KIT XXI Day 2 @ Lauda-Königshofen (DE)

HEAVY LOAD / EXHORDER / HITTMAN / WINTERHAWK / SARACEN / BLIND ILLUSION / CEREBUS / GATEKEEPER / IRONFLAME

Date: 28th April, 2018
Venue: Tauberfrankenhalle
Ticket: €69 / $79 (2-day)
Promoter: Keep It True
Photos: Erika Wallberg


The second day started calmer as there was no rush for the tickets anymore. It really wasn't a problem to get a ticket as the queue was gone after the first few bands and there were a steady bunch left. It had to be since everyone buying had to present this year's ticket. The debate now though was about the price being raised almost 1/3 instead. Significant increase of course but I still think it is a decent price per band.

One real surprise this morning came from IRONFLAME. I didn't have time to look them up prior to the festival and decided to just enjoy a first encounter live instead. In a way, I regret it since I really liked what I saw and heard. Musically, they're a perfect fit for me. Up-tempo US Metal with great riffs and melodies. On the other hand, reading it is more of a one-man project with everything done by Andrew D'Cagna rather than a band might have turned me off as well.

But they surely had a nice drive in their playing; both “Firestorm” and “Marching On” came across really well. I really enjoyed the changes in intensity in the latter. And musically IRONFLAME left nothing more to wish for. The line-up hitting the stage at 'Keep It True' consisted of some really prominent names for the genre, including members from ICARUS WITCH, DOFKA to mention a few. So there's no wonder it sounded good.

Two more that stood out were “Eternal Night” and “Sword And Shield”. In general it was the songs from IRONFLAME's first album “Lightning Strikes The Crown” that really appealed to me. But also “Sword And Shield”, the kind of IRON MAIDEN-esque, twin guitar, harmonic track sounded great as well. The set ended with “Shadow Queen”, not my favorite out of the bunch. It had a rather slack beat although a good melody it didn't really live up to the standard of the rest of the set. But absolutely, a great opening of the second day it was.

IRONFLAME setlist:

01. “Firestorm”
02. “The Contract”
03. “Marching On
04. “The Gorgon”
05. “Eternal Night”
06. “Sword And Shield”
07. “Kingdom Come”
08. “Fighting Onward”
09. “Shadow Queen”

IRONFLAME

Ironflame @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Ironflame @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Ironflame @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Ironflame @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Ironflame @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
Ironflame @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Ironflame @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Ironflame @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Ironflame @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Ironflame @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
Ironflame @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Ironflame @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Ironflame @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Ironflame @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Ironflame @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)

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I was really looking forward to seeing GATEKEEPER. I really loved Jean-Pierre Abboud with BORROWED TIME some years ago. Having him on stage this year too sure was a good addition. Of course, GATEKEEPER as a band is great too and that helped to boost my expectation of this show.

The sound was a little rougher here as compared to the very clean performance by IRONFLAME. Musically, it's not really the same either and after IRONFLAME this felt a little dim. It was still heavy and dynamic but GATEKEEPER didn't have the same flow in the music. “Blade Of Cimmeria” sounded fantastic though, as did “East Of Sun” so perhaps GATEKEEPER needed the first two songs to get going. To manage the contrasts in the latter of those two requires skills. The balance between the mellow and rougher parts was there and I really like Jean-Pierre's expressive style of performing. That was as good here as last time.

The nature of “Swan Road Saga” makes it a little folksy sounding. But that too worked and I really would have had another original instead of the KISS classic “Detroit Rock City”. I understand why a song like that is picked, it surely served its purpose as it got people moving and GATEKEEPER did a rather crazy version of it. So that was all good but it would have been better to end with another original.

GATEKEEPER setlist:

01. “Warrior Without Fear”
02. “Bell Of Tarantia”
03. “Blade Of Cimmeria”
04. “East Of Sun”
05. “Tale Of Twins”
06. “Richard III” (TREDEGAR cover)
07. “Swan Road Saga”
08. “Detroit Rock City” (KISS cover)

GATEKEEPER

Gatekeeper @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Gatekeeper @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Gatekeeper @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Gatekeeper @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Gatekeeper @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
Gatekeeper @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Gatekeeper @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Gatekeeper @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Gatekeeper @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Gatekeeper @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
Gatekeeper @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Gatekeeper @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Gatekeeper @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Gatekeeper @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Gatekeeper @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)

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I think when I was getting into music I listened a little too much to the older tough metalhead guys I was hanging out with because I never picked up any CEREBUS album despite really liking what I heard. But it wasn't really approved by the bunch so the record always remained in the store which is a real bummer. It's never too late to change though and getting older and wiser I did pick it up and couldn't for my life understand why CEREBUS wasn't approved.

Speedy “Running Out of Time” which opens “Too Late To Pray” as well as the set sound fantastic and Scott Board vocal performance was amazing. He still sounds fantastic and the dynamics he has in his voice worked perfect for groovier “Taking Your Chances”. Since the whole set, apart from “She Burns” was from that first mighty fine album, the gig was great too. But it surely was more than the album, the band sounded great and it was a lot of fun to watch CEREBUS too. Much due to Scott's great attitude and energy but the band sounded great. The wrap up with “Rock The House Down” and “Too Late To Pray” felt appropriate. The first really shook hard and the epic nature of the title track from that first album was delivered with grace. CEREBUS definitely delivered on top this night.

