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Testament/ Exodus/ Shattered Sun


Date: 4/17/15
Venue: Starland Ballroom, Sayreville, New Jersey
Report By: Rich Catino
 


For me, openers Shattered Sun didn’t work for this package, but I’m sure it gained them a few new younger fans. The music is metalcoreish, contemporary, aggressive based on rhythmic grooves and breakdowns, with harsh vocals for the verses, and then a melodic clean voice for the chorus. While not my thing, I will make note they are tight and good players, and the influence of the melodic Swedish death metal sound in the melodic leads at times is a nice compliment.

Out in support of their latest album, “Blood In, Blood Out”, and with Steve ‘Zetro’ Souza back behind the mic, Exodus were in more than rare form to turn the Starland into a mosh pit rivaling the days of L’amours rock club. ‘Black 13’ and the title track to the new album kicked things off fast and furious as Exodus do best combining speed with brute force. They just don’t know any better, hahaha. Was great to hear the return of two songs from the Dukes (Rob) albums; ‘Iconoclasm’ and ‘Children of a Worthless God’. Both were well accepted as always amongst the back catalogue. Maybe next we can get ‘Funeral Hymn’? Exodus always wore attitude on their sleeves (and Gary Holt’s “Kill the Kardashians t-shirt), on the aptly titled ‘Last Act of Defiance’ return to the set off “Fabulous Disaster”, and staple ‘Blacklist’ which slows down the tempo, but not the intentions. And of course their landmark debut “Bonded By Blood” was represented by the all time classic title track, ‘A Lesson In Violence’, and ‘Strike Of The Beast’. Good friendly violent fun as always.

In contrast (but of course no less intense or furious) to Exodus’ constant barrage, Testament’s varied tempos and dynamics compliment this pairing for the “Dark Roots of Thrash II” tour. Actually, all these different combinations and pairings of classic 80s thrash metal (one being the Big 4) in the recent five years or so has been a great idea and a success. For this “Dark Roots II” run, Testament gave a real treat to fans; playing all the songs (minus the Aerosmith cover) off their now classic first two albums “The Legacy” and “The New Order”. And what really worked was not playing each album as the original tracklisting was. For instance, opening with ‘Over The Wall’ obviously is going to send the crowd into chaos. But following that up with the moodier spooky riffing of ‘The Haunting’ changed the energy and switched focus to those demonic skull/pentagram sculptures behind the drum riser. Yet, bookended with ‘Burnt Offerings’ and ‘Raging waters’ (all off the debut thus far), keep the intensity level high. Placing ‘A Day Of Reckoning” and ‘Apocalyptic City’ back to back was a perfect pairing given the more grove base to ‘Reckoning’, followed by the clean guitar subtle intro to ‘Apocalyptic’, and both lyrics, its worked very well. Continuing with the rarely played ‘Eerie Inhabitants’ and its ghostly intro as well, title track to ‘The New Order” and that building intro with Skolnick’s leads/ harmonies with Peterson, Hoglan’s drums; it all spells out the end. All compositions showcased Testament’s variety and ability to create mood with sound, lights, and stage. ‘Alone In The Dark’ is the singalong song for horror fans, and ‘Practice What You Preach’ sais it all. Hope one of these shows are being professionally recorded for DVD.

Setlists:

Exodus
Black 13
Blood In, Blood Out
Iconoclasm
Children of a Worthless God
A Lesson in Violence
Salt the Wound
The Last Act of Defiance
Blacklist
Bonded by Blood
War Is My Shepherd
The Toxic Waltz
Strike of the Beast

Testament
Over the Wall
The Haunting
Burnt Offerings
Raging Waters
The Preacher
Do or Die v First Strike Is Deadly
A Day of Reckoning
Apocalyptic City v Eerie Inhabitants
The New Order
Trial by Fire
Into the Pit
Alone in the Dark
C.O.T.L.O.D.
Practice What You Preach
Disciples of the Watch



 
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