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Testament - Live in London DVD

2005 Eagle Rock Records :: Reviewed by skeksis on 2006-01-07

The Bay areas finest and most consistent band finally releases their first live DVD (I don't count 'Seen between the Lines' because that thing was just awful sound wise). Filmed on their reunion tour with the original members from the bands heralded first five releases, 'Live in London' sees the band doing what they do best, which is running through some of their best songs with a precision and energy that only an invigorated band could, playing the classics like they were new songs. Lets face it, Testament was and still is one of the most consistent of the bay area trash bands, and tracks like 'Disciples of the Watch', 'The New Order', 'Into the Pit', and just about anything else they did save a handful of tracks from 'The Ritual' still kick major ass in the heaviness and brutality stakes with all The Haunted's and Lamb of Gods today. The return of the guitar god Alex Skolnick, bassist Greg Christian, and original drummer Louis Clemente give this band a cohesion they lacked with any of the succeeding line-ups, and if defiantly shows in their performance. It's hard to explain, but the band just feels and looks right with this line-up. And for me personally seeing the band now with the reunited line-up and previous incarnations, the Testament guys just look like they're having more fun and enjoying themselves. Skolnick plays like he never left the band, never mind it's been 12 years since the rift. And Clemente still plays the beats with his usual style and groove. There is also a short interview section with the various band members included in the bonus section. Sound wise; this is how a live DVD should be; heavy and clear. I don't know if all the copies of the DVD come this way but the copy I bought came in a nice, glossy looking digipak like case with band photos inside. I do have two minor gripes with this release though. Given the DVD is billed as having the classic line-up, its was a tad disappointing to see John Tempesta playing the first half and Clemente playing the last half. If you're going to bill it as the classic line-up, than that's what it should be. There is a noticeable difference in the two drummer's style. Tempesta is accurate to a tee, almost machine like in some places, while Clemente does miss a beat here and there, but plays with more feeling and just makes it sound more like the record. Maybe he was still green when this was filmed given he hasn't played in 12 years (Clemente did play their full set when Testament played here in Hawaii, and he did a great job to boot), but it feels like false advertising. Second is that given Skolnick is in the band (at least at the moment), when he solo's, damn it, keep the camera on him! I personally know allot of people who specifically went to see them just to see Skolnick, and it's incredibly frustrating when he's soloing and the camera is jumping all over the place! As a side note, the set list here is identical to the one they played in Hawaii. Maybe this was the only songs they practiced for the tour? Also, given 'The Rituals' less than podium position among most metalheads for its softer and more rock approach than their other records, the two tracks from that record sound pretty damn good here. Now, give 'The Gathering' came out in 1999, how about a freakin new record guys?