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POP MUSIC REVIEW : Testament: A No-Holds-Barred Set

June 04, 1993|KATHERINE TURMAN

With its thundering rhythm section and hyper-speed guitar riffs, Bay Area thrash band Testament turned the Palace into a giant, sweaty mosh pit on Wednesday.

Though the group is getting rock radio play for the first time in its five-year history with the memorable Metallica-like ballad "Return to Serenity," this no-holds-barred performance showed it was at the fast and furious where Testament excels. Headbanging in unison with his long-haired bandmates, singer Chuck Billy led the quintet through an 80-minute rampage of the ultimate heaviness, ranging from the speed-metal attack of "Reign of Terror" to the punk feel of "Into the Pit."

While it's a powerful band, Testament relies on the same bombastic, in-your-face onslaught in too many of its songs. Though the crowd responded most strongly to the anthemic, energetic material, it was moments such as the melodic, radio-friendly "Return to Serenity" and the classical-influenced guitar work on "The Ritual" that demonstrated the subtlety and range that could allow Testament to escape its limiting thrash-metal milieu.

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