There’s been no shortage of Testament on UK shores as of late with fans being spoiled to regular shows over the past few years. It wasn’t that long ago we were reporting on not only a killer show at London’s renowned Roundhouse shortly followed by yet another performance at the one and only Bloodstock festival. It’s only fitting that we see the band return on their own headline tour in support of 2017s Brotherhood Of The Snake and this time, they’re bringing some friends.
Its Vader that have been opening on this leg of the tour and it’s a surprise to see how early the band are on. What’s even more surprising is just how packed the venue is already. There is a sea of Vader shirts all losing their shit to the band who are packing as much into the setlist as possible in the short amount of time they have. Naturally it’s 2017s ‘Dark Age’ record that is showcased more in their set, and the fans eat it up. From a distance this can be mistaken as your typical death metal live show, one that’s been seen a thousand times, but for the Vader fans in the room, it’s without a doubt the highlight of the night.
The real surprise of the night however comes from no other than Thrash Legends Annihilator. Some may call them underrated, The ghost of thrash metals past, a forgotten favourite. Tonight, however Annihilator are more than that. They’re swinging for the fences and they’re taking no prisoners. The fans don’t know it yet, but their thrash assault is easily competing tonight with Testament. ‘King Of The Kill; is our first reminder of just how truly great a thrash band Annihilator still are galloping along at a hundred miles per hour. ‘Alison Hell’ of course makes its usual appearance and no one is sorry for it. Jeff Waters all these years later still plays as if he has multiple hands and fingers, shredding in ways that would put most to shame. Tonight, Annihilator are a real treat for both their hardcore fans as well as those who may have been living under a rock all this time. Whilst the set felt like it was over before it even started, there is a short reminder from those chatting in the crowds that the band are in fact back October 27th live at The Underworld in Camden for their very own show in support of their latest record ‘For the Demented’.
There is a buzz in the air as the Testament crew ready the stage for the band. It’s the last night of the tour and in doing so, the jokers are out as the Annihilator backdrop is fashioned with duct tape to read TESTICLE. Of course, the fun and games stop and business picks up as the band appear with mean Gene Hoglan himself towering over his drum kit. ‘Brotherhood of The Snake’ stabs through the speakers like a knife to the face and from here the show begins. There’s a huge selection of songs on the list for tonight that would please even the most casual of fan. ‘The Pale King’, ‘Into the Pit’ & ‘Low’ are all there shining bright on a stage struggling to contain the beast that is Testament but rest assured, it may not be the biggest venue in the world, but the fans are going to make security work for their money regardless as bodies flow over the barrier..
It seems on this night all members of the band are given a chance to showcase some skills as everyone gets time for a solo/ A dated concept? Sure, but it’s hard to ignore the skills and talent in our presence tonight and that is only emphasised further here.
A night filled with utter Thrash metal madness with a Testament that is by far one of the best versions of themselves right now. Each song executed precisely and with the energy of a much younger version of the band. This latest incantation of Testament will have you quivering at your knees, throwing the horns up and headbanging. Thrash is alive and well people.