Bay Strikes Back Tour with Testament in San Diego

The Bay Strikes Back Tour finally rolled into San Diego on April 12th, 2022! This tour — with thrash metal legends Death Angel, Exodus and Testament — started in February 2020 and was in Europe at the start of the pandemic. Unfortunately, they had to cancel the tour and get back home to the US. Many members of the bands and crew became sick, with Will Carroll (drummer for Death Angel) getting hit the hardest, fighting for his life in ICU. He fought and won! All of these bands have been through some serious shit over the years and this was just another obstacle they climbed over.

The name “Bay Strikes Back Tour” has a whole new meaning in 2022! 

Death Angel started off the night, with the intro “Ultra Violence”. Watching Will Carroll back behind the drum kit with big smile on his face was that ‘Fuck Yes’ feeling! I have been a Death Angel fan girl since I was 17, so I love when the really old-school songs are on the set list, like “Seemingly Endless Time”, “Voracious Souls” and “Evil Priest”. Rob Cavestany and Mark Oseguda have an awesome, fun chemistry: Mark is always killing the high jumps, like he’s still 20. The band closed out their set with their GRAMMY-nominated song “Humanicide” and “Thrown to the Wolves”. It was great to catch up with Ted Aguilar, guitarist and host of Alive and Streaming, at the merch table after their set. 

Exodus also had their obstacles to overcome early this year, with drummer Tom Hunting being diagnosed with cancer. He is now cancer-free and back behind the kit! Exodus opened up with “The Beatings Will Continue” off their latest album Persona Non Grata, released in November 2021. They then ended with the beginning — “The Toxic Waltz” and “Strike of the Beast.” 

Testament had a big change in March of this year.

Gene Hoglan, former drummer, left the band to pursue prior commitments that conflicted with the rescheduled dates and also to pursue solo endeavors. He lives in San Diego, so it was great to see him cruising around the venue, hanging out at merch tables, in support of the Bay Strikes Back. Dave Lombardo rejoined the band after Gene’s departure. The crowd started chanting “Lombardo”! The set list was a bit heavy with songs from The Gathering; I wasn’t quite sure why, until I realized that was the only album Dave Lombardo is on — he left the band right before the tour for The Gathering in 1999. Testament played “D.N.R”, “Eyes of Wrath” and “ Legions of the Dead”. I’ve been a fan since The Legacy came out in 1987 and I think Titans of Creation, released in 2020, is one of their best albums. I listened to it over and over during lockdown, sitting in my window pondering the weird world we were living in. I’ve been wanting to hear Eric Peterson’s black metal vocals on “Night of the Witch” live for two years. Finally! It was so amazing and gave me chills! The night was closed out with longtime fan-favorites “Into the Pit” and “Disciples”. 

The Bay Strikes Back Tour is more than just three bands who decided to play together because they are from the same area — they are THE pioneers of thrash metal! They have been through a lot together and still bring it hard to the stage. More tour dates have just been added for September 2022. 

Photography by Heather Vandemark

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