In the last month now, I have seen four legendary thrash metal bands. Testament and Sepultura were just the latest after seeing Anthrax and Kreator in April. This was a different venue for us though. The show was at The District in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, about a two-and-a-half hour drive for us. So it definitely made for a late night, but it was worth it. There were actually four bands there that night, which I will get to.
Both Testament and Sepultura have been longtime favorite bands for me. I have been a huge fan of both since I was in high school. Sepultura was the first band of whom I bought a t-shirt, though I lost it at some point. It just sort of disappeared at some point. As for Testament, well, my favorite song of all time is "Return to Serenity" and I went to a signing before they played a show in Lincoln when I was 18. Unfortunately I did not get to see them that night since it was a 19 and over show. Chuck Billy had his cancer scare shortly after that and it would be years before the band got back together.
The first band was a relatively young band from Germany called Dying Gorgeous Lies. I was a little skeptical about what the band would sound like based on that name. The name suggests they would be more at home opening for The Devil Wears Prada. But no, they are definitely a thrash metal band. The singer is a woman whose voice reminds me very much of Holy Moses singer Sabine Classen, so I definitely am on board. We missed the band's first couple of songs as we had a long drive and decided to try out a Cambodian restaurant before the show. But what I heard of the band was impressive. They are definitely a German thrash metal throwback and given my love for that style, I will have to check them out.
Prong was next to the stage, and this is another band that I have enjoyed since I was in high school. I used to catch them on Headbanger's Ball quite a bit when "Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck" was out. I have not been keeping up with them for a very long time so I was surprised that I recognized most of the songs they played. They stuck pretty well to their first four albums for most of their set. That is generally their best material anyway. They definitely sounded good. It has been over 20 years since I have heard any new material by the band, but their old stuff still sounds great. They closed out their show with "Snap..." which was appropriate.
I have not been the biggest fan of Sepultura since Max Cavalera left the band, but their albums with him are some of my absolute favorites. They did play a lot of material from their early years, which was appreciated. Derrick Green's voice has grown on me a little over the years and after some uneven releases, they are starting to put out some better stuff again now. Most of the stuff from their Max albums sounded incredible, and I did like the songs they played off their latest album enough that I may have to check it out. Their last three songs ("Refuse/Resist", "Ratamahatta", and "Roots Bloody Roots") were really amazing and were the highlight of their set. They were definitely hitting their stride by that point and their energy was infectious.
Finally, Testament took the stage and I finally got to see them after being disappointed back when I was in high school. The wait was worth it as Testament was incredible. They played a mix of songs going way back to their first album and generally covering most of their early releases and also featuring a generous sampling of stuff from the new album. Everyone was in top form and each of the musicians was given the spotlight at one point to show off their abilities. My wife was quite impressed with Alex Skolnick. I was more interested in Steve DiGiorgio's bass work myself. The only disappointment with their show was that they did not play "Return to Serenity", though since that is a slower song, I should not have been that surprised.
This was an early birthday present from my wife and it was a terrific show. Sepultura and Testament are still two of my all-time favorite bands, Testament possibly being number one. Definitely a good birthday present.