Metal heads once again bonded by blood in a day of reckoning for the Manila leg of the Bay Strikes Back. The tour features legendary thrash metal acts: Testament, Exodus, and Death Angel. This happened last September 21 at SM North EDSA Sky Dome.
From Mabuhay Gardens, California to Manila, Philippines. Bay Strikes Back is a tour that started last 2020 in Europe and resumed in 2022. Luckily, since they are touring Asia—and with the help of its promoter PULP Live World— three foundations of thrash metal were able to visit the Philippines to serve live heavy, fast, and loud music.
While Summer Slams haven’t been around for years, and its last event called “Judgement” was canceled due to the pandemic, PULP Live has created an avenue for metal heads to raise their horns up once again. And also, spoiler alert: the longest-running Metal festival in Asia will be back on its OG spot, Amoranto Stadium on March 23, 2024, entitled “PULP SUMMER SLAM XX Worlds Collide.”
A streak of two green lights marks the start of the show. Prominent enough for everyone to focus on the stage as Rob Cavestany played the intro lead of Death Angel’s symphonic track “The Ultra-Violence.” The crowd later unleashed chaos when they performed “Evil Priest.” This caused bangers to form a moshpit.
Paying homage to his home country, Ted Aguilar was also spotted banging with his ripped Juan Dela Cruz shirt while playing.
They did follow the energy by playing songs from the album “Ultra-Violence” with tracks “Mistress of Pain” and “Voracious Souls.” After that, songs “Seemingly Endless Time,” “Absence of Light,” and “The Dream Calls for Blood” were offered to the metal heads in attendance.
Death Angel is known to be a Filipino-American metal act. Of course, seven songs aren’t enough for such a homecoming, and also a prolonged Manila gig in 2020. Which might be a motivation for how they technically played 11 songs from their discographies. Soon enough, “Humanicide,” and “Aggressor” followed.
“Because of music and mutiny we still win” is what Mark Osgueda stressed while growling his last words to close down their set in Manila. The band played “Thrown To The Wolves.”
Intricate instrument setups created reasons for rest and smoke breaks among the moshers. But as soon as Queen’s “We Will Rock You” played you know that it is once again show time.
Volcanic smog might be the cause for dark skies but that doesn’t stop EXODUS from playing. It took them more than 40 years to play in the Philippines. That may also be the reason why Filipinos never missed pulsating tunes starting with “The Beatings Will Continue (Until Morale Improves).”
A crash course on havoc was introduced next with such songs as “A Lesson In Violence,” “Blood In, Blood Out,” “The Years of Death and Dying,” and “Deathampetamine.”
Guitarist Gary Holt also showed off his shredding skills by rocking his ESP and LTDs. This is while repping his “Kill The Kardashians” statement shirt.
“Blacklist,” Piranha,” “Prescribing Horror,” “Bonded By Blood,” and “Toxic Waltz” then followed. They also had a successful run in creating the first wall of death of the night.
“We’ve never been in the Philippines,” frontman Zetro Souza stressed. He adds that “There is only one way to fucking end an EXODUS in Manila. That is with ‘Strike of the Beast.’ ”
The “Legacy” is still alive.
Testament started their set by reverberating their mellifluous chugging cue track “Catacombs.” Just like its title, “Rise Up” made the audience stand, and bang to their riffs.
Their new drummer Chris Dovas exhibited percussion perfection with his rattling double bass drum set. The band played “The New Order,” “The Preacher,” “The Pale King,” and “Do Not Resuscitate.”
Strikingly, concertgoers went chaos to their songs “Children of the Next Level,” “Practice What You Preach,” and “Souls of Black.”
Thrash is known for speed and precision. What better way to see a live version of a Testament song than by witnessing people run in circles as fast as they can for the song “The Formation of Damnation.” The sphere later changed its form to square with “Over The Wall,” and “Into The Pit. Needless to say, the second wall of death that night followed.
The night ended with Testament’s song titled “Disciples of the Watch.”
The Manila leg of Bay Strikes Back featuring Testament, Death Angel, and Exodus is presented by PULP Live World
Words by Aram Lascano