Testament and The Haunted Live at the Jaxx August 14th, 1999
This show was outstanding! JAXX had 5 bands play for $20.00 and I can honestly say every band that played this bill was fantastic! This is a great place to see shows, so if you guys ever get to the Washington, DC area check out JAXX in Springfield, VA. Great place, and you can always meet the bands after the shows.
Anyhow, the show started at 7:30 pm. The first band to go on was a local band called “Oppression”. This is a brilliant Thrash/Speed Metal band from Northern Virginia. If you love Iced Earth and Old School Thrash, you would love Oppression. They have a fantastic vocalist who goes from aggressive growling to clean vocals many times throughout the same song. Musically they are both melodic and aggressive, incorporating lots of fast triplet rhythms in their songs. I expect a lot of great things in the future for this band. Highlights of their set were “Dead will rise” and “Disciple.”
Criminal from Santiago, Chile played next. This band takes the rawness and aggressive styling of early Sepultura and puts their own twist on it. They have a very tight rhythm section with very harsh vocals and a tight drum/guitar combination. Very rapid drumming in all their songs. Their set consisted of the following songs: “Terror”, “Denial”, “Scapegoat”, “Victimized”, and “New Disorder”.
NO SaNER came on next. They are a local favorite and are a very unique 3-piece group. This band is sponsored by Jagermeister (along with a few others), an gives out free Jagermeister promos in their shows. No free Jagermeister through (bummer). NO SaNER is known for their sense of humor and how they don’t take things too seriously. They opened the show by playing the intro track from “Welcome Back Kotter” (everyone laughed their ass off!). Very bass and groove intensive. I guess their vocals remind me of Sepultura’s new singer, and they have a driving bass/drum combination and very grinding guitars with excellent leads. Highlights of this set were the cover of “Darling Nikki” and some ZZ Top song “La Grange”…you would be surprised how well they did these songs! Original songs included “Icon”, “Polish”, and “Future less”.
The Haunted came out next and are from Sweden. Unfortunately, they had some sound board problems and their mix was kind of muddy sounding. Apparently the man running the sound left the board and set a plastic cover on it. This left The Haunted with a bad mix in the guitars and bass. Anyhow, my only complaint about the band itself is the drummer. He tended to use the same beat patterns in too many songs (snare/bass/snare/bass repetitions). Their set started with the following songs: “Undead”, “3 Days”, “Choke Hold”, Bullet hole”, and “Bloodlust”. Before the next song the vocalist from The Haunted asked the crowd “Ever hear of a band called ‘At the Gates’? Well….suck on this then”, which immediately led them into “Blinded by fear”, which I thought was one of the better songs of the show. Following this the singer said “This next song was a disco song written by ABBA, and is called ‘Now You Know’” (I think he was pulling our leg for some reason). The last song was “Shattered.” I think The Haunted gave a good performance. The crowd seemed to love them, and the singer had great interaction with the crowd.
Last was the headliners Testament. Man can these guys deliver! They pretty much sounded just like the album….except a hell of a lot louder. Man were they loud! Chuck Billy has a growl on him that is almost inhuman. Kind of like a Heavy Metal Godzilla. They opened with “D.N.R. (Do Not Resuscitate” and went immediately into “Down for life.” Next songs were “Low”, “Burnt Offerings”, “Into the pit” (the mosh pit went berserk when this song hit), “3 days in darkness”, “Eyes of wrath”, and “Riding the snake”. Dave Lombardo did a great drum solo after this song, and they immediately ripped into “Legions of the dead”. Following this song, Chuck Billy said to the audience “We have had a great response from this record. I believe Heavy Metal is coming full circle and making a comeback. This song goes out to you people who always stuck by us and never left us for trends. This next one is called ‘True Believer.’” After this one ended, Chuck Billy said “Damn! You guys broke down the barrier! You know what to do next….this next one is called ‘Over the Wall.’” Man that was a great song (actually they all were). Next songs were “Dog Faced Gods” and “Disciples of the watch”.
This was a fantastic show, and is about equal to the Overkill show I saw there for greatness. Interesting to note was they did not do any songs from Practice what you preach, Souls of black, or The ritual. I met the band afterwards and got my The Gathering CD signed by James Murphy, Dave Lombardo, and Steve DiGiorgio. Testament are great guys and like talking to their fans (especially James Murphy….he walked over to 7-11 and had Slurpees and Hot Dogs with some fans). See Testament if they come to your town. Or drive to the nearest show they have. You will not be disappointed!
Thanks to John Gee for this review!