Seems inconceivable, that Bay Area stalwarts TESTAMENT, thirty year veterans of the scene, are on tour opening for LAMB OF GOD and KILLSWITCH ENGAGE, but it's true. With only two dates left on the tour, the band stopped by the Electric Factory on November 24th., sub-freezing winds whipping outside, the coldest day in nine months. Inside, the band was on fire! With a pair of scrims depicting charcoal cave drawings inspired by the Practice What You Preach and Souls Of Black artwork, the boys took the stage, Chuck Billy in possession of a green, luminous half-mic that looked like a giant glo-stick, on which he incessantly played air guitar.
Gene Hoglan's drum kit was literally at the edge of the stage. Even back in the early 80s, when they were kids, opening for OVER KILL, I'd never seen the band set up so close to the audience. Despite looking like a cage animal, the massive Billy and guitarist Eric Peterson, pinned in, they didn't mind being relegated to half the stage. 'Rise Up' and 'More Than Meets The Eye' see the band in lots of red lights, the bane of opening acts, punctuated by plenty of strobes. Suspended overhead, either side of Hoglan, pressurized smoke shoots from the mouths of two LEGACY skull logos, emblazoned within a pentagram. 'Native Blood' sees purple lights at the start, while a vicious 'Into The Pit' is bathed in yellow, along with blinding white headlights. A blitzkrieg of strobes break the yellows, blues and purples that often obscure the figures onstage.
Alex Skolnick often gets shit for being stationary, trying to be perfect, but he was definitely animated, headbanging throughout. 'Disciples Of The Watch' is introduced by an exaggerated bellow from Billy, the stage blood red. With football telecasts over, the audience doubles during their set, from manageable, to overcrowded. Blue and fluorescent green lights kick off the 'Over The Wall' closer. The sound is finally dialed in, cavernous bottom end and screaming dual guitar solos to end the evening. This gathering of black shirted souls might not have been familiar with the dark roots of this legacy, but tonight, most became true believers.
More photos from Philadelphia can be seen here