Testament Live in London

When founding guitarist Alex Skolnick rejoined Bay Area metal titans Testament for 2001’s First Strike Still Deadly, a re-recording of classic thrash from the band’s first two albums, there was much banter about a full reunion for recording and touring. Finally, late last year, the original line-up of Skolnick, vocalist Chuck Billy, guitarist Eric Peterson, bassist Greg Christian, and drummer Louie Clemente took the stage at a sold-out London venue and laid down Live in London — their definitive live document. Naturally, since this is the first time this line-up have played together in over a decade, they stick to material from Testament’s first six releases. Beginning with the one-two punch of "The Preacher” and the title track from 1988’s The New Order, the follow with The Legacy’s galloping "The Haunting,” and finally the scorching "Electric Crown” from 1992’s The Ritual. Crowd faves "Souls of Black,” "Into the Pit,” and "Trial by Fire” stoke the crowd before Clemente takes the drum throne (long-time skinsman John Tempesta played the first half of the set) for "Practice What You Preach.” A rare performance of "Let Go of My World” is a true highlight, as is Skolnick and Peterson trading licks on the ballad-like "The Legacy.” Mosh pit anthems "Over the Wall” and "Raging Waters” precede their usual show closer, "Disciples of the Watch.” It’s not unusual that all the cuts from The New Order have exactly the same tempo, but miraculously Billy’s deep growls abound, and they’re more guttural than he’s ever been. Live in London shows Testament at their very best: in front of an ultra-appreciative crowd. (Spitfire)