|» Testament 2013 02 20||
Flotsam & Jetsam
I have been so excited to Flots til death, ever since I heard that the 'Cautro' line-up was in tact, and that my dreams of death were answered when the dooomsday deceivers were returning to their '80s roots. Granted Eric A. K. is still the band's weakest link, and his vocals will never be what they once were on 'No Place', but guitarist Michael Gilbert and newly sober Edward Carlson are back to being shred wizards, and with the return of Kelly on drums, this was the best set I had seen the band perform in decades!
As they have a bew album due out on Metal Balde in April called 'Ugly Noise', they opened with that title track. Then the mayhem began has they erupted with "Iron Tears", followed by the eponymous natural selection of "Escape From Within". The storm had truly come down again as they ripped through "Hammerhead". Then the obligatory "Swatting At Flies" was played to any who cared about them when they were on MTV for a minute in the early '90s. I would have rather heard their killer cover of Elton John's "Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting". At least they did not play "Wading Through The Darkness".
Then we we both blessed and cursed by three more new songs, as a drunken Eric stumbled around the stage. He began to drift away, and miss certain lyrics and cues. Nevertheless, the crowd was truly pumped to hear and sing along to "H.O.Y.". The closinig number orignally penned by Jason Newstead himself, and the title track to their masterpiece 'No Place For Disgrace' was pure bliss for me.
I was hoping they would have done "I Live, You Die", or "Natural
Enemies", as they are known for playing these songs some nights.
I guess paybacks are a bitch, or it was all some misguided fortune, because,
they actually had a longer set list this night than earlier. Apparently,
Overkill was forced to drop off the tour due to Blitz being hopspitlaized
for pneumonia. Either way, seeing and meeting them was a real high for
Performance: 7 chalices
This very may well be my 20th time seeing Testament. I have witnessed them live in almost every incarnation over the past 25 years, from their highs to low. I was very excited to hear the new songs being performed tonight too. The 'Dark Roots'stage set was very elaborate allowing for the band to go up a level and run around having a hell of a time. Alex was in pure form, Greg was gallopping all around, and Chuck clutching his mic., playing it like a guitar, was raging in whatever manner was necessary to draw the crowd into a total frenzy.
They opened with "Rise Up", and instantly got the crowd to echo, "War!". When they played the Zetro Sousa penned "Burnt Offerings", I was truly estatic, as I watched Eric shred flawlessly. As Chuck introduced "Native Blood" and pointed to his shirt, and the fact that the band was nominated and won an award from the Native America Society for this song and video, the fans went ballistic, as several went repeatedly over the wall. Two more new cuts followed: "True American Hate" and "Dark Roots Of The Earth".
They brought two VIP fans on stage to sing with them on "Into The Pit", but after this I needed to exit the moshtrap, as I was getting hit hard, and I had expensive camera equipment to protect. Once I went to the back of Bogarts club, I could really appreciate the whole stage set better. When I shot the first three songs up close, I was blinded by the strobe lights, and I was annoyed, immediately being pummelled by crowd surfers.
I was quite surprised how many songs were gleaned from 'The Gathering'. This meant that many classics like "Over The Wall", "The Preacher", "Diciples Of The Watch", "Electric Crown" and "Souls Of Black" were all axed from the set list. Thankfully they did not play anything from 'Demonic'. Although, I was greatful that they at least opted to play "Trial By Fire" and "The Haunting".
Overall, Testament are totally back and true to form. Their reign of terror is still in tact. Even though the first strike is still deadly, like a do or die spitfire they keep re-inventing the ritual for a new order of events. There is always more than meets the eye. They are tight, well-organized, and quite proficient. It is amazing that Chuck no longer has his cancer scare, and that he is leading this band to a whole new level, and a wider audience. After all, this formation of damnation is what keeps the legacy going.
Performance: 7 chalices