April 7, 2017
Gas Monkey Live!
Dallas, TX USA
Review by Mike DiQuinzio
Photos courtesy of Gas Monkey Dallas
Testament Brings The Brotherhood To Dallas
Concerts have the tendency to become predictable after seeing a band multiple times; certain songs are expected while others join the long list of songs you know you'll never hear live again. Having seen Testament many times since the reunion of their classic lineup over a decade ago, I thought I knew what songs I would and would not hear when they played Dallas' Gas Monkey LIVE! on Friday night, but I was completely wrong.
The first hint that there were surprises in store was their entrance music: a sampling of sound effects over the intro to "Legions in Hiding" from 1994's Low, an entire album that sits depressingly on the Dead Song list. This led into "Brotherhood of the Snake," the title track of their outstanding new album. Testament kept to their recent past with the call-and-response of "Rise Up" and the also-new "The Pale King" before performing the first of the night's many surprises.
Each member of Testament was given their own solo spot, the first of which going to guitar virtuoso Alex Skolnick. The crowd gleefully ate up every note he played, but everyone truly got excited when he explored familiar territory with "Signs of Chaos" and segued into "Electric Crown," the opening track of 1992's The Ritual- another album that is rarely touched live nowadays.
Singer Chuck Billy fed off the crowd's overwhelming excitement for the rarities and told everyone that this time around they decided to dig deeper into their catalog, adding "We've gotten a lot of requests for this one lately. This song is called…'LOW'!" And with that, the crowd roared in approval before hurling themselves into each other in the massive pit.
From there, the surprises kept coming. Bassist Steve DiGiorgio's solo was followed by the awesome Low instrumental "Urotsukidoji," which was in turn followed by "Souls of Black." Guitarist Eric Peterson's solo became "Eyes of Wrath," and drummer Gene "the Atomic Clock" Hoglan's solo was so impressive that I can't even remember what followed. One thing is certain, though: each member of Testament was on point throughout the entire show, playing as tightly and aggressively as they did 30 years ago, if not more so.
Testament presented a thorough history of themselves with classics like "First Strike is Deadly," "Into the Pit," and "The New Order" as well as newer songs like "Stronghold," "Centuries of Suffering," and "Throne of Thorns" all getting their due, but some standards unfortunately had to be omitted to make room for the rarities. The most obvious casualty was "Disciples of the Watch," but it was more than made up for with the encore of "Over the Wall" and "Practice What You Preach," although the entire set was an excellent shakeup from what was expected. Testament doesn't have any bad albums so they literally could have played anything at all and we'd have been happy, but the rarities keep the fans' adrenaline level high and I sincerely hope more bands follow their example.
Be sure to pick up Testament's Brotherhood Of The Snake out NOW on Nuclear Blast.