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Leaders!!!!!...not followers - 85%

skolnick, February 10th, 2003

Legacy was history…Testament was now there to rule on earth…Probably one of the first questions you’ll ask yourself when you had listen to this is gonna be: Haven’t I fuckin’ heard this before? OK…Testament, although having recorded their debut very late are not some riff ripping off followers but some of the walking thrash creating gods of this earth. True…many may thought that Testament just copied and intensified the old good and reliable formula to produce some decent thrash and make some heads bang furiously…So, it looks to me that you are forgetting (if you ever knew) that Legacy was formed in 1983…YES, that’s right my friend metalheads, the year of the thrash explosion (“Kill ‘Em All” and ”Show no Mercy”)! Testament, at that time under the moniker of Legacy, started to walk into the same direction of the big 80’s thrashers following along their steps, but actually even managing to go beyond them, being a much more aggressive metal attack.
Sometimes I just can’t believe that some bands that started some time after Legacy, and I think you’ll know the years when those ones started, are considered far more original and creative. Well, just this kind of comparison looks pathetic to me. Why? Because first of all, what we can do is put Testament at the same level or even higher than those bands, and second place, have you ever heard another Thrash band with such a really brutal and heavy debut album? Testament really made a difference in what they wanted to proof… That… although spending some years without a recording contract, they managed to stay apart from the trends and listen to what was being done in their musical area, pushing themselves beyond the limits and getting themselves really much more heavier and technical…We cannot call this band a bunch of “old ideas” repeaters…I would prefer call them Leaders, not Followers…

Ok, more deep into the music now… Legacy had officially died as the name for the band, from the moment that Billy Milano (yeah, that fat freak from S.O.D and M.O.D) came up with the perfect name for them…”The Legacy”, Testament’s first album ended up to be a gigantic monument to honour what the band had made in their past years before the recording of this record and to thrash metal in general…

It starts with “Over the Wall”, and it’s for me the one of the best openers on a metal album I’ve ever heard…that intro is just pure fucking head banging. Alex Skolnick and Eric Peterson really had hit very hard on those guitars in this one and Louie’s drum pounding fits just perfectly… if you don’t feel dizzy after hearing this one, than you are not a real thrash fan.

“The Haunting” is another Thrash monster, especially because of those intro riffs that are just absolute “evil” and those fantastic solos… Great Thrashing and head banging experience, an essential listening…

“Burnt Offerings” is an Arabic/Metal melodical fusion masterpiece. This one is literally played at every Testament show. Starts with a calm solo backed up with a cool fingerpicking melody, being followed by those furious Arabic metal riffs, ending up in some really fast parts with a really impressive solo that I think it was actually played by Eric Peterson…Brutal!!!

“Raging Waters” is a single written song by Eric Peterson, and it’s quite good, especially in the middle of it when the song really picks the pace with that great riffage. Also a good thrashing experience…

The peak of brutality on this record comes with “C.O.T.L.O.D”. You can definitively hear that this one has Derrick Ramirez’s personal touch in it. Absolute thrash, one of the best on this album…Alex Skolnick and Eric Peterson just didn’t felt satisfied until they teared the studio apart by playing those amps so loud on this one…Amazing!!!

“First Strike is Deadly” shows perfectly the power of early Testament…and Louie Clemente’s potential too. This is the only song where I heard Clemente striking the double bass, and he’s proved that he is good, at the same level of Dave Lombardo in Slayer’s “Angel of Death”. Alex’s solo on this one is superb…this is pure thrash frenzy…fantastic!!

“Do or Die” and “Alone in the Dark” are also very good but stay a little bit behind the others in there. The first one manages to get some interesting riffs in the middle of it while the second looks more like a heavy metal act than a thrash act…still, don’t get me wrong…they are also pretty enjoyable…

To finish it up comes the fantastic “Apocalyptic City”. Great intro, great song, great solo…everything is really great about this one…the perfect closer for this thrash “work of art”…

Steve “Zetro” Souza’ s departure ended up to be beneficial for the band…Chuck Billy really had a much stronger presence as he became from this point their preacher of doom for the next years to come. Alex Skolnick, although not having that technical quality on this record that he got us used to over the years, was already showing signs of a real guitar whiz kid…
“The Legacy” in my perspective, is a very well deserved kick in the ass to all of those that think Testament are some cheaters and that they are not capable of writing anything of enjoyable. Nothing can be as aggressive as this one for a thrash debut record. Really essential Bay Area influenced stuff…