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WLM Concert Review: Prong, Sepultura, & Testament at The Depot, Salt Lake City

May 13, 2017

What a night of Thrash.  It’s difficult to turn down favorites like this and Salt Lake City did Metal proud on a Sunday night with an impressive showing at this tour stop.

So I’ve seen Testament a number of times (and they still are probably my favorite band) and Sepultura lost a lot of my interest a long time ago.  The band I was really looking forward to seeing this night was Prong.  I’ve been listening to them since Beg to Differ and never got to see them live.  Granted, not every album of theirs has been a hit with me, but the last couple Prong might have proved me wrong (SWIDT?).  I had the chance to interview Tommy Victor about a year ago and he struck me as totally down to earth and still amazed that he gets to play his music to fans on a regular basis.  Definitely looking forward to Prong.

Apparently the rest of the crowd was too.  There frankly wasn’t much difference in crowd size or intensity among the three bands.  Rarely do you see the audience for an opener quite this into it – but this wasn’t the local unintelligible Tech Death Metal band – it was the mighty Prong.  The unfortunate part of this is that their time was rather limited.  They did get to play 8 songs, but they easily could have played twice that and not lost the crowd.

With a weird stage set up that left bassist Mike Longworth stranded on an island apart from Victor and drummer Art Cruz, Prong hit the stage at The Depot (cool venue), launching into The Ultimate Authority from X-No Absolutes.  This certainly was a great way to start, but following up with Beg to Differ and Unconditional made the performance that much better.  Surprisingly, Prong played only 2 songs off of the latest album, and maybe more so – half of the setlist came from Cleansing.  I guess unsurprisingly, two of those songs were Whose Fist is This Anyway and Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck.  Too bad they had time for only 8 songs – there were so many more.  I guess the lesson learned is to catch Prong on a headline show.

Sepultura followed, constructing half of their set from their latest Machine Messiah.  While it’s not a terrible album, I am extremely partial to the old stuff.  I enjoyed the Cavalera Brothers show last year quite a bit, and preferred the older songs Sepultura played this night.  It seemed the crowd really came alive during the final three songs, which included Refuse/Resist and Roots Bloody Roots.  It was cool to see Andreas Kisser and he certainly tore it up, while drummer Eloy Casagrande beat the skins like he had a personal vendetta to settle.  Sepultura was definitely tight and focused, so it was good to finally put them on my “bands I’ve seen” list.

You could read my review from when I saw Testament last year and it would hold up, although this time they were headliners and played more and some stuff that was very cool to hear live.  As I said earlier, Testament has consistently been one of my absolute favorite bands since I heard New World Order way back when.  That said, everything this evening was not perfect in my discerning eyes.  First of all, each instrumentalist took time for a solo.  Honestly it should have been only one, maybe two.  Alex Skolnick has certainly earned the distinction of being an incredible instrumentalist.  Gene Hoglan is widely admired as one of the best bangers in Metal.  I have zero problem with them taking some set time for a solo, and what they each did tonight was fantastic.  On the other side of the coin, we have Eric Peterson and Steve DiGiorgio.  Frankly, Peterson has no business taking up valuable stage time to play a solo.  Now, he can write a riff, as well as (if not better than) anyone in Metal.  For that, I have a tremendous amount of respect, but he doesn’t need a solo section.  I heard a number of disparaging comments around me.  Eric – please save your energy to write the next Stronghold or Down For Life.  We love you for that stuff.  DiGigiorio may have a better case, having played with Death, Control Denied, and a plethora of other bands, but tonight, it was a sonic mess.  I’m not sure what was going on, but it didn’t sound good.  I would have much preferred another song rather than what felt like a waste of time.

Some of the highlights of Testament‘s set were the five songs from Brotherhood of the Snake (although Seven Seals didn’t come across as effectively as it does on the album).  The band also dug around and came up with Low, Souls of Black, and Electric Crown.  Of course, the standard Testament fare was there in Rise Up, Into the Pit, The New Order, Practice What You Preach, and Over the WallChuck Billy was awesome as ever and ruled the stage.  It was simply awesome to see this band again.

Thanks to Katy and Prong for the access.

Check out some of my photos below:

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