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On stage: Testament

- Testament, Vanize & Delirious - Sep. 1999 - Dortmund (D) -
- No Mercy Festival - Apr. 2003 - Munich (D) -
- Bang-Your-Head - June 2004 - Balingen (D) -
- Testament - April 2007 - Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) -
- RockHard Festival - May 2008 - Gelsenkirchen (D) -
- Priest Feast - Feb. 2009 - Birmingham (GB) -

- April, 27th 2007 – Rio de Janeiro (Bra), Canecão -

So, here I go again, flying more than 1,000 km to Rio de Janeiro to see the return of Testament to Brazil (after 18 years). At that show - in June 1989 - I had the privilege to saw them performing songs of the Practice What You Preach album for the first time. Now, the excitement was the same! The guys are back with an wonderful line-up (almost the original - Chuck Billy , Eric Peterson, Greg Christian, Alex Skolnick) and revived by drummer Nick Barker (Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir, Brujeria, Old Man's Child, Lock Up, Monolith) on the drums and Mr. Barker alone is an attraction. After the gig bassist Greg Christian told me that they are not longer in contact with original drummer Louie Clemente, but he isn't in the band because he has some sort of arm injuries. Nothing personal!
When I arrived at the neighborhood of the venue, with a pouring rain on the head I saw a few headbangers - I think one hundred persons - a fact that caused me some fear. The band will not play is this conditions, specially in Brazil, I thought its time to make a phone call to a friend in the Brazilian crew of the event. Well, he told me that the place is already packed (inside the venue) and of course Testament will play! So... better come in! So thank God - and my friend for the backstage pass.
The place is beautiful and the atmosphere was the best. Bangers of all ages reunited to celebrate their return. The opening acts were good... Warfx and Taurus. Nice performances by the 'cariocas' bands. Good to remind that Taurus was a known metal Brazilian band at the end of the 80's and they returned to do this gig. The old fellas - well, they have almost my age - did great! The sound quality was very good and makes me think about how Testament will sounds.... So, better get a good place to see the show. What about in the front of Alex Skolnick, my favorite guitar player??? Perfect!!!
11:30 PM... The banner with the Testament logo came down, lights were going down and the chords from Eerie Inhabitants (playback) freaked out the place. Well, just the intro from Eerie Inhabitants. Chuck Billy screams "Are you readyyyy????" and The Preacher took place to destroy the venue. Amazing sound, amazing performance!
The set list was very similar to the CD/DVD... Live In London. The Preacher, The New Order (woooww), The Haunting and the hit Electric Crown closes the first part of the show.
Chuck Billy is a very cool guy, always smiling and saying 'thank you' - and of course yelling his amazing thunderous screams. Black and death metallers, die with envy!!!
Sins Of Omission restarted the show. Nice to see Eric Peterson doing some solos - and he did great! At the other side of the stage (my side) Skolnick is having fun. It´s very easy for him to play all the solos. Perfect feeling, speed and performance. He is the guy!!! The next songs were DNR and Three Days In Darkness from the album The Gathering. The old band playing new songs. Just perfect, but I heard something about a chaotic DNR at the São Paulo gig, two days before the Rio gig. Seems like they can't finished this song (lack of rehearsals). Well, fortunately I was in Rio, not in São Paulo.
Nick Barker was amazing at the drums! He played Louie's parts - and yes, Lombardo's parts - tooking care to not ruin the original parts. Well, sometimes he made something different! Great!!!
Time for classics, if some of the others songs are not classics. Trial By Fire, Practice What You Preach, Souls Of Black and the great ballad The Legacy, sung by the crowd in the Brazilian style, I mean, everybody singing out loud!
The band was having a great time for sure and Greg told me at the backstage that every gig of the Brazilian tour was amazing. Seeing him and Eric on stage it's clear that they were having a great time.
Into The Pit and the totally classic Over The Wall were last songs. The place shook!!! But they returned to play Alone In The Dark, making everybody sung the chorus lots of times in a good rock and roll band style! Disciples Of The Watch finished the party.
One of the best gigs I ever saw, perfect in everything! The band seems like to getting better everyday! Cheers for them!!! I had a great time with them backstage after the show. Great guys, true headbangers, loving what they are doing! I hope Greg could do a nice show at Belo Horizonte (next gig), cause his hands were really hurting. Take it easy Greg, your bass is your friend!!!
Time to rest, cause Motörhead is in the other day and I will not miss them!!!
Someone told me that Testament played Burnt Offerings at São Paulo... One more song. But that's ok, I can't ask for more!!!!

