Testament are legends in the world of Thrash Metal and they would be releasing a magnum opus with “The Formation Of Damnation” just around the time of this performance. The show was at B.B. King Blues Club and to see more just scroll past the logo below.
Artist: Testament Venue: B.B. King Blues Club (New York, NY) Opener: Nethereal, Martyrd Date: 4/6/2008 Label: Nuclear Blast Records
When you are looking for a good solid thrashing there is nothing like a little Testament to set you right and this craving need was what drew over 1000 Metal maniacs to New York’s home for Metal – B.B. King Blues Club tonight. It was only a couple of years ago that the Bay Area Thrash Metal juggernauts had reunited with their full compliment of original members and delivered the CD and DVD “Live In London”. So great was the response to this release that new music would be planned for the not too distant future. The only difference in the lineup roster would be in terms of drummers as original member Louie Clemente would be replaced by Nick Barker who in turn would be replaced by Paul Bostaph. Testament music has always held a special place in the hearts and minds of Metal heads and while they never achieved the status of Metallica or Anthrax, their sound has never really suffered over the years nor did the band stray from its original course purely for the sake of commercial acceptance like some other bands had done over the years. They would bring with them two unsigned openers tonight and the task of gearing up the crowd fell to both Martyrd and Nethereal. I had never seen Martyrd perform before and tonight would not change this for me, and while I enjoyed some of what Nethereal had done when I caught them at another show, this evening was all about Testament for me and no one else would have managed to keep my interest. Based on the faces in the crowd when I walked in, I could tell that no one was left bored before Testament was set to come out. The show itself had been sold out for weeks and this was one of those events where you saw the audience filing in early to get a preferential spot either up front or at the bar. The best way to describe the mood and flowing energy around the club was best left at electric. It was a feeling that you had to be in the room to best appreciate but I am sure you can trust me on this. Continue reading Testament @ B.B. King Blues Club (4/6/2008)→
It’s clear to many that Alex Skolnick is a very busy guitarist because not only is he a founding member of Bay Area Thrashers Testament, but he also is a regular member of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. When he is not delivering smoldering Metal or Holiday Cheer he is kicking it back with his Jazz Trio. We caught them at a performance in NYC recently and those who wish to see more can scroll past the logo below.
Artist: Alex Skolnick Trio Venue: The Knitting Factory (New York, NY) Opener: Kelly Rudick Date: 4/13/2007 Label: Magnatude Records
Tonight was going to be something different and a welcome change at that from all the non-stop Metal events that have been passing through New York City. By now I am sure that every Metal fan on the planet knows that Alex Skolnick, legendary Testament guitar slinger and member of the juggernaut known as the Trans-Siberian Orchestra has a Jazz trio. Simply labeled The Alex Skolnick Trio, these guys deliver quite a treat for all fans of music and not only the jazz contingent. Alex and Company first gained notoriety for taking Heavy Metal classics such as “Detroit Rock City” and “No One Like You” and morphing them around with a unique and competent Jazz twist. A crazy idea one would think at first but when you hear it recorded and then witness it live you see just how well it actually works. In 2002, the Trio released their first album “Goodbye To Romance: Standards For A New Generation” and it primarily focused on the cover renditions with a couple of originals thrown in for good measure. Fast forward to 2007 on this Friday the 13th where the group would be performing a special set at the intimate Tap Bar section of the Knitting Factory. This is the club beneath the main space and it offers the perfect setting for a group like this and allows you to be right up close to the action if you choose to do so. I caught Green Carnation here when they passed through and for certain groups this is a great space to perform on. Tonight would be a special gig as I said because they were celebrating the release of their third CD entitled “Last Day In Paradise”. Continue reading Alex Skolnick Trio @ The Knitting Factory (4/13/2007)→
Artist: Testament Title: “The Spitfire Collection” Label: Spitfire Records Release Date: 3/13/2007 Genre: Heavy Metal Rating: 3.5/5
