TESTAMENT / EXODUS / DEATH ANGEL Live Concert Review (2022)
- Venue: The Forge – Joliet, Illinois
- Date: May 14, 2022
- Special guests: No Openers
- Reviewed by Michael Juvinall – Horror Patch
- All photos © Michael L. Juvinall / Monu-Metal Photography – All Rights Reserved
It has taken over two years for the Bay Strikes Back Tour to come to fruition. Due to the Covid pandemic, the tour has been canceled more than once. This year it finally was able to launch. In my opinion, this was the biggest and most anticipated tour of the year. It featured three titans of thrash metal all from the San Francisco Bay Area which include Testament, Exodus, and Death Angel. A hotbed of thrash metal that has produced such bands as Metallica, Vio-lence, Forbidden, Dark Angel, Heathen, Hirax, and more.
These three bands are the best of the best and to have them all in one lineup is truly amazing. There were no opening bands here, just the big three co-headlining on the bill. While all three bands have had genre-defining careers, someone has to play first, second, and third. I’ll say the least largest of the three bands is Death Angel, which is why I believe they start things off, followed by Exodus and then Testament. It is my opinion that Exodus should have been the top and final band, but that is neither here nor there. No sense splitting hairs, Any one of them could’ve been at the top. That’s what makes this such an incredible show experience.
It is very cool to note the bands played back-to-back shows two nights in a row at The Forge Rock Club in the southern Chicago suburbs. This was the only city and venue on the tour where the bands played two shows in two days here and both were completely sold out.
Something else weird is I’ve never experienced a band member’s birthday celebration during a show and on this night I was able to experience three different ones. Will Carroll of Death Angel, Lee Altus of Exodus, and Eric Peterson of Testament. It was an incredible night for sure.
As I said, Death Angel was up first. These thrash masters actually have been around longer than Testament, but not Exodus. They came about in 1982 as a Dark Theory and then changed their name to Death Angel in 1983. Guitarist Rob Cavestany is the sole remaining founding member but vocalist Mark Osegueda is not far behind, having joined the band in 1984.
It is interesting to note that in 2020 in the middle of the pandemic, drummer Will Carroll contracted Covid while on tour with the band in Europe. He was in intensive care and on a ventilator for an extended period and nearly succumbed to the virus, but thankfully made a full recovery.
The band made their way to the darkened stage while the intro to The Ultra-Violence blasted from the speakers. They then ripped into “Evil Priest” to start things off with a bang. Their set wasn’t as long as I would’ve liked but what can you do? My favorites from their set were “Voracious Souls”, “Seemingly Endless Time”, and “Humanicide” from their current album.
Mark Osegueda’s vocals haven’t seemed to lose a beat in all these years. His voice still sounded incredible. He is the band’s frontman and is truly that in every sense of the word. He has seemingly endless energy on stage and fires up the crowd to the maximum. The 1-2 gut-punch of guitarists Rob Cavestany and Ted Aguilar on rhythm guitars is a real treat to see. They play so well off each other. Damien Sisson on bass tore up the stage on the low end. Of course, with Will Carroll on the kit, they are truly a band to be reckoned with.
4 out of 5 Pentagrams!
- The Ultra-Violence (Intro)
- Evil Priest
- Voracious Souls
- Seemingly Endless Time
- Claws in So Deep
- The Dream Calls for Blood
- The Moth
- Thrown to the Wolves
Exodus is the oldest of the three bands and I feel the most influential of all thrash bands outside of the Big 4 (Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax, Megadeth). Many feel that Exodus should replace one of the band’s in the Big 4. Maybe Megadeth needs to go, eh? Anyways, I’ve seen all the Big 4 live more than once and Exodus is just as good as any of them.