Gus Rosa


No Mercy Festival:
Testament, Marduk, Death Angel,
Die Apokalyptischen Reiter, Nuclear Assault,
Pro-Pain, Malevolent Creation & Darkane
- April, 16th 2003 - Munich (D), Georg-Elser-Halle -

I'm more interested in the festival package in the thrash bands and not that much in the rest of the bill. Anyway, it should be fun. What I have to criticize is that there wasn't a possibility to leave to venue to get some fresh air during this metal marathon. Please think this over and next time give us, the fans, a chance to get fresh air!
Opener tonight were the Swedish melodic death metal heads of Darkane. Unfortunately just a few fans were inside the venue to watch them. They were out to promote Expending Senses. The band did a very good job, especially guitarist Klas Ideberg presented razor-sharp riffs. Also drummer Peter Wildoer should be mentioned. He's one of the genre's best. If the band is able to increase their songwriting they soon will be out to chase the finest like Children Of Bodom, In Flames and other top acts.
Next in line the American band Malevolent Creation. Their singer did his best to move the fans. They look very professional on stage, but not my cup of tea. Sorry.
The New Yorkers Pro-Pain are a long time around, started really heavy and now are a pure hardcore. Usually on stage as a four-some, this time as a trio. Guitarist Eric Klinger got sick just 2 days before the tour started. Actually I prefer their early stuff, but singer / bassist Gary Meskil and his pals did the best to compensate the missing part. Well done!
Then it was time for one of the thrash metal acts - Nuclear Assault. Even if they aren't my heroes, but... The Americans around singer John Connelly decided to present their old classics and so a mosh pit was build in front of the stage. During songs like Game Over and Hang The Pope almost everyone was headbanging, moshing like John Connelly. They still play thrash metal like it was in the mid-80's, even if they never made it big, there are still fans of them and some remember their 1987 tour with Atomkraft and Agent Steel.
I won't say anything about Die Apokalyptischen Reiter, coz personally I would categorize that as garbage. No offence! Just my personal opinion.
The a dream came true - Death Angel! For many they are the headliners of this festival. When the debut of Death Angel was released in 1987 they were teenagers and so this thrashers looked still young. Songs like Seemingly Endless Time and Kill As One were some of the best. Singer Mark Osegueda probably isn't the best singer, but did an excellent job. The crowd went crazy. Headbanging, moshing. Unfortunately it was over much to soon. I guess that most of the people in the audience will agree, they should come back soon!
The Swedish band Marduk are some of the genres best, but today it wasn't their audience. Even if the guys presented their mid-tempo songs and skipped the fast ones. Perhaps it would have been a better idea to not to bring Marduk, Malevolent Creation and Die Apokalyptischen Reiter and therefore give the other bands more time to play.... Who agrees?
The last in line - Testament. It's been awhile since the fans got shocked by the news that singer Chuck Billy is suffering from cancer. He lost his hair (had welded pigtails), but is healthy and this dark period in his life is over. The Californians kicked off their 50 min. long set with D.N.R. followed by Down For Life, both from The Gathering. Then the quintet with temporarily drummer Asgeir Mickelson (Borknagar) did a travel back in time and presented songs like Low, Into The Pit, Trial By Fire and Over The Wall. As encores they played Dog-faced Gods and Disciples Of The Wrath. It was almost half past 1 a.m. and everybody was done. Actually I think that a billing with 8 bands is too much for fans and a I hope next time we don't get such a mixed billing and that the bands get more time. Thanks and good night!

Peter Haber


Testament, Vanize & Delirious
- Sept., 30th 1999 - Dortmund (D), Ruhr-Rock-Hallen -

A few hundred fans showed up to see Testament in Dort­mund. Delirious, a German band, opened up. Sorry, I can't tell a lot about them... The band played a 30 min. long set of their debut which delivers old school thrash metal. The 5 youngsters present a solid show and the audience liked what they see.
Next were Vanize which toured a lot in the past, but never made it. The band sounds similar to Accept which is easy to explain. Singer Peter is the younger brother of Udo Dirkschneider! Vanize rocked, but the fans were there for headbanging action! A good per­formance, but not what the fans wanted to see. Vanize were there to present their current album Bootlicker. The power metaller played a mixture of songs from their debut Twins and their latest release.
No more waiting..... Testament entered the stage! The Bay Area thrasher started with DNR and Down For Life. Chuck Billy and his band gone mad on stage. Headbanging action on stage and in front of it. That's what the fans waited for! Testament are back to conquer Europe with The Gathering! And they will return in Febuary, but first they rocked Dortmund! The setlist incl. Demonic, Low, Souls Of Black, Eyes Of Wrath, Legacy, Practice What You Preach, Dog-Faced Gods, New Order and a few more. To play Legacy surprised the fans, none expected it, but the thrashers appreciate it. A few minutes to cool downa and relax for the next attack. Anyway, Testament is Chuck Billy and Eric Peterson! No doubt, for the Californians this tour is a major success. Personally I'm looking forward to see them again next year!

Claudia Ehrhardt


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