Practice What You Preach

It’s been ten days since my last post and far from being lazy in the intervening week and a half I’ve been busy at the day job and then getting home and walloping the walls of our spare bedroom and trying to organise the chaos.

We’ve been in this house for two decades and in that time we’ve never really done anything with the front “bedrooms”. Over the years they’ve just become our (my) dumping ground. Need something storing out of sight? Stick it in the front bedroom for now. For now turns into aeons.

Last week we had a bit of a spring clean and threw out a load of rubbish that has been loitering around the house for far too long. The room I’m currently tarting up will eventually become my man cave. My better half has put a month long deadline on the process so I’ve had to knuckle down and stop procrastinating. I’m intrigued to see what happens after a month, but not brave enough to find out.

Four days in and there is a clear path through the room and I can see a sorry excuse for a carpet. A new bookcase and three CD storage towers built and just over half the walls disguised in a blue ocean hue. The bank holiday weekend involves a trip to that well known Swedish furniture store for a huge shelving unit which I was hoping to display all my vinyl. On reflection after moving box after box around the room to get to other parts of the room I fear my storage ideas will fall well short capacity wise and I’ll still have records and discs in boxes.

Some of the items upstairs have never been out on display whilst in my possession and I’m really excited to finally be able to sit back on the biggest chair I can get through the door and survey my thirty year collection of music.

The thing I’m not looking forward to is sorting through a ridiculous amount of shirts that I have acquired over the years. I think there’s approximately sixteen black bin bags (well actually red bags, but you’ll probably be able to visualise a black bag better) full of merchandise that needs to be sorted, culled (maybe), folded and stored. Any one want to help?

Before our outing to IKEA on Easter Sunday I’m taking a breather and heading off out for a few beers and some thrash metal. I wanted to pop down to London for the Reprisal album launch gig on Good Friday, but I can’t get Saturday off work so I’m going to have to bide my time until Saturday.

Finally rolling through the UK on a headline tour to promote their Brotherhood of the Snake album are Bay Area thrashers Testament, a band who are no strangers to this blog. They visited the country in 2016 as support to Amon Amarth and nine moths later they were at Bloodstock. The bunch of British dates that kick off in Bristol tonight are their first headlining dates for six years.

Saturday will be my twelfth time seeing Chuck Billy and his cohorts on stage and no doubt a dozen times walking through the exit feeling frustrated after a Testament gig. They’re one of those bands that always seems to suffer from an awful sound. It’s as if they decide to turn all the dials up to a heavy metal eleven and wing it. Everything always sounds distorted, yet I’ve been back multiple times.

At least it’ll get me away from the four walls of multicoloured paint, multiple styles of wall paper and the not to unpleasant smell of fresh paint, only to be replaced with stale beer and sweat. Hopefully less frustrated and my wife is no doubt hoping I come home wearing the shirt I walked out of the door several hours earlier. Now which bag has my Testament shirts in?

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Heavy Metal Month Listening Challenge 22/31

Day 22 – A galloping riff. 

Testament – Over the Wall

My first and instinctive choice was The Trooper, but I though that was too obvious and I wanted to have Maiden represented elsewhere. 

I had to google the question as I’m no musician and I was unsure what a galloping riff actually is, to be honest it’s still over my head now. Immediately Iron Maiden was mentioned along side a slew of other bands and songs and the mention of Over the Wall leapt out at me for today’s track. 

Do Or Die


So from some new bands with White Boy Wasted and VUUR via something rare in the shape of Toxik it’s now time for something excessive. Here’s the first of two posts today from bands I’ve seen numerous times, easily in double figures for each. 

Both from California, but first up the mighty Testament. Double figures for this band was brought up at the end of last year when I saw the band supporting Amon Amarth in Birmingham. A bit of a travesty in my eyes, but it all pays the bills and probably better financially than another European excursion on their own. Saturday will mark the first time I’ve seen them abroad. It feels like I’ve been travelling to see Chuck Billy and his crew for years, so I’m surprised I’ve only scrapped eleven viewings so far. 

They were the first band announced for this years edition as last years was still in full flow. Posters were put up around the arena late in the day proclaiming their return, thirty years after their arrival in the city. Most of the posters were also removed as souvenirs before the final strains of Indians drifted into the Eindhoven air.  

