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80s thrash metal band a testament to bygone generation

Courtesy of Fresno Media, LLC

Contrary to popular belief, thrash metal isn’t dead. One of the 1980s’ most popular thrash bands is crashing Columbus this week.

Testament, with Anthrax and Death Angel, is scheduled to perform at the LC Pavilion Friday. Doors open at 7 p.m.

This tour is part two of the co-headlining tour that ended in November. The headliners, Testament and Anthrax, have not toured together since 1987. For vocalist Chuck Billy, the tour has been like a reunion.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve played together,” Billy said. “I think it was the right time to work together again.”

All three bands had their beginnings in the early ‘80s following acts such as Metallica and paving the way for the metal scene that soon cooled off in the 1990s.

“Metal kind of fell off the map when it was just gaining momentum,” Billy said.

Metallica, Anthrax, Slayer and Megadeth made it big and became a part of the “Big 4,” but Testament did not.

Metal has since influenced many of the acts coming up in the early 2000s that perform at festivals like the Taste of Chaos and Mayhem Festival.

Bands like Death Angel, Testament and Anthrax fall into the genre of thrash metal, an offshoot of heavy metal, known for its aggression.

“It (thrash metal) had (the) heavy sound, powerful chord usage and speed and antisocial lyrics of the hardcore punk movement,” said Jordan Brown, a fourth-year in strategic communication.

Billy was not the original vocalist of Testament. He came into the band in 1986.

“I wasn’t from thrash metal. I was more rock,” Billy said. “To me I was a bigger guy and didn’t see how I could fit in that vein (of glam rock). (I liked) the attitude and aggression.”

Berez Harris, a third-year in philosophy, said he became a Testament fan listening to thrash metal in high school after playing “Guitar Hero 2.”

Harris said the metal songs were faster, harder and more complex.

“I wanted to play all the harder songs and they were all metal songs and that’s when I really got into it,” Harris said.

The tour has been an enjoyable experience, partly because it’s been great to see the music bridge a generational gap, Billy said.

“I love to see that fans for 20-plus years are coming to the show and also bringing their 15-year-old children to see the show,” Billy said, “kind of turning them on, the next generation, to our style of music.”

Harris said this is no surprise.

“Teenagers are still teenagers — angry kids are still going to like angry music,” Harris said. “The audience is always going to be there.”

Testament’s 10th studio album, “The Dark Roots of Earth,” will be released April 27.

“I think it’s probably going to be some of the best songs we’ve wrote in a long time,” Billy said. “Every record we’ve done different and this record is definitely different again, but I think it’s more focused with this lineup.”

Tickets are $29 at the door.

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