Bay Area thrash metal behemoths Testament, rolled into Idaho’s Revolution Concert House and Events Center along with Sepultura and Prong last week and the trio crushed everything in its wake. Testament, which is celebrating its 30-year anniversary, released its most potent album in years with the critically acclaimed Brotherhood of the Snake, and the band’s current headline run strikes with an ample dose of the album’s venom.
Brotherhood of the Snake is Testament’s eleventh studio album, and is a more aggressive and spontaneous effort than 2013’s Dark Roots of Earth. It is also a record that took a lot out of the band during its creation, as vocalist Chuck Billy shared with Metalholic last spring. The raw thrash power exuded on Brotherhood of the Snake translates well into the group’s 17-song live onslaught.
Testament opened its set with the title track, “Brotherhood of the Snake,” which served as one of five songs performed from the new record. They also fired up “The Pale King,” “Centuries of Suffering,” “Stronghold,” and the bruising, “Seven Seals.” While the band played half of its new album, they also delivered tracks from eight of their other 10 records.
“Rise Up,” the second song of the set was one of two tracks, from the Dark Roots of Earth album; the other being, “Throne of Thorns.” The band went all the way back to its 1987 debut record, The Legacy for the cuts, “First Strike is Deadly,” and the show closer, “Over the Wall.” They also performed the title tracks from their albums, Practice What You Preach, Low, New World Order, and Souls of Black. Other stand out performances from the set included “Electric Crown,” “Into the Pit,” and “Eyes of Wrath.”
Throughout the set, Testament showcased the enormous individual talents of its members with separate guitar solos from Alex Skolnick and Eric Peterson, and dynamic solos from drummer Gene Hoglan and bassist Steve Di Giorgio. Few metal bands can claim as much individual talent as this collective, and they are one of only a handful of bands that can get away with cutting songs for solos. Chuck Billy’s voice remains as powerful as it ever has, and his command of the crowd is unquestioned.
Testament does not utilize fancy stage gimmickry in its show, but rather focuses on delivering pure aggression. The band perfectly balanced its set with songs that cover its three-decade career, fusing the classic material with a heavy dose of the new.
Prior to Testament, the mighty Sepultura took the stage to deliver a crushing 10-song set that included half of the band’s brutal new record, Machine Messiah. The album is arguably the band’s most potent in years, and it felt right that they should play so much of it, including “I Am the Enemy,” “Phantom Self,” “Alethea,” “Resistant Parasites,” and “Sworn Oath.” Vocalist Derrek Green dominated the stage with his booming voice and massive presence, while drummer Eloy Casagrande anchored the band rhythmically. Guitarist Andreas Kisser ignited his fretboard throughout the set with his underrated play, while bassist Paulo, Jr. kept the groove. The rest of the set included classic Sepultura numbers like “Desperate Cry”, and show closers, “Refuse/Resist,” and “Roots Bloody Roots.”
Crossover thrash legends, Prong, opened the night. Frontman Tommy Victor looked “happy as a clam,” as one fan put it. The trio, which also features drummer Art Cruz, and marks the return of former bassist Mike Longworth, only had time for a few songs, but they made them count. They opened with “Ultimate Authority” off last year’s X-No Absolutes album from which they also played “Cut and Dry.” Then they dropped all the way back to 1990 for the title track from the Beg to Differ album and the title track to 1991’s Prove You Wrong. The remaining set was primarily taken from the band’s seminal 1994 album, Cleansing, from which they performed; “Whose Fist is This Anyway?,” “Another Worldly Device,” and “Snap Your Fingers, Snap your Neck.”
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