Testament, Sepultura, & Prong Bring 30 Years of Metal to Denver, CO 5-6-17

Testament, Sepultura, & Prong Bring 30 Years of Metal to Denver, CO 5-6-17

Change, it truly is the constant through time, especially over a span of 30 years. Presidents have come and gone, styles such as parachute pants and massive doses of hair spray have come and gone (and come back again), but one truth has remained steady is Testament, Sepultura, and Prong’s dedication to kicking their audiences’ asses with every album and live show. Since their 1987 debut album, The Legacy, Testament has established themselves as one of the godfathers of Thrash Metal.

Unlike so many from the same era who have tried fruitlessly to maintain success and relevance, but for some reason or another simply could not meet the grade or ended up trying to establish themselves as a Las Vegas lounge act, Testament is the real deal. That said, Testament’s gift was to evolve but not forget their core, in other words, there will be no duet with Lady Gaga here. So how does the highly respected Heavy Metal band celebrate the 30th anniversary of their first album? Tag teaming with Brazil’s own Metal legends Sepultura and one of music’s most unrelenting/unapologetic masters, Prong, to, well, kick audiences’ Metal asses.

Beginning the tour back on April 6th, on the evening of Saturday, May 6th, the three masters of Metal descended upon the Summit Music Hall in Denver, Colorado to be greeted by a rabid, sold out crowd. That within itself, set against a backdrop of Cinco De Mayo weekend and a Rockies home baseball game, had to be one of the oddest displays of diversity. This in mind, as the bands’ meet and greets came to a close and the crowds shuffled inside, the madness was just about to begin.

Kicking off the night was a fresh band from Germany, Dying Gorgeous Lies. Signed to Massacre Records, Dying Gorgeous Lies are excited to break into the North American market as they document each date of the tour like a journal on their facebook page. Consisting of Liz Gorgeous (vocals), Mashl J. (guitar/backing vocals), E. Burned (guitar), Buzz´D Joe (bass), and J.J. (drums), as Dying Gorgeous Lies hit the stage with a fury, despite extremely limited space to even move, getting the crowd to moving.

The technical precision of their guitarists’, E. Burned and Mashl J., was not to be missed. In fact, despite only having two full-length albums together, the cohesion of these two is no short feat and should wow even the most critical of guitar enthusiasts. Topped off with the vocals of Liz Gorgeous and the percussive accents by drummer J.J., Dying Gorgeous Lies is a band that has only started to scratch the interest of American audiences and is not to be missed.

New York, the birthplace of insane taxi drivers, subculture haven CBGB’s, and of course Prong. Since 1986, Tommy Victor has forged a sound that, while copied by many, is only mastered by a few. Known for their infectious riffs, Punk mentality, and attitude to spare, Prong has never been the band to play on a romantic date (side note, should one play this on a date and get a loving response, congratulations, it’s Amore), it is a cornerstone band that has always set the bar.

As the cover of Prong’s 1990 album, Beg to Differ, dropped down, the audience erupted to chants for Victor and company to hit the stage. As the band unleashed on the crowd, one truth is clear about the trio, while many slow down over time, Prong only adds a bit NAS, only to further run you through. Prong’s latest album, 2016’s No Absolutes, added an intense new edge to the band’s live set, while polishing it perfectly off with tracks such as “Whose Fist Is This Anyway?” and of course their staple “Snap Your Fingers Snap Your Neck.” For those who just cannot get enough Prong, or would like to see an extended set, they will be visiting Mesa Theater on May 14th in Grand Junction, CO for a one off headlining gig not to be missed.

As Prong left the audience gasping for air and energy, the return of Sepultura to Denver was one shot of adrenaline the venue received quickly. When listing some of Metal’s greatest influences and pioneers, one would be sadly mistaken to not include Brazil’s Sepultura. Their incorporation of some of Metal’s most pulsating riffs with Tribal rhythms is unmatched to this very day. Albums such as 1989’s Beneath the Remains, 1991’s Arise, and 1993’s Chaos A.D. gave bands like Metallica and Megadeth a good run for their money when it came to unforgettable compositions. Granted lineups for the band have changed over time, but with the release of their fourteenth overall studio album, Machine Messiah, released back in January, it is clear they are still out to take your senses by storm.

As the band kicked off their set with a new track, “I Am The Enemy,” the crowd erupted into joining Frontman Derrick Green in a full blown sing along. From there, Sepultura of course did not shy away from breaking out the classics such as “Desperate Cry,” “Inner Self,” and “Refuse/Resist,” instantly sending their old school fans into a full on frenzy. Overall a balanced assault of new and old, closing out their set perfectly with the staple “Roots Bloody Roots,” Sepultura had everyone in full psychosis for the night’s headliner, Testament.

Hard not to be in awe over how much musical history there was to cover in one evening with a band like Testament, the crowd had been churning all evening about whether the band would play a great deal from their aforementioned debut album, The Legacy? Would the set feature mostly their most recent masterpiece, 2016’s Brotherhood of the Snake? Or would it be a collective walk through the past with all of their best material? Well, everyone on the edge of their seat were about to find out as the collective of Vocalist Chuck Billy, Bassist Steve Di Giorgio, Drummer Gene Hoglan, and Guitarists Eric Peterson as well as Alex Skolnick entered the stage. 

Together an unstoppable force, they kicked off with a fury of new future classics “Brotherhood of the Snake,” “Rise Up,” “Pale King,” and “Centuries of Suffering.” A pumping beginning, it was after a crushing guitar solo from Skolnick that the band let loose a list of their older tracks ranging from 1992’s The Ritual unforgettable song “Electric Crown” to 1988’s New Order “Into the Pit,” all the way through 1990’s “Souls of Black.” Through it all, Testament put on a history lesson, closing out with a bang on classics such as “Practice What You Preach” and “Over the Wall,” proving why they always have been, and will be, the kings of Thrash Metal.

As crowds shuffled out of the Summit Music Hall ears ringing, sweat dripping, and necks that will surely be making chiropractors rich across Colorado; one observation was apparent, this is a night no one will forget anytime soon. With shows still up for grabs, as the bands travel across the Midwest to West Coast now through May 20th, this is a tour no one wants to miss. In many ways, it is the musical soundtrack that truly defines a Metal band and their fans, so get into the pit!

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Rafi Shlosman
rshlosman@yahoo.com
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