Testament live review – London, Brooklyn Bowl

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

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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.