Testament with Malefice and Xerath – Glasgow Garage, 27th Nov 2012

Testament have been the only one of the big five that I’ve never managed to see, so I was understandably very excited beforehand at the prospect of finally catching these guys live, not to mention get a chance to speak with Alex Skolnick prior to the gig too. It was a night of firsts all round for me, as I also got to experience two of the brightest metal acts in the UK supporting them with Xerath and Malefice joining them for this short and intense tour of the UK.

You got a feeling of nervous anticipation in the venue as the night began with Xerath. I couldn’t help but feel for them though, as there really weren’t many there to see them kick things off in fine style. In the back of my mind I wondered how they would bring their soundtrack inspired style to the live environment but they did brilliantly, took on the small but building crowd and won them over. The only track of theirs I recognised was Machine Insurgency thanks to their recent video for its release, but the set itself was full of powerful notes, heavy undertones and some damn fine groove. A great introduction to the night, it was such a shame they were missed by so many.

God of the Frontlines
Machine Insurgency
Reform Pt.III
False History
Unite to Defy

Malefice have been doing the rounds since 2007 and are certainly making a name for themselves here in the UK with their feisty and aggressive performances. Tonight was no different as they attacked the crowd with much vigour, playing the majority of their set from 2009’s Dawn of Reprisal album. Like Xerath before them, Malefice were heavy as hell with some great beatdowns and grooves running throughout punctuated with Dale Butler’s anger manifesting itself in grand vocal style. They cajoled the crowd, they worked them up and set things up greatly for Testament to hit the stage. It’s no wonder these guys are seen as one of the major flag bearers of UK metal.

Architect of Your Demise
Midas Effect
Abandon Hope
Dreams Without Courage

With Xerath and Malefice both putting in fine performances to entertain the crowd and warm them up perfectly, there was a sudden hush as the lights dimmed and then an explosion of voices as the cries of “Test-A-Ment” rang throughough the Garage. There was an expectant pause as the band finally took to the stage and launched into the first track off of the quite frankly stunning Dark Roots of Earth album… and sadly for the duration of the set we were dogged with technical issues. The sound was either too loud or too quite, one or both guitars dropped in and out, Chuck’s vocals didn’t feel anywhere near loud enough to be cutting through. My first time seeing one of my favourite bands live and the sound issues were killing it for me.

However, and I cannot stress this enough, technical issues there may well have been, but Testament aren’t exactly new to this game. Did it affect their performance in any shape or form? Not. One. Bit.

You want to see stage presence personified? You have a look at the way Chuck Billy commands that stage and has the audience eating out of the palms of his hand. He wanted them to go apeshit? By GOD did that pit go apeshit. I was lucky to be watching the whole gig from the gallery and looking down onto the throng of the sold out Garage floor was a sight to behold. Last time I witnessed a pit quite like what I saw tonight was way back when Megadeth and Pantera hit the Glasgow Barrowlands. For the full duration of the set the floor did not stop moving and I have to give huge credit to the staff at the barrier who were superb in their handling of the pit and the crowd surfers, making sure everyone who did their stint got over safely and back into the crowd. Kudos indeed to those guys, it was sensible and knowledgeable handling of the kind of gig they had on their hands.

Even with these technical issues, Testament most definitely tore Glasgow a new one. After the explosive start of Rise Up they kicked it back old school with The New Order and The Preacher, both lapped up huge style by the fans, before hitting another stand out track of the new album, Native Blood. Again, this new material sits absolutely perfectly in the mix and I understood completely what Alex Skolnick meant when he said this set was pretty much pitch perfect in its mix of old and new. With True American Hate maintaining the pace and rolling straight into More Than Meets the Eye it was a joy to watch Eric Peterson and Alex Skolnick come together in unison throughout. The pace relented just long enough for the crowd to get their breath with the heavy groove of Dark Roots before Testament pretty much saved the best to last as they threw the crowd into a frenzy with Into The Pit, the absolutely immense Practice What You Preach (my favourite track of the night from them) and the final piece of mayhem, Over The Wall.

You couldn’t help but wonder, given the technical difficulties, if Testament would fancy coming back for an encore but thankfully and with a crowd once again in full voice chanting for their heroes, they returned to the stage in atmospheric circumstances with three monstrous numbers in DNR, Three Days of Darkness and The Formation of Damnation. Job done, crowd in raptures, Testament had once again destroyed the Glasgow metal fraternity in fine form.

Come back soon guys, not just me but a whole ton of Glasgow metalheads will be waiting in anticipation.

Rise Up
The New Order
The Preacher
Native Blood
True American Hate
More Than Meets the Eye
Dark Roots of Earth
Into the Pit
Practice What you Preach
Over the Wall

DNR… Do Not Resuscitate
Three Days of Darkness
Formation of Damnation

Check out the pics of the night right here on Planetmosh

About Scott Watson

Part time guitarist and wannabe rock star. Long time lover of metal, xbox, football and my family while writing and editing for Planetmosh.com