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Testament's Peak: 1988 - 100%

Testament1990, November 23rd, 2020
Written based on this version: 1988, CD, Megaforce Records

I've been jumping around a bit on my Testament reviews going from different points in their discography. For my fourth Testament review I'm going back to their peak period of releases from 1987-1990 and going to dive in to their 1988 sophomore effort The New Order. For a very rare bunch of people I see some say this is where they take their first dive in quality which is a pretty absurd opinion as the band for me would only maintain this masterful formula for the next few years never dipping in quality one bit. Testament released this album in May of 1988 coming off what is in my opinion the best thrash metal debut album of all time 1987's The Legacy, a record that laid the foundation for Testament to expand upon with each subsequent release afterwards. The New Order adds a bit more atmosphere to the Testament sound incorporating more clean guitar moments and subtle instrumental compositions that build up into the songs. The New order is also the first release where Chuck Billy had input on the writing process as most of the tracks on the debut were already crafted by the time he entered the fold. The only track Chuck contributed to on the debut was the song "Do or Die" rather than on this release he was involved with the entire writing process.

This album is very dark and has a more sinister atmosphere compared to The Legacy and shows the growth in musicianship the band had taken within the time between The Legacy and The New Order. the songs here have a lot more variety to them rather than the pure thrash assault the debut had. Here we see the band delve into slightly slower tempos allowing for more breathing room and for the band to add a bit more dynamics to their sound. The production/mix is superb on The New Order it's got that classic analog sound to it and has its own vibe compared to any other thrash album just like they all did back then unlike the present day. Everything is doused in reverb on this release and the guitars are saturated in a eerie delay that gives this album the haunting atmosphere that Testament was so good at making. The guitar tone here is one of my all time favorites as it is just like Souls of Black but less punchy in my opinion however I feel the guitar tone on The New Order is slightly more clear than the Souls of Black guitar tone. Chuck is right up front in the mix and overall is a bit louder than everyone else here which isn't bad. Louie's drums sound incredible here and have a way more massive sound to them than the debut. Greg is kind of drowned underneath the guitars but you can still hear him a lot better than the debut.

The New Order starts with the crackling of thunder while Eric and Alex blend their haunting clean and distorted guitar parts together on "Eerie Inhabitants". This track sets the vibe for this album with Eric playing a clean interlude while Skolnick sweeps arpeggios elegantly across Eric's playing before it kicks into the thrashy onslaught of riffs packed within the tune. The title track is a epic track that has a super catchy chorus and thrashes on at a more mid tempo pace. "Trial By Fire" has one of Testament's most signature intros as it features the same type of atmosphere as "Eerie Inhabitants" does starting out really mellow before diving straight in to business. "Into The Pit" is a fast pace face melter that is a live staple for the band it"s so iconic I shouldn't even have to explain its excellence along with "Disciples of The Watch" which is also another signature track for the band that is played live at almost every show. "The Preacher" and "A Day of Reckoning" are also really badass tracks that really hit hard with "The Preacher" being a fast paced banger that shows Chuck Billy's range getting really high up there at the beginning while "A Day of Reckoning" is a more mid tempo track that grooves along nicely. "Nobody's Fault" is a Aerosmith cover which is done so damn well that Aerosmith might as well sign the rights to it over to Testament because they enhance to the song to new heights. "Hypnosis" is a short instrumental that shows a more melodic and creepy side to Eric and Alex's playing. Last but not least we have another instrumental titled "Musical Death (A Dirge)" which is the best instrumental in the band's entire catalog showcasing Eric and Alex's elite playing and how good they mesh with one another. There is even a spanish sounding acoustic guitar part in there played by Alex which adds a new layer to the band's sound. The band even recorded an earlier track called "Reign of Terror" during this era but didn't put it on the record which is puzzling because The New Order version of the song is the best version of it but it did make its way on the Trial By Fire single.

The songs on this record are some of the most memorable tracks in Testament's discography. The clashing of the more clean haunting guitar moments with the heavier thrash moments set The New Order apart from the rest of their classic releases and gives the album it's own characteristics. Each of the first 4 Testament albums have something completely unique that sets them apart from the others as they are all chapters of the bands evolving thrash sound. Most of the tracks here are so classic that the band almost has to play a few of them at every show since this albums inception. People complain that they aren't as fast as they were on the debut but when you grow as a musician you start to add more dynamics and different types of techniques into your sound and that's just what Testament were doing during this period of the band. All the tracks on The New Order have some much depth and diversity to them it's hard to summarize how good they all are in their own right. The album cover is also pretty rad with a huge smoky blue skull looming over our earth.

Eric and Alex definitely grew as players and songwriters here and their chemistry was on the rise as they are still the best guitar duo in thrash. Peterson's song ideas and Alex's ever evolving lead playing make this album a classic along with Chuck Billy singing a bit more melodic here but with great power. His vocals are at his most versatile on The New Order going from low growls on certain parts all the way up to soaring high pitch vocals. Louie and Greg also stepped up immensely within the songs as there are more parts on this record that allow them shine as individual musicians rather than they just be viewed as the rhythm section. Don't get me wrong they definitely had their moments on the debut but with the way the songs are structured on The New Order they both have a lot more diverse moments rather than keeping up with the blistering pace of the songs. Everyone in the band had grew as musicians exponentially within the short time between The Legacy and The New Order and not many give the band the credit they deserve here. This growth would only increase rapidly throughout the next 2 releases before drifting away from thrash metal to create a more subtle, melodic, and groovier masterpiece in 1992. That is a story for another day though.

At the end of the day The New Order is a instant classic and a must own thrash metal album. This album is chalk full of classic material that is just straight up essential for anyone into thrash metal. The instrumental interludes here are badass and don't fault this album one bit. The Aerosmith cover is the best thrash cover song ever recorded as it beefs up the Aerosmith classic to a staggering degree and the rest of the tunes just crush. I'd highly recommend this record to anyone into any form of metal especially the old school stuff. It's hard to hate this record and some of the reasons people provide as to why it's bad is just absurd. This record is a bonafide classic and wrecks everything else going on at the time in 1988 and their dominance would only continue with the next few albums to come. Pick this album up and obey or they'll burn you to that cross.

Testament II : Running Out Of Dr. Pepper And Having To Drink Sprite - 65%

DanielG06, November 14th, 2020

This album is a bit of a weird one, I used to absolutely love it, then I became skeptical about it, now I like it again, but not as much as I used to. I wish I could say that Testament stepped up their songwriting with this album, but I’d be lying. Most of the songs are catchy and crushing, but it just lacks the pure energy and fluent structure that The Legacy effortlessly presented. The best song on this apbum is the opener, Eerie Inhabitants. With an intro like that, I was expecting some groundbreaking shit, but I was let down. The title track is a pretty good song, but like most of the material on here, the best thing about it is the chorus, which is catchy, and I’ll give this record that; it manages to execute and prioritise catchiness, the only problem is it utilises this more-so than the other aspects that make a Testament album great. There just aren’t that many great riffs on this thing, think of that what you will. Okay, the lyrics are fucking awesome and the production is great too, but the actual music itself relies on hooks, which would be good, but this is semi-mainstream thrash we’re talking about, not pop punk or classic rock (both of which are awesome genres, by the way), but when I listen to thrash, I want crushing riffs and rapid rhythms that make me break my neck, and the riffs just don’f strike me here. I do really enjoy The Preacher and Nobody’s Fault, an Aerosmith cover, but I think having two quiet instrumentals was quite unnecessary. Overall, the solos are great, vocals are good, the drums are ok, and the riffs are meh, but this album gets major bonus points for the bloody mind-blowing choruses, almost every song has one and they’re all some of the best hooks in all of metal, but this record severely lacks the tension and emotion of The Legacy.

