Legendary thrashers Testament brought some of that bay area thrash to our shores at the House of Blues on May 16 on their first California stop. This show’s a little extra special because not only was it a Testament show with an impressive lineup with seasoned metallers in tow such as Prong and Sepultura but because it was on the eve of our first anniversary (May 17)! That’s right, one year of murdering grahmmur and counting, sweet cheeks! Before you ask, yes, we are accepting gifts but please settle down guys, not all at once! Now enough about us and back to the unofficial Ugh Metal birthday pre-party!
Assuming mercury was in retrograde that day, we sadly made it a little over halfway to Prong’s set due to a few setbacks…I know, we are ready for the “BOO, YOU WHORES!!” The Ugh Metal stooges arrived just in time for the song that they were shouting at the Ugh Metal mark #2 a few minutes before hopping on the Ugh Metal mark #1, “Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck.” We will not confirm nor deny that it was actually the other way around, since the U.M.M.2 was allegedly not complying and laughing at them while they pushed its lifeless ass and parked it… you know what, back to the show. YAY!
Prong soothed the Ugh Metal stooges’ sore, decrepit bodies and made everyone come alive with their 1994 hit. Though frontman/ guitarist Tommy Victor remained faithful to his mic stand, he expelled a lot of passion and intensity for this rabid anthem while bassist Mike Longworth buzzed around and drummer Art Cruz was merciless at the drum kit. We hope to see the trio back in our neck of woods and hope to be there for the WHOLE set.
The co-headliners don’t need an introduction, it was the renowned Sepultura cover band called Sepultura 2.0! TROLOLOL! Assuming this grabbed your attention and you fell in to the trap and are still reading all I have to say for myself is, don’t get your band tees and vinyls in a bunch and grow up! TROLOLOL’ing aside, the iconic name alone had the warm and sweaty bodies around us grow closer in a non sexual way… for once… ‘cause we totally get that all the time ‘cause we’re Ugh Metal, betch! Anyway, now that its increasingly quite right now, let me tell you that it was anything but quiet especially when Sepultura’s Derrick Green unleashed his growl for “I Am The Enemy” with the instrumental chaos blaring.
The string of new material didn’t end there! Machine Messiah was there to stay as the band dove right into “Phantom Self” and later in the set played the theatrical “Resistant Parasites” and “Sworn Oath” which Green fueled with intensity as he passionately expelled the lyrics. Sepultura knew that fans were gonna be craving the old stuff and they delivered and sandwiched “Kaiowas” from Chaos A.D. in between the newer stuff.
That’s not all! It’s not a Sepultura show without their iconic hits but they weren’t gonna unload the goods so early into the show. The thrashers wrapped up their set with their iconic songs “Refuse/Resist,” “Ratamahatta” and of course “Roots Bloody Roots.” Though Green’s take on these hits felt slightly tamer than Max Cavalera’s because they are obviously two different artists with their own style, the frontman made them his own. Green’s version may (personally) feel slightly mellow but they will slowly burrow itself into your brain and muscles and then BAM! You’re in the pit or raising some hell! Whereas Cavalera’s immediately slaps you silly and makes you ready to fuck shit up.
Having seen Cavalera not once but twice this year gave me this personal feel and better insight in this half assed elementary level compare and contrast. To be clear though, I am NOT bashing on Green or Sepultura. In fact, it was such a tremendous honor to finally see these legends perform in our hometown. It’s still borderline surreal that the Ugh Metal team was so fortunate to be intoxicated with Green’s melodic but harsh vocals and see THE Andreas Kisser shred live and in Technicolor before our eyes and a few feet away from us.
Kisser is gifted to say the least and you can watch him play for hours, as he rightfully deserves to be the metal living legend. Lest we forget OG supreme member and bassist Paulo Jr. slapped that bass like his life depended on it while flashing his warmest smile to their faithful legions. Maybe someday we’ll be treated to a duet with Green and Cavalera and the rest of Sepultura jamming, a girl can dream, right!?
Now that the crowd was riled up and rejoicing in their bloody roots, Testament officially inducted us all to the “Brotherhood of the Snake” and had us “Rise Up” in our invisible seats and ended their first set of new songs with “Centuries of Suffering” with a mesmerizing guitar solo from Alex Skolnick. Skolnick was not the only one to show off his skills that night, throughout the performance guitarist Eric Peterson, drummer Gene Hoglan and bassist Steve Di Giorgio had their moment in the sun and created a melodic supernova.
The thrashers busted out the big guns and dusted off classics that they had not performed live in a long time. The pit grew when vocalist Chuck Billy announced “Low” and their ode to the sweaty whirlpool “Into The Pit” and “Souls of Black.” Billy kept the nostalgia alive by sharing a personal anecdote when they were touring and trying to think of an album title for their follow up to The New Order.
Billy reminisced how drunk they had gotten during the filming of a music video when they were in Texas, and how they attended the local bar where a little known band by the name of Pantera was playing. After meeting and living it up with the up and coming musicians, inspiration struck Billy and named their follow up Practice What You Preach and performed the titular song.
Testament wrapped up their fantastic set with the super classic “Over The Wall” off of their debut The Legacy. It was Ugh Metal’s first time in seven years watching these bay area thrashers live and it was worth the wait. If San Diego had their own version of Clash of the Titans show, we’d hope to see these icons in our backyard again!