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Their last good album - 80%

Mungo, March 24th, 2007

After releasing a few good and a few bad thrash records in the 80s and early 90s, Skolnick left the band and in his place came James Murphy. The result was a slower, more groove orientated sound that still had its roots in thrash metal. While some people say this a bad thing and that they sold out or something similar to that, this still remains a pretty damn good album that holds up to their previous stuff well, and coming after the boring 'The Ritual' makes it even better.

The first thing which must be noted is the excellent (*gasp*) production job. Yeah it's polished, but it makes it sound heavy as hell, and suits the sound of the albums well. The guitars are rightfully in the forefront of the mix, the drums have some weight to them and the bass is audible. One problem that Testament had before this album was the lack of riffs, and quality ones at that. This is fixed on this album, as the riffs sound different to each other and despite having a groove sound to them are still pretty heavy, helped in part by the guitar tone which is nicely done and a far cry from the light, pussy guitar tone seen on 'Practice What you Preach'. There are on average about three or four riffs to a song, with a main one usually taking up most of the song time. The new direction taken means there isn't as many solos as before, and without Skolnick in the band the amount is decreased even more. However, this isn't really a big issue, as they are only thrown in when necessary, and are kept simple and short. Chuck Billy's vocals are still pretty good, and he does more death metal growls on here than before but still prefers to stick to clean vocals.

There are a few main standout songs on here. The first is the title track, which has an excellent mid paced riff that destroys everything in its path. The chorus is catchy with some good vocal lines and there is a good solo halfway through. 'P.C' is the shortest song on here coming in at only 2:50. It starts off with sounds of people snorting crack before a hell of a riff takes over and drives it forward. Add in a simple yet effective solo and it's another winner. 'Dog Faced Gods' is another highlight with its heavy riffing and death metal-ish vocals in the verses combined with some clean vocals and a slower riff in the chorus. It then speeds up halfway into a solo before going back to the verse.

All of this adds up to a pretty damn solid album. While occasionally it seems a little uninspired and a bad riff props it's head up now and then, for the most part this is competent thrash metal that still holds up today. Unfortunately this would be Testament's last album worth listening to. It's not perfect but it's pretty good, and while it's not as good as their first effort this comes recommended to anyone into Heavy Metal in general.