Talk about a really loud concert. These three giants steamrolled through Baltimore this past week and I think my eardrums burst during one of the performances it was so loud. Now I had not seen Testament or Prong since 1990 due to, well, life in general, and it was more than a pleasure to see them again finally. It had been way too long. Sepultura I had never seen and was looking forward to it.
Prong were up first and although they only played six songs, it was six songs of pure metal. “Ultimate Authority” led the set off followed by 1990’s “Unconditional.” Ah the memories. It was 1990 all over again for me. I still have my CD signed by these guys from that show way back when. The fan favorite “Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck” ended their set as this song has stood the test of time for this band. It was great to see them again. Tommy Victor, a huge baseball fan, immediately went to catch a few innings at the Orioles/Rays game after his set and posted some pics online if you care to see them.
Prong Photos by: Robert Nozeika
Sepultura were next and they were about even louder than Prong, if you can imagine that. They had an eleven-song set starting things off with “I Am The Enemy.” Lead singer Derrick Green is a presence in this band, literally, looking more like a defensive back than a front man of a metal band, but the man can sing, as he has fronted this band since 1997 after the departure of original singer Max Cavalera. You could feel how much the crowd loved this band, moshing as best they could to several their songs. The fan favorite “Roots Bloody Roots” ended their set.
For 27 years, I had been patiently waiting to see Testament again. I was feeling like a teenager in anticipation of their show coming up. Normally, I stand somewhere in back for a show to take it all in. I didn’t do that this time. I went right up front. The lights dimmed, and finally the show started. Drummer Gene Hoglan emerged and took his place in a very highly elevated drum kit. Guitarists Eric Peterson and Alex Skolnick emerged along with bassist Steve DiGiorgio. “Brotherhood of the Snake,” the title track of their new album started to play and Chuck Billy finally emerged growling and singing it. I was 19 again. “Rise Up” was next and the legions of Testament followers in the packed house were all screaming along with Billy. I was in awe. The energy of this show was incredible and this was only the second song. Skolnick and Peterson are just meticulous guitar players and feed the band the material it needs to breath within itself like no other. Skolnick’s guitar solo was incredible to watch and immediately went into the powerful “Electric Crown,” which sent the crowd into a frenzy while a mosh pit enabled. Billy has a special microphone he uses to sing and play air guitar on every song which was very entertaining to watch as he sang. Hoglan’s drums are thunderous throughout the night as well. Did I mention I was still in awe watching this? Ok, good. Just checking. “Into the Pit” off of 1988’s The New Order was next and the power just did not stop. Neither did the old classic hits this band has had; “Souls of Black,” “Low,” “First Strike Is Deadly,” and “The New Order” all were played with the latter ending their set, or so we thought. Encore pending, Billy told the story of how a video shoot in Texas led to a night of watching Pantera perform and drinking a bunch of Jack Daniels as he then came up with the idea for the name of the next record at the time which then of course he shouted was “Practice What You Preach.” The crowd went ballistic as they played that song. “Over the Wall” unfortunately ended the evening of seeing this incredible band play and my eardrums were numb.
Testament are still out currently on tour until the end of May in the US and then go overseas, but I will make a promise to myself right now not to wait another 27 years to see this band perform again. Long live these great Bay Area thrashers for they speak the truth.