Testament

Live At Eindhoven '87

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Bay Area thrashers Testament arrived at the 1987 Dynamo Open Air Festival as relative unknowns, bolstered only by a startlingly mature debut album named The Legacy and boatloads of promise; they left conquering heroes, having handily converted the European masses assembled there with their accomplished musicianship and ferocious live show. So successful was the band's performance, in fact, that their label Megaforce rush-released the Live at Eindhoven EP in Europe -- thereby perpetuating four of the band's most potent melodic thrashers -- "Over the Wall," "Burnt Offerings," "Do or Die," and "Apocalyptic City" -- in all their vicious on-stage glory, and often at even faster speeds than were managed in the studio. A final, fifth track, named "Reign of Terror," was also tacked onto the end, as though it too had been performed live, but was in fact a rare outtake from The Legacy sessions, which helped make the original Live at Eindhoven EP a high-selling import in America over the next few years. Fast forward some 20 years, though, and Testament's complete, uniquely inspired set from that day was finally released in its entirety by Prosthetic Records; bringing the song count to nine, plus a guitar solo from teen wizard Alex Skolnick and arguably doubling the overall excitement in the bargain. Among the additions, there's the surprise of an as-yet unreleased "Disciples of the Watch" -- soon to become the centerpiece of Testament's massive sophomore studio effort, The New Order -- and three more classics from The Legacy, in "The Haunting," "First Strike Is Deadly," and an almost impossibly fast-and-heavy tornado-de-force through "Curse of the Legions of Death." In the end, the only measure of misfortune afflicting Live at Eindhoven's well-deserved upgrade and reissue may be the sense of irrelevance with which the music-buying public views live albums, in general, a decade into the third millennium. Testament's Live at Eindhoven flies too far away from the mainstream to change that, but it sure as hell might help.

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