"Live In London" is the documentation of a dream that long-time die-hard Testament fans have been waiting for: the reuniting of the band?s "classic" lineup. Featuring vocalist Chuck Billy, guitar virtuosos Eric Peterson an... more »d Alex Skolnick, bassist Greg Christian, and original drummer Louie Clemente (along with Testament & White Zombie alumnus John Tempesta as a second drummer), the band rips through classic Testament fan favorites in this show, shot in London earlier in 2005. Among the leaders of heavy metal over the past twenty years, Testament have always provided the rock solid proof that great song writing, regardless of genre, will always transcend time. Their crucial contributions to the early thrash metal surge of the mid to late 1980s helped to develop a sound that forever changed the face of heavy music and resonates just as loudly today. With all of their Bay Area peers either calling it a day or drastically altering their sound, Testament has remained a worldwide metal ambassador throughout the 1990?s and into the new century. Tracklisting:
"Testament was probably the best (and the biggest) thrash band to never have an album go "gold" (500,000 copies sold). Some people see Testament as a cheap Metallica rip-off, but while there are some similarities, I think that the band is unfairly overlooked because of the poor production on their early (and best) albums.
Thankfully on this live DVD from 2005, these production problems are non-existant. The DVD is mixed perfectly so that every instrument is audible. This is probably the best aspect of this live set. I think that watching this live DVD and listening to the live CD of the same concert completely changed my opinion on Testament. Take "The New Order" for example, the main riff is awesome, there's no other word to describe it, and that thrash breakdown in the middle is so powerful it rivals anything that Overkill has done in that area. The fact that these other portions of the song are much more enjoyable make Alex Skolnick's solo that much more sweet. A true thrash classic that I overlooked until I heard it here. And it isn't just this song that is helped by the production job, nearly every song here is as good as or better than the studio version. Skolnick stays true to all of his solos, just adding or revising certain areas to take them from amazing to perfection. His guitar tone is unbelievably good as well. Just hearing him shred sends a tingle down my spine.
Eric Peterson's riffing, along with Skolnick's, is so much more brutal as well thanks to the great sound. Check out "Into the Pit," another song that I was indifferent to until I heard it here. The two songs from "The Ritual" are much more enjoyable because the guitars aren't as watered down as they were on said album. Surprisingly, Peterson also has a few leads, such as the first solo in "Sins of Omission" and a short intro lead to Skolnick's towering solo in "Practice What You Preach." Peterson even contributes some black metal screeches, similar to what one would hear on his Dragonlord albums.
John Tempesta does a fine job, as usual, on drums, and it's disappoitning that he has to be replaced in the second half by original drummer Louie Clemente. Clemente is competant, but in thrash "competant" just doesn't cut it. I would rather have had Paul Bostaph or even Nick Barker (both who have played with Testament at some point) come out, but I can't complain too much.
The setlist is another highlight. The band sticks to songs from when Skolnick was in the band (which I see as a positive) and pretty much all of the essential songs are here. The band probably was forced to do two songs from "The Ritual," which would explain the inclusion of relatively unknown "Let Go of My World," but even though it isn't great, it isn't bad either and the production makes it much better than the studio version. Kudos for their addition of their incredible, sadly overlooked ballad "The Legacy." Damn, Skolnick's solo is so good in that one.
I have a few small complaints, though. First off is the editing. The angles are always switching too fast. During Alex Skolnick's solos I want to see Alex Skolnick playing. I don't need to see a close-up of ugly caveman Chuck Billy making faces at the crowd. Nor do I need to see three different views of the drummer. That is only necessary during when he is doing something interesting on drums. And yeah, Chuck Billy is an ugly caveman. I only want to see him when he's actually singing or growling, it gets annoying seeing him play air-guitar on the pole that holds his microphone. His "THRASH, DIE" crap during "The New Order" would have been better left on the cutting room floor as well.
Even so, the concert itself is incredible. It's great to see Skolnick get so into it when he's doing his solos. Even though his main focus is Jazz, he hasn't completely abandoned the genre that gave him his name in the first place, in stark contrast to Vivian Cambell, who mocks anyone who has heard Dio's "Holy Diver" album with the garbage he puts out in Def Leppard. A worthwhile DVD for even mild Testament fans, because hearing this concert gave me a new respect for this band and made me appreciate their contributions to thrash all the more."
Tom | PAHRUMP , NV AKA HELL | 11/15/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I just bought the Testament :Live in London I didn't even know it came out .. The DVD has great picture the band sounds great John tempesta plays solid drum tracks for the first half of the set ..although he alters most of the drum tracks sounds good though.
Then original drummer Louie Clemente plays the second half of the set just as recorded on the albums ...
Greg Christian(Bass), and Eric Peterson(Rythm)play very well as always great individual performances...
Alex Skolnick (Lead Guitar) has the best performance he plays awesome leads consistently Recently Alexhas been influenced by all forms of music but most in particular Jazz A well rounded guitarist still shows shreds and classical influenced passages..