CEREBUS setlist:

01. “Running Out Of Time”
02. “Taking Your Chances”
03. “Catch Me If You Can”
04. “Distant Eyes”
05. “She Burns”
06. “Rock The House Down”
07. “Too Late To Pray”

CEREBUS

Cerebus @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Cerebus @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Cerebus @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Cerebus @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Cerebus @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
Cerebus @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Cerebus @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Cerebus @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Cerebus @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Cerebus @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
Cerebus @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Cerebus @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Cerebus @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Cerebus @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Cerebus @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)

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I was really looking forward to seeing BLIND ILLUSION again after their absolutely fantastic performance at 'Headbangers Open Air'. The chock it was to see Mark Biederman enter the stage, pick up the guitar and blow everyone away with his playing was so cool. He is a character but the surprise wasn't the same this night. With that said, BLIND ILLUSION still sounded fantastic, even better than last time.

I got hooked on the “Blood Shower” song when buying the “Speed Kills 4” compilation album and I still love it. Therefore, it's a little annoying that BLIND ILLUSION started with that one. It's not so much fun to be stuck in the photo-pit when your favorite songs are played. But it could be worse of course. On the other hand, getting the opportunity to watch Mark play from up close is fascinating. He sure is a great guitarist with a fantastic tone, it's quite aggressive which suites the music perfectly. Getting out in the crowd I could enjoy “Smash The Crystal” and “Vicious Visions”, two other favorites from “The Sane Asylum” album. I think it is so cool that BLIND ILLUSION is out playing again. This show wasn't as freaked out as the one at 'HOA', no rolling around on stage and no karate dance to end it all, just music. Which of course isn't bad, especially not delivered the way it was here.

“Race With The Wizard” was a favorite from the 'HOA' set and I was happy it showed up here again, it was a great ending of this fantastic set and I kept asking myself when would it turn for the worse musically. Everything was really good but could that standard really be kept the whole night.

BLIND ILLUSION setlist:

01. “The Sane Asylum”
02. “Blood Shower”
03. “Vengeance Is Mine”
04. “Kamakazi”
05. “Smash The Crystal”
06. “Vicious Visions”
07. “Metamorphosis Of A Monster”
08. “Death Noise”
09. “Race With The Wizard”

BLIND ILLUSION

Blind Illusion @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Blind Illusion @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Blind Illusion @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Blind Illusion @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Blind Illusion @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
Blind Illusion @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Blind Illusion @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Blind Illusion @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Blind Illusion @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Blind Illusion @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
Blind Illusion @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Blind Illusion @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Blind Illusion @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Blind Illusion @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Blind Illusion @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)

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SARACEN surely could keep it up at least. Compared to when I saw them last time the band felt much more confident now, especially Steve Bettney who really took on the crowd this night. He was even out climbing on the speakers reaching for the first row. After the “We Have Arrived” opener came two from the fantastic “Heroes, Saints & Fools”; “Rock Of Ages” and then “Horsemen of the Apocalypse”. The benefit with the latter of the two is that it is a long piece of music which allowed some extra time in the photo-pit. The downside was, of course, I couldn't enjoy it fully as it was combined with work. It sure sounded fantastic though and the balance between the instruments was fantastic. Since the keyboards are rather prominent in SARACEN's music, which isn't all that common for the 'Keep It True' bands it was great to hear that the sound-guy pulled that off too. After “Meet Me At Midnight” I could enjoy “Heroes, Saints & Fools” from the crowd at least. I love the different presentations of the characters in the verses for that song. It’s pushed on record but definitely comes to life in a live situation more. The melodies are fantastic and very creative and I think that is what sets SARACEN apart from most other bands appearing on this festival. They are more melodic and in general softer of course but the geniality in their songwriting also stands out.

It could only go upwards from there on. It’s so cool to see a crowd unify and supporting the band like this. It is for the love of the music and that I think makes festivals like ‘Keep It True’ unique. It is the music and the quality of the performance that count. Also “Crusader” and “Ready To Fly” which ended the SARACEN set sounded fantastic. And that marked this show as one of my favorites from the festival. What an amazing set, what an amazing band.

SARACEN setlist:

01. “We Have Arrived”
02. “Rock Of Ages”
03. “Horsemen Of The Apocalypse”
04. “Meet Me At Midnight”
05. “Heroes, Saints & Fools”
06. “No More Lonely Nights”
07. “Crusader”
08. “Ready To Fly”

SARACEN

Saracen @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Saracen @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Saracen @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Saracen @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Saracen @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
Saracen @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Saracen @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Saracen @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Saracen @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Saracen @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
Saracen @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Saracen @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Saracen @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Saracen @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Saracen @ Keep It True XXI, Lauda-Königshofen (DE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)

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