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Testament: First Avenue, Minneapolis, Minnesota
3rd May 2017

jeff kunze
Words and Pictures: Jeff Kunze


Testament have been tearing up the States in support of 2016s release ,'Brotherhood Of The Snake', and it's a tremendous bill that also features Sepultura and Prong.

The Bay Area thrash kings have been at it for over three decades and show no signs of slowing down with the latest record proving that the blueprint created so long ago is as relevant as ever. The band features Chuck Billy (vocals), Eric Peterson and Alex Skolnick on guitars, Steve DiGiorgio (bass) and Gene Hoglan (drums).


Prong and Sepultura set the bar high after fantastic sets and Testament simply snapped that bar in half as they quickly engulfed the room when they opened up with 'Brotherhood Of The Snake' and then the blazer 'Rise Up'. The thrash pioneers showed how lethal they can be.

Chuck Billy's presence is instantly felt as soon as he hits the stage. The iconic singer still delivers lyrics with an aggressive attack and snarl. It was a vintage performance that included the shortened hand-held microphone holder that lit up and also acted as an air guitar. Chuck may have gone through more pics than the guitar players.


The set featured five songs from the new album; Along with the title track, the band played 'The Pale King', 'Seven Seals', 'Centuries Of Suffering' and my personal favorite, 'Stronghold'. The material sounded ferocious and I enjoyed hearing these songs live for the first time.

The guitar duo of Skolnick and Peterson took the material to another level in a live setting. The two play off each and supply the electricity that amplifies Testament's sound while Peterson punishes you with the riffs as Skolnick adds the dressing in perfect harmony.


Putting together a set-list with such an extensive catalog can't be easy. Included tonight were some classics like 'Electric Crown', 'Into The Pit' and 'Souls Of Black'. The bruising 'Low' and 'First Strike Is Deadly' furthered the intensity of the crowd.

With Chuck bringing down thunder and the guitars providing the lightning, the rhythm section of DiGiorgio and Hoglan held the chaos together in tight fashion. I had not seen Steve on bass before tonight but I was impressed with his energy and interaction with the crowd. Not much needs to be said about the drums except for two words - Gene Hoglan, and that's enough said. He's a beast behind the kit and his career resume speaks for itself.


Testament ripped through the set with tenacity as they pulled out 'The New Order' before the encore. The band returned to the stage and Chuck told a story about shooting a video down in Texas. After filming they went to a club to check out a little band named Pantera. That video was 'Practice What You Preach' and the band launched into the song that has an infectious drive and hook.

The ending of the night showcased where they had started. Testament's very own calling card, 'Over The Wall' from the 1987 release 'The Legacy', brought the show to end in a full sonic assault.


Testament's status in the thrash world has never been questioned. They are one of the cornerstone acts in the genre and an argument certainly can be made that they belong in the 'Big Four'. The albums continue to be amazing and there's doubt, especially after tonight, that they still bring it live. Check out the mighty Testament if they play in your town; they don't disappoint.

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8th May 2017



Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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