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It took 9 years for Testament to come back after the great, heavy The Gathering and the wait was quite worthy, especially for a long time Testament fan like me. Even if I’m quite young, I’ve always liked this band, especially during their first period…I wish I could be there, back in the 80s to see them live. Anyway, as lots of other bands, they had a small period of crisis, immediately surpassed with that 1999 album: The Gathering. Even if it showed a different, a bit groove approach, the violence was filling their sound again and I must thank a lot that great line up on that album.
The wait for a new sign of life was enormous but now is over. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome back Testament again. With a brand new line up that features the one and only Testament’s lead guitarist Alex Skolnick and the original Greg Christian at the bass, here we go again with good songs and devastating production. “For The Glory Of” is an instrumental intro where we can taste the brand new Alex lead guitar’s notes on a carpet of apocalyptic sounds. “More Than Meet The Eyes” is a classic The Gathering oriented song with bludgeoning semi mid paced parts and galloping guitars. Big Chuck is always great behind the microphone and his style follows the one on the previous album, alternating chorus and clean (powerful) vocals, to growls.
Alex is unique with his six strings while Bostaph is compact and precise as always with no signs of tiredness. The solos have another quality and you can hear it very well, without a shadow of a doubt. The atmosphere is always the classic Testament’s one: dark, murky and truly apocalyptic. The production exalts in a perfect way all the instruments even if it can be seen as a modern one, like it was said for The Gathering. The melody in the solo of “The Evil Has Landed” is very good while finally, with the title track we can experience the real band’s power during the up tempo with a growler vocals.
Bostaph has replaced in a perfect way Lombardo once again after Slayer. Many criticised him but I like him a lot, he’s like a machine: you load him and he’s able to go ‘till the end with no problems and hesitations. Anyway, this album has not good things only unfortunately, but also some song writing problems. The songs are not too different and even if the riffs and the melody could change in each one of them, it’s hard to find so many catchy parts like in The Gathering album. This is not necessary bad because here Testament has pointed a bit more on the impact and a bit less on the groovy riffs of that album. It’s a matter of tastes but, for example “Dangers Of The Faithless” is different and surely stands out of the pack.
Another thing to notice that could case a lower rate is the length. Starting from the point that 50 minutes of thrash metal in an album are a bit difficult to appreciate (but I loved Kreator’s “Violent Revolution”), you must fill them always with excellent parts to avoid boredom and inattention. Here Testaments are not the best but “The Persecuted Won’t Forget” is a good waking up thanks to lots of fast parts. The other songs are nice and worth a listen but they are mostly mid paced and for example “Afterlife” is a bit boring, apart from the always beautiful solos.
Well, at the end, it smells like a promise not entirely kept. It’s a good comeback by great musicians with great technique but I believe it lacks in spirit and something is wrong concerning the song writing. Anyway, this is a good album for Testament’s fans.