I will talk about the positives of this album, and they are present, believe me, otherwise I wouldn't have given this record 65 fucking percent. They took the eerie production of The Legacy and improved it, which is apparent from the first 20 seconds, everything is dynamic, unpredictable, and awesome, there are many acoustic parts during this album (almost half of the tracklist has them) and most of them are very enjoyable, albeit samey and slightly dull after a while. I do like how they fused the acoustic intro with a solo during the opening track, and the two seamlessly merge, but this doesn't last very long. Quite a lot of the actual thrash parts of this album are half-assed and aren't very exciting, many of the verse riffs throughout the runtime conform to this rule, and it becomes quite grating after multiple listens. Every song has its very strong parts, it's just a shame those strong parts are sandwiched between semi-decent riffs and snoozefest instrumental sections, it feels like they tried to replicate the feel of The Legacy (I know I'm comparing this album to its predecessor a lot, but forgive me,) but forgot to add the emotion and dramatic apexes that filled the last album's tracks.

Overall, this one is definitely worth a spin, just don't expect the audio equivalent of Dr. Pepper this time around, expect something a bit more bland and unexciting, packed with a shitty after taste, like Sprite. The highlights of this album would definitely be Eerie Inhabitants, Disciples Of The Watch and Nobody's Fault, as these songs capitalise on the eerie dynamics of the production, and use it to create some masterful writing, but the two instrumentals on here "Musical Death" and "Hypnosis" are nothing special. Listen to it and decide for yourself whether or not it's worth picking up.

The New Sound - 85%

Petrus_Steele, April 15th, 2020
Written based on this version: 1988, CD, Megaforce Records

Only a year later, gaining recognition and hitting potential mainstream and worldwide audience, Testament released The New Order. Unlike the pure thrash elements in the debut album, this album is more technical, atmospheric and somewhat heavier with the bass. This Testament record was the first I tried, and I loved every second of it. Nowadays, or perhaps since I haven’t heard it in such a long time, it’s not what I expected. However, it’s still a solid record and there are a few songs worth checking out which I’ll mention in the last paragraph.

Eerie Inhabitants already showcases the new sound of the band; the technicality, the atmosphere provided by a melodic acoustic guitar with the chorus pedal turned on, as the lead electrifies with its unprecedented melodies. Sounds like the good spookiness of the 80s horror genre. Then the song kicks with a distorted riff, backed up by the heavy bass tones and the hard-hitting drums. Not too amazed by its formula, and Chuck was decent. But overall, the song is as groovy as it gets and leaves you with a slick drum outro. Similar to the opening song, Trail by Fire also has an atmospheric opening, and it’s a catchy song. Thankfully, it made room for the bass, while the riffs and the vocals added more to the fun, making this song great. Disciples of the Watch ALSO has an atmospheric intro, and this one is my favorite, with lightning electric guitars and melodies alongside the clean melody. Like Trail by Fire, it also has an awesome bass, and the groove is too damn good, constructed by the rhythm and the drums. The next three songs including the surprisingly good Nobody’s Fault cover of Aerosmith are simply catchy but good songs. They’ll provide you with the band’s groovier substance. And the last actual song that’s worth checking is Reign of Fire. Although it’s not on the album but still recorded during the album’s sessions, it’s released elsewhere. Chuck’s version is just as good as the demo.

The title track and Into the Pit both share the same cons: they’re both badly catchy. Chuck wasn’t great on these songs. As for the music, they’re sure technical, but that’s the only worthy aspect achieved. Otherwise, they’re overshadowed by their presentation of the main compositions. As for the instrumental tracks, they’re not that great. While both atmospheric, Hypnosis has an acoustic melody with an explosive guitar solo. Not saying the guitar solo wasn’t impressive, but the track itself is pretty simple and feels empty. Musical Death (A Dirge) has twice that of the former: more electric guitar melodies with the chorus pedal on with both electric and acoustic guitar solos. The second portion is more explosive, giving the track more substance. Perhaps the latter track wasn’t as bad as the former, but still not that mind-blowing to me.

I guess The New Order is slightly different from how I remembered it, yet remained a solid record to this day. Supposedly, not the best direction the band aimed to, that some people or fans would agree, as I am to some extent. I believe this change is only for the best, making thrash metal different. Maybe it’s just one of those records where in time it grows on you... The best songs are Trail by Fire, Disciples of the Watch, The Preacher, and A Day of Reckoning.

A Game That People Play - 99%

Sweetie, December 26th, 2019

The second Testament album as compared to the first is similar to comparing different stages of a wooden project. The first record is a serviceable and usable product that is incredible on its own, where the follow-up adds the sanding phase. In other words, The New Order has the same backbone as The Legacy, but it's far cleaner. Gone is the recklessness while the fury of the maker's hands remains present. Thanks to this, Greg Christian makes a far greater mark, allowing his miraculous basslines to poke through at the perfect elevation. That in turn allows Louie Clemente to ride alongside him properly, only further solidifying this backbone.

But the maker is all too good at his delivery, and songs like the live staple "Trial By Fire" come through with an impeccable kick, sounding angry as ever. This is easily one of the best vocal/bass trade-offs ever. "Disciples Of The Watch" and the title track follow suit, working as the adhesive holding The New Order together. I say this, because all three tracks are extremely well written and are stable as compared to the others. The guitar noodles and experimentation give flavors that for some reason upset others, but really only make the record more unique.

That said, Chuck Billy's vocals are something that one should examine closely. For the most part, the high falsetto shrieks take a backseat, not really returning after this. There are two exceptions; "The Preacher" is the first of the two, using it as more of an attention grabber rather a full-tactic. This is a tune that gets stupidly overlooked for being such a banger of a song. Consider the furious heat that showers down with the drum/guitar combo before the quick chorus-line. The cover of Aerosmith's "Nobody's Fault" brings this vocal style back to extreme measures. Some may complain about this as well, but considering that it was one of the Boston rock group's heaviest songs, it's fitting and executed beautifully.

I can't talk about this record without mentioning the inclusion of softer songs. "Hypnosis" is nothing more than an interlude at the core, but it's one that stands alone as a solid breather between the heaviness. Record closer "Musical Death (A Dirge)" elaborates on this to great lengths. The little lick that opens this one is one of the most memorable passages on the disc, blossoming into a beautifully crafted whole with stellar layering.

The New Order is musically a perfect record. The only thing that prevents it from going above and beyond the full-potential is that the flow here isn't as smooth as it could be. But every song on its own is spot-the-fuck-on. There's only one record the band ever put out that topped this one (gee, bet it'll be tough to figure out which one I'm talking about, if you've been following this little discog-jerkoff of mine). If nothing else, this was the stepping stone needed for that.

Too Much Hate For This Solid Album - 88%

PurpleRust86, October 24th, 2019
Written based on this version: 1988, 12" vinyl, Megaforce Records

Yes, the label made them fluff it up, and yes there is an obnoxious amount of guitar interludes. Let’s talk about the actual songs on this record though.

The Testament feel carries over well from their first album "The Legacy" following a similar formula enhanced by much-needed production value. The album suffers from inconsistency as many people have stated. Despite this downside, "Into The Pit", "The New Order", "The Preacher", and "Disciples of the Watch" are all A+ thrash songs worthy of praise by any metal fan. We can see great songwriting and musicianship within these four songs. The title track, "The New Order" is a stone-cold classic featuring a blistering guitar intro solo and head-crushing riff that makes even the casual metal bang his head. Louie Clemente on the drums does a fantastic job with his control over the speed of the song, going from speeding to a slow chug during breakdowns with the flip of a switch. Every member is playing to the best of their ability. Chuck has never sounded so authentic and great like his performances on this album. The holy grail of the album is "Into The Pit". The sheer velocity of the song knocks you on your ass. Louie delivers arguably his best performance on drums, taking you on a wild ride through multiple sections of varying speeds. The riffs in this song are second to none in maybe Testament's entire catalog. The song is well under three minutes and simply cannot be listened to unless it's crank at full volume. "Disciples of the Watch" is considered by many to be Testament's best song if not second behind "Over The Wall". The riff is stuff of legends. The tune is catchy as all hell in the most metal way possible, as can be said with the songs mentioned earlier. Testament has a way of hooking you and reeling you in during their songs. Finally, "The Preacher" is an incredibly unique and Testament-esque song that no other could pull off quite like they can. The drumming is again highlighted during the chorus sections and drives the song to the very best of what they can accomplish.

