Testament - Live in London (Cover Artwork)


Live in London (2005)

Eagle Vision

Bay area thrash legends Testament return with their fourth live album, recorded during their recent tour of Europe in the summer of 2005. The band, plagued by lineup changes and personal problems (lead singer Chuck Billy underwent successful cancer treatment recently), brought out their original lineup from 1987-1992 for the tour, featuring axe-master Alex Skolnick and drummer Louis Clemente. The music on the DVD features songs exclusively from this era.

Testament became famous in the late `80s for their uptempo, headbang-inducing riffage, frequently peppered with Skolnick's melodic leads and pinch harmonics. While they never reached the popularity of fellow thrashers Slayer and Anthrax, they continue to retain a solid fanbase. The band is in fine form on stage, rumbling through 14 tracks, including the metal classics "Practice What You Preach," "Into the Pit," and personal favourite "Electric Crown" off The Ritual. The rhythm section is ultra tight, while Skolnick, who spent the last 13 years playing in a jazz trio and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, rips through solos with ridiculous ease. Jazz is great and all, but you can't beat playing 32nd notes at a 150 beats-a-minute for sheer guitar-wanking pleasure. He does look out of place amongst the metalheads with his short hair and clean looks. It is still strange to see a bunch of guys in their late 30s playing such punishingly heavy music, and having a great time doing it. Makes you wonder about that big Bay-area former metal band, doesn't it?

The DVD itself is one of the nicest-looking concert videos I've ever seen recorded, with picture quality rivaling most major productions. It was shot in wide-screen format, so if you don't have a big screen TV (you silly person!), expect black bars at the top and bottom. For the sound, the user has a choice between Dolby Digital and DTS, and as (nearly) always, I would recommend DTS. It has more defined, deeper bass, and better instrument separation. The Dolby mix does have a better surround mix going for it, though, so the choice is yours. The only extra included is an interview with the band, where the band discusses how the reunion came to be, and Billy's battle with cancer. A short biography or introduction would have been nice for those less familiar with the band. That complaint aside, this disc is a solid release from Testament. Highly recommended for thrash fans.