Review by OFFICER NICE


METAL TO INFINITY


As every year I was once more looking forward to the edition of the coolest festival on earth.  Months before I was already longing for the moment I could step into my car to drive a few hours to this modern Mecca of Metal! This is the place to be if you’re into Eighties Metal and not only the visitors and fans are aware of it, also lots of bands know what ‘Keep It True’ is already standing for. It’s impossible to explain when you have never been here, if you were you have the unstoppable need to return edition after edition…. 

Our German friends are able to organize this kind of festivals because there’s a public for it, in Belgium the same bill would be no big success… Once more the festival was sold out since many months, the next edition will be sold out again. The festival looked once more attractive with MASTERS OF METAL (aka Agent Steel), SATAN, SACRIFICE, GRIFFIN, VICIOUS RUMORS, SLAUTER XSTROYES, MALICE and the reunited CRIMSON GLORY. It was a pity the first Belgian band on the KIT stage was forced to cancel; OSTROGOTH.  

DAY ONE 

No travelling difficulties this time although we should re-consider the fact we should leave a day earlier next year. The problem is that it’s not always that easy to stay away from work, on the other hand it’s impossible to get on time when the festival takes off so early. In the past the warming up was on the evening, now it takes off at noon. It was the reason why we missed ALPHA TIGER, HELLHOUND and DAMIEN THORNE. That’s a real pity because I was looking forward to see Hellhound and although I saw Damien Thorne on stage before it wouldn’t hurt to see them once more. I heard Hellhound was very good, Damien Thorne disappointed because they played too many new songs… Well, those are personal meanings, as my review is also my point of view to the total concept of the festival.

First band we really saw on stage was BITCH. The band played in my neighborhood a few days earlier but I wasn’t able to make it to that venue. I was told Bitch still kicks ass and it didn’t took that long to witness it myself.  This traditional American Metal band didn’t break through in the Eighties, especially in Europe they were not that successful and they stayed underground. Nevertheless I am convinced lots of Metal heads know the front covers of the band… Bitch was good and could count on a enthusiast crowd. Guitar player of the band was Steve Gaines (Abattoir, Anger As Art) who played on this stage before with Abattoir. Anger As Art was on tour with Bitch. Betsy Weiss is not only still good looking for her age, on stage she proved she still knows what Metal really is all about.

A band I was curious about was SLAUTER XSTROYES, with Brent Sullivan (Mindwarp Chamber, Spirit Web) on bass guitar. This underground US Metal band delivered us two good albums so many years ago from which the vocals were extraordinary. I  really didn’t know what to expect; didn’t know if the band was able to bring this kind of magic on stage too. Let me be short about this; they did… Slauter Xstroyes delivered a very good show and in my opinion they were even stronger than what they did on their albums. This was more than what I was expecting from them and it was the first band who was able to blow me away! Vocals, guitars, podium presence… all were good!

I have never been the biggest fan of BROCAS HELM. Nevertheless I know lots of visitors of this festival are fond of them! Jim Schumacher is of course the most eye-catching member of the band because of his outfit and these old time metallers still know how to please the crowd. Brocas helm owns everything an obscure Metal band needs and on this festival they receive everything they deserved after so many years of hard work.  I heard rumors this was the last gig of the band and they will end their career right here. This would be a strange decision after I witnessed how successful they were at this edition of the KIT Fest. At least it makes this concert even more unforgettable … I suppose we will hear about this issue later.

Day one contained mostly US Metal bands and the next in row was BREAKER. The same history of the bands who played before, good albums but no fair chances to really breakthrough in the Metal scène. Although the band was formed in the middle eighties they released only a few albums. Not that they were real classic ones but fans of True Metal should add them to their collection. Anyway Breaker is a very energetic band and that was very obvious on stage. The band played with pleasure, they acted like some horny youngsters on stage and it didn’t miss its effect. In our countries Breaker isn’t at all popular but for this international crowd they were more than satisfying.

GRIFFIN was another US Metal band on stage, a band lots of people were looking forward to because of their album “Flight Of The Griffin”. William McKay was the only original member on the bühne of this mighty festival, the musicians we already knew from Roxxcaliber. These German musicians seem to be a home band, standing in for tributes and reunions of bands for the Keep It True festival Not at all a bad choice because these guys have everything True Metal contains running through their veins. William McKay still contains his special voice and I was once more astonished how good this crowd know their underground classics. Great to have seen the band!

