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Testament's third album is probably their worst, and unsurprisingly, from the content on here, is their best selling. To say that this is a 'poor man's Master of Puppets' would be correct, as you can tell throughout this album that's what they wanted to sound like. Like on their previous records, Testament didn't make enough riffs to cover all the songs on the album. Whilst previously they filled in the gaps with solos and interludes, on here it is filled up with some half-thrash bullshit, a bad ballad and an instrumental.
The riffs that are on here range from bad to average. Few have any punch to them, and fewer still can still sound good after being dragged out for a whole song, which is what happens on here. There isn't much distinction between many of the riffs, and sometimes I am convinced that a riff in song A is the same as the riff in song B. This is made worse by the, yet again, bad production that castrates all the riffs that are worth listening to. The drums have no weight to them, the bass is barely audible save for a few intros and the guitars seem to be in the background. The guitar tone lacks balls, and sounds generally harmless and weak. And while Billy's vocals were above average on the previous records, on here he decided that Hetfield was an awesome singer and that he would rip off his style. Unfortunately, he sounds more like Hetfield during the Black Album era more than anything else, and in doing so lost any aggression he may have held previously. Sure, he'll do a death metal growl every now and then, but his vocals come off sounding half assed most of the time.
There are four good songs on here. The title track is probably the best, starting with a slow intro before it speeds up into a good thrash riff with some awesome soloing at the end. 'Blessed in Contempt' is an excellent thrasher and probably the most aggressive on the album with some great technical riffing and soloing. 'Sins of Omission' has an intro which is actually good (unlike the ones on the previous record) before it goes into a midpaced riff with some nice guitar work throughout interlaced with Billy's best performance on the album. Finally, there is 'Nightmare (Coming Back to You)', which despite sounding a lot like Metallica is the fastest on the album. It is quite short at only 2:20, but it still remains a great song carried by a solid riff.
But for those four good songs, there are six bad ones. Coming after the title track is 'Perilous Nation' which is a boring song with a main riff that borders on groove at times. It sounds like something off Metallica's Black Album. 'Envy Life' is a boring half-thrash number that despite starting off with a competent death metal growl from Billy doesn't really go anywhere or achieve anything good. 'Time is Coming' sounds as if it is restrained, and is ruined by bad vocals which is a pity as the under verse riff isn't bad. 'Greenhouse Effect' is the second half-thrash number and sounds similar to 'Envy Life' although slowed down, while 'The Ballad' basically rips off 'Sanitarium' with a boring acoustic beginning which later builds up into a boring riff. At 3:49 it sounds like it's going to really pick up and turn into some screaming fucking riffage but what appears is another mediocre riff. Finally, we have the interesting yet sleep inducing instrumental 'Confusion Fusion' which is really just some random soloing with average riffing underneath.
So that's only 40% of the songs that are actually worth listening to. The solos help bring it up a bit but it's not really a good thing when a thrash metal album relies on it's excellent soloing to make it good. Testament tried to imitate Master of Puppets, and while they succeeded at doing that this isn't up to the standards of said album. Recommended? Not really, unless you can find it under $10, as the bad outnumbers the good on this one making it not really worth any more.