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May 24th, 2015. The Salamandra Concert Hall opens its doors to San Francisco thrash legends Exodus and Testament. The two giants land in Barcelona to charge at the audience with power, great sound and technical cleanness.

Despite the ons and offs throughout their 30-year career, Exodus bursts in with impressive musical shape, making the night one to remember. Steve “Zetro” Souza moved us with a voice full of energy; it looked like he had drunk a satanic elixir! He interacted actively with the audience, especially with the drunk ones on the bar, cheering at him all the time. The setlist was a review of albums such as Tempo of the Damned (2004), the recent Blood In Blood Out (2014) and Bonded by Blood, which launched them as thrash essentials back in 1985. Songs like Body Harvest, Black List, The Toxic Waltz or Iconoclasm leaded the audience to a knocking wall of death. Despite Gary Holt’s absence, Exodus members sympathised perfectly, nailing every song with great sound quality, an ear-bursting drums performance and stunning guitar riffs and solos. Strike of the Beast confirmed that Exodus remains one of the greatest bands of the genre, warming us up for Testament’s collision.

The fellow band Testament came in to stun the audience with a top-notch live performance, managing to create an “arena-like” metal atmosphere in a pretty small hall; love when a band decides to put some effort into actually giving their fans a show, for the place definitely looked bigger! Over the Wall was the greatest start-up ever and one could see the audience roaring for more. Frontman Chuck Billy showed his usual, monstrous presence and great attitude: why he doesn’t get more attention for this escapes us... With a wireless, lighting mic, he performed “air guitar” in every riff and solo. The setlist was a row of timeless anthems such as More than Meets the Eye, The Preacher, Practice what you Preach and Eerie inhabitants. Only a band like Testament can perform these songs as if they were new material; the sound and strength they put into them was breath taking! Veterans Peterson and Skolnik banged us with their brilliant technique; with dark riffs and cardiac solos, songs like Into the pit, DNR or Native Blood blew our ears down. On drums, Hoglan made us headbang till harm with stunning changes of rhythm, along with Steve DiGiorgio’s powerful bass inputs. After such a gig, I believe the sweet days of Testament are still ahead of them. No matter what venue they play, whether it is a small club or a huge arena, Testament will give us a visually and musically stellar performance.

Testament and Exodus’s reunion under the same sonic roof has definitely been a statement: they are both classic thrash metal bands in the truest sense of the term. Though they haven’t achieved the global success and fame they deserve, I’d say it is better this way for they will always surprise us. Horns UP!

Writer: Beatriz Yoldi
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