With a lengthy tour coming to a close Testament, Annihilator and Vader were a polished tour package to rival any current shows. And, when they landed in Dublin on Easter Sunday they could have resurrected any messiahs slumbering. It may have been April fool’s Day, but it was no joke as the mayhem was unleashed at the city's Vicar Street venue. While Vader may have been only allotted shortly over 30 minutes they took their opportunity, grabbed the audience by the scruff of the neck and threw their deathly might upon the adoring at the front.
On the surface Vader's inclusion could have been the unwanted cousin beside the headliners, but that would be to under-estimate their appeal. This was full-on nuanced aural assault.
Friendly cannucks Annihilator are currently on a roll. After a succession of festival dates last year and the fan and critically acclaimed 'For the Demented' still earning plaudits Jeff Waters and co are on a roll. At times the banter verges on a stand-up show with some music, but it is the technical brilliance of the band that is to the fore, whipping up the crowd into ecstasy. What is apparent is while the classics such as 'Alice in Hell' etc. receive an airing, newer tracks are the slick thrash we expect, all balanced in a set that is evidence that Annihilator are going to destroy all in their path for some time to come.
Testament literally have a stage presence that is at times unreal. Commanding, confident and above all controlled chaos. Chuck Billy is a man mountain with mischievousness (don't tell Alex Skolnick where his plectrums went). Skolnick's reputation as a master of the axe had the crowd mesmerised - his solo slot had so many nods to other guitarists it was almost ridiculous, had it not been so well-executed. However, what is clear is that Testament's hunger has not abated. Solo slots aside this was a packed set of songs the true believers of the Testament were all but bowed down to in admiration.
To rhyme off what was played would be an injustice, but 'The Pale King', 'Into the Pit' and 'Eyes of Wrath' were stand-outs. That is until you consider the encore...'Practice What You Preach' and 'Disciples of the Watch' were jaw-droppingly good. While this tour draws to a close these three bands are on the proverbial form of their lives. Get back in the studio record and come back soon as we all are in the Brotherhood of the Snake.
Review by Jonathan Traynor
Pictures by Darren McVeigh