my festival. Bringing the executioner mentioned before was cool as hell. He appeared once in the middle of the set and at the end of their show.(Saku)

The next one was Frankfurt thrashers aka Tankard. Everybody knows them and if not something is seriously wrong! Usually stated as that funny band singing about
beer, beer, beer and hangovers but to be honest their first few LP’s are deadly stuff. Band was in usual Tankard form, speeches about beer and drinking (that’s what I understood with my german) and all the Tankard standards were played: Maniac Forces, Beermuda, Die With A Beer In Your Hand and of course: (Empty) Tankard. Crowd was going quite wild, stagediving all the time and large pit was also going on! Free beer was also given to audience through the gig. It was nice to see Tankard on small stage. Overall maybe little sloppy playing but hey, Tankard is not the band that you expect to play every note perfectly.
(Nabel)

Yeah, and maybe they weren’t sober, haha. Again a great show by Tankard. They never let you down and are always enjoyable. Too bad people often talk only of Kreator, Sodom and Destruction but to be honest, Tankard is pretty near there and they have never made really bad album like some of the mentioned. Really aggressive thrash metal these guys with big bellies offered. (Saku)

Last band of the day was Destructor and for me it was worth all the money spent on this trip to Germany! After Warrant and Tankard when Destructor came to
stage and plugged in, you knew that now we would hear real fucking metal! Dressed in leather and spikes no mercy was given as posers heads started to
roll. Sound was heavy and cold shivers went down my spine all the way through their gig. Maximum Destruction, Pounding Evil, Iron Curtain, Sonic Bullet, a few new ones and loads of others were heard, necks were broken and beers consumed.Destructor literally swept floors with all the other bands of the evening.(Nabel)

 

Destructor was also the highlight of the day one for me. This was real metal with die hard attitude and I bet everyone was happy while these maniacs ended the warm up. If I remember right they were in Europe for the first time in their long career so many people were very anxious in seeing them, Some serious headbanging and after the long trip to the venue and these three bands, I was extremely tired.(Saku)

 

 14.04.2007

*Main festival day, held in a big sport hall (mainly hand ball it seems, shows in a big picture inside). The doors were opened around 12 o’clock and little by little, people were filling the hall and the area near it. Folks were happy, meeting each other, getting their hangover beers and buying records and other merchandise. And there really was hell of a lot stuff to buy. The back side of the hall was sacred to tables full of metal stuff and from there you could find almost everything, and every damn price too. The camping area (yes, it was summer in Germany) was behind the hall and there were people marching the way from and to the hall and having their meals, beers (again that word) and small distros there. It was going to be a very long day. You need to buy records, meet your old friends and new faces from abroad, have beer and eat your festival food at some point. Here we go:(Saku)

Cauldron was first band to play at actual festival day. This young canadian three man lineup was born out of the ashes of Goathorn, and “surprisingly” they
play traditional heavy metal, with very good riffing. These young guys have lots of potential to become something, only thing that sometimes lets me down
are the vocals. But still if you like your heavy metal as heavy metal, check them out! (Nabel)

 

Not so well known band to me but their style of metal really fit to start the day. Quite perfect stuff for the crowd to wake up and get their day started. Of course there weren’t that much people watching the band yet but they did a good job and enjoyed playing. I have to learn more of this band. Definitely worth checking out.(Saku)

Next was Bullet from Sweden. Known from their hard rocking, petrol stenching hard metal, they also delivered the goods! Perfect music to cure your hangover to and start getting more and more drunk. These guys haven’t invented the wheel, but they surely know how to make it rock’n'roll! Traditional euro metal all the way with bastard cousin of Udo Dirkscheider on vocals (or hard rocking Messiah Marcolin?). (Nabel)

 

Bullet was cool. Their music has a lot similarities to AC/DC, Accept and the likes and they continued the day with power. If someone was still sleepy, then definitely was not when these guys started to play. I’ve heard people saying they steal their riffs rather than invent new but what the heck, for me they’re just strongly influenced by these hard rock bands. Their bass player seemed to be an older rocker but there he was partying on stage like a teenager. Good band and my hangover was mainly cured.(Saku)