As for "Trial by Fire" and "Eerie Inhabitants", both songs demonstrate strong performances and licks that don't let up in intensity save for the guitar dropping out during the first verse of Trial. These two songs being placed on the follow-up album, "Practice What You Preach" would be clear highlights.

Testament's cover of Nobody's Fault is a good cover song, especially when taking into account the other thrash metal bands who have butchered cover songs (see Megadeth and Anarchy in the UK also from 88). They could have picked an Aerosmith hit to cover but instead went with the choice of a cult classic and that was an overall good idea. They were able to add their own flair with ease. This addition does not detract from the album even if it was added to lengthen the time limit. That leaves "A Day of Reckoning" the only full song on the album that I would consider mediocre and even then I have to mention the great chorus and guitar solo within. There are countless thrash bands that would kill for a single thrash hit and Testament wrote four with two extra solid efforts in only a year after releasing their first full-length (another great label decision).

So don’t get so caught up on all of the musical interludes and unnecessary time filler. This album is worthy of praise for the great songs it contains and the killer album artwork as well. I would much rather have the interludes instead of filler songs.

Made fluffy from corporate meddling... - 68%

TrooperEd, October 20th, 2017
Written based on this version: 1988, CD, Megaforce Records

Alex Skolnick gave this interview in 2013:

"By the time we finally recorded [The New Order], we neglected to look at our recording contract. We actually had it in our contract that there's a minimum of 40 minutes of music, and we clocked in under that! [...] Our album was promptly sent back...we added the Aerosmith tune, we added those little instrumentals..."

So for those of you who hate these soft sections and wanted a tighter album ala Reign In Blood, well, Atlantic wouldn't let Testament make it. That being said, I can't let them off too easy, because they could have added another super fast Angel of Death type of song (or at least a Postmortem type of song), and they didn't. More criminally, they could have added the mythical Reign Of Terror, and they didn't. I have to say though, featuring a clean intro that does not organically become the song every other track gets really tiresome. An unforgivable crime is Disciples of the Watch have a soft clean guitar intro directly after Hypnosis, also an acoustic interlude. I can somewhat excuse the intro to Nobody's Fault because that's exactly how the track starts on Rocks, but anyone not familiar with the track is just going to think "Goddammit, not again!"

There's also the problem that this album's songwriting just isn't as strong as The Legacy. Granted they would never top that, but one would figure with time would come the honing of one's craft in addition to being able to work under pressure/in a time crunch. It's more or less a rite of passage the all time greats. Some would argue my words led to this album and thus Testament became an all-time great, but I disagree. Testament accomplished the notoriety they have today mostly through Scott Ian fucking up and trying just about every trend in existence, and the metal underground consequently never really letting them back in. James Hetfield becoming a sandman cowboy may have something to do with it as well.

Still, I can't deny there are a couple of classics on here. Disciples of the Watch, Into The Pit and the title track with its fantastic shredding intro all come to mind. Alex Skolnick is the star of the show on The New Order, as he always is. On the aforementioned Aerosmith cover he makes Joe Perry and Brad Whitford look like utter buffoons (an easy task for the former, the latter not quite so much). Trial By Fire is also kickass, though I'm not sure why the guitars drop during the first verse (maybe this is where Nightwish got that dumb idea). Dynamics, you aren't quite doing them right.

I suppose this is the part where I'm supposed to say go buy some Overkill from 1988 if you want real American thrash, but Under The Influence kinda sucked. If you want better thrash from this year, you're gonna have to stick with the big 4 if you want to go strictly 'Merican. If you've heard Trial By Fire or Disciples of the Watch on the radio or GTA or something and just have to have the album, by all means go get it. Just be prepared to be stuck behind a school bus. It's ok thrash if you really need to expand the collection, but the only essential Testament album is The Legacy.

Darth Vader has eaten the songs! - 79%

gasmask_colostomy, October 25th, 2016

I've gotta ask: why is Darth Vader on the album cover? Once you've seen him trying to eat the Earth, some of the other points you wanted to make about melodicism, imitation, and repetition seem slightly inconsequential by comparison. Nevertheless, I can't talk about Star Wars for 800 words, so let me say something about Testament instead. Testament were in a sad niche in the '80s that they still haven't fought their way out of - that of being left behind. One understands that the band's slow start was complicated by the name change and so on, but although The Legacy was a fine debut, it was released in the shadow of other bands who had already made a name for themselves, not least the Big 4 and what I like to call the Little 4, of whom Exodus and Overkill were well underway, soon to be joined by Death Angel and Testament themselves. These difficulties mean that The New Order is a difficult album to judge and was probably difficult to write, since Testament desperately needed to prove themselves able of keeping up with the competition.

In style, The New Order bears many of the same marks as the debut and can claim to be as good at making riffs memorable instead of merely thrashing, while losing some ground in the vocal stakes. The fact that Chuck Billy has fewer distinctive vocal lines is tempered by the fact that another lead instrument takes precedence on many of the compositions, that being Alex Skolnick's guitar. Much has been said of his presence on the album, though I don't feel like he has too much time for leads on the main songs, even if the interludes seem calculated for him to noodle around with a nice melodic guitar tone. If this makes any sense, Skolnick plays very "clean" leads, not in the sense that there's no distortion on his guitar (although it isn't particularly heavy), more that he seems to drift and float about without touching any of the other bandmembers, like he's an angel and they are mortal men. The fairly crunchy, dry, and fuzzy rhythm guitar that Eric Peterson uses is much less clear, meaning that the nuance of some of his riffs gets swallowed in the mix, while Skolnick always appears to have time and space to spare, never rushing his playing or shredding manically.

Though critiqued for writing fewer excellent riffs than their thrash compatriots, Testament had a knack in their early days for crafting a greater variety of riffs. This means that hardcore thrashers may bemoan the lack of whiplash, but those like me who find the Bay Area sound limited can enjoy the lurching stomp of 'The New Order', the machine gun fire of 'The Preacher', or the more adrenalized surge of 'Into the Pit'. The other rhythm players are important in this regard too, Louie Clemente giving his hollow-sounding drums a good workout and Greg Christian getting a great deal of joy from the mix, where his bass occupies a prominent position. The bassist plays some nice lines in 'Eerie Inhabitants' and even gets a cool solo in 'Disciples of the Watch', although it's right before Skolnick's, which seems a bit unfair.

Despite some instantly recognizable playing, there are sections that blur together and leave no strong impression, usually those more direct fast parts that lack diversity and could come from any early album by Exodus, Overkill, or Anthrax. It's a shame because the creativity is there for the most part, so I wonder whether the band felt pressured to rush the album out quickly (barely a year after the debut) in order to keep up with other bands. The same thing would explain the filler instrumental sections, which introduce 'Eerie Inhabitants', 'Disciples of the Watch', 'Trial by Fire', and 'Nobody's Fault', plus constitute the entirety of 'Hypnosis' and 'Musical Death (A Dirge)', leaving less than 30 minutes of original flavour thrash scattered among "Jam with Alex Skolnick vol.1". Some interludes would have been fine, especially since thrash can become tiring quite quickly, but another proper song would have been better, as would putting some more thought into the lacklustre 'A Day of Reckoning', which sounds more like a day of housework except for the solo. 'The Preacher', 'Disciples of the Watch', and the title track are the pick here, but some listeners may experience disappointment and frustration alongside the usual side effect of a sore neck.

