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Hey, kids, have you ever wondered how to make your own lifeless corpse of a Thrash Metal band, with no vitality or relevance in the modern world at all? Have you pined in your bed at night for the perfect formula to take relatively decent riffs and completely fuck up the actual songwriting process that would use them in the studio? Have you ever just felt in the mood for some of the most pedestrian, un-threatening metal music there can be? Well, being the generous and wonderful person I am, I have decided to construct this tutorial for those of you who just can’t live without it. People, this is the How To guide for making a lame Thrash comeback album, and the example we will use today is Testament’s The Formation of Damnation.
The first road to getting there is to give up all your hopes and dreams. That’s right! Just…throw the useless things out the window. Devote yourself wholly to making money and pandering to people who don’t really care about music beyond what was only very marginally underground 20 years ago. With your crushed spirit, you will rise above the mediocre and petty aspirations of soulful and meaningful music and be able to craft the dull hacked up shash you always dreamed of! Joyous.
The second step is to get your band. Testament has an overgrown hunk of armpit hair shouting like a Neanderthal, a guitarist and drummer who are playing below their talent level and a whole lot of meaningless arrogance and swagger. Perfect formula for any band who don’t feel like putting in the effort to make powerful, lasting impressions on their listeners.
If you really want to suck, try to make your music…unbelievably shallow, and uniformly bland in every way. Like Testament’s The Formation of Damnation again! The guitars chug and flail around with a lot of gusto but little substance or actual, real aggression, dropping the volume significantly whenever Chuck Billy decides that the music is worthy of his talents – and it will be quite often, because clearly HE is the most important part of the band, and not the guitars or the drums at all. And hey, have you noticed that every passage with his vocals in it sound like…something that would play when a phony WWF wrestler enters the ring, trying to look tough? The evocation of this atmosphere is so flawlessly executed that I had to pick my jaw up off the floor. Take notes, people. Take notes.
I mean, just witness the sheer lack of trying on every single track as they pander only to the bare minimum of what people expect from Thrash, never breaking the mold or making anything that makes a statement or sounds strong in the least. Listen as every single song plays out like a grocery list of what Thrash is supposed to be – they aren’t doing these things because they want to, they’re doing them because it’s expected of them. That is what it sounds like, at the very least. Yup, there’s the song with the acronym for a title, even though it doesn’t seem to actually spell anything. There’s the song about 9/11, the one singing against Christianity and the one about love. Are there a few songs about the New World Order, talking about fascist governments and rebellion against them? You bet! The band’s dedication to tried-and-true subject matter is admirable. Pfft. Imagination and creativity are not needed in order to…uh, well, create something. Why fix what isn’t broken, after all? Just stick to the clichés and your album will be one of the most silly, irrelevant pieces of crap out there. Wonderful.
If you want to know exactly how to add the right vocal flavoring to your mess of redundancy, listen to Chuck Billy on this album. Be amazed at his absolutely terrible, grating tone, and listen in wonder as he constipates and gruels his way through all ten songs. You might notice that he has absolutely no sense of, well, being listenable at all, and that nothing he sings does anything but rob the music of emotion and make it naught but a complete joke. Isn’t this just absolutely charming in every way? Perfect for those of you out there who want to go the extra mile with making a crappy album.
Well, there you go. Now you know how to make your own soulless corporate slave-album just like Testament. No emotions, no fun, just unbelievable laziness and pain on every level. For extra points, try and ride on nothing but hype for a decade in between releases. Don’t worry, countless morons with money in their pockets will buy it anyway. You will be set for a while, and when you’re out of cash, you can always just make another album and be set for another eight or nine years straight. Have fun creating your banal pile of mind-numbing idiocy, and I hope to be reviewing your album someday. You can leave your thank-you cards at the door.