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Play it. Forget it. - 51%

mindcrime42, July 2nd, 2008

Testament seems to have hit upon a very interesting formula here. Here's how it goes -

Step 1 - Choose ten songs spread across the various phases of their existence

Step 2 - Play around a little with each song. Slow down the riff here, up the tempo there. Allow Skolnick to doodle all over the song. Slap hastily written lyrics on top of each song, and get Chuck Billy to sing in a voice that tries to get as close as possible to the voice he might have used on the original song.

Step 3 - Sort the new songs in descending order of how good they sound.

Step 4 - Release a much-awaited reunion album.

And does this formula work? Yes, and no. Yes, when you are listening to the album - especially the first half. Yes, because it makes you want to reach out for your favourite old Testament albums and give them a spin. And no, because after your first few listens to this album, you are never ever going to play it again. No, because not a single song will stay in your head, and every time you try to recall a song from this album, some other classic Testament song will start playing in your head.

But every now and then, they stray a wee bit from the above formula. 'More Than Meets the Eye' and 'The Evil has Landed' (if you can ignore the lyrics that read more like a news report) are both good mid-paced rockers that will get your head nodding in approval. 'The Persecuted Won't Forget' has some of Bostaph's finest drumming work. And 'Henchman Ride' can easily make it to a Top 10 'list of songs to listen to when you are biking down an empty highway', especially with lyrics about 'roaring engines', and going fast being a way of life.

It is because that deviations like these exist on the album that I have not completely trashed the album. And have given it a rating that is still slightly right of center. Testament, we quite enjoyed this 'Testament - Greatest Hits with all new songs' album you put out. Can we have the real new album, please?