Where it all fell apart - 55%

Napalm_Satan, June 1st, 2015

With this album, it really did sound like Testament was running out of steam. The Legacy was a decent if not terribly distinctive or exceptional debut, but here the band show themselves to be at a complete loss with how to move forward artistically. Pretty much any criticism that could be made of their debut applies here, along with this album having new flaws of its own. The fact that this is seen as one of Testament's best albums is rather indicative of just how mediocre the band's output has been, but I digress.

A lot of this album is comprised of tracks that sound straight out of the recording sessions for The Legacy; they're songs that lean towards a purer strain of thrash, topped with a set of decent, slightly gritty Hetfield-like shouts and the excellent lead theatrics of Alex Skolnick. The first of many problems arises here: a bulk of this material is very bland and average in most respects, aside from consistently impressive soloing and some higher wails and shrieks Chuck Billy throws in to some songs; this was a problem on the previous album but it’s gotten worse here. The riffs are the primary offenders here - a good chunk of them are wholly unremarkable and faceless, even for 1988. They aren't very melodic, they aren't very speedy or technical, they certainly aren't very aggressive, and they aren't even particularly catchy or memorable. Instead, a lot of them sound very similar throughout, which plagues the other aspects of the music and the songs in general; barring Skolnick's leads everything falls into a dead zone of unremarkability. There's nothing at all special about the drum performance, for the drums merely keep time and maybe add a fill or two to a song. Most of the hooks and vocal melodies (if there even is a vocal melody in a song) don't stick at all, and Chuck's voice is fairly one-note and not very special either, for the same reason the riffs aren't. While none of the material here is bad, none of these tracks have much identity (unless a distinct lack of anything remarkable counts as identity) or do anything exceptional, with only a few tracks ever reaching a level of aggression exceeding 'marginal'.

One thing that cripples this album is the sheer amount of filler and padding found throughout, with the band clearly leaning too hard on Alex Skolnick's leads to get by, which turns the band's trump card into an annoying gimmick. His leads can be found taking up space on what is already a short album (just 40 minutes) that has too much filler as is - 'Hypnosis', 'Musical Death (A Dirge)' and the intros of 'Disciples of the Watch', 'Trial by Fire' and 'Eerie Inhabitants' all feature aimless noodling from him that could have been cut out entirely, as these sections never lead to anything. Even looking past this, there's not much to see here; every other song here is too average and unremarkable to be engaging. 'Disciples of the Watch' starts strong past its intro but overstays its welcome as the band doesn’t do enough to change things up. 'The Preacher' and 'A Day of Reckoning' go in one ear and out the other without a second thought given to them, and 'Trial by Fire' would do the same were it not for a catchy hook. There are some standout tracks here but most of them are found in the first half of the album - 'Into the Pit', 'Eerie Inhabitants' and the title track are the best songs here, as they do at least throw out riffs with a bit more fire and intrigue to them and steadily cook throughout their run times. Aside from these though the only other stand out is the Aerosmith cover, which only sticks out thanks to being written by a much more talented band.

The sound of the album doesn't help either - in a similar fashion to The Legacy everything sounds cheap and low rent, only the problem is worse here. The album sounds quite reverby but nothing comes through very well, with a rather vague and quiet guitar tone that gets buried by the vocals somewhat and a drum sound that manages to be too soft-sounding but also too loud, as its crashing fills the sound of the album and buries the guitars further. It makes what melody there is in the riffs and their coherence less pronounced, as well as making the music overall less punchy than it should be. The fact this was on Megaforce is no excuse, there were thrash albums from earlier in the decade that sounded notably better. The sound, along with the facelessness and mediocrity of the material should have been fixed on this album, but instead the band regressed and became more generic and faceless, and it is frustrating. A lot of the songs here have a few okay riffs and some songs are maybe a bit catchy and slightly more aggressive than average, but beyond that there is nothing that can be said of them - they are thrash metal songs by the numbers in every way possible. The band clearly had no new ideas going into this album beyond loading it up with pointless and annoying lead slots, as those are the only distinctive thing about the music here; the music is incredibly one-note and faceless outside of that gimmick being played up.

Testament are perhaps one of the most notable early examples of generic thrash, as going back as far as 1988 they still had basic songwriting, they didn't push the limits of speed, technicality or aggression, and they couldn't even write a particularly catchy song or have any personality to speak of. Unlike pretty much any other big thrash band of the day (the big 4, Overkill and Exodus) their music wasn't special in any way at all, outside of some soloing. People say Metallica and then Pantera killed thrash - and for sure, they finished the desperate old man off. However, what weakened the genre in the first place was mediocre and average filler albums like this being released by the day.

Killers and fillers - 77%

Felix 1666, March 4th, 2015

The moderators of this website do not allow us to review unfinished versions of an album. Of course, this is a comprehensible decision. In general, I fully agree. There is just one uncertainty. I am totally unsure whether it is allowed to write a review for "The New Order". Since its release at the end of the eighties, I have the irrepressible feeling that something is missing. Testament had written seven new tracks, only seven tracks. The remaining two pieces were just dreamful guitar solos. Admittedly, one of them was temporarily accompanied by the other instruments. Nevertheless, it made a rather incomplete impression. I got the feeling that the only purpose of these instrumentals was to lengthen the playtime. The absurdity of these numbers became evident in view of the fact that both sides of the vinyl also started with comparable guitar tones. Additionally, the album offered further dreamful guitar interludes. Without doubt, this product was definitely published too soon, for whatever (commercial) reason. The metallic parts of this so-called full-length did not even reach a playtime of 30 minutes. To put it in the words of James Hetfield: sad but true.

The drama - if we want to speak of a drama with respect to a product of the entertainment industry - was that Testament had composed some really breathtaking tracks. It was therefore a shame that they had not been released on a better constructed album. From my point of view, five of the "real" songs were almost unbeatable. The riffs constituted their most outstanding feature. It was exactly the kind of riffs that make you kneel down and pray to the God of thrash, quite irrespective of the fact that he does not exist. The voluminous voice of Chuck Billy, rarely supported by strong back vocals, did not pale beside this sensational guitar work. His performance impressed with tremendous expressiveness and the right amount of belligerence. Drums and bass guitar also made a decisive contribution to the final result. Furthermore, it was obvious that all musicians benefitted from the sound of the album. The powerful, differentiated and sharp production made a large impact. Alex Perialas, a well-known producer in his time, had mastered his trade in a very good manner. Each and every track, aggressive pieces like "The Preacher" or the title track as well as more catchy numbers such as "Trial by Fire", blew you away. Not to mention the gigantic openers of both sides of the record. Due to their suspenseful and dramatic configurations, they seemed to be a compensation for the strange appearance of the album.

The lyrics dealt with apocalyptic prophecies and dark scenarios. I guess that George Orwell and Nostradamus would have appreciated them. But also from an objective point of view, they were fully aligned with the message of the simple yet impressive cover artwork. Last but not least, the thrashing sections of the music fitted perfectly with the atmosphere of the cover.

However, this was just one side of the coin. The other side was represented by the boring instrumentals and the fairly repetitive "Day of Reckoning". Due to this contrast, "The New Order" was like a fragile building. Its facade impressed with beautiful architecture, but its back showed immense construction defects. Testament enriched my youth with a handful of sensational tunes but they failed to create a sensational full-length. Nevertheless, the record is still good enough to listen to it again and again, especially since the invention of the skip button.

