Testament – Summer European Tour 2019
FKU – support act
Kulturbolaget, Malmo, Sweden
July 2, 2019
Live pictures and review by: Anders Sandvall
The thrash metal legends Testament are pounding out their music across Europe. In Sweden the band only did two select shows, and I was really happy when I read the band was going to do one stop in my hometown of Malmo. After the Sweden shows the band are heading down to Denmark to perform at the Roskilde Festival after which they’re heading further down into Europe. Along with them on the two Swedish dates are the Swedish thrash metal act FKU. Testament is still out on their album BROTHERHOOD OF SNAKE that came out 2016. To me, the band hasn’t been over productive when it comes to releasing albums during the past ten years and since 2000 the guys have released four albums.
FKU is a band from Uppsala Sweden formed in 1987 but was only active for a year, then band was put to rest and came back in 1997. The bands debut album METAL MOSHING MAD came in 1999. The band name FKU stands for Freddie Krugers Underwear and the lyrics are all jammed with horror influences and are inspired by old horror movies. The bands latest album came out in 2017 and is titled 1987. The band band stopped by Malmo on a Tuesday night and of course the club of choice was Kulturbolaget.
The club is well known in rock/pop circuits and many of the biggest bands have performed there throughout the years, Megadeth performed there last year and Slayer have also been on the same stage. The club opened at 7, FKU was scheduled to be at stage at 8 and it all should end at 11. As always I was at the club well in time for the show to start and took a look at the merch stand which wasn’t impressive, Testament sold t-shirts, signed postcards, dvd’s and signed drumskins but I couldn’t see any vinyls or CD’s at all. Since it was pretty early during the evening it wasn’t that many people in the club yet but the closer it got for FKU to enter the stage the place started to fill up.
Pretty close to the stroke of 8 the band entered the stage and fired off “1981” as the first song and straight away followed “112 Ocean Avenue”. It was full speed ahead from the very start and many in the crowd seemed to have been waiting for the band to come to Malmo because they was plenty of singing along and jumping up and down going on. Lethal moved around the most while Stooahl and Splat stod more solid on their spots.
The audience clapped their hands as Lethal spoke (in English) saying that it was fun to be here, and introduced “Nightmares In A Damaged Brain”. Luckily the band had some really good sound going on that made the songs sound really good, a credit to the sound engineer. The band consists of:
Pete Stooahl – guitar
Pat Splat – bass
Larry Lethal – lead vocals
Unspeakable Emp – drums
Lethal thanked the audience for the applause saying “it was time for an old song, are you ready for “Corpse Mania”?”. When the fans clapped their hands thinking the song was over Lethal shook his head saying no no you didn’t think the song was over? He sang the chorus once again and then the song was over. “Friday The 13th pt 2” followed straight away and I was really impressed with the skill level of the musicians. It was also fun to hear that with only one guitar that they really managed to keep the stamina up and maintain the heaviness of the music. It really felt like FKU was the perfect opening act to Testament with their fun but skilled thrash metal music. Lethal introduced the band then he said it was time for one of the bands best songs in “Funhouse”. He also asked if Kulturbolaget was ready to take on Testament in a while and the crowd shouted yes from the top of their lungs. “Great, so are we” Lethal said, the next song is going to be started by Pete, it’s “Burial Ground”. Lethal had fans shout hey hey hey in the middle of the song and he thanked the fans for the support. He was given some water in the pause in between the songs saying the next song was originally made by Chuck Shuldiner and with that the band played Death “Evil Dead”. Lethal had the fans shouting DEAD in the chorus and it as a brilliant cover version of the song. It was a nice tribute to the legendary Death and to Shuldiner.
An intro was heard in the speakers and Lethal asked if the audience was ready to hear some more music, great, here is “Black Hole Hell”. Come on I want to see more action Lethal said from the stage and I guess he wanted to fans to form a circle pit or something like that but no, they didn’t. I want to see if you can sing about sexy beasts Lethal shouted at the crowd and repeated the chorus a few times. “The Pit And The Poser” followed and now a smaller circle pit formed in front of the stage. Are you ready for our last songs for the night Lethal asked, let’s take a trip to “Where Moshers Dwell” and “Twitch Of The Thrash Nerve” in which Lethal came out waving black flag on stage. That ended the show and Lethal said “we are FKU don’t forget that” and 35 minutes of thrash mayhem was over.
I was really blown away by the bands furious music and appearance, I loved the songs and the guys seemed to really enjoy what they were doing on stage. They were all skilled musicians that didn’t forget how to put on a show and especially Lethal as frontman should have an extra credit for handling the fans well. However, it wouldn’t have hurt with a few more songs and some proper lighting since some of the band members stood in the dark. Besides that it was an amazing show.
112 Ocean Avenue
Nightmares In A Damaged Brain
Friday the 13th pt 2
Black Hole Hell
The Pit And The Poser
Where Moshers Dwell
Twitch Of The Thrash Nerve
The change of gear on stage went pretty slow but soon we could see a huge backdrop and two smaller ones on each side of the drums, more people had arrived to it started to get a little crowded. Finally the clock had turned and Testament time was near as the crowd cheered when they realized the band was coming on stage really soon. At 9.10 the lighting went dark and an intro was heard, it was time for the evening’s headline act to conquer Malmo.
