A few years ago many people in the music industry had Testament‘s epitaph already written and were just waiting to deliver their eulogy and scatter the ashes, then out of nowhere the band unleashed “The Formation of Damnation” album and the game changed for good. Testament were back and seemingly better than ever, no longer peaking out from behind the shadow left by the Big Four, no Testament were here to prove a point once and for all, they then went and did it all over again this year with the stunning “Dark Roots of Earth” album.
It would do the band a disservice if I told you that their set at Bloodstock (Their only UK Festival of 2012) was highly anticipated, that’s like saying that Chuck Billy bears more than a passing resemblance to Tom Araya (it’s a no brainer) but for all intents and purposes a lot of people were losing their collective shit over the fact that Testament were here, which ironically is the precise thing that the large crowd gathered over on the Ronnie James Dio stage did when the band rocked up on the Saturday night.
“Dark Roots of Earth” and “Formation of Damnation” seemed to be the focus of the bands set, with the title track and ‘More Than Meets the Eye’ being showcased off of “Damnation…” and ‘Rise Up’, ‘Native Blood’ and ‘True American Hate’, all being given air time from “Dark Roots…,” the latter sounding more crushing live than it does on record, if that is even possible.
Chuck Billy still is and always has been a master front-man, a larger than life entity, that knows his craft and is able to handle himself very well in front of a mic, but then I’d be pretty confident if my band had Alex Skolnick, Eric Peterson and Gene Hoglan in it as well!
Simply put, Testament are on the absolute tear of a lifetime right now, with back to back classic comeback albums as well as brutally brilliant live shows such as the one they have just subjected us to, the question remains and is perhaps more relevant than ever, why the fuck aren’t Testament a bigger band than they are? When you are this good, you really should be one of the biggest bands in the world.
Photos taken by Sabrina Ramdoyal