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Testament/ Overkill/ Flotsam and Jetsam

Date: 2/14/13
Venue: Best Buy Theater, NYC
Report By: Rich Catino

Dubbed the Dark Roots Of Thrash tour, what a great lineup for thrash fans, but in a way this was better on paper and could have done without 4Arm giving more time for Overkill and Flotsam to play. Flotsam and Jetsam don’t tour that often so it was great to have them on board, but only a thirty minute set was too short especially given their history. The current lineup consists of original members Eric 'AK' Knutson on vocals, guitarists Edward Carlson, and Michael Gilbert, Kelly Smith on drums, with Jason Ward on bass (who has been around since the “Cuatro” album in 1992). ‘Ugly Noise’ and ‘Gitty Up’ are new tunes that kick off the forthcoming album “Ugly Noise”, pretty good, not terribly thrashy, a little more on the vein of “Cuatro”. ‘Hammerhead’ is a must classic from the debut album “Doomsday For The Deceiver”, ‘Iron Tears’ is another, and title track to the follow up ‘No Place For Disgrace’ and ‘Escape From Within’ are as significant.

Overkill…legendary thrash, sixteen albums and over 25 years of music, and they only have enough time to play eight songs? Disappointing. I know it’s a package tour but I expected something different from their setlist. Outside of the expected two new songs, ‘Come and Get It’ and ‘Electric Rattlesnake’ off the new album “The Electric Age”, the title track to 2010’s “Ironbound” and ‘Bring Me The Night’, ‘Rotten to the Core’, ‘Wrecking Crew’, ‘Elimination’, and ‘Fuck You’ are just old hat, especially for a local NY/NJ crowd. ‘Infectious’ was played earlier in the tour and would have been a nice change. After so many years of playing the area I was hoping for a couple different songs. Frontman Bobby Blitz, bassist DD Verni, guitarists Dave Linsk and Derek Tailer, and Ron Lipnicki on drums, put out a ton of energy but battled with sound issues the whole set. Next time around they really have to change out the classics for different ones, the setlist is stale.

Testament, another significant thrash band from the mid-80s with a lot of history have (like Overkill) also been hitting the NY/NJ circuit a lot in recent years. Reuniting with guitarist Alex Skolnick and bassist Greg Christian in 2005, supporting their last album “The Formation Of Damnation” in 08, and now on the road playing several selections from their latest success “Dark Roots Of Earth” (another album well received by critics and fans), Testament have a reason to be busy. But, unlike Overkill, Testament changed up the setlist making this stop in New York a better dollar value for fans who have seen the band in recent years. ‘Rise Up’, ‘Native Blood’, ‘True American Hate’, ‘Dark Roots of Earth’, all great selections from the new album. ‘Into The Pit’ and ‘Practice What You Preach’ are obvious satisfying classics and crowd favorites for the pit. But, ‘Trial By Fire’, ‘The Haunting’, and the additions of ‘Riding The Snake’ (one I’ve wanted to hear) and ‘Eyes Of Wrath’ from “The Gathering” were all wanted. Other suggestions, take out ‘The New Order’ for ‘Eerie Inhabitants’, ‘3 Days of Darkness’ has worn out its welcome, and dump the title track to “Formation of Damnation’ as an encore?, add a tune from “Low”, “Demonic”, and something other than the title track to “Souls Of Black”. Like Overkill Testament also suffered from sound issues but still pulled through like nothing was wrong.

Asylum writer Kevin Alba went to the New York show the next night (Overkill cancelled because Bobby was ill) which Testament recorded for DVD. He said there were no sound problems and they also added ‘Over The Wall’ and ‘Disciples of the Watch’ in the encore.

Flotsam and Jetsam:
Ugly Noise
Iron Tears
Escape from Within
Gitty Up
No Place for Disgrace

Come and Get It
Rotten to the Core
Wrecking Crew
Bring Me the Night
Electric Rattlesnake
Fuck You

Rise Up
More Than Meets the Eye
Burnt Offerings
Native Blood
True American Hate
Dark Roots of Earth
Into the Pit
Practice What You Preach
Riding the Snake
Eyes of Wrath
Trial by Fire
The Haunting
The New Order
D.N.R. (Do Not Resuscitate)
3 Days in Darkness
The Formation of Damnation

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