Testament has long been a band that is listed among the revered when it comes to the brand of Thrash Metal that originated from the Bay Area in California so many years ago. Albums such as “Practice What You Preach”, “The Ritual” and “Souls Of Black” are cited as classics in the genre and the membership of Billy, Clemente, Skolnick, Christian and Peterson are named as legends in Heavy Metal as a whole based on these releases. While popular with Metal heads far and wide, they would not achieve the levels of success that bands like Metallica, Anthrax, Slayer and Megadeth did but despite this would continue to thrive for the sake of the genre. “The Spitfire Collection” is an interesting release for while it might touch upon a couple of notable numbers from the bands historic past, its true aim is to give you a taste of the bands last decade or so. The CD covers the albums “Live At The Fillmore”, “The Gathering”, “Demonic”, “First Strike Still Deadly” and “Live In London”, all of which were released on this label when the band signed on to them. As you leaf through the liner notes, you will see that while Testament remained a very active band since their inception, they were plagued with a number of lineup changes over the years. Don’t get me wrong as these changes would often find some incredible players in the bands roster, and how bad could they do with drummers such as Gene Hoglan and Dave Lombardo behind the kit. The material presented from both “The Gathering” and “Demonic” is perhaps the heaviest that the band would ever release and the songs showed the band could change with the times as necessary. Through it all, Chuck Billy and Eric Peterson remained the only members of the original lineup across this span of albums. The changes continued until making almost a complete 360 degree turn as the original members would reunite for the “Live In London” CD and DVD. The album closes with three tracks from this particular release and should make many run to the shops or online to purchase their own copy. Continue reading “The Spitfire Collection” by Testament→
Artist: Testament Title: Live In London Label: Spitfire Records Release Date: 11/1/2005 Genre: Heavy Metal Rating: 8/10
Metal fans certainly got a good amount of music in 2005 as it seemed to be a great year for Metal Reunion releases. We first saw Judas Priest as a fully reunited with Halford lineup tour the world and not long after that word came down that the 1985 lineup of Anthrax would reunite and tour as well. It was only a matter of time before we would find the original lineup of Testament doing the same thing. That’s right you would now be able to own a new recorded concert of the classic Testament members: Chuck Billy, Alex Skolnick, Greg Christian, Eric Peterson and Louie Clemente (also joined by John Tempesta a veteran of Testament and White Zombie). The CD documents a concert performed to a sold out crowd in London from early in 2005. Believe me this CD kicks some serious ass and offers no lag time or hesitation as the band belts out hit after hit. I was only a fan of the first three records and can attest that all of my favorites are included here to enjoy. The sound is clear and works well with the levels of the audience whose cheering is mixed in well. I enjoyed hearing Alex Skolnick play this kind of stuff on guitar again, as he was always one of the best the business had. Chuck Billy sounds great and his growls have not suffered over time. Louie Clemente’s drumming is solid and he comes in for the last 6 songs of the CD. All of the other songs are played by John Tempesta to a vote of approval. As you listen you can find that the band does not miss a trick and sound like they had not moved apart but instead remained together. This is especially apparent in the twin guitar work of Peterson and Skolnick. Continue reading “Live In London” (CD) by Testament→
Artist: Testament Title: “Live In London” Label: Eagle Vision Release Date: 11/1/2005 Genre: Heavy Metal Rating: 8/10
This DVD was released on the same day as the CD and both of them feature the performance of the reunited Testament “classic” lineup. Once again you can see Chuck Billy, Alex Skolnick, Eric Peterson, Greg Christian and Louie Clemente on one stage. You don’t have to be a Testament fan to enjoy the video but of course it certainly helps you get a lot more out of it. Filmed in London as the title denotes the video captures the guys smashing through a selection of their greatest songs for a Metal hungry audience. While it is strictly a live performance shoot of the band you can actually sense the excitement as it all goes down. Lead singer Chuck Billy seems in top-notch form after dealing with cancer and his voice comes through if anything a little rougher than the old days. That’s good for Testament material to be most certain. I enjoyed being able to see this DVD as I missed the performances when they did them in the area as the shows were few and far between. I have always been a fan of the playing of Alex Skolnick and while I enjoy his jazz adventures of late and his work with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, it was fantastic to see him doing these classic numbers. Everyone in the band performs admirably and I even referenced in the CD review that you would not think they had been on different avenues for so long. It sounds on point on the CD and when you watch it on the DVD the band shows you that they are true to the music and capable of still delivering it with the intensity that it merited. Veteran drummer John Tempesta handles the beginning half of the DVD and then Louie comes out to give the crowd the rest of the set. Everyone in the audience is going berserk and rightly so. These Bay-Area Thrashers gave some anthems back in the day and you can see the audience eager to receive more and more. Continue reading “Live In London” (DVD) by Testament→