TESTAMENT gig review

Support Acts: Malefice & Xerath.

London Koko, Friday the 30th of November 2012

Review by Yiannis (John) Stefanis

Photos by Fabiola Santini

There are many items that can be found in my storage room, things which I have kept as they remind me of my care-free teenage years. Amongst the most precious, is a pretty worn-out VCR tape which features a selection of video clips from the legendary Headbangers Ball program and which begins in great style with Testament’s classic “Trial By Fire”. I have spent more hours than I care to remember watching this great clip, the images from which kept flashing in my mind as I was on my way to the London Koko to attend yet another of the band’s live performances on UK soil.

Despite some initial hitches, I was on time to interview guitar maestro Alex Skolnick – an interview which you will soon be able to read here. Due to the venue’s Friday night club, Testament’s set was to start and finish much earlier than what one would consider to be a normal headlining slot. Luckily, I didn’t miss Testament’s set as a result of these changes.


You could feel a certain energy building up in the crowd, probably owing to  the band’s latest opus “Dark Roots Of The Earth”, which is not only good quality, but has also done well in terms of sales since its release a few months ago. The energy in the crowd manifested itself in a massive roar the moment the band stormed the stage and kick-started the proceedings with a killer rendition of “Rise Up”.

Chuck Billy established command of the stage in no time and together with his quite energetic band mates ensured that there was not a single inch of the stage that wasn’t well trodden by the five band members by the time the night was up. Early sound problems were completely dealt with by the time “The Preacher” was performed and Chuck could not hide his pride and satisfaction when explaining the success received by the video version of the follow up “Native Blood”.

Even though newbies, such as “True American Hate” and “More Than Meets The Eye” went down really well with the band’s audience of various ages, what we all wanted to hear were the old classics and the set list did not disappoint at all! By dedicating “Into The Pit” to the audience, Chuck unleashed hell onto what would a few hours later become the venue’s ‘dance floor’ and the momentum built up was carried through songs like “Practice What You Preach”, “Alone In The Dark” and “Disciples Of The Watch”, after which the band left the stage. Moments later, and motivated by the crowd’s rhythmical chanting, the band returned for a short encore, which included my personal favorites “D.N.R. (Do Not Resuscitate)”, “3 Days In Darkness”, and literally finished us all off with a powerful version of “The Formation Of Damnation”.

Even though having an earlier finish time can be quite appealing, I would have loved to have seen these guys extend their performance for another half an hour. Is this a classic case of human ungratefulness?  Possibly so, but it is also a clear indication that what we experienced tonight was a top quality performance by one of the best Metal bands out there. Is it time for people to reassess this whole “Big Four” thing? I, for one, certainly think so!


Testament Set List:


Main Set:

  1. Rise Up
  2. The New Order
  3. The Preacher
  4. Native Blood
  5. True American Hate
  6. More Than Meets The Eye
  7. Dark Roots Of The Earth
  8. Into The Pit
  9. Practice What You Preach
  10. Over The Wall
  11. Alone In The Dark
  12. Disciples Of The Watch



  1. D.N.R. (Do Not Resuscitate)
  2. 3 Days In Darkness
  3. The Formation Of Damnation

 Interview with Alex Skolnick

David Randall plays a selection of new and classic rock in his weekly show first broadcast 14 June 2020 including reference to the Feature series “2020 Vision”.

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Featured Albums w/c 6 July (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 MANDOKI SOULMATES Living In The Gap (Red Rock Production/Cleopatra)
12:00-13:00 MAGNUS KARLSSON’S FREE FALL – We Are The Night (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 BEN REEL The Nashville Calling (B.Reel Records)

Power Plays w/c 6 July (Mon-Fri)

ZENITH MOON Gypsy (Golden Robot Records)
RARITY Leave It Alone (New Damage Records)
THE RISING I Want You (indie)
MANDOKI SOULMATES Young Rebels (Red Rock Production/Cleopatra)
LA GUNS Well Oiled Machine (Golden Robot Records)

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