The Bay Strikes Back!
Testament, Exodus & Death Angel
(Calgary, Alberta, October 8, 2022)
Review by JP
Photography by The Thrashmaster and Monika D.
Special thanks to the Record labels promoter, publicists, the wonderful staff at The Palace and of course the bands for making all this happen.
It was a beautiful autumn day and the 1400+ thrash fans were lined up early to see one of Calgary’s most anticipated shows of 2022.
The massive tour that started way back in 2020 was winding with only six dates left in the final leg.
The show started on time and Death Angel was on deck.
With the opening strains of ‘The Ultra-Violence’, the band hit the stage and ripped into ‘Mistress of Pain’. Without missing a beat they moved into ‘Voracious Souls’ and already the pit was up and bodies started to fly.
After an opening and warm welcome from Mark the band ripped into another one-two punch with ‘The Dream Calls For Blood’ and ‘Caster Of Shame’.
The band finished all their all-too-short opening set with ‘Thrown to The Wolves’, finished on a high note and started the show in style!
It is very hard to judge crowd reaction but Exodus seemed to get the most response. Perhaps because they have played here the least over the years, with both Death Angel and Testament playing here multiple times over the years, the crowd was hungry to Mosh. In addition it was the first time that Zetro had played in Calgary as well!
The band opened with the very amusing track of the newest album, ‘The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves’ and never looked back. The bodies were flying from the first song.
Exodus has a pretty deep catalogue and it was hard to spread the set-list across so many albums but we got a nice hat-trick from the new album and a slightly shortened version of ‘Deathamphetamine’, originally sung by Dukes but very well handled by Souza. I love that song and am glad they played it but maybe they could have played three shorter songs instead? I’m happy with the choice they made!
The band finished off with three classic tracks, ‘Bonded By Blood’, ‘Toxic Waltz’ and with a little musical tip of the hat to Slayer ‘Strike Of The Beast’ making me realize that of the 11 songs they played four off the debut! No one was unhappy about that.
The band launched with a perfect opener ‘Rise Up’. It was nice to see and hear Dave Lombardo handling the drums chores with ease. Was that Will from Death Angel watching from the sidelines?
Testament is a bit less of a ‘mosh-oriented’ thrash band than Exodus who have consistently worked that lyrical angle from Day One, however, when Testament played ‘over The Wall’ and ‘Into The Pit’ the bodies were flying once again!
The band worked in crowd pleaser ‘DNR’ and perhaps the slightly lesser known, newer track ‘Night Of The Witch’ from Titans.
The show ended up with a pretty unique moment for the fans and band alike. There is a backstory. Many bands ‘claim’ to be fans of the local sports team (hockey, soccer, football etc) of the city they are currently playing in. They often wear a jersey of the local team onstage as well. It is only natural and a fun way to build rapport with the local audience, even though it may not be entirely true. However, Steve Souza is a life-long Calgary Flames fan. Die hard fans of Exodus will remember him thanking the Calgary Flames in the liner notes of PLEASURES OF THE FLESH back in 1987. He was very thrilled to be in Calgary, home of his favourite team.
For the encore, Chuck Billy stopped the show and the lights came up. He told the crowd that only once before (at Summer Breeze festival) had they done this. They invited Souza (with his Flames jersey) up on stage to sing the final song, ‘Alone In The Dark’. It was a special moment for everyone and a great way to end the night!