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Finally, Testament's latest studio album is here. Now, I don't know where to start.
I can't deny that after the first listening, I was excited about it, but as a few detailed listening sessions, it has grown a little unsatisfying. The album doesn't keep up the pace. It kinda drops after the first part. It sounds like a weird cross between The Ritual and the Gathering.
The production is almost the same as The Gathering. It sounds raw, heavy yet every instrument is heard clear in the mix. I kinda miss the good old "Low" sound, a little dirtier and mushier. I guess it fits their new blend of thrash metal better.
Now, I think Peterson is one riff genius. He can come up with great headbanging stuff. Sometimes the constant stacatto riffs saturate some songs (Killing Season and Fear for example). I guess this is Testament and asking for some variation is too much. But hell, some songs have that old school "The Ritual" vibe (Afterlife).
Now, that's exactly my point when it comes to the review. I am confused. They tried the "new" Testament sound with the "old" Testament line up? It works up to a certain point. This is not classic thrash. This is not the old Testament. Fact's a fact. But I think they did a pretty good job bringing some of the old vibe in and mixing it with their new style. A little aggro-thrash if you ask me, but hell, I have been wrong in the past. Ha ha.
Now, there was another issue I was scared of the most: Skolnick. We all now since he departed Testament, he went expanding his musical horizons playing jazz /progressive/instrumental music. Everything but metal (except for his appearance in Savatage). And when I heard his leads on the awful thing that was "First Strike Still Deadly" I was really disappointed. I thought he had lost his "metal side". Thankfully his performance in "FoD" is flawless and his gritty tone is there. It's great to have him back doing what he knows how to do.
I've never had any complaints when it comes to Greg Christian and Paul Bostaph. Great musicians, great rhythm section, great performance.
Overall, the album is good. Not all of it, but it's a good sign of what these guys can do and (hopefully) what may come. They haven't worked together for some time, they need to develop their own "old school vibe" if Testament really wants to do a come back and fulfill fan expectations.
Highlights: Afterlife, Evil has Landed, Henchman Ride.