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Preaching thrash, Practicing thrash - 95%

morbert, April 11th, 2007

Well, first of all let me tell you I am one of those people who hated Chuck Billy for not wanting to sing anymore like he used to do from 1987 to 1992 and selling out with awful grunts during the late ninties. Having said that, you all know by now that I love Chuck Billy for what he has done on the first 5 Testament albums but I truly get nauseous by his vocal performances since 1994. Not forgetting around that time also Skolnick was lost to the cause and replaced by this guy James Murphy, a death metal guitarist who wasn’t able to get a steady job in any band.

Anyway, back to 1989....
The reason ‘Practice What You Preach’ is one of my favorite Testament albums is mostly because –for me- the album had the ultimate thrash metal production. Maybe for some new kids it’s not heavy enough by 2007 standards but I still prefer this natural eighties sound. The guitars sound sharp around the edges and do not – thank god - fill up the entire soundscape. Guitars need sharpness to get that thrash metal definition. Next up is the unequalled Ibanez bass sound of Greg Christian. Again with a lot of definition and a nice metallic edge to it. D.D. Verni from Overkill also perfectly understood how thrash metal bass should sound! Do listen to the pumping metalic bassline of the titletrack or the intro to ‘Perilous Nation’. It can’t get any better than this! Although Louie Clemente has not been the best drummer in thrash metal, his drums sound natural, not triggered at all to hide shortcomings. On top of it all there were Billy’s vocals that were perfectly balanced between both raw and melodic. But never too much of any!

Taking in account just the songmaterial in itself, ‘Practice What You Preach’ is still a good Testament album. Of course it can not compete with the legendary classic ‘The Legacy’ (1987). But whereas ‘The New Order’ had too many clean parts and easy-listening-metal-moments (also too many leads and solos) “Practice What You Preach” was better balanced although it could have done with a slighty larger amount of uptempo songs. Titletrack ‘Practice What You Preach’ is the embodiment of how a mid tempo thrash metal song should be written, performed and produced. Uptempo songs such as ‘Blessed in Contempt’ and ‘Nightmare’ proved the band could still write and play fast material. Furthermore I still get goosebumps when listening to the build-up of ‘Sins Of Omission’ and ‘The Ballad’ did NOT suck because the song holds some great Skolnick details and nicely evolves into a thrashing climax. If there are fillers on this album, only ‘Greenhouse Effect’ and the instrumental ‘Confusion Fusion’ could deserve that qualification.

Plenty of reasons for me - as your see - to consider this abum to be a classic in their discography. Of course I cannot give this album 100 points because there is no such thing as a perfect album and I will always consider ‘The Legacy’ their best effort.