Noodling - 80%

StainedClass95, July 30th, 2014

This album is a good sophomore release. It has a great track in Trial By Fire and some other very good ones. The problem is in the consistency, it's shot through with all the pointless noodling. This is somewhat saved by the very nice production, but then you get into Testament's usual weak points.

Trial By Fire is a great song. I would say that this is the second best that they've ever done. It has a great chorus, and the whole song has a rather cool vibe. It reminds me of the scene from Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome where some barker explains their system of justice about fighting in a cage. It's rather ominous and is probably the only song where whatever atmosphere they were going for is actually beneficial. The rest of the songs are mostly pretty good. Disciples of the Watch is legitimately aggressive, and almost all of this is pretty catchy.

The instrumentation is pretty good, as usual. For as nice as the production is, I still have trouble hearing the bass. It actually reminds me somewhat of Master of Puppets in that regard. He is seldom there, but he does show-up from time to time. Skolnick's soloing is as sterling as ever, and the production isn't holding him back this time. Chuck's vocals are improved if anything on this. It seems as though he's given more room to flex on this one. The riffing and drumming are as normal, seldom impressive. They are pretty tight with each other, so they have a heavy attack on the listener. I would liken the attack to what was heard the year before on Among the Living: very heavy and concentrated.

The problem sets in here with the random and pointless intros and instrumentals. I see no real purpose for why the opening track takes a minute and a half to shuffle through its mediocre acoustics. I also have two instrumentals to suffer through. Neither of these really advance anything. My first thought was that they ran out of ideas and decided to pad. A previous reviewer noted that it may have been an attempt at atmosphere, and I find myself in agreement with them. They took a shot at it, and they failed. A fifth or so of the album ends up being wasted in the process. It's a pity because the full songs are mostly good to great.

This is much easier to grade than the Legacy. This has some quality material, but there's also some bad ideas. Perhaps they thought this made sense in the lean on your star sense. In any case it didn't work out like they'd hope. I will say that this is still a good album, and a thrash fan would enjoy most of this. In general though, I would just recommend ripping the non-noodled songs.

What's with all the hate? - 90%

Infernal_Devastation, October 27th, 2012

I don't understand what the deal with all the hate on this album is on this site. Maybe I'm just naive, but this is the album that got me into thrash metal. It was the first album I had heard outside of the big 4 and it was at that moment that I knew I was missing out. I do agree with a lot of the complaints people seem to have about this album (too many clean intros, pointless songs, etc), but that doesn't make the rest of the album bad! In fact, I believe this is Testament's finest work and their last stand before divulging into mediocrity with their next album.

The biggest highlight of this album for me is Alex Skolnick's lead work. It is absolutely phenomenal and makes most everything he played on The Legacy look childish in comparison. The other guys are no slouches here either. I also have to say the production on this album is a vast improvement from the debut. You can actually hear everything pretty decently and the guitars sound real beefy and compliment the aggression of the music very well.

And how aggressive is the music here? According to some people its not at all and its a pussified version of thrash metal. I strongly disagree. If you don't lose your shit the first time you hear Into the Pit then there's something seriously wrong with you. The first half of the album is immense. Four killer tunes right out of the gate and a useless interlude. (Eerie Inhabitants, the title track, Trial by Fire, Into the Pit, and Hypnosis). Unfortunately the second half does fall off a bit, but not at first as it begins with Disciples of the Watch, a Testament classic and the best song on this album. The Preacher is a killer too. So far it seems like we have a pretty perfect album, but let's get to why this album got a 90 instead of a 100.

The last 3 songs are a mixed bag. First we have the Aerosmith cover Nobody's Fault which is actually very well done, but it doesn't really fit in with the album and breaks the flow a bit. Then there's A Day of Reckoning, which has some quality riffs, but doesn't quite get its point across and is pretty weak overall. Last we have the awesome instrumental Musical Death which is a definite highlight and a great way to close the album. As high of a note as it ends on, the 2 previous songs do take away from the overall quality of the album. Another problem is the overabundance of clean interludes and intros. Like I said before, Hypnosis is totally useless. I feel like the only reason it made it on here was to fill space. The fact that it leads directly into the clean intro of Disciples of the Watch (also fairly pointless) certainly doesn't help its case either.

Overall this is an excellent example of thrash metal done right and a great first choice away from the big 4. It has amazing guitar work and lots of catchy bits that will stick with you for days. So what if there's too many clean parts?

Tell the world - 90%

autothrall, September 6th, 2012

If this were a just world, or perhaps a 'juster' world, The New Order would have vaulted Testament into the ranks of thrash royalty, as it easily edged out a few of the formative 1988 works by higher profile acts like Anthrax (State of Euphoria) and Megadeth (So Far, So Good... So What!), who ending up making wider ripples in the pool. Of course, that's not the universe we actually live in; bands and albums even BETTER than this one sat in complete obscurity the same year, but the point remains that this was a damn fine sophomore which capitalized fully on the momentum mustered upon The Legacy, continuing to expand and define the band's sound to an eager audience with enough allowance left over after buying the latest Ozzy and Metallica tapes and tees.

Albeit mild, there is in fact some progression to The New Order. For one, the songs seem a little 'friendlier' than the debut. I'm not saying they were flat-out accessible and likely to gain the band much airplay, but the slightly cleaner mix to the rhythm guitars was evident, and the choruses were simply catchier in terms of their melodic content. Testament had embraced, rather than backed away from the fact that it had a new guitar hero in its ranks, and thus Skolnick's leads are more pronounced and fluid than on The Legacy, with a more consistent use of arpeggios and other melodies that showcased their confidence in his ability. Otherwise, I'm not sure they would have gotten the green light for not one, but two fully instrumental pieces, the spectral and atmospheric "Hypnosis" interlude and the gentler, neoclassical exercises of the 4 minute finale "Musical Death (A Dirge)". The inclusion of the Aerosmith cover ("Nobody's Fault") also made it seem as if the band were throwing a bone to the less aggressive-minded audience; it's a hard and fun take on the original with a nice bite to the guitars, but you could envision that it might make the MTV request shows more than, say, "Eerie Inhabitants". And they did, in fact, shoot a rather lame video for it with the band fucking around in between shots of them performing.

But the gist of the album is pure, unbridled excellence, with a number of songs just as memorable as anything off The Legacy. "Into the Pit" and "Disciples of the Watch" have long been set staples for good reason, as they're both blood stirring pieces, the former succeeded by its title alone to whip any mosh pit into a frenzy, and the latter possessive of one of their better singalong chorus progressions. A lot of the songs ("Eerie Inhabitants", "Disciples of the Watch", "Trial by Fire", etc) build great atmospheres through clean intros and supernatural leads before exploding into their surges of Metallica-fueled rage. The compositions continue to exude that same sense of foreboding as one found on the debut, even if the rhythm guitars are not quite so crushing. Like the cover warns, The New Order leaves me with the impression that I'm living in a fucked world with little hope for salvation, choked out by corruption, pollution, zealotry, globalization, and dogmatic obsession, and these subjects and more are tackled directly through the lyrics.

While it doesn't hit the same polished stride as its own successor, Practice What You Preach, The New Order certainly seems tidier than the first album. The rhythm guitars possess a similar, processed punch while chugging, but they're less muddled. The leads gleam far more, and the clean guitars are also better integrated, which is necessary, since there are more of them. In addition to Skolnick stepping up his game, you also get a larger amount of bass alongside the rhythm tracks, so Greg Christian stands out more. The same goes for Clemente, whose kick drum seems more distinct thanks to the more melodic nature of the writing. Chuck Billy does admittedly sound less raucous and frenzied than on the debut, but he compensates with a stronger range and a lot of tight and memorable lines. Rather than just Xerox riffs from the debut, they also seem to attempt a wider range of variation as they use to set up "The Preacher" or the exotic, far Eastern foundation to the melodies of opener "Eerie Inhabitants".