 

I have seen VICIOUS RUMORS plenty of times on stage, with several singers. I have seen the band with Carl Albert (RIP), Ronnie Stixx, Gary St Pierre, James Rivera and with Brain O’Connor. This time I had the feeling we would witness something magical because no one else than Carl Albert’s son, Kevin, was announced as the singer for this show. And did the guy delivered us a unique concert? Oh yes he did! His voice has the similar sound as his father and that was breathtaking to hear. Not only he, also Marc McGee was on stage and he might be forever, next to Geoff Thorpe, the ultimate Vicious Rumors guitar player. Why? Because next to his perfect way of pulling the string he also contains a Godlike voice. 

Believe me when Kevin honored his father with the song “The voice” cold shivers were making part of me! Marc McGee’s backing vocals fits this song so perfect that it must have been the very first time since long I heard it live. Other songs Kevin Albert sang perfectly were “Lady Took A Chance”, “Ship Of Fools”, “Don’t Wait For Me” and plenty of other classics. For two songs Brian Allen, the new singer, joined the band to make obvious the band released a new album but I suppose nobody was waiting for the new songs. This public longed for classics…with Kevin Albert! This young man was overwhelmed by the reactions of the crowd and didn’t realize how immense popular his father really was. 

 

Vicious Rumors gave a show nobody will probably see ever again, I can’t remember I have ever seen the band so ‘out of this world’ since Carl Albert’s death. Brian Allen shouldn’t be afraid for his job because he lifted the band to a higher level anyway and will receive success at the next tour the band will make. I’m sure the crowd will also enclose him in its arms… Impressive, tremendous, unforgettable!!!

 

MASTERS OF METAL was the name AGENT STEEL need to use for legal reasons. At first John Cyriis was announced as the singer of the band and I can’t say I have longed ever before so much to a reunion. Cyriis is forever my all time favorite singer and I couldn’t believe he joined the band when I heard the news at first. But he did and even played with the band in Japan…to read at Blabbermouth he wouldn’t join Agent Steel at the KIT festival. This was a big disappointment and not only for me…. At “70000 Tons of Metal”, the Metal cruise, Rick Mythiasin (Steel Prophet, Mythiasin, New Eden, Redemption) and James Rivera joined the band on stage. It was therefore a logical step to ask Rick Mythiasin to travel to Germany for this concert. Is he the new Agent Steel singer? 

I really don’t know but what I do know is that Rick did a fantastic job! He made Agent Steel sound as good as possible as in the old days and had no troubles singing those mind-blowing tracks from the first two albums. Even more; he also played songs from the Bruce Hall-era and the band made its own tribute to Ronnie James Dio by performing a Sabbath/Dio medley. It was another thrilling moment on this festival and the crowd was singing along, with the effect cold shivers were once more making part of me! 

The band even played “Traveller” and “The Day At Guyana”, two songs we hardly hear when Agent Steel is on stage, terrific! At the end James Rivera joined the band to sing along on Judas Priest’s “The Ripper”. Fantastic end of a fantastic first day!

 

DAY TWO 

First band to see on Saturday was the Swedish ENFORCER. I have seen the band on stage before so I knew what to expect. These youngsters are very dynamic, so is their kind of Metal. These guys have everything to please the German crowd, is anyway a typical band that Germans adore. A good warming up. 

SARACEN from the UK was also invited to the festival and was for lots of people the unknown factor, although people who are in NWOBHM surely know the band. The band maintained a bit of a name with their debut album but never broke through. Anyway these old rockers proved that they know how to perform a good song and the way the instruments were played was pretty moving. The pleasure these lads had on stage didn’t miss its effect and Saracen can look back to a good show…once more an enthusiast public! METALUCIFER was the next band on stage but I missed their gig, a pity because I really wanted to see this Japanese/German band although I’m not familiar with their music. To be honest I didn’t hear anything about their gig as well…

DEATH DEALER was the next band at the festival and also they did what they were paid for. This is another obscure band that most people at this festival know about. This is one of those band I learned about on this kind of festivals, totally unknown to me ever before. I suppose lots of people have never heard about the band before, right here they do.

