Dec 2nd 1997
I saw Testament last night. Well, actually, I sort of saw Testament last night. I saw two members of the band and three new guys belt out some great Testament songs, but does that really count? It's difficult to decide, but these questions all seemed to disperse as my brain got hammered by one hell of a brutal show.
As the roadies were doing the last sound check at Foufounes, the band walked right under my feet (I was on the balcony above the stage.) Several of the people hanging off the edge (including me) started growling loudly at the band, who responded with an even more powerful growl back in our direction. I tell ya, Chuck Billy (Vocals) is a big, imposing man. And he was in good form for the concert, singing all his greatest hits, and growling all of his most recent songs. Many of you know the story, Testament, an 80's thrash band who decided to get heavier with age instead of wimping out. Their last album "Demonic" was almost straight death metal. But the switch didn't stop Billy from performing a lot of older material, with a few enhancements here and there using the new vocal style.
Eric Peterson (guitar) spent the show showing who was the guy who wrote the riffs, and he has all my respect. I wasn't really sure who the other members were, Billy joked during the show that the drummer was actually Gene Hoglan after loosing a lot of weight. :) The band does loose some credibility considering the number of times their members have changed in the past few years, but it's current members were obviously talented, and did a good job recreating the Testament sound. Hopefully their lineup will solidify in the near future.
They played lots of older material, a lot of stuff off their "Live at the Fillmore" album like 'Alone In The Dark', 'Eerie Inhabitants', and 'The New Order'. They also played 'Over the Wall', and 'Disciples of The Watch,' followed by 'Practice What You Preach' and 'Souls Of Black'. They didn't play anything off their "Ritual" album, which is sort of a relief considering the songs on that album weren't all that strong. The band obviously knows the kind of music that works live. They played a couple of tunes off "Low" ('Dog Faced Gods', 'Low'), and then played a lot of new material from "Demonic" including 'Demonic Refusal', 'Burning Times', 'Together As One', 'John Doe', and 'Murky Waters'.
The sound at the concert was a little muffled, but that usually happens anyway with two guitars in such a small venue. The kick drum was especially prominent, and their new drummer can certainly blast away with the best of them (especially during the bridge on 'Demonic Refusal'). The energy level for the whole concert was high, and overall I was really impressed with the band. They ended the show with 'Into The Pit', which seemed like a good song to end on considering the violence going on in front of the stage. Hopefully they'll drop by again soon when my ears stop ringing.
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