Unfortunately, we spent most of Death Angel’s set stuck in traffic but, judging by the sweat and steam pouring off fans heading out into the street after their set, we missed an absolute blinder.
As fans waited patiently for Exodus to take to the stage, it was impossible to miss the number of Slayer shirts clamped to the front row barrier. Strolling out to a Benny Hill / Angel Of Death mash-up intro tape, former Slayer guitarist Gary Holt stared menacingly out of the crowd. “He’s back home,” bellows frontman Steve Souza as a way of introducing Holt to the crowd who, as if it was needed, added an extra ounce or two of fire to the Exodus crew.
Battering through the likes of “Fabulous Disaster” and “Piranha,” Exodus was ferocious tonight and with bodies flying over the barrier from all directions, security got a punishing work out as well. Finishing the night with a blistering rendition of “Toxic Waltz” before closing with “Strike of the Beast,” the Bay Area shredders left all manner of chaos in their wake as they headed off stage at the end of their set.
The headliners needed no introduction. Testament, the band who sat outside the “Big Four” for so long but have always delivered top quality material, were again on ferocious form. Opening with “Eerie Inhabitants,” the thrash veterans pummelled through their sixteen song set to the delight of the Manchester headbangers.
Old tracks like “Into The Pit” rubbed shoulders with newer material like “Brotherhood of the Snake” with frontman Chuck Billy’s thunderous vocals matching his imposing stage presence. Bodies popped over the barrier as the set continued through a career-spanning collection including a ferocious “Last Stand For Independence,” a wall-shaking “Practice What You Preach” and a pit-causing “Over The Wall.”
Steamrolling through their set, the Bay Area thrashers left this sold-out Manchester crowd sweaty, battered and bruised and, for many of us of a certain age, we left the venue with a warm feeling thinking how that was just like the good old days!