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These Guys Still Got It - After All These Years - 96%

SetAbominae6, August 14th, 2012

When it comes to thrash metal, bands tend to lose their intensity as they continue to release albums. The first album is always a "serial riff-ist", if you will - a badass album that has shining moments throughout. Take Kill 'Em All, Show No Mercy, The Ultra-Violence, Feel The Fire, We Have Arrived, Possessed by Fire & The Legacy for example. The band may release 2-3 more really good tasting records, but usually by the fifth they have completely burned out their thrash bonfire. When it comes to Testament, however, they generally keep kicking all of our asses throughout their career [with the exception of Demonic; it seems a lot of people dislike that album]. They may toss a curveball at you, but it always seems to be deadly heavy metal.

Their last record, "The Formation of Damnation", combined their two styles of metal fairly well. This album [Dark Roots] is more of the same - a tasty mixture of The Ritual and Low. There are many melodic solos and groovy thrash riffs thrown in all over the place. The album flows consistently well, always giving you a hard thrashing but leaving you wanting more, as any good metal band does. Songs like True American Hate, A Day In The Death, and the title track are there to assist your brain in melting at boiling temperatures. There are also more death-rooted songs like Native Blood and Throne of Thorns that sound like they were written during the Low/Demonic/The Gathering period.

In all honesty though, the album can't be generalized like this. There is so much variety on here it's insane. Both guitarists lay down immense, elephant-sized riffs but also mind-blowing & face-melting solos. This could almost be classified in with Gothenburg-styled metal, but it sounds completely Bay-Area. If that makes any sense. What makes the album even better? It's mixed almost perfectly. Every instrument gets its spotlight in each and every song, none of the tracks get old, its loud as fuck but not to the point of 'Death Magnetizing' it and to put the cherry on top? It makes your ears bleed.

If most of the thrash metal releases this year have got you down in the dumps, thinking that no one can play the old school way - Remember Testament. I'm sure your ass will be kicked quite swiftly with this release. This might as well be The Legacy 2, because it rolls just as smoothly.