Third band on stage was Twisted Tower Dire, true epic metal outfit from USA. At this point I had to take the pile of vinyls I had bought back to my hotel so I only saw few songs they performed. I’m not so familiar with their material as I only have one 12″ by them but they sounded good and their new singer was also not bad at all. Good band, worth checking out if so called true metal is your cup of tea. Again forget all mediocre major label bullshit and go for the real thing.(Nabel)

Last time I was at KIT, there was Slough Feg holding the flag of true U.S. metal and this time it was Twisted Tower Dire. They’ve been going on for +10 years and fortunately have some reputation they totally deserve. Same thing that bothered me last evening was present this time too, the sound. These places are not made for metal gigs so the sound isn’t always the best possible. TDD’s  epic metal suffered ’cause of the sound. The band’s set was very professional one and the audience thought so too. Really a bunch of down to earth metal men.(Saku)

Fourth band of the evening, Defender took the stage next, blasting their brand of dutch speed metal to the audience. Defender only released one MLP and a
single in the eighties and festival like KIT is the place to see these bands whose art of metal is long forgotten by more mainstream audience. As already
said, Defender play neckbreaking speed metal and their show did not disappoint anyone (not me at least). Funny thing was that their lineup on stage changed few times (guitar and bass players) and in the end there were more people on stage than in beer cue (not really). Good set, band really enjoyed themselves, vocalist Simon Menting climbed on speakers etc and after bass player was changed you could spot previous player headbanging in audience… That’s the attitude! Only thing that puzzles me is why did they play two coversongs (Metal Church and Alison Hell)? But in the end both are classics so why not.(Nabel)

 
 

I also wondered why they played the Metal Church and Annihilator covers? Maybe they thought they had not enough quality material to offer? If so, I don’ get it. Their own songs were the ones I enjoyed most. There were all the Defender members, past and present, visiting the stage and at some point they were all there. The wall of sound was loud when all the strings were plugged in. I have to get their stuff, this band killed! (Saku)

One of the most anticipated bands of the weekend for me was Piledriver (or nowdays The Exalted Piledriver). Their history, or beginning is quite interesting, one could say that a joke became something bigger! Anyway,Piledriver is and probably will be as fun as heavy metal can get. They have their fair share of headbanging anthems and as expected we got to hear those ones (Metal Inquisition, Sex With Satan, Piledriver, The Fire God, Witch Hunt).
Members of the band were dressed up as monsters expect the singer Gord with his leather hood full of nails (he told me he had some problems with that in the airport) and maybe little too tight leather pants! But metal was meant to be ugly!. And music? As already said, Piledriver plays classic metal with catchy
choruses and lyrics that will never leave you head. Their show was alright, maybe not as tight as vocalists leather pants but did I have fun all the way?
Yes I had! “Were the metal inquisition, and we sentence you to death!”(Nabel)

 

Piledriver were great! Their “hit” songs fit nicely with a crowd like this, consisting mostly of maniacs into purest and most honest side of our beloved music. Too bad I missed the first 2 songs (From what I heard they started with Piledriver and my personal favorite, Fire God) but these things happens. At this point the drunkenness was great and Piledriver offered the best possible soundtrack to that. I noticed my head was banging without any orders from my brains when I drank with old german thrashers. Mr. Piledriver was like straight from the old LP-covers.(Saku)

It was now Destructor’s time to take the main stage. Originally Artillery were supposed to play but they canceled weeks ago and Destructor was the one to fill their place. This was a nice move from the organizers because the warm up tickets were only limited to 500 and gave Destructor a chance to play to a wider audience which brought forth more smiling faces. Good gig still, no complaining.(Saku)

 

