Before you say something, yes I know there is no Death Angel coverage in this article, that would be because of three hours stuck in traffic on the drive to Oakland from Sacramento, which realistically should only be about an hour and a half, but I won’t bore you with the details. 

After arriving in Oakland and rushing to will call, we made it in just before Exodus took the stage, so to calm my nerves I grabbed a quick cocktail with some friends and then mounted up my camera and headed to the stage where I found some other photographer friends from Sac and the Bay also shooting. Luckily the photo pit at the Fox Theater is pretty sizable to allow all of us in there.

Suddenly just a second or two after finding my position, the lights went down and the mighty Exodus walked on stage to a loud roar from the who’s who of Oakland thrash crowd and ripped right into “The Beatings Will Continue (Until Morale Improves),” and if you’ve never witnessed an Exodus show, the second they walk on stage is like being pummeled in the face with guitars and drums always in the forefront. 

As they moved on through their setlist, it was a solid compiling of all four decades of Exodus material, including some Rob Dukes material, which is where I’ve always thought they really started to get more aggressive, so it was good to hear some of that. And as always with Exodus, you don’t get a whole lot of chatter, with the exception of Steve “Zetro” Souza at one point making it very clear that they are true Bay Area thrash and I almost get the feeling that they feel disrespected by the industry, which rightfully should be. Even though they were before Metallica in the Bay Area thrash scene they’ve always felt like the ugly step child/black sheep of the scene, but one could definitely argue that over the last two decades, they’ve put out the best thrash records on the planet, continuing to live up to their moniker as the heavier, darker side of thrash kings and their live show matches that so well.

I believe, if I remember correctly, just before “The Toxic Waltz” (and I could be wrong on the timing of this), it was absolutely an amazing moment to see a very skinny Tom Hunting stand behind the drums screaming at us, as well an amazing set by him all around, and if I’m being completely honest, maybe the best set I’ve ever heard from him, as well as the best sounding set I’ve heard from Exodus, ever. They were tighter than I’ve ever seen before, and put on an amazing large scale metal show for all. Once again, I utter to the world, put them on bigger stages and let them fly the flag of thrash!

Then only moments went by until the mighty Testament walked on stage and ripped right into “Children of the Next Level” and man I didn’t think it could get much louder in there after Exodus, but it definitely felt like it did on my eardrums (thankfully I wear earplugs.) And as it always is when I get to see Testament, I park myself right in front of where Alex Skolnick is going to be because the first few songs that we get to shoot, he gives an amazing visual performance to go along with his most epic guitar performance, and he did not dissapoint me. Alex really seemed more happy and energized than I’ve ever seen before and it really came out in the photos, so I hope he reads this knowing that I had an absolute blast shooting him!

But moving on, Testament is a well oiled machine when they come on stage, they always sound just like the record and brings tons of energy, and not to say that Exodus doesn’t do that, they just do it differently with ferocity, but these two bands with Death Angel (who I’ve seen more times than I can count) belong together when you talk about Bay Area Thrash because it always feels like they’ve been wronged by the industry, locked out, black balled, whatever you want to say, but I’ll take them any day over a big arena show, and let me tell you, Testament’s live performance and unique vocals by Chuck Billy, can never be replaced or duplicated.

They went on through their set, and really hammered in some newer tracks, but that doesn’t bother me because their new albums are absolutely stellar, and finishing with Into the Pit and Disciples of the Watch is just fun; watching the large sell out crowd which the interwebs tells me is 3,000, but that place is way bigger, so I think it’s lying to me. But either way, that entire crowd was lit from start to finish and these bands really brought and intense energy that you rarely see these days from bands that have been around as long as they have. I can’t wait for the full tour to commence and see this full show again in Sacramento!


Streets of Oakland (intro)

The Beatings Will Continue (Until Morale Improves)


Body Harvest

And Then There Were None



A Lesson in Violence

Blood In, Blood Out

Bonded by Blood

The Toxic Waltz

Strike of the Beast


  1. Children of the Next Level
  2. The Pale King
  3. Practice What You Preach
  4. The New Order
  5. WWIII
  6. Throne of Thorns
  7. Low
  8. Dark Roots of the Earth
  9. Night of the Witch
  10. Souls of Black
  11. Over the Wall
  12. Electric Crown
  13. Into the Pit
  14. Disciples of the Watch
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I'm a screenwriter, journalist, independent filmmaker and photographer when time permits. I cut my teeth in Journalism with Klusterfuct Magazine, Fringe Magazine and finally Your Music Magazine interview bands such as Rob Zombie, Korn, Unearth, Shadows Fall, Rise Against, All That Remains and many more. Fed up with the politics involved in working for someone else I ventured out on my own journey and started creating short films in hopes to one day create feature films, but alas I missed writing about bands that mean so much to me, so here I am...fighting the good fight, fighting the metal fight!
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