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Koko, London
Martyn Millard

martyn millard

I first saw Testament on the now infamous Clash Of The Titans tour in 1990. The one thing that took the '15 year old me' by surprise, even then, was how tight musically this band was. I'm pleased to say that nothing has changed.

The Koko in Camden is at maximum capacity when Testament take the stage. Opening with 'Rise up', the opening track from this year's 'Dark Roots Of Earth' album, the band then tear through a mixture of classics such as 'The Preacher' and 'The New Order' and new songs including 'True American Hate' and the anthemic 'Native Blood'. The overall sound is good. Really good in fact.

Previous gigs I've been to in this venue have been hit and miss, due largely to to the shape and structure of the building, but from the three different vantage points I found myself in, the band sounded crystal clear, helped largely by the twin guitars of Alex Skolnick and Eric Peterson who prove that, in this genre anyway, there are none better.

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Rhythm section Greg Christian and latest edition to the drum stool Mike Hernandez are so tight they seem like they've been playing together for many years, but it is man-mountain vocalist Chuck Billy that impresses the most. After the best part of thirty years, his voice and stage presence is as good, if not better than ever.

'More Than Meets The Eye' sees the band step it up further and from here on in its a collection of old favourites which sends the crown into total chaos. 'Alone In The Dark' provides one of the only thrash Metal sing and wave along occurrences I've ever seen, whilst 'Practice What You Preach', 'Over The Wall' and 'Disciples Of The Watch' display how strong the back catalogue really is.

The Bay Area giants then return for an encore of slightly surprising song choices, namely 'D.N.R(Do Not Resuscitate)' and '3 Days In Darkness' from the much forgotten about, but underrated 'The Gathering album'. As set closer 'The Formation Of Damnation' leaves our ears ringing, its impossible not to notice the many grins on the faces of satisfied punters.

On leaving, I overhear someone say that "it should really have been 'the Big Five' not Four." The 15-year-old in me finds it hard to disagree.

Set List
Rise Up
The New Order
The Preacher
Native Blood
True American Hate
More Than Meets The Eye
Dark Roots Of Earth
Into The Pit
Practice What You Preach
Over The Wall
Alone In The Dark
Disciples Of The Watch

D.N.R (Do Not Resuscitate)
3 Days In Darkness
The Formation Of Damnation

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