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I just don’t know why I even try anymore. This band keeps disappointing me since the early nineties. Just like Megadeth really. Briliant firast four albums and it’s all over after that. Come to think of it, just like Metallica actually. I wonder why the die hard thrashers don’t bash Megadeth and Testament as well. Must be because, unlike Metallica, Megadeth and Testament didn’t have hits and MTV awards in the nineties or something. But they’re just as disappoiting really. Selling out and changing their style everytime. I can never call this band Testasuck though since they did really four excellent albums in a row in the eighties.
So then, no Louie Clemente but Paul Bostaph here. People keep understimating the effect a drummer has on the overall sound of a band. Forbidden with Gene Hoglan? That’s like Dark Angel without him really. Paul Bostaph is great but he has a typical way of playing and this modern digital sound doesn’t do Testament much good. The old Clemente was sloppy but gave Testament that hasty thrashy feeling.
Anyway, Greg Christian is also back and I still love his sound. He alone can’t save an album obviously. I expected a lot more from Alex Skolnick though. I don’t seem to hear the same man on this album who did some marvellous work on the New Order. I don’t hear any lead that even come close to what he did on “Apocalyptic City” and “Over The Wall”. What he does on this album is okay. Better than most guitarists in you average thrash metal band, but nothing close to what he’s done earlier. Ah well, there’s expectations for you. He failed me.
Then there is Chuck Billy. He’s the most suprising element on the album. I didn’t know he could really sing anymore. I have hated this man since he started growling in 1994 and ruined the ’99 album “The Gathering” almost single-handedly! Well here we have him sounding like Practice What You Preach / Souls Of Black most of the time again. Glad to hear Testament sounding like Testament again you’d say!
Unfortunatelly Billy fails to sing on the song which needed it the most, the title track. One of the best songs on the album but with the worst vocals (there’s that fuckin’ grunt again). Damn! A missed opportunity.
Wrong. Eric Peterson sucks big time. You remember the man who wrote 100 riffs per year on the first 4 albums? Well, he wrote some things here but not a lot of them can be called riffs at all. Chugging, some old school metal power chords, some melodies. That’s about it. Almost no riffs here. Key element missing ladies and gentlemen. And a very important one in thrash metal.
Last but not least. Apart from 1,5 song (really!) the album is SSSSLLLOOOOOWWWW. Mid paced dull humpty dumpty metal. Midpaced isn’t bad as long as the songs have strong riffs and a strong chorus. As said the good riffs are missing so the chorusses could maybe still save the album. Wrong! When the album is over I don’t remember any of them. The album just goes on and on in a slow pace but there are no stand out tracks like “Trial By Fire” or “Pratice What You Preach” to be found.
This is not a thrash metal album. This is a melodic and mostly mid paced generic metal album. I’d give this album about 55 or 60 points if it would have been a new band and because it is slightly enjoyable as background music. But since it is Testament and they have failed me for the fifth time in a row with a studio album, they must be punished. You have failed me for the last time, bastards. However, since this album is far better than the 2007 Exodus failure “The Atrocity Exhibition, Exhibit A” I must give this one more points.