Testament Release ‘First Strike Still Deadly’ + ‘Live At Eindhoven ’87’ Vinyl Versions [Vinyl Creep]
It’s hard to imagine that a band like Testament could have titles in their deep and profound catalog that have never seen proper vinyl releases. With 10 studio albums, a few live discs and a couple of EPs under their belt, Testament pulled two tricks this year that have surely pleased fans worldwide. On Sept. 24, the legendary thrash band simultaneously released two LPs that have never seen the light of day in vinyl form.
The first LP is the 2001 compilation album, ‘First Strike Still Deadly.’ Recorded at Driftwood Studios in Oakland, Calif., ‘First Strike Still Deadly’ is a unique compilation because it features tracks from Testament’s first two albums, re-recorded with modern technology. Not only that, but the songs were re-recorded with several original band members including frontman Chuck Billy, singer Steve “Zetro” Souza, guitarist Alex Skolnick and guitarist Eric Peterson. The lineup is rounded out by later bandmates Steve DiGiorgio on bass and John Tempesta on drums.
Along with these tunes being pressed on vinyl for the first time in thrash history, the cover art for ‘First Strike Still Deadly’ is updated as well. With an even more evil looking cover, the album takes on a whole new life. Housed in a heavy jacket that has a matte finish, ‘First Strike Still Deadly’ has never looked better. In all honesty, it’s never sounded better either.
From the opening track on Side A, ‘First Strike Is Deadly,’ to the closer on Side B, ‘Reign of Terror,’ the album is non-stop thrash at its finest. On vinyl, the occasional crackle or small pop adds to the experience, often times sounding as if Satan himself is snapping his fingers with the music.
The second LP, ‘Live at Eindhoven ’87,’ captures Testament during their first tour in Europe. Just like ‘First Strike Still Deadly,’ ‘Live at Eindhoven ’87’ has never been pressed on vinyl prior to this. Originally released as an EP in 1990 and consisting of only five songs, the full live show was remastered and released on CD in 2009. Four years later, vinyl fans can finally add this maniacal album to their collection.
Recorded on June 8, 1987 at the Dynamo Open Air Festival in Eindhoven, Holland, this live album features Billy, Peterson and Skolnick as well as bassist Greg Christian and drummer Louie Clemente. The jacket for ‘Live at Eindhoven ’87’ features a classic shot of Testament on the front, while the record is in a printed sleeve that includes liner notes from Skolnick and writer Clay Marshall one one side and some killer, never-before-seen old-school photographs on the other.
Testament’s first show in front of thousands of fans has now, for the first time, been released on vinyl. In his liner notes, Skolnick says, “We had lost our virginity and were no longer a ‘local’ band. We had just stepped out of the Bay Area and onto the world stage.” As Marshall so expertly states alongside Skolnick’s notes, this album is “a metal history lesson of the highest order.”
For vinyl fanatics and Testament fans, it’s important to note that both of these releases are very exclusive, each being limited to 500 copies. Both releases include 400 records pressed on 180-gram black vinyl. Fans who want a different experience have the chance to grab a clear pressing of ‘First Strike Still Deadly,’ but that run is limited to 100 copies. With ‘Live at Eindhoven ’87,’ lucky fans can get the album on white vinyl, but again, that pressing is capped at 100 copies.
Testament have been releasing music for over 25 years and still have some pretty cool tricks up their sleeves. First presses, limited copies and different vinyl options make for an experience that few other metal bands provide. Thrash fans rejoice! ‘First Strike Still Deadly’ and ‘Live at Eindhoven ’87’ are absolute musts for any metalhead’s vinyl collection.
Testament – ‘First Strike Still Deadly’
Testament – ‘Live at Eindhoven ’87’