Same counts for SLEDGE LEATHER although we surely know Leather Leone. This front woman used to be the singer of Chastain until 1990. The classic Chastain albums were written for her voice and so it was obvious the band opened with their most popular track “Ruler of the wasteland”. Leather Leone still contains that raw but awesome voice and it was obvious she was excited for this gig. Only the guitar player wasn’t convincing to me and I was not the only one with that opinion. I know it’s very hard to find a guitar player as good as David T. Chastain but I expected more to be honest. Anyway the band did their best to please the crowd with old Chastain songs and tracks from their own repertoire…

The fact SACRIFICE would hit the stage was a big but very pleasant surprise. The band broke up in 1994 and could look back to some high quality releases. I don’t think lots of people in the Tauberfrankenhalle have ever seen the band but I can assure you only a few seconds were necessary to make this crowd go wild! Sacrifice did what they had to do and their sweeping and overwhelming Thrash Metal made the hall burn. An immense mosh pit was what the public could offer back to the band and it seems these Canadians were satisfied with it. Classic songs but also tracks from the awesome “The Ones I Condemn” could be witnessed. Sacrifice was hot, hopefully the band can finally receive what they actually should have earned twenty years ago… Let’s hope the band will announce a real tour soon because this is a band that belongs to the list of “must have seen”!

SATAN was supposed to appear at the first Keep It True Festival I visited, some years ago. They didn’t and I remember I was furious about it, not on a pleasant way. I know the band since their everlasting “Court In The Act” album and have always dreamed to see the band plat this entire jewel on stage. This might be the best NWOBHM album ever, you see? I saw meanwhile Blitzkrieg and Satanskrieg (the band Blitzkrieg playing Satan songs) but I wanted to see my idols. I can assure you I was thrilled when I read Satan was added to the bill because I was quite sure it would be something fantastic…and it was! The band played as a bunch of youngsters and the golden guitar duo Steve Ramsey/Russ Tippins did everything I was longing for! “Trial By Fire”, “Blades Of Steel”, “No turning back”, “Hunt You Down”…. Can you imagine this anno 2011? It sounded perfect and Steve Ramsey is still an exceptional guitar player. Brian Ross’s voice doesn’t seem to suffer age and so it was another memorable gig at KIT to me! The band ended their set with “Pull The Trigger” (Blitzkrieg).

I saw MALICE somewhere in 1987, on tour with Slayer. I admit I don’t remember anything from that specific gig, but I assure Slayer was responsible for it. It was one of the best concerts I have ever seen, so I do remember what happened that specific night. Malice never really broke through although their albums can be seen as ‘classic ones’ in the US Metal. For this concert James Rivera was announced as the stand in for James Neal. It’s a pity James Neal didn’t appear on this festival because he will forever contain the perfect voice to perform tracks like “License To Kill” and Breathin' Down Your Neck”. Malice was good and Malice played their classics. James Rivera was the perfect replacer for James Neal and remains one of the best Metal singers ever but most people wanted to see the original Malice. I don’ t know about the future of the band…

I once met Midnight…. It was a few years ago and he was so drunk he really annoyed me. Nevertheless I was sad when I heard the news he passed away. The tribute to Midnight at the previous KIT festival was cold shivering but only a show of CRIMSON GLORY could bring the magic back… But how about the perfect singer? Was there anybody on earth who was able to bring people under his spell by a voice similar to Midnight’s?  It seemed an impossible job but Crimson Glory succeeded by asking the unknown Todd La Torre to join the band. The first things we heard on Youtube were impressive and I suppose everyone’s first thought was that mister La Torre had the perfect voice to bring the spirit of Midnight back! It was obvious that the band would only play songs from their first two albums, albums that belong to the best Metal releases ever. I heard Crimson Glory was perfect in Dynamo-Eindhoven and so I was thrilled to see the band. 

What I witnessed was something I had hardly seen ever before! Song after song Crimson Glory played perfectly, track after track they didn’t have any trouble to bring the magic of the old times back! Todd La Torre is a Godlike singer who hadn’t any troubles to perform songs like “Lady Of Winter”, “Dragon Lady”, “Azrael”, “Red Sharks”, “Painted Skies” and “In Dark Places”. A tribute to Midnight was foreseen and Todd La Torre also honored Matt LaPorte (Jon Oliva’s Pain and Circle II Circle”) who passed away the 20th of April. When Todd La Torre returned to stage to perform “Lost Reflections”, wearing a mask on a smoky bleu stage I wasn’t able to control my emotions anymore; heartbreaking and moving! This was an exceptional concert that proves Crimson Glory must have been a much bigger band! Everyone was impressed and the band really enjoyed this success. The band announced they will release a new album later on, wit Todd La Torre on vocals it will be a hit! Fantastic musicians, extraordinary singer, unforgettable gig!   

 

This was the end of another fantastic edition of this imposing festival Time flies and I am counting again the days to travel back to Lauda-Köningshofen. Already 75% of the tickets are sold so be fast if you want to be there next year with 2 headliners we don’t know yet ... some of the confirmed bands for KIT 2012 edition are: OZ, SWORD, MYSTIK, TENSION, MYSTIC FORCE and OSTROGOTH

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