Testament live review – London, Brooklyn Bowl

Bay Area legends Testament bowl over South London. Read our review here...

Testament live in London

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Tonight the O2 Arena is hosting Barry Manilow while around the corner are one of the best thrash bands to walk the Earth. Support act SAVAGE MESSIAH [6] look as metal as their name suggests, delivering trad metal goods to a crowd covered in patch jackets and old black tees.

While Minority Of One hits hard, it’s all a bit unoriginal from a band almost half the age of tonight’s headliners. Before taking to the stage, the swear-filled pro-Remain song from Last Week Tonight blasts over the PA, turning swiftly to an air raid siren.

TESTAMENT [9] are in their element, not just in a bowling alley, but amongst hundreds of diehard thrashers ready to recreate those iconic 80s Bay Area dives. As today is Chuck Billy’s birthday he’s even more smiles than usual, swaggering around the stage playing the mic stand like a guitar when not barking choruses to Rise Up, Dog Faced Gods and Into The Pit. And there’s nothing like seeing a heavily bloodied man being carried out of a moshpit in the middle of a bowling alley. Firing on all cylinders, Alex Skolnick’s guitar solos are still mesmerising, and it’s a cruel fate that Testament aren’t playing to Slayer or Megadeth-sized crowds. The honorary fifth member of the Big 4 just played the heaviest gig Brooklyn Bowl has ever seen and Barry fucking Manilow is next door. No justice.

Luke Morton joined Metal Hammer as Online Editor in 2014, having previously worked as News Editor at popular (but now sadly defunct) alternative lifestyle magazine, Front. As well as helming the Metal Hammer website for the four years that followed, Luke also helped relaunch the Metal Hammer podcast in early 2018, producing, scripting and presenting the relaunched show during its early days. He also wrote regular features for the magazine, including a 2018 cover feature for his very favourite band in the world, Slipknot, discussing their turbulent 2008 album, All Hope Is Gone.