KEEP IT TRUE XVII REVIEW

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Better late than never…The review for Keep It True Festival-April 2014 is finally ready, hope you enjoy it!

It was time for another Keep It True again…This is a very unique festival taking place in Lauda-Königshofen/Germany that I am heavily dedicated since my first visit in 2008.
For me, the major attractions of this year’s edition were Flotsam & Jetsam, Toxik, Lethal and Persian Risk. I was also happy to be seeing the opening bands; Night Demon, Iron Kingdom and Ranger.
Flotsam was very important due to their setlist which is defined as ”No Place for the Deceiver”, containing only songs from their first two classics; Doomsday for the Deceiver and No Place For Disgrace. The line-up included four out of five founding members and this was really a hard to find Flotsam&Jetsam moment. However, I had doubts after listening the re-recorded version of No Place for Disgrace album which I did not like at all. There were really serious doubts…which didn’t come true!

RunningOrder_MeetandGreetdruck-page-001The festival started with the opening band; Stallion from Germany. Stallion is a young band with a self-released EP in 2013. As usual, the first two hours of the festival goes with the search for new LP’s and festival merch. I could not pay much attention but I feel it was a good and energetic opener.

After Stallion came the Ranger and I gave a break from shopping session to see this Finnish speed youngsters. I really loved their EP and they were in my check list at this KIT. And they fully delivered my expectations. It is really entertaining to watch them on stage playing their whole career with 9 songs.

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My shopping session started back after Ranger got down from the stage and of course I ended buying a Ranger LP.
It was time for Deep Machine which I did not know what to expect from this veteran NWOBHM band. They remained idle for a long time and despite being formed in 1979, they released first full length album in 2014 (in fact during the Festival). As a NWOBHM fan, I had to see this band and I think they did their best with a really satisfying performance. They were on stage with 11 tracks and I loved every minute. Deep Machine was certainly one of the better performances of this year’s KIT.

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The next one was Karion, the Texan power metallers, formed by the ex- SA Slayer members. Karion was added to the line-up to replace Iron Cross and it was announced that the Band would play songs from SA Slayer. As it was promised, half of the songs were from SA Slayer but I could not say much about their performance. I felt it was a little bit ordinary considering the overall KIT atmosphere. It was exciting to hear SA Slayer songs on stage but I think that’s all…

It’s such a great shame that I missed Battleaxe…This is a long festival and keeping the same performance in a packed hall the whole day is impossible. So, we have to go out frequently to get some fresh air. This time, the break was a little long and I could enter back the venue close to the middle of Hexx performance. I knew Hexx from their Under the Spell release which was a very solid work. So, if I have one thing to say; the vocal performance of Dennis Manzo was really impressive.

I think it is better not to comment on Sinner as I never had an interest in this band, briefly not my type…

DSC_1202Warrior is one of the early US power bands which did not make a significant impact back in the 80s. They started to release new material after 1998 but their latest release were dated 2004. I haven’t been a follower of the band and I did not know that they recently brought Sean Peck to the vocals. I am a Sean Peck fan and love his voice both in Cage and Death Dealer. This was also a great opportunity for me to meet him personally when I missed the chance in their Metal All Stars tour. Honestly, I was more interested in Sean Peck than the Warrior…Sean Peck always does his best and this time was also a fun to watch him on stage. However, I also have to say that the overall performance weren’t that much interesting.

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This was a great experience, Doomsay remained in one of my all time favorites list for so long and we should really thank Oliver for such an amazing setlist as “No Place for the Deceiver”. This setlist had no fillers and every minute was like a dream come true. All songs of Doomsday are played. There were some sound problems but the importance of the event covered everything. A monumental moment which will be remembered for many years…

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As a confession, Jag Panzer has never been one of my favorites until I saw them on stage at KIT in 2008. Yes, I knew and loved JP but this turned into a fan feeling in 2008. Harry Conklin is a very strong figure in metal and he has been to KIT festival with his bands; Jag Panzer, Satan’s host and Titan Force and I witnessed all these in the last 7-8 years. This year, again JP was on the bill and I knew exactly what to expect; a wonderful setlist, great musicianship and a great frontman performance from “The Tyrant”. There are several favorite songs in JP history but I wouldn’t mind the setlist in such a Show. However, they played their masterpiece “Ample Destruction” in entirety and the closing was made by Fast as a Shark from Accept. Always a great fun but this time, everything was more than perfect.

Night Demon and Iron Kingdom were the openers on Saturday. It is hard to catch the opening bands on the 2nd day after being wasted on Friday night, especially after Flotsam and Panzer. However, with an iron will, we managed to be there just before Iron Kingdom got on stage. I love Iron Kingdom but they had only one problem; the long instrumental parts and very long guitar solos when they are having fewer minutes as an opening act. At least, for me, this decreased the tension a little bit. But, anyway, despite their excitement, they did very very well.

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Night Demon was just great. The trio is a perfect NWOBHM band from USA. They played 10 songs including a Riot and Diamond Head cover. They also celebrated their signing with SPV Steamhammer which happened just before the KIT. I will always have full support for Night Demon and Iron Kingdom!

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Iron Curtain from Spain; aggression, energy and speed as we know… but unfortunately I wasn’t there…

Deceased was not one of the most top bands of the festival but one thing makes this band very interesting; King Fowley on vocals. As I mentioned in the last year’s comments for October 31, King is really a “king” on stage, he makes every minute worthy and I watched the entire show with full concentration. Thanks, Mr. Fowley…

Persian Risk was the star of this KIT edition; perfect playing, perfect harmony, great vocals…really a solid-strong performance, NWOBHM at its best. Highly recommended for any show you can catch this great band.

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I consider myself as a NWOBHM fan but clearly Vardis is not of my type and also the crowd was mainly interested in the band with their “If I Were King” performance, the song which we heard in several NWOBHM compilations.

Atlantean Kodex plays well, the music is perfectly written but I prefer more energetic, and may be more old school tunes during this festival…so although I liked, I skip this review.

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Lethal had one of the best performances of KIT 2014. They played 6-7 songs from their magnificient album; Programmed. Although they sometimes had some synchronization problems, Tom Mallicoat was outstanding and this was a great technical speed metal show.

Toxik was a major disappointment for me despite the promising start with Heart Attack and Greed. I think it wasn’t a good idea to play 5 new songs in such a festival. Not only the fans but also the band seemed to lose focus after some time.

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I had doubts on Metal Church if we could see an old-school set. This would be my first to see them live and of course I could compare Ronny Munroe with mighty David Wayne (R.I.P.). No worries, Metal Church and Ronny were fantastic. I was in the first row in the first 5-6 songs but I had to step back to get some fresh air. As a small (in fact not that small) complaint, the concert hall becomes unbearable near the end of the concert days. Also, the sound gets worse in each band and the headliners are the most affected, which seems as an important issue. I wish there would be a better air condition in the hall…
All in all I wasn’t expecting such a good setlist; Ton of Bricks, Start the Fire, Fake Healer, Badlands, Gods of Wrath, Watch the Children Pray, Beyond the Black, Metal Church, Highway Star and The Human Factor. There were only two songs from the latest album and I think two songs from the “A Light in the Dark” album. Listening all these songs together after all these years was such a big experience.

And here’s the new festival line-up of 2015 which is already sold-out; a great re-union of Exciter is the special moment of the new festival!

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