|Review: Testament - Live in London|
|Live in London|
Label: Eagle Vision Music
Year released: 2005
Duration: 82 min.
Review online: January 2, 2006
Reviewed by: Pierre Bégin
for:Live in London
Testament is a band that I once dug, with albums like "Practice What You Preach", "Low" and especially "The Ritual", but I lost interest after "Low". When I saw that their new release "Live In London" was the original line-up playing classic Testament songs, I took a look closer and bought the DVD right away!
And what a gig it was. Filmed in 2005 to a sold out London audience, the classic Testament line-up (Chuck Billy on vocals, Eric Peterson and Alex Skolnick on guitars, Greg Christian on bass and Louie Clemente on drums) play a too-short but excellent 70 minutes set. Note that John Tempesta played the first half of the set (until "Trial By Fire"). This is due to the fact of Louie Clemente has been out of the music business since 1992 and had to learn to play the songs again. The two drummers did a wonderful jobs on their respectively tracks.
The set list is very good in general. The classics tracks are there ("Electric Crown", "Souls Of Black", "Trial By Fire", "Practice What You Preach", "The Legacy"). Other tracks that I dig are "The Preacher", "Sins Of Omission" and "Let Go Of My World". Some other songs are okay to me. Sure, any set list can be debatable. I would have preferred that they played "Alone In The Dark", my favorite track off their first album or more songs from "The Ritual" instead of "Raging Waters", for instance.
An important aspect that hits me is the tightness and good shape of every band member, since they did not play together for so many years, and due to the complexity of the Testament songs. Alex Skolnick plays his brilliant lead guitar solos so tightly ("Practice What You Preach" and "The Legacy" immediately come to mind), while the rest of the band played so well, including the two drummers. It is so great to see Chuck Billy in really good shape. He has a good stage presence and a really powerful voice. The band seems so happy to be on stage together, the unity is perceptible.
The footage, in 16:9 screen format, is rather very good and clear. There are three choices for audio: Dolby Digital Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround and DTS Digital 5.1 Surround. I tested the three formats and strangely enough, the best one in my opinion (and by far!), is the Dolby Digital Stereo format. The reason is that both DD 5.1 and DTS 5.1 Surround sound are way too clean or should I say do not have enough low ends. Guitars and bass and buried in the mix. We miss Testament's heavy guitars attack. Fortunately, Dolby Digital Stereo sounds excellent with a better mix. This is the first time that I choose the stereo format instead of surround sound on a live gig.
As bonus feature, there are some interviews with band members. Chuck Billy seems so happy to win his cancer (we can understand and be happy too!) and to be back with his band. We learn that the classic line up is back together and will release a new album next year! Very interesting interviews but I would have preferred that it lasted more than 12 minutes.
All in all, this is a very solid release. And after listening to the DVD three times in two weeks, I can say that "Live In London" is a must have! A Testament (pun intended) to a great line-up with excellent songs. I'm so happy to see them back together and can't wait for their upcoming album next year!
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