They formed in 1979 as a band. The funny thing is, no one person has been with the band from the very beginning. They have had so many lineup changes, it’s hard to remember them all. But the only person who has performed on every album and is really the heart and soul of the band is lead guitarist and main songwriter Gary Holt. The only other member who has been in the band almost as long as Holt is drummer Tom Hunting. Current vocalist Steve “Zetro” Souza has had three different stints as singer for the band. Bassist Jack Gibson has been around since 1997 and rhythm guitarist Lee Altus since 2005. It is a very solid lineup now and one I would put up against nearly any thrash band in existence.
What to say about seeing Exodus perform live…they are a force of nature. They put on such a powerful set it’s really hard to find anything not to like. They are one of the heaviest thrash bands ever. Every member is so tight in their roles and gel so well with each other.
They kicked things off with “The Beatings Will Continue (Until Morale Improves)” from their current album, Persona Non Grata. They went on to play two other tracks from this newest album. I was very happy to hear the most songs from their debut album, Bonded By Blood, and a smattering of songs from other important albums.
What else is there to say about watching one of the greatest thrash metal bands ever perform live? It’s a show not to miss and you can’t do better than seeing Exodus strut their stuff in a live environment.
4 1/2 out of 5 Pentagrams!
- The Beatings Will Continue (Until Morale Improves) (with “Redneck Stomp” by Obituary intro jam)
- A Lesson in Violence
- Blood In, Blood Out
- The Years of Death and Dying
- Happy Birthday to You (Mildred J. Hill & Patty Hill cover) (for Lee Altus)
- Prescribing Horror
- Bonded by Blood
- The Toxic Waltz (with intro snippet of “… more )
- Strike of the Beast
Testament is without a doubt, one of the greatest thrash metal bands of all time. They come from the metal hotbed of the San Francisco Bay Area. They are considered part of the Big 4 of Bay Area thrash along with Metallica, Exodus, and Death Angel. While we all know Metallica went on to stratospheric fame and fortune, Testament also rose to fame from within the thrash metal underground. The band has certainly received a greater share of fame than the other two bands on this tour.
The band formed in 1983 as Legacy, but went on to change their name to Testament in 1987 due to another band having the same name. Lead guitarist Eric Peterson is the sole original founding member still with the band to this day. Singer Chuck Billy joined the band in 1986 and has been on every album the band has produced. Guitar virtuoso Alex Skolnick has had a couple of stints with the band, having first joined in 1983. The remainder of the band are comprised of bassist Steve Di Giorgio, who also has had a couple of stints in the band beginning in 1998. The most recent addition to the band is famed ex-Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo who rejoined the band just this year.
The pedigree of the members of Testament is out of this world. They are such a tight band and it is impressive to watch them do their thing on stage. Vocalist Chuck Billy is such an imposing figure onstage, but the nicest of fellows off. His vocals are quite amazing and are one of the reasons that Testament music is so readily recognizable. Next, the guitar tradeoffs between Alex Skolnick and Eric Peterson was music to my ears (pun intended). It’s amazing to watch two of the best in the business shredding out the music. Finally, the amazing Dave Lombardo behind the kit was just thunderous. He is one of the best metal drummers of all-time.
They played a good variety of songs from their new and older material in their set. They started out with “Children of the Next Level.” My favorites of the night were “Practice What You Preach”, “The New Order”, “Night Of The Witch”, and “Over The Wall” just to name a few.
As I have mentioned earlier, this entire lineup of Testament, Exodus, and Death Angel are three bands who are headliners in their own right. To see all three of these bands on the same bill is unbelievable. This show was definitely worth the admittance. If you caught this show in your city, consider yourself lucky. If not, there is hope because there has been a second leg of the U.S. announced for later this year. Try your luck!
4 1/2 out of 5 Pentagrams!
- Bad, Bad Leroy Brown (Jim Croce song)
- Children of the Next Level
- The Pale King
- Practice What You Preach
- The New Order
- Eyes of Wrath
- D.N.R. (Do Not Resuscitate)
- Legions of the Dead
- Electric Crown
- Souls of Black (preceded by Steve DiGiorgio bass solo)
- Night of the Witch
- Over the Wall
- Into the Pit
- Disciples of the Watch
- Superstition (Stevie Wonder song)