KIT XVII Day 1 @ Lauda-Königshofen (DE)

JAG PANZER / FLOTSAM & JETSAM / WARRIOR / SINNER / HEXX / BATTLEAXE / KARION / DEEP MACHINE / RANGER / STALLION

Date: 25th April, 2014
Venue: Tauberfranken Halle
Ticket: €55 / $63 (two days)
Promoter: Keep It True
Photos: Erika Wallberg


Another year of waiting is finally over and the familiar setting of Tauberfranken Halle in its glory with parking-lots, campsites and a whole bunch of metalheads exactly in the way they supposed to be. That along with ‘Headbangers Open Air’ were the best of the year and the occasions where I met the most people I know. All familiar faces mixed with new, which some will be friends before the weekend is over. The same goes for the bands. Most are familiar but there’s always something new to discover. This year held two of those, each band opening one day of the festival.

And yes, Germany’s STALLION was absolutely one of the bands that really made a strong impression on me. German bands tend to sound very good and perfect most of the time but they can also be a bit square lacking personality, even if they sound perfect for the genre they play. I’d say that STALLION actually had personality. Sure, they play old school Heavy Metal in the most traditional way but the mix of NWOBHM as well as the more Epic sound from the mid to late '80s together with a German touch were perfectly mixed. Vocalist Paul sounds like a mix between Sebastian Bach and Michael Kiske, which is a very good grade I think.

As it usually happens with ‘Keep It True’, the opening bands give it all to put on a great show and STALLION did exactly this. But towards the end of their set it showed that they lacked the routine more experienced bands have. The show kind of slowed down for the last few songs. Somewhere around “Watch Out” it felt like STALLION’s energy had been depleted. But they still sounded very good straight through and that they played a ROCK GODDESS (which is one of the highest request, together with HELLION I would have for ‘KIT’ or ‘HOA’ to book in the future) cover, “Heavy Metal Rock'n Roll” was really cool. So yes, STALLION made a very strong impression and set the bar high for the coming bands this first day of the festival.

STALLION setlist:

01. “Wild Stallions”
02. “Killing Time”
03. “The Right One”
04. “Bill To Pay”
05. “Shadow Run”
06. “Give It To Me”
07. “Watch Out”
08. “Heavy Metal Rock'n Roll” (ROCK GODDESS cover)
09. “Canadian Steele”

STALLION

Stallion @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Stallion @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Stallion @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Stallion @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Stallion @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
Stallion @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Stallion @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Stallion @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Stallion @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Stallion @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
Stallion @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Stallion @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Stallion @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Stallion @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Stallion @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)

(click to enlarge)


Finnish RANGER was another band that I dug into prior to the festival, which again is something I have to thank Oliver and Co. for because I might had missed out on something really good. RANGER brings RAZOR, EXCITER or EXODUS and such bands to mind and sure this is something I love. What RANGER lacks (which is all good), contrary to other Finnish bands, is that they don’t have the high level of perfection, which I think makes lots of bands very boring because the Rock ’n’ Roll feel is gone. But not RANGER, I really enjoyed their raw attitude and sense of having fun onstage. They still have the skills in playing which also goes for most Finnish bands and can do most anything.

“Supreme Evil” from the EP “Knights of Darkness” as well as demo “Combat Metal” was dedicated to the old school RANGER fans and looking at the first few rows there seemed to be lots of them. Especially the response in between songs with the chanting RANGER, RANGER, RANGER... were very impressive for the second band on the billing. Also, the sound had improved a lot for RANGER as compared to STALLION. Apart from songs from demos and the aforementioned “Knights Of Darkness” RANGER also played unreleased tracks like the set opener “Shock Skull” and “Knights Of Darkness” and “Omen Of Doom”, both really good ones. So, with a solid set of songs and a great energetic live show I think RANGER should easily give bands as EVIL INVADERS or STRIKER a match for their money.

RANGER setlist:

01. “Shock Skull”
02. “Touch Of Death”
03. “Supreme Evil”
04. “Combat Metal”
05. “Omen Of Doom”
06. “Steel Dawn”
07. “Knights Of Darkness”
08. Drum Solo
09. “Ranger”

RANGER

Ranger @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Ranger @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Ranger @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Ranger @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Ranger @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
Ranger @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Ranger @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Ranger @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Ranger @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Ranger @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
Ranger @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Ranger @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Ranger @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Ranger @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Ranger @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)

(click to enlarge)


And then the question was: "could DEEP MACHINE match the very strong opening of the festival?" First impression said they could and that’s for sure. Vocalist Lenny Baxter looked like Rob Halford’s evil twin in his studded leather costume. Sometimes it can be too much when these '80s bands try to re-create the good old days. But not with DEEP MACHINE! Latest effort “Rise Of The Machine” is a killer album sounding old-school with a modern touch. After all, Metal from the heart never fails. “Witchild” and on the album already amazing “Black Priestess” sounded even better live. So did “The Gladiator”, with the catchy but dark and fateful chorus is one of my favorites from the album.

