Saturday, September 1, 2012
Testament - Return to the Apocalyptic City EP (1993)
Granted, the four live cuts that represent 66% of this release give an adequately pummeling, with a lot of punch to the guitars, brute vocals, audible drums, bumping bass, and that threatening, oblique atmosphere the band had mastered through the first few studio albums manifest at the Los Angeles Palladium. Really can't say I'm disappointed with the performances at all, especially "Over the Wall" and a personal favorite, "Disciples of the Watch", but when all is said and done, there are just too few to effectively boil the blood over to satisfaction. It's important to note that this was not performed with the entire original lineup; Chuck Billy, Eric Peterson and Greg Christian were joined by their Forbidden friends Paul Bostaph and Glen Alvelais to round this out, and both do a solid job of filling out the estimable shoes of Clemente and Skolnick. Overall, the performances are effective and strong sounding on a stereo, I just wish there were about a dozen more here..
Return to the Apocalyptic City also includes a useless radio edit of "Return to Serenity" (I like the song, but trying to compact an already accessible piece for radio reeks of major label bullshit). The most exciting track here, though, is very likely "Reign of Terror", a track they had back on their demo that they'd continued to perform through the years, winding up on the Trial by Fire single. It's a decent, forceful piece with some great, hoarse assertions and screaming from Billy, but I'd say it often sounds a bit too much like a pastiche of other tunes off The Legacy and The New Order and I can understand why it was never represented officially on one of the studio albums. Does it warrant a purchase of the entire EP? Not so much, and the fact that there are no other rarities here speaks once again to the very 'meekness' of this release. Most likely those who acquired this did so at little personal cost, I can remember it wading through the cut-out bargain bins back in the 90s, and if you find it dirt cheap and love Testament, have at it. Otherwise, there's not enough of anything on offer here to really bother with it.
Verdict: Indifference [5.25/10]