Though I still listen to The New Order frequently enough, there are a few minor flaws in that the production sounds dated so many years later (like The Legacy); the digitized, effect heavy sound they originally aimed for felt futuristic for its day, but not any more. Not one of Alex Perialas' best, though it was cool to see Raven's Rob 'Wacko' had a hand in this. Also, with the exception of the churning intro riff, I'm not a huge fan of the track "A Day of Reckoning", as the verse riffing seems redundant with ideas they had in other tunes. However, these are about the only limitations to my enjoyment of what is otherwise one of the band's best works. With the exception of the Aerosmith cover, the vision here is incredibly unified, in both vocal and instrumental tunes, and The New Order helped substantiate these Oakland raiders into a potential usurper for the frontrunners in the field. That might not have completely panned out for them in the end, but the fact is that Testament remains after all these years, with a deep well of inspiring material for fans to draw upon, and this sophomore was a willing, quality contributor to that legacy.

-autothrall
http://www.fromthedustreturned.com

Good But Not Great - 82%

grain_silo, September 9th, 2011

Being part of the second wave of thrash, Testament amazed everyone with “The Legacy”. They followed it up with “The New Order”. This album is kind of like the first album just with more mid paced parts thrown in there.

This album has some very good things going for it and also a lot of negative things. I’ll start with the positives. The thrash is still very much in here. “Into the Pit” is a pure thrasher from start to finish. The title track is very fast along with “The Preacher” and “Disciples of the Watch”. Another positive is the guitar work. The riffs are heavy and the guitar solos are amazing. And last but not least, Chuck Billy’s awesome highs are still in full force here. “The Preacher” has some epic highs as well as the title track.

Ok, so those are all the positives, now here come the negatives. The bass playing is average; it doesn’t ever do anything to wow me. The bass isn’t silent either, so that is kind of a positive and negative. The production is very flat. The guitars sound pretty good, but everything else just sounds jumbled and kind of hard to follow at some times. The drums are beyond flat and the bass; yea I’ve already talked about that. Now for the most annoying part about this album, the goddamn intros….my god! How many pointless long ass intros do you have to put into one fucking album?! “Eerie Inhabitants” , “Trial by Fire”, “Hypnosis”, and “Disciples of the Watch” all have some pointless intro that takes forever to end and just holds up the song and adds useless time to the album. “Musical Death” gets away with it because I feel like the intro actually contributes something to the song.

So if you like thrash, Testament, or long pointless intros, you will love this album! Especially for the damn intros. Long intros aside, this is a solid Testament album and their third best I would say. Close third behind “Souls of Black”. The negative part may seem longer, but the stuff that is good on this album is really good.

Best tracks – “Into the Pit”, “The Preacher” and “Trial by Fire”

Taking distinctiveness a little too far. - 82%

hells_unicorn, September 7th, 2011
Written based on this version: 1988, CD, Megaforce Records

There’s this cliché phrase used to describe the underappreciated innovators of a given craft, going something along the lines of “He was/They were before their time”. Testament, however, is probably the mirror opposite of this eventuality. While they were around during the early days of the thrash scene in the San Francisco Bay Area going back to 1983 under the moniker “Legacy”, they weren’t really of any consequence in the broader world of metal until the 1987 release of “The Legacy”, and by that time most of the tricks they had at their disposal had been explored by Metallica, Exodus and Slayer to the point of being stylized. It was an album that was more suited to 1985, and could be considered a release of that year given that some of the material existed in demo form that far back.

When accounting for all of this, the logical step for any band finding themselves sounding like a composite of several other existing bands, is to find a different niche for their sophomore venture. “The New Order” is probably among the more extreme versions of a niche/gimmick oriented album, trying very hard to make itself distinct from all the other competing acts, yet also making sure not to lose track of where this style comes from. The overall drive of the album is still very much in the Metallica meets Exodus strain, particularly with regard to Chuck Billy’s raspy growl, but it is steeped in so much atmospheric intro and ballad-based material that it comes off as a little confused. It’s definitely catchy and easy to grab onto when it gets going, but almost half of the album is spent trying to play up the creepy factor, to a point that even King Diamond might be taken aback.

The central figure in this rather odd exercise in riff happy thrash meets ballads from the haunted graveyard is Alex Skolnick. While most of the other figures in this fold have their time in the beams of the moon during the heavier sections, the spectral presence of the lead guitar’s voice endures throughout most of the twists and turns of this bizarre rollercoaster ride. It’s infectiously melodic, in direct contradiction to the madness of Kerry King, yet also avoids the formulaic repetition of Kirk Hammett and Dan Spitz. While the zenith of the technical aspects of this album occur on a brief, creepy atmospheric instrumental in “Hypnosis”, every lead break and shred section grabs the ears like a mechanized gauntlet out of “Army Of Darkness” and forces the obedient worship of a committed cultist.

But while this album is lopsided pretty heavily towards guitar solos and atmosphere, it is still mostly a thrash album with a consistent collective effort and some solid songwriting. The riff set is pretty tried and true, wandering through a series of crunchy bottom end chugs meshed with the occasional melodic interlude. Nothing on here is all that far removed from what was heard on “Master Of Puppets” or “Breaking The Silence”, but the attention to brevity is a welcome change of pace. “Eerie Inhabitants”, “Trial By Fire” and “Disciples Of The Water” really bring home the poundage once getting past the extended intro material. Even the shorter live staple “Into The Pit” and Chuck’s venture at emulating Rob Halford “The Preacher” lay down the heavy law in stellar fashion. The songs do run together a bit somewhat, but the overall energy at play is not really diminished by anything other than the constant slowdown of the atmospheric ballad interludes.

This is generally regarded as an obligatory purchase for anyone who is looking to explore thrash beyond the Big 4, but this is actually among the weaker of Testament’s 80s offerings (counting “Souls Of Black”). It’s pretty easy to tell the difference between “The New Order” and any other thrash album ever put together, but it comes across as overly soft and overcompensates a bit by obsessing itself with depth at the expense of impact. It is excellent for an occasional spin, but the back and forth gimmickry between the ballad sections and the intense thrashing wears think pretty quickly and begs for a break after about the 4th or 5th time through. Some albums can be classics yet also want for something, and Testament's sophomore outing is a textbook example of it.

Testament go prime time - 80%

screamingfordefender, September 10th, 2010

Testament's first effort was almost a classic, with only the bad production getting in their way. They've managed to get past those problems on this record. A crisp, clean production with a better sound overall and better presentation. Looking back at the history of this band, 'The New Order' is the album which got them some mainstream attention and good reviews for the first time. They certainly were a force by this point, with many seeing them as the successors/competitors to Metallica.

Alex Skolnick is an integral part of the unit, the rest of the band realize this and give him freedom to shred. His classically inspired soloing are most original and help them distinguish from other bands like Exodus and Metallica. The riffs are aggressive tinted and catchy and generally great, but the only problem seems to be that too many riffs are similar. The album starts to dull down by the end, with the last few tracks being uninspiring 'rehashes' of previous songs. The pacing doesn't help much either. Every one of these tracks are similarly paced, with all tracks being 3-5 minutes in length. Not much in terms of variety.

Everything else is generally good. The drumming is competent but is nothing to write home about, they seem to sound a bit too overpowered in the mix, at times, dominating the riffs and vocals in the background. Chuck Billy does his best James Hetfield imitation at times but has a much higher range and more skilled overall. His vocals on "Nobody's fault" is a testament to this. A great, fun cover of an Aerosmith song. "Hypnosis" is a little interlude to one of the better songs on this album. 2 minutes of shredding and wanking on guitar by Skolnick as he shows off the virtuoso in him. He isn't a thrash guitarist at heart, but more of a classical type. He's pretty good at it, and I wouldn't have been surprised if he got bored of thrash metal and ended up as a solo shredder like Marty Friedman.

