Testament - Dark Roots of Thrash

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Testament's tour for latest album Dark Roots of Earth has been long and successful, so it's only right that they felt the need to document it with a live release, fittingly named after the package tour the US they headlined with Overkill. The performance which makes up this CD and DVD was recorded on that tour at the Paramount Theater in Huntington, NY to a near capacity crowd, which comes over loud and clear on the release. For the show the setlist was nearly perfect, covering most areas of the band's career well (although Demonic, The Ritual and Low were ignored as always) and incorporating the lead four tracks from Dark Roots of Earth, including the excellent title track. The sound quality is similarly excellent; crisp, clear, but allows for mistakes to show, which adds to the authenticity of the recording. The problem is the DVD. The camera operators constantly move the camera around so the shot framing is always purposely off-centre, and wind the zoom in and out from one extreme to the other in a single motion - presumably under instruction to make up for the obvious lack of cameras - both of which look amateurish rather than the likely "edgy" intention. The editor then adds to the bargain-basement effects by introducing high-speed shot changes to try to match certain fast parts of the songs, and artificially "shakes" the camera on some double-bass drum fills. Most of the DVD is borderline unwatchable, even though the actual video quality is quite good, because it looks like it was shot by amateur film students with expensive equipment. The fact that it needn't have been that way makes it double disappointing. But the audio, performance, and setlist are so good that the CD-only or vinyl editions are essential.

Written by Andy Lye
More: 2013, Live Albums, Live DVDs, Quick.Play Reviews, Thrash Metal,

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