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So this is why Testament have been labeled Metallica rip-offs! Well, I gotta say, this is not entirely Metallica, but everything they do on this album at least nod's in that direction. It's unfortunate that anyone would call them that, but this album did put em in that position. None of the other albums Testament has ever put out can even remotely bare a resemblance to anything Metallica has done. But the thing about this album is that while it does have very Metallica-esque thrash roots, it is one helluva listen.
The cd kicks off with the title track and immediately you have to notice the band seems to want to take Metallica to the next level, with the only thing really noticable, other than the fact you can hear the bass, is the fact that Alex Skolnick kicks the living shit out of Kirk Hammett, if nothing else, but for technical skill. His style is in the vein of Yngwie Malmsteen, but Skolnick is much easier to listen to, he doesn't play to show off, he plays with true feeling. The disc is all moderately paced thrash at it's best, with the one exception being the boringly titled The Ballad. The song is their first attempt at such a song and is nice and layered with acoustic guitars and heart-felt vocals until it kicks into its almost angry outro. The song is the only real stand-out of the bunch, but thats not to say the album isn't a headbangers dream through and through.
With all the air surrounding Testament's so called rip-off album, one has to wonder why this album isn't held as highly as such thrashterpieces as Kill 'Em All and Master of Puppets. It is just as technical, just as fast, just as handbangable, and just as well-produced. Think what you will, but I'm just fine knowing one of the thrash kings borrowed from the big sell-outs themselves.