Testament, Downslot @ Universiada Hall, Sofia, Bulgaria, August 11th 2014

A trip to Sofia for vacations and an opportunity to see Testament for the 4th time...
on Tue, 09/02/2014 - 11:34
Testament - Universiada Hall, Sofia, Bulgaria
Photo credit: Miroslav Hristov

Universiada Hall is located about 20 minutes - with tram - from Sofia town center, and when I arrived there I saw people outside the venue drinking beers and waiting for the concert. When the support group hit the stage, there were no more than 500 people inside the venue.

The support group was a local band called Downslot. Downslot was formed in 2008 in Sofia, Bulgaria and in June 2012 they released their debut album, 'God Is War'. They have influences from bands like Pantera, Machine Head, Lamb Of God, among others, and for the 35 minutes their appearance lasted, they presented mostly material from their 'God Is War' album. The sound was ok, and most important: the audience seemed to enjoy their performance.

Downslot

Set-list:

New Beginnings
The Fear Within
We Will Rise
God Is War
Empty Room
Second Change

People outside the venue, drinking beers and waiting for the headline act, were starting to enter Universiada Hall just a few minutes before Testament hit the stage. Somebody told me that it was more or less 1000 people. Testament are touring Europe supporting their latest release 'Dark Roots Of Earth' and the live CD 'Dark Roots Of Thrash'.

Testament

At 21:00 sharp they hit the stage with the first song from 'Dark Roots Of Earth' album, 'Rise Up', and continued with one of their most famous tunes, 'The Preacher'. The problem was that the sound was too loud and it was difficult to recognize the songs. In the beginning of the concert I was near the stage, and even if I knew the setlist in advance, it was almost impossible for me to understand the songs. I had to move to several places in the arena in order to find a good place with clear sound; as it happens most of the times, this place was close to the sound engineer.

Testament

It was the first time that Testament are giving a live show in Sofia and the crowd was so energetic, both in new and old tracks. The set-list was equally divided to songs from 'Dark Roots Of Earth', 'The Gathering' and 'The New Order' albums; we also enjoyed some tunes from their other albums, as well. A special mention has to be made for Steve Di Giorgio (bass). I knew that Di Giorgio is an amazing bass player but I was blown away by the way he plays the bass. In contrast, I was a bit disappointed from Alex Skolnick. Every time it was for his solo, he seemed to get separated from the band and just perform for his own. For time to time I was thinking that Alex was performing for himself and not as part of the band. The rest of the band was energetic - especially Chuck Billy, who was in a good mood and it was not difficult for him to win the crowd. In the last song of the concert, 'The Formation Of Damnation', Chuck asked the crowd to split in half, that being left and right, and when he gave the order, the two parts became a huge mosh pit. This is how they finished the concert.

I have seen Testament three times in the past, one being part of a festival line-up and two in their own tour. This 4th time was not the best, due to the bad sound and the thing with Alex Skolnick. But the audience enjoyed the show, and this is the only thing that matters!

Testament

A big thanks to Loud Festival for their help.

Set-list:

Rise Up
The Preacher
More Than Meets the Eye
Native Blood
True American Hate
Dark Roots of Earth
Into the Pit
The New Order
Practice What You Preach
Riding the Snake
Eyes of Wrath
Over the Wall
Disciples of the Watch
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D.N.R. (Do Not Resuscitate)
3 Days in Darkness
The Formation of Damnation