Sure, DEEP MACHINE don’t share the same level of energy with STALLION and RANGER but they still sounded very good and as it is with some bands, they don’t have to do much to fill the stage. The magic is there anyway. This happened occasionally for DEEP MACHINE, or actually most of the time but there were a few songs in the set when the whole thing died a little bit. I’m not sure why but I found myself looking in other direction that to the stage on a few instances. In any case, DEEP MACHINE turned out to be good match to the two openers.

DEEP MACHINE setlist:

01. “Demon Preacher”
02. “Witchild”
03. “Whispers In The Black”
04. “Warhead”
05. “Iron Cross”
06. “Black Priestess”
07. “The Gathering”
08. “Hell Forest”
09. “The Wizard”
10. “The Gladiator”
11. “Deep Machine”

DEEP MACHINE

Deep Machine @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Deep Machine @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Deep Machine @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Deep Machine @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Deep Machine @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
Deep Machine @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Deep Machine @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Deep Machine @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Deep Machine @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Deep Machine @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
Deep Machine @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Deep Machine @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Deep Machine @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Deep Machine @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Deep Machine @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)

(click to enlarge)


KARION was actually one of the bands I was looking forward to seeing live, but also the band that I was the most hesitant whether they would put on a good show. Normally US old-school Metal bands that get to come over to Europe and play do kick-ass shows. BLOOD FEAST, SHOCK PARIS and of course LETHAL are very good examples of this; bands that sound great on record (even if the sound can leave more to wish for) but outdo themselves live with horse lengths. Could KARION do the same? My main concern was how they would fill the setlist with songs since they’ve only released (oh well) one EP…

Well, no. KARION’s music wasn’t enough for a whole set so in one way this became kind of a double show. Because vocalist Chris Cronk and guitarist Art Villareal are also members of S.A SLAYER so songs from this band were added to the set. Damn cool I say and it was of course great to get to hear these songs live. But again, it feels a little strange to put a band like this on the bill. I don’t think KARION lived up to my full expectations though. Musically it all sounded good and it was a few steps up compared to the KARION EP “Iron Shadows”, both from a performance as well as a sound perspective. Still, KARION’s performance lacked energy, or at least it was not enough to match precious bands on the bill they fell a bit flat.

KARION setlist:

01. “Against All Flags”
02. “Silent Fury”
03. “We Are The Law” (S.A. SLAYER cover)
04. “There For None To See”
05. “Prepare To Die” (S.A. SLAYER cover)
06. “Final Holocaust” (S.A. SLAYER cover)
07. “Unholy Book” (S.A. SLAYER cover)
08. “To Ride The Demon Out” (S.A. SLAYER cover)
09. “Iron Shadows”
10. “Panzer”

KARION

Karion @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Karion @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Karion @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Karion @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Karion @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
Karion @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Karion @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Karion @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Karion @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Karion @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
Karion @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Karion @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Karion @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Karion @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Karion @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)

(click to enlarge)


Things picked up very fast though. BATTLEAXE released one hell of an album entitled “Heavy Metal Sanctuary” and they seemed charged to live up to that standard onstage as well. There is something really special with NWOBHM bands these days, especially the ones that can regenerate the hunger they (should have) felt back in the days. With increased playing skills over the years, these bands sound amazing and there’s not one new band that can match the depth in the music which only experience can give.

I think the way BATTLEAXE did the show, starting off with new stuff like “A Prelude To Battle - Legions Unite” and then with two classics, “Ready To Deliver” and “Power From The Universe”, was absolutely fantastic. And then take a trip through the new album again. The good thing with ‘KIT’ is that almost everyone has done his homework so it really doesn’t matter if the band plays new or old material, the response is good anyway. And this also happened for BATTLEAXE who by the way rocked hard. Then for the climax moment BATTLEAXE closed their set with another batch of classics, “Chopper Attack”, and the absolute last one “Burn This Town”. It’s actually a bit crazy with the standard of performance from the bands at this edition of ‘KIT’, and it should be hard to top BATTLEAXE’s set.

BATTLEAXE setlist:

01. “A Prelude To Battle - Legions Unite”
02. “Ready To Deliver”
03. “Power From The Universe”
04. “Rebel With A Cause”
05. “Romeo”
06. “Heavy Metal Sanctuary”
07. “Hail To The King”
08. “Too Hot For Hell”
09. “Revolution”
10. “Chopper Attack”
11. “Burn This Town”

BATTLEAXE

Battleaxe @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Battleaxe @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Battleaxe @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Battleaxe @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Battleaxe @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
Battleaxe @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Battleaxe @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Battleaxe @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Battleaxe @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Battleaxe @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
Battleaxe @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Battleaxe @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Battleaxe @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
Battleaxe @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Battleaxe @ Keep It True XVII, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)

(click to enlarge)

click NEXT to continue reading