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Testament / Annihilator: 14th March, 2018 - Trägår'n, Gothenburg, Sweden


I feel like I've been a bit lost lately. Just a weird place in life, I suppose. And I was hesitating on pulling the trigger for this show. Didn't really have a good reason except for the aforementioned indifference. But off my ass I got and headed to Trägår'n for the show.

The place is small - it's probably half the size of Roseland. I arrived, checked out the merch, caught two songs from Annihilator and then waited an hour for Testament to show up. I was in my usual spot, about two people in: close enough to be right up front, also local enough to drop back to the pit when necessary.

They started out with several new songs, not a terrible thing for me, but the crowd took some older material to get moving. In the middle, Chuck talked about playing Low, a song these Europeans had never heard. Of course I did, at least once (turns out, once in '95, also in '99, again in '03 and maybe in '97 too). In any event, as the first date on the second half of the tour, it took Gene a song to really get flowing and the mix suffered at first. In fact, the entire beginning, when looking at the setlist, was underwhelming. Fucking Electric Crown...and even More Than Meets The Eye was just kinda blah. It took until Into The Pit to truly kick in. From then on though, there was a decent-sized pit and headbanging all around. I find it funny how very similar shows are to back in the States. Pre-show songs included Run To The Hills and Freewheel Burning, complete with fan vocals and neither the attire nor the mentality were far removed from the dozens of shows I've seen back home.

Alex shredded and showboated the whole night, and I wasn't particularly impressed. I stayed to the right to watch Eric like usual instead. I've always preferred Di Giorgio to Christian, so I was happy to see him in top form and enjoying the show. Of the eight times I've seen the band, this is my fourth with him (three with Christian and once with Ramirez - and he broke a string that night! WTF?) Gene was solid as always, I've seen him with a number of bands over a number of years. But the mainstays Chuck and Eric were Chuck and Eric. Neither seems to age and both were atop their game. Eric's riffs have always been remarkable and he even sang a few segments of songs. Chuck's bellows were as heavy and pronounced as ever. He was clearly having fun and he was awfully chatty, discussing shooting videos while drunk, hanging out with Pantera in the '80s (also while drunk) and going to Alcatraz.

Any complaints about the first half of the setlist would be erased as the night went on. The four songs from the latest LP were fucking fantastic, particularly Stronghold. The remainder of the show was spectacular, though of course I can't stand the title tracks from albums 3 and 4. Always have. The harmony sections of TNO and Throne Of Thorns were pretty fantastic, Disciples was heavy as hell and Over The Wall was a killer and crushing finale. Afterwards the band members lifted a banner a front-row fan was holding. Testament Legions Of Scandinavia! It was pretty cool. Throughout the night Chuck was appreciative and of course the stoic frontman any band needs. I really would've loved some Gathering material, but the good stuff was great, like usual, and I oughtn't complain. Yet, as I write this, I'm listening to live stuff from that epic record, and this makes three straight times I've seen them ignore their best effort. I digress.

As the eighth time seeing the band, it was one of the better shows. I think a little beat-down and headbanger neck will do me good to maybe snap out of this funk. :)

  1. Brotherhood Of The Snake
  2. Rise Up
  3. The Pale King
  4. More Than Meets The Eye
  5. Centuries Of Suffering
  6. Alex Solo
  7. Electric Crown
  8. Into The Pit
  9. Low
  10. Stronghold
  11. Throne Of Thorns
  12. First Strike Is Deadly
  13. Souls Of Black
  14. The New Order
  15. Disciples Of The Watch
  16. E: Practice What You Preach
  17. E: Over The Wall