“Brotherhood Of The Snake” kicked off the show and the song gave the crowd a rude awakening. Fans were given no time to catch their breath until the next song “The Pale King” followed and since it was a bit dark on stage as well as a lot of smoke coming out it was hard to take pictures of the guys. It was a lot of green, red and yellow lights on stage but not enough front lights which made the members stand in the darkness when they walked out to the front of the stage.
Testament consists of:
Eric Peterson – guitar
Chuck Billy – lead vocals
Alex Skolnick – guitar
Gene Hoglan – drums
Steve DiGiorgio – bass
It was full speed ahead on the guys and the show continued with “More Than Meets The Eye” and Chuck said the thought it was their first time at Kulturbolaget, are you ready to hear both some old and some new shit? He looked as cool as ever and both he and Skolnick moved around across the stage connecting with the fans. Here comes an oldie in “D.N.R (Do Not Resuscitate)” Chuck said and the fans went frantic – “I want to see everyone clap their hands, come on.” Just at FKU also Testament had some really good sound going on and I couldn’t but be impressed by these older guys still going strong showing how proper thrash metal should be played. The band seemed to enjoy being on stage meeting with the fans and they doesn’t take themselves too seriously. Chuck looked really happy as he announced “Eyes of Wrath” and “Legions Of The Dead” that followed. The set list included some odd choices this night but it felt fun and fresh that the band didn’t only rely on their old patented and well known classical pieces.
Chuck asked if the fans were doing fine and that it was fun to see so many showing up to see the show. Then came the title track that they doesn’t play too often he said and “Low” followed. By know it started to get a little sweaty inside the club as Chuck invited the fans to sing along with him. He said, “Let’s show some love in here tonight, here is Alex on some lead guitar for you.”
The band was really synchronized on the small stage and when it was time for Skolnick or Peterson to do a guitar piece Chuck took a step back to let them in. Chuck said, “It has been really fun performing for you all tonight, do you like it so far? Do you want some more thrash metal? We wrote the next song back in 1988 I think and I want everyone to move your ass, here is “The Preacher”.”
The band felt really solid and tight and even though they toured through Europe before they came to Sweden there were no signs of tiredness at all. The guys were pure smiles and happy faces on stage and it felt genuine. “Now let’s get really old school” Chuck said, “this song was written on acoustical guitar in the tour bus during a European tour, it’s called “Into The Pit”.” That song made the fans explode and the cheers and happiness reached the upper limit. “Come on Malmo, this is our party” Chuck said as he encouraged the fans to go crazy.
Chuck said that is was nice to be here in Malmo, and suggested “let’s all move here ha ha, we love to be in Europe and we really like doing festival performances but it’s something special to play in clubs. Here are some more old school thrash for you all, we’re going to play a song that was featured on our debut album as well as on MTV, yeah believe it or not here was a time when MTV actually played music videos, hard to believe but it’s true, here is “Over The Wall”. ”
Again, I was impressed by the set list and how many gems there are in the Testament catalogue of songs, the band already lined up a few classic pieces and “Over The Wall” is taken from the bands debut album THE LEGACY from 1987. “Let’s make some noise for Petersen on lead guitar” Chuck roared as it was time for Petersen to show off on guitar.
“Disciples of the..” Chuck shouted to the crowd who answered “Watch” and the song took off. Chuck introduced DiGiorgio on bass who did a shorter solo thing and that ended the 85 minute show. The crowd chanted for encores and of course the band returned to do a few of those. “Do you want to hear more” Chuck asked, “I see the guys from Soilwork standing over there, nice to see you guys, thanks everyone for staying true and loyal to Testament over the years, it means the world to us.We had the day off yesterday and took a walk in the city looking at all the nice parks you have here, and remember always “Practice What You Preach”.”
“The New Order” followed straight away and the epic show ended with no other than the amazing “The Formation Of Damnation” from 2008. Chuck said that the band had a blast in Malmo this night and that they surely are coming back. “I thought we had performed in most of the places in the world but this was the first time at Kulturbolaget for us, thank you all we love you.” Chuck then introduced the band members urging us to give an extra shout out to Gene Hoglan on drums after which he told us a new album is coming out in January next year. That ended another brilliant 15 extra minutes and the band left the stage for good.
What an amazing show this was, I think the show is going to be featured as one of the best ones during 2019 so far. The band really showed why they are among the god fathers of thrash metal and even though they toured a lot now it seemed like they wasn’t tired or grumpy, they seemed to have a great time on stage with laughs and smiles. It was especially nice to see the majestic Gene Hoglan handling the drums, he sure is an icon, and it was also nice to see the brilliant Alex Skolnick doing his thing on guitar. The set list was bald and included many surprising choices which were fun, I missed songs from the great album DARK ROOTS OF EARTH though. I also think they forgot to shed some lights on the albums from the mid-section of their career, it would have been fun to hear some songs from that era too.
Otherwise, it was as already mentioned a brilliant show and a lesson in how thrash metal should be performed, however it wouldn’t have hurt with a little more playing time that 75 minuets, I think as an headline act you should at least play for 90 minutes. But I love Testament and it was great fun to see the icons live on stage and so close up as this night and I’m really anticipating the arrival of the new album in January.
Brotherhood of The Snake
The Pale King
More Than Meets The Eye
D.N.R. (Do Not Resuscitate)
Eyes Of Wrath
Legions Of the Dead
Into the Pit
Over The Wall
Disciples Of The Watch
Practice What You Preach
The New Order
The Formation Of Damnation
Thanks to head of Kulturbolaget Totte Lundgren for help with press/photo pass to the show.
Thanks to the always friendly staff and security at the club.