Chuck Billy (Vocals) Overall weakest performance of the band his voice is so out of range .....from years of performing so hard ? from drinking smoking other factors?.. from trying to scream out of his capabilities in Testament's recent "death metals"?.. from recovering from cancer? whichever it is i don't know but he still manages to get the crowd going..
Some of my favorites in the set were "practice what you preech" and "disciples of the watch" ..
The set is very good but is too short at just over an hour... with the dvd is an interview it is also very short but informative...
Overall very good performance great to see the boys back together buy today .."
Tight as a nun's.........boy i wish this S$% would get recog
jermy man | West Virginia | 03/03/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As it stands i think the American music industry just sucks, real metal bands like Testament never get and never will get the recognition they deserve. I'm not talking about Millions of fans and dollars just a few TV spots here and there or a mention at least on MTV2 etc. Unfortunately we'll never go back to those days. This DVD has all the good ole classics, however i must agree that Alone in the Dark was definately missing:((love that song). Skolnick does look very pleased to be playing, and does his usual melodic, tech shredding, Chucks voice sounds like he did ten years ago(even better in some ways. Gregs bass playing is his usual good ole classic sound, Tempesta gives that much added ingredient with his clever fills and double bass work, and Peterson still tears up the ole evil sounding classic riffing he always has. I was suprised that Clemente after nearly 13 years of not playing was as tight as he was, he's not a very creatvie drummer but he gets the job done and plays the songs verbatim of how they are on the albums, which some people dig. I myself being a drummer play a lot more like Tempesta or Bostaph, lots of fills, double bass etc try to spice up things a bit. But hell hats off to a guy who's not the worlds greatest drummer after so much time off he's got ball's of solid rock to get back on the horse!!! So yes Testament never has, never will sell out and in my opinion have never even came close, as a matter a fact i loved everything after the Ritual(especially Low), they didnt experiment with any different types of Rap-metal or nu-metal EVER, thats what makes Testament "true" metal. In fact when all the alternaCRAP was going on Testament only got angrier and heavier, as it should be. So on that note we should all move to other countries where the bands like this florish, as you see at the top its popular on all other continents NOT here. How sad is that. So get it and THRASH your brains out. Great picture and audio to btw. Later"
Pro-pain Kidd | oviedo, fl United States | 03/23/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD proves that today's metal ain't metal at all. Just when I thought thrash was dead... it has raised it's ugly head and shows the world who is boss. If you compare this to anyone else that is supposedly metal these days, I don't think they could hold a flame thrower to the "legacy " these boys from the Bay area have. All the best songs are here. All the original members play on all of the tracks, except they do change drummers from Louie Clemente to John Tempesta. Not to run on much longer... If you thought thrash ruled in the late 80's / early 90's pick this up and see that it still rules today."
Even better than I could have hoped for - a brilliant surpri
Samuel G. Powell | Kaneohe, HI United States | 12/25/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Testament has always been among the best, though most frequently overlooked, metal bands. While every lineup of the band has been strong, I always felt they were truly at their peak during the Ritual/Practice What You Preach/Souls Of Black era. The twin guitar attack of Alex Skolnick and Derrick Ramirez provided relentless riffage with fluid, scorching leads and rhythm lines that you could actualy feel punching you in the chest. These melodies and counterparts were painted on a canvas of accurate, tasteful bass and drun rhtythms, and Chuck Billy was the perfect metal frontman. With vocals tough and angry, yet rhythmic and melodic at the same time, he was till a "singer" without being operatic or melodramatic like so many metal fontmen become.
This offering brings the best Testament lineup together to perform the definitive songs from their peak era. By doing so, they have actually reached a new career high by bringing new life to songs that had plenty of life to start with.
The performance is so flawless here that you might suspect them of dubbing. But I doubt that's the case. Fingering synch is spot on, and fact is these guys really know their instruments well enough to pull off a performance this amazingly tight. I actually believe that Skolnick's experimentation with jazz during his time away from the band made him a better metal player. His phrasing and dynamics are perfect. And Chuck Billy is the ultimate metal front man. Nothing pretentious at all - even when he plays air guitar with his mic stand, which would ordinarily sem totally poseur, you know he's just genuinely being a metalhead digging his bandmates playing in his own way. His voice has grown tougher over the years - and while he did some experimentation with "cookie monster vocals" on a later album or two, he brings just a touch of the deathmetal/metalcore growl to the older material without its affecting his ability to deliver a solid, muscular melody that lets you know - these guys really mean it. He, and the whole band, is having fun doing this, and it's contagious. Plus, he looks very robust and healthy after his recent bout with cancer - from which he has thankfully fully recovered.
Great video and audio production. There's enough of the dual guitar soloists in view to satisfy axeslinger wannabes like me (Just look at those fingers fly!), and an even balance of visual cuts between band members and the audience tht you really get a complete picture of what this concert experience was like.
Since any judgment of a musical act is going to be a subjective evaluation, and since I rarely have just one "favorite" of anything, I give Testament the absolute best evaluation I can give any act. They are clearly unsurpassed as a no-compromise, tighter than tight metal band - and this IS the best music DVD I own.