Concert Review: Testament at the Fillmore, SF

June 15, 2009

Since their appearance in the December 2008 issue of GP, Testament, and their heavier-than-thou guitar duo of Eric Peterson and Alex Skolnick, have seen their latest record, The Formation of Damnation, sweep all the metal awards and lead to tour after tour in places the band never even played during their “heyday.”

Skolnick and Peterson enjoyed a triumphant return to their home in the Bay Area when they rocked the Fillmore on Friday June 12th. They hit the stage with an absolute ferocity that scarcely let up for the entire two-hour set. Peterson played his signature Dean V (complete with the skull graphics from the band’s first album) and Skolnick shredded on a Heritage single-cutaway. The riffs were incredibly intricate but the guitar tones had enough definition to slice through not just the bass and drums but also a loud and raucous crowd. Fan favorites like “Practice What You Preach” sat comfortably side by side with newer material from Formation, making it clear that they haven’t lost a step after all these years, struggles, and personnel shifts. Peterson’s rhythms have the same razor-sharp precision and Skolnick’s solos have a great combination of melody, chops, and reckless abandon. It’s obvious why these guys are cited as influences by so many great guitarists and it’s no shock that they should rise to the top of the thrash heap once again.

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