Many of the top acts in music today are releasing live DVD’s to try and capture the magic of their live shows, only to fall short of expectations or miss the mark entirely. The latest Testament offering for Nuclear Blast Records, The Dark Roots Of Thrash, which commemorates the band hitting the road in support of their Dark Roots Of The Earth album, not only exceeds any preconceived expectations, but absolutely lays waste to them.
Bay Area legends Testament, are one of the few Thrash bands that have actually improved with age, like a fine wine. Filmed and recorded at a sold out show at the Paramount Theatre in Huntington, NY, the performance captures a rare moment in time. It runs an impressive hour and forty five minutes and contains a whopping nineteen songs spread over two mind blowing CD’s and one glorious DVD. It is available in a variety of formats, including a limited edition collectable tin.
The concert is overwrought with intensity and is an intoxicating blend of powerhouse Testament classics like “Into The Pit,” “Practice What You Preach,” “Trial By Fire,” “The New Order” and “Over The Wall,” alongside devastating newer tracks like “Native Blood,” “True American Hate,” “Eyes Of Wrath” and “The Formation Of Damnation.”
Get Hammered Productions has done a top notch job in every way. From a near-perfect audio mix void of any flaws in sound and proper use of dramatic lighting, to excellent use of split & multi camera angles and creative cuts in the editing.
There are stunning shots from behind the amps and the back of the theatre, to exquisite overhead shots of the non-stop pits that broke out at the first note and never let up during the entire show. Not to mention the amazing shots of the constant barrage of crowd surfers and impeccable photographic freeze frames.
Much of the classic lineup remains intact and after nearly 30 years, they sound better than ever. Chuck Billy is an un-caged beast that owns the crowd. He is their master and they are his slaves. His stage presence and magnetism are almost overwhelming and his voice sounds the best it ever has, as he prowls the stage, with his patented illuminated glass half mic stand.
It’s hard to believe that this is the same man who had a life threatening cancer scare in 2001.
The back and forth dual axe attack of Eric Peterson and Alex Skolnick is still one of the most skilled and impressive on the planet to this day. Their abilities are the stuff of legend that most guitarists can only dream of.
They are so technically proficient and precise at replicating their studio sound, that it is almost hard to believe it is live at times. Guitar gods like Steve Vai, Tony MacAlpine, David Chastain and Joe Satriani are all green with envy.
Bassist Greg Christian does another worldly job of laying down blitzkrieg bass lines all night that would make bass legend Cliff Burton proud. The incomparable Gene Hoglan does an inimitable job on the drums providing a flourish of intense blastbeats, breakdowns and fernetic time signature changes, at NASCAR pace. He is a monster behind a drum kit and there are times, you’d swear he had 50 arms and 20 feet.
Here’s the bottom line- If you don’t own this, you forfeit all your metal credibility. You survived the end of the world in 2012 do you think you can survive Testament in 2013?
Rating: 9.5 out of 10.