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Metal/Prog Metal Concert Reviews


Live in Chicago, October, 2011

Review by Mike Korn

Thrash is back and you better get used to it. Let's face it, there are some great new thrash bands like Evile and Warbringer, but it's really been the Old Guard who have risen from their graves and wrecked necks in recent years. Defying expectations, the classic thrashers of the 80s have for the most part churned out some really good stuff recently, demonstrating there's just no substitute for experience.

This three-band assault squad managed to transport the entire Congress Theater back to 1987 tonight, making old-timers feel young and giving young kids a taste of something they never had. I heard from Death Angel's Mark Osegueda that Overkill was originally going to be part of the bill. I think my brain would have combusted through sheer awesomeness if that had happened. As it was, I was more than pleased by the show each band delivered that night. It was fun! It was just as crazy as any show back in the day and that was something I wasn't expecting!

As for Testament, these titans of thrash stole the whole show lock, stock and barrel. I don' think I have ever seen a more focused band or a more killer set. These guys truly do not get their due. Opening with "The Preacher,” they kept a series of the band's greatest hits coming, all delivered with furious energy. Songs ranged from "The New Order" to "Envy Life" to "Electric Crown" to "Souls of Black" and included new classics like "Henchmen Ride" and "The Persecuted Won't Forget.” I really can't find a flaw in either their song selection or their performance. Let's settle the debate once and for all:  Chuck Billy is the best frontman in thrash metal, no ifs ands or buts about it. His voice is so perfect for the music, combining both smoothness and rawness with just the right occasional touch of gutturalness, that I can't imagine anybody else in his league. Plus, he really seems to get off on the crowd's energy, which was through the roof that night. So perfectly did he sing these classics that I would have suspected a tape in action if I hadn't been right up front to see Billy's performance with my own eyes. The rest of the band kept up with their leader and I don't recall seeing Alex Skolnick ever looking happier or more pumped up during a show. When the set finally concluded with a devastating rendition of "Disciples of the Watch,” I don't think there was a single soul in the building who wasn't blown away by what Testament delivered.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 6 at
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