Chuck's rapid fire vocals on "Alone in the dark" are back again on "The Preacher", The lyrics are catchy but not too well written here. In general, the lyrics were better on the first album than on this one. It's inconsistent and flawed at times. The riffs sound 'massive' and easy to follow, which helps make this record user friendly. There are lot of stuff here which are undeniably influenced by Metallica's 'Ride The Lightning' and 'Master of Puppets'. The same 'direct' approach taken on those records, but unlike either of them, there are meaningless repetitions of the same riffs on some of the songs here. But when they do it right, they sound really as good as their more popular cousins. "Eerie Inhabitants", "Into the pit" and "Trial by fire" have some really vicious, venomous, crunchy riffs that are sure to make any thrash metal fan happy. Somewhere in the middle of this album, we're treated to "Disciples of the Watch", A ripping 5 minute piece of uncompromising 'Bay Area Thrash'.

I feel that the record's shortcoming is in it's own strengths, just too much focus on writing aggressive, catchy mid paced riffs when they could've incorporated more variety and slower/faster sections into their songs. The drumming feels dull at times, an impressive drum fill here and there would've gone a long way into making this a direct competitor to 'Ride The Lightning' but falls well short of that masterpiece. And to end it all, they decide to impress the classical crowd with an instrumental at the end with more shredding from the guitarist, but it feels like it's been put in there just for the heck of it. It's really lame compared to monstrosities like "The call of ktulu", which had both convincing intensity and melody in equal measure. Not too shabby by any means, recommended to fans of American thrash metal.

Alex Skolnick and four other losers - 74%

Idontsuckdick, December 7th, 2008

Testament is among the five gods of thrash, and in truth is the only band I agree should be in there. This is their second full length that is a good listen, but can be ignored if you are not a die hard fan of thrash. Thrash has more to offer, and Testament does not amount to the accomplishments of other bands, but has its good times and yet low times. This album however deserves much credit for its time.

The first four tracks are the best on the album, but this is one of those albums that kind of starts to suck after it has made its opening statements. After Into the Pit, which might I add is actually a very good song, the album stops and gets boring and generic, but closes with a godly awesome instrumental. Every riff on the album seems to be the same, plus it can not really be heard over the bad recording. The drums don’t do much except for play fast beats, and there are no fills, just symbol crashes when it changes beats, In fact the drums really don’t react with the music. The lyrics are incredibly cheesy but they sound pretty good with a nice echo. Chuck Billy made his last stand with this album but after it he just got annoying. Once again an album has been produced that has no bass at all, so we can’t really mention that.

For the most part these songs are headbang/mosh worthy, and I can see that the songs would sound better live; they really have that chaotic fast drive to it. However when listening to the recorded music it doesn’t do much for you. You can tap your foot to it at some parts though, but that’s just your body reacting to the generic beats being played.

Into the Pit really makes up for the album, as it is one of the best thrash songs I’ve ever heard, and makes up for the other crap in it. It is fast, upbeat, and uplifting. However the song for the most part is misinterpreted, as everyone seems to think it is about moshing. But the song is about genocide, weird enough. But the riffs are really cool and it is a fun song to listen to.

The solos on this album really make it good. Alex Skolnick, despite his crappy band history, has amazing talent. His solos sound like nobody else’s, and you know it’s him playing when you hear it. He is really good at building up a statement or mood then just finishing with a bang at light speed. His ideas are beautiful and make incredible statements with his guitar.

You can find some good moments in this album, but personally I just think you should download specific songs that are good and the rest can be ignored. I recommend you at least check out Into the Pit, Eerie Inhabitants, Trial by Fire, and Musical Death.

More Melodic But Still Great - 95%

CHRISTI_NS_ANITY8, May 5th, 2008

“The Legacy” was archived as one of the best debuts ever in thrash metal and 1988 was the year for Testament to release another excellent album. The band was having a magic period and they were strong as few others in this genre, but on the other hand, it was so difficult to present us another good album. The big Chuck and company, this time, decided to point more on the Skolnick’s guitars virtuosos on this album and the result was brilliant.

“The New Order” shows us a band that, even not losing the classic thrash metal impact, fills the songs with plenty of melodies and solos. The violence here is generally, anyway, less impulsive and more structure without losing in potential. The band is compact and strong, as the skills of every single member. Their style of doing thrash is unmistakable and this is surely their last excellent album before going down at the beginning of the 90s.

“Eerie Inhabitants” already shows us the lead guitars virtuosos, followed by few arpeggios and the sudden heavy start. The production is extremely metallic and clean, also compared to the debut. The drums are truly blasting and pounding, especially on the snare drum. The riffs are truly violent and technical at the same time, but always catchy thanks to good ideas and some melodic breaks to introduce the always excellent solos.

What I like a lot here are the Chuck’s vocals: they are violent and powerful in the right way, without being growlish like nowadays. Here, he is able to change different kinds of tonalities from the cleanest to the heaviest ones. The title track is simply great with that apocalyptic touch united to melodies. The violent “Trial By Fire” is introduced by a long, catchy solo while the heavy start features more groove tempos and clean bass breaks. The rest is stronger and heavier while it’s going on; preparing us for the mosh tempos of “Into The Pit”.

The guitars riffs are locked up, fast, brutal and always extremely technical. Here the drums are something hammering and devastating like in few thrash metal albums we can find and I don’t care if Louie Clemente points on the sheer impact instead of the technique, he’s always great. “Hypnosis” is just a guitar solo break before the sad melodies and the following thrash assault of “Disciple Of the Watch”. This is another highlight here and it’s simply great thrash.

Testament, being one of those Bay Area thrash bands that pointed on the melody, here we can find always great, catchy riffs and refrain that remain stuck in your head even during a violent song as “The Preacher”, that, anyway, never dislikes melodic solos and more mature tempos. The guitars sometimes have that groove that would have exploded in the following “Practice What You Preach” but here are far more violent and not boring at all.

“Musical Death (A Dirge)” is the last example of the new Testament’s direction with this album: melody with violence. An album that stays exactly in the middle between the violence of the debut and the mid paced oriented following album. The last great album to remember by Testament ‘till “The Gathering” in my humble opinion.

Running out of riffs and ideas - 55%

Thrasher53, March 12th, 2008

TESTAMENT - THE NEW ORDER

Fresh off their solid debut with "The Legacy", which acheived great underground success and put them on the cusp of a kind of commercial success, Testament followed it up with "The New Order" which contained a more accessible slowed/watered down sound. Despite this the music is still very thrashy, its just not very ground breaking in any of the speed or originality departments. The riffs have become recycled, dryer, and fewer then before. Alot of what worked for testament in the vocals and song writing department is gone with "Hard Rock sing along" choruses even in a song or two. Its a shame alot of these songs are full of such boring noodling parts, because some of the songs here are better in alot of ways then "The Legacy", although not nearly often enough to save this album.

Well onto the songs again. "Eerie Inhabitants" is boring as fuck thanks to the bands need to put a one minute acoustic part at the beginning. I hoped for something fast paced after that, but got a real midpaced song gone wrong. Seemingly Testament had taken to the idea of hiding behind acoustic intros. "The New Order" isn't half bad, and even has a good riff. Unfortunately the band didn't turn this song into much more then a minor highlight. "Trial By Fire" is probably the dumbest song here, complete with riffless ideas and hard rock singalong choruses. The solo is cool, but it just leads to the more serious question of "why is Alex Skolnick here?" Its a shame he couldn't find a decent riff writing rhythm player to tag onto, he would have been amazing. Its mediocre songs like this that killed Testament in the end.