Lethal for me didn’t ring much of a bell. After Piledriver I felt that many people went outside to take a break. I decided to see some Lethal. They played traditional metal with strong progressive feelings and good musicianship. Queensrÿche was one band that came to my mind. I noticed many older fans were watching the show with devotion. The sound did them no justice but with so many beers drank it didn’t matter too much for me. I decided I liked them, again a band I should listen more.(Saku)

Then it was time for my headliner of this KIT, (I had been waiting for this to happen over fifteen years) Sabbat from the UK. They performed in their classic Dreamweaver line-up which was also the highlight of their career! It was great gig, of course one can always complain about the setlist but still there was not a weak song played! Cautionary Tale, Behind The Crooked Cross, For Those Who Died, The Clerical Conspiracy’, Do Dark Horses Dream Of Nightmares, and I For An Eye for example are reason enough to travel all the way to Germany from Finland… Somehow the sounds were not of the best quality (especially vocals), but a live situation is different than listening to LP’s in your living room. The band was on fire, Walkyier is one charismatic frontman and bass player Fraser Craske was one hell of a barbarian! Some people complained that Andy Sneap seemed to be a little bit lazy with solos but I did not notice it. Great gig, hopefully I’ll see them on stage soon again.(Nabel)

 

So, it is done! Like it said on the backs of the Sabbat shirts that were sold in the merchandise desk. I guess Sabbat is one of the last bands who have made a comeback since the late nineties when old bands started to get their stuff back together. Sabbat was perfect! For me this was the real headliner of the whole festival. All the four key members were there (Walkyier, Sneap, Craske, drummer Simon Negus plus the second guitar player Simon Jones). The outlook of the band had it’s touches of medieval times with pagan armors they wore. Mr. Craske reminded me of Martin Eric Ain (Celtic Frost) because of his massive black beard with touches of matronly gray. All the classics from the two first albums were played. I think the setlist couldn’t have been more perfect and the charisma of Mr. Walkyier was mentioned earlier. The crowd in the front lines went really crazy during their set and I chose to watch them more far, just for my own safety. This band left me speechless for now. Check out the video Sabbat playing at KIT (Saku)

Diamond Head and Lääz Rockit were next. Both of them have never been my ultimate favorites so I followed them with only one eye thanks to german beer… Diamond Head played their part well I suppose, their NWOBHM with Zeppelin influences seemed to do the trick with the audience.(Nabel)

Diamond Head was okay. People were finally drunk after dealing with beer the whole long day and to be honest the overall going was lame compared to Sabbat. People were more focused on just watching the show. At this time I was getting quite tired but enjoyed the set. All the hit songs were played and the people were happy, so was I.(Saku)

Lääz Rockit, fast Californian heavy/speed metal but it just did not move me. Quite mediocre on stage, good on record. City did not burn after them, though traffic signs and finns were seen to fall over.(Nabel)

Then the headliner. I was a bit surprised when I first heard that Laaz Rockit is going to headline the festival over Sabbat and Diamond Head but they did a good job. It must have been a long show (like the last band does in KIT) but my concentration wasn’t the best possible. Even though I was drunk and tired I liked the show, I gave my last headbangings with dedicated metal people and then the festival was over. Almost all of the merchandise sellers had already packed their stuff and also many tired people had vanished to their tents and hotels. The highlight of their set for me was possibly City’s Gonna Burn, at least that’s what I remember most clearly.(Saku)

 

 …And Finally

Overall, KIT VIII was a great event and a great place to spend all your hard earned savings on vinyl and meet friends all across the Europe (and from other parts
of this planet). Next KIT is already sold out so maybe next spring I’ll return to Koenigshofen again, who knows? Stay ugly, thats what we learned from this weekend! (Nabel)

Oh yeah, the KIT that is held in autumn is only one day and takes place at the warm up hall. Only 500 tickets so it was sold out fast and we’re waiting the “big” KIT next April. Some of the bands that are playing then include Jag Panzer and Manilla Road so I’m definitely there. Great festival, We thank the organizers, the great bands and the cool people. See you next year!(Saku)


The Official KEEP IT TRUE site

http://www.keep-it-true.de/

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