Saturday will be the first of two Testament shows within a month and fingers crossed not the last for the year. The four shows last year with the Swedes have been the only opportunity to showcase the superb Brotherhood of the Snake album, but when you’re a support act with limited time to play the newer or obscure stuff has to take a back seat to some extent. 

In August they return to theses fair shores  to play at Bloodstock. They’re below Blind Guardian and Friday headliners Amon Amarth, so again time will be limited. Their rabid UK legions though are living in hope that their headlining European tour with Annihilator and Death Angel announces a few dates here after the festival appearance. We can all live in hope, but without any British shows materialising I foresee a short hop to Munich for an evening of unabashed thrash metal. 

Sandwiched in between Testament’s first two albums was the original version of the Live at Eindhoven 12″. The full ten song set was repackaged and rereleased in 2009. Surprisingly no official video has accompanied the release to document the occasion. The Dynamo Open Air performance came two days after they played the club where the festival has taken its name from. I’m pretty confident that the club show was the band’s first foray into Europe. 

I can’t seem to find any footage from the open air show in 1987. There’s some up on YouTube from future appearances and there’s a lot of raw footage from the club show. I won’t let that deter me, so here’s the audio of Do Or Die recorded at the ice rink. Seems a bit daft not having something from that show. 

Brotherhood Of The Snake

  

How fast does Sunday morning seem to come back around again? And this morning was with an bonus hour in bed thanks to the clocks going back with British summer time ending – an oxymoron if ever I saw one. Well these old bones are thoroughly aching this morning after almost twenty hours out of the house over the last two days catching a brace of Obituary, Exodus, Prong and King Parrot performances and some folk metal japery with Skyforger and Skiltron. I’m really not looking forward to my 3:40am alarm call tomorrow morning. 

When Monday rolls around though it’s another work day closer to another gig – if I can get myself motivated on a dank Monday evening in October (plus my football team are being shown on TV at the same time!). Tomorrow night is my first of two opportunities to catch Testament supporting Amon Amarth on their European jaunt. 

I finally got chance to listen to the full 46 minutes of Brotherhood of the Snake yesterday in the car down to the Second City. I’d heard some of the album in fits and starts whilst I was running errands on Friday, and it seemed a bit underwhelming – possibly due to me not being able to give it my full attention. 

In its first full run through it came across as a much more coherent release. The dual guitars riffs are there, the Atomic Clock is on form behind the drum kit and Chuck Billy’s guttural roars are supreme. I think I need to rediscover this albums two predecessors, as in comparison to this they felt like a hard slog to listen to. It doesn’t recapture the raw ferocity and youthful exuberance of The Legacy or The New Order, but it is a more refined incarnation for the Bay Area thrashers and another band still able to knock it out of the park 29 years after that stunning debut. 

As it stands on Sunday morning I’m 75/25 in favour of going tomorrow night, but as Monday unfolds and my mood deepens having to deal with pompous customers that will undoubtedly decrease. A second consecutive Saturday in Birmingham is looking much more likely. 

This lyric video is taken from their latest album, and no doubt there will be more Testament if, or when, I end up at Birmingham next weekend. 

 

  

Over The Wall

  
What day is it? 

It’s that weird limbo time of year where people are not back at work (for some) or school yet. And the post Christmas and New Years self inflicted recovery days all seem to bleed into the next. Regardless of that whatever day it is, it’s always a good day for thrash metal.

Crossing and ocean and the whole American continent we’re heading off to the San Fransisco Bay Area for the band regarded the best not to be in the Big 4 (again very subjective) and rewinding back almost 29 years to The Legacy release with ever imposing frontman Chuck Billy. 

I remember buying this on vinyl in 1987 and taking it back to my friends house a few doors up from my mum and dad’s as he had a turntable in his bedroom. Sitting there playing it loud and reading the lyrics as it played. I think we played in back to back at least twice. It was much easier to read lyrics that were printed on the inner dust covers of a piece of 12″ vinyl than those that followed in compact disc booklets (and my eyes were nearly thirty years younger!)

November of the same year saw Testament supporting Anthrax on their 16 date UK Among The Living tour. They played the Victoria Hall in Hanley -nine miles away from my front door – 15 days before my 14th birthday. As mentioned previously, this would be a show I would be attending if I could roll back time in my DeLorean. 

I might be wrong as I haven’t watched every music video available, but I’d say this is the first thrash metal promo filmed in a prison, but with Alcatraz on your doorstep why not utilise it?