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Back with a vengeance - 98%

Ktulu, August 13th, 2002

Well, everyone thought Testament was done for when shredder Alex Skolnick left the band, especially after a poor album like 1992's "The Ritual". But Eric Peterson and the boys proved everyone dead wrong. "Low" is an underappreciated thrash masterpiece and every thrash fan must hear this album.

The most noticeable differences between this album and Testament's earlier work are 1) the production. Gone is the thin guitar sound, and it has been replaced by something that sounds kinda like a Harley running over an elephant. 2) Chuck Billy's vocals. He sounds the way he looks on this album -- huge!! In fact, it's the vocals, in combination with the songwriting that make "Low" such a fantastic album. Chuck goes the whole nine yards, from his regular thrash scream, to a death metal growl, to a very nice sounding clean vocal style. There are so many more good things to say about this album, it's almost impossible to know where to start. Skolnick's replacement, journey-man guitarist James Murphy fills in admirably, throwing in both tasteful and fiery leads throughout the entire album. This album is also bassist Greg Christian's finest hour, just check out "Urotsukidoji" or "Chasing Fear", you'll see what I mean. Testament also proves that they are the master of the "power ballad" churning out another one in "Trail of Tears", a haunting but uplifting song.

The only problem I can see with this album is that the riffwork isn't quite what Testament are capable of. Most of it is very good, but some of it just leaves you wanting a little more. You don't notice it much, though, because the songs are just so well written and so fucking heavy!

All hail the Dog Faced God!!