"Into the Pit" is a thrash monster in every sense of the word. Lacks great riffs, but has a good enough riff set to work. Easily one of Testaments better songs on the album, and a very catchy chorus. Fans of metalcore/groove band Lamb of God will recognize the main riff from their song "Laid to Rest" which LOG stole. Hell I can't even count on two hands how many times LOG has ripped off Testament in one way or another. "Hypnosis" is some random guitar jerking off for about 2 minutes, as the band couldn't be bothered to use some of Skolnick's good concepts here. "Disciples of the Watch" is one of the faster/heavier songs on the album. A good idea the band didn't ruin with mid paced wankery. "The Preacher" is an ok song, but really isn't distinctive. Lots of basic riffing, nothing stunning, the basic Testament riff is used in abundance. Pretty mediocre in every sense of the word. "Nobodys Fault" is the Aerosmith Cover here, and is actually not a bad cover. One must wonder why its here, and note that it shows how accessible they were aiming for. However it has enough good ideas go be called solid. "A Day of Reckoning" is a medicore mid-slow paced thrasher built on two riffs or so. Boring, repetitive, and mediocre are the key words for this song. "Musical Death(A Dirge) is more guitar wanking, not much point at all to this one.

The album fails in that only 2-3 Songs aren't mediocre-barely average. Most of the riffs are unmemorable, with maybe 4-8 truly good memorable riffs contained on the entire album. Most songs are supported by 1-2 riffs the band had and pasted together on these shaky foundations Sometimes this works, but only in small doses. Theirs alot of generic beyond belief Testament riffage here (that basic kind of chugging) which was already overused on "The Legacy" and turns this album into a snore fest. All the interludes and guitar fucking around songs are showing how desperate the band was to fill and album with riffed songs.

The main problem Testament suffers from on this album is that they're a band that becomes boring as fuck if they try too many midpaced numbers at once. Overall some of the bands last good ideas are contained on this album and its not the worst choice, just not particularly interesting, moving and WAY too plodding/boring at its worst. The band was running out of decent riff ideas, and was getting more commercial by the minute. While this isn't a terrible album, its pretty mediocre, even for a bay area album.

Overall: Get this album if your a Testament fan, or are just needing an introduction via accessible thrash. Otherwise avoid this like the flu unless you have a thing for midpaced plodding, but make sure to download Into the Pit.

Final Grade: 55/100

A Huge Step Up - 89%

Human666, September 11th, 2007

Testament's second album is the point when 'Testament' begin to shape a form, a powerful form. Their debut was pretty dull in my opinion, they executed mostly average, tends to bad riffing (though they had some awesome moments here and there) and they didn't had any catchiness or anything creative, they still didn't knew how to thrash. Now, this album really surprised me as it doesn't reminds the amateurish feeling of the first album even a bit, it's actually a quality thrash here, much more polished riffing and unique leading guitar and the vocals flowing flawlessly, plus I digged this album A LOT so it's must be a worthy one.

'Eerie Inhabitants' opens this album with silents storms and then a clean guitar comes in with a pretty interesting section leading to a nice shreeding lead guitar. Then the dynamics change instantaneously with very kickass riffing and a nice fill of the leading guitar. The vocals comes soon and makes this song a real killer! Very wild and sweeping vocals work here, suddenly there is a tempo break. 'Alex Skolnick' putting here very emotional soloing and steps up this song a level up with it's outstanding vibe. Very intense opener, great riffing and vocals and quite decent drumming which makes the riffage flow even better.

Then we got the title track which is heavy as hell. Exploding lead guitar and well composed riffing builds this song until the first verse when 'Chuck Billy' takes control and increases the heaviness of this song quite much. The chorus is very catchy and the tough vocals fits perfectly to the mood. Quite catchy and heavy song at the same time, this is very headbangable also so prepare your neck!

I must mention the production which is utterly powerful. The guitars have a polish distrotion here, it's very clear and heavy at the same time and of course makes the riffing sounds ten times heavier then how it could be if they sticked with their former sound. Another good point for this album.

'Trial By Fire' is my personal favorite of this album. After the moderate intro with the decent shredding guitar and clean rhythm guitars the songs becomes a killing machine! The first verse is quite creative, each instrument throwing some notes in the background, the bass riffing intensely, the guitar diving in the air and all together it sounds quite badass. The chorus is extremely catchy and the last line is sang with very spooky heat..damn this is such a kickass song! Powerful main riff and very intense vocals here, you just can't stop to bang like a maniac! This song has a great mood of insanity and it will stick into your head for a long time.

The rest of this album is awesome as well. 'Into The Pit' is a short and straightforward load of aggresion, 'Disciples Of The Watch' has a bit eerie vibe in the beginning and it doesn't stops to kick asses, especially not with such a catchy chorus! Overall, I really liked this album, I think it's a bit underrated somehow. For me it's another classic from 1988, which was one of the best years in the thrash scene. I can't think off why the hell half of this album could be thrown away, this is a quality album all the way without any weak spots. Make youself a favor and don't miss this album, easily one of the most powerful and creative thrash albums from the 80's, and an album for the very long range. So prepare your ears and tell the world the new order's here!!

Contains a few classics - 85%

morbert, August 28th, 2007

I will worship The Legacy till the end of my metal days and I knew it would almost be impossible for Testament to come up with a follow up that was equally good. Yet still, despite even expecting lesser quality, The New Order wasn’t satisfying enough.

The production had become a lot better. A bit too good and clear at times actually. This did do some damage to the intensity of their most ferocious songs (‘The Preacher’, ‘Into The Pit’). Fortunately those songs are simply great. Also Testament had written some material which combined mid pace pounding with their familiar up tempo thrashing that did well (‘Eerie Inhabitants’, ‘The New Order’). The song ‘Trial By Fire’ is catchy but still heavy and remains one of my favourite Testament songs to this day.

Personally I’ve never been enthusiastic about ‘Disciples Of The watch’. Yes it is fast at times but just doesn’t equal the earlier mentioned 5 great songs and didn’t even come close to the aggressiveness of The Legacy material. The Aerosmith cover ‘Nobody’s Fault’ is hideous. It does not suit the Testament sound nor does it fit this album. ‘A Day Of Reckoning’ is simply dull with bad vocal lines (the ‘Leave me alone! Don't take it away’ part can even be considered cheesy and reveals the style they would later use to fill up a large section of the ‘Souls Of Black’ album)

Biggest setback on the album – apart from a few dull and bad songs - was the cheesy lead show. With this I mean the clean instrumental parts with leads over them and not the regular leads in songs. There’s too much of them here. It totally ruins the pace, continuity and intensity of the album. It’s nice to have a few of those moments (the intro to ‘Trial By Fire’ for instance) but also including two fully instrumental songs like this is too much. A good example is the instrumental song ‘Hypnosis’ which is followed by the intro of ‘Disciples of the Watch’. The annoyance is unbearable.

But hey, The New Order contains five songs I can’t imagine not having in my collection. So therefore it remains a must have album for me. As a whole it just isn’t a good album.

Nah, This is Good - 85%

DawnoftheShred, May 18th, 2007

Seems more people dislike Testament than I thought. Just as with The Legacy, I've found myself surprised at how this album is subsequently bashed, described as mediocre, ball-less, and a shameless attempt at imitating Metallica, among other things. Well dismiss its detractors, this album is rock fucking solid. No, it doesn't exactly break new ground, but it's a great sampling of Testament's old-school thrash material, before they got caught up in trends like everybody else. Yeah, there's too many interludes, but that will be addressed in due time.

Say what you will about the back half of this, the album starts off as perfectly as could be expected. Four face-melters open this album, "Eerie Inhabitants," "The New Order," "Trial by Fire," and "Into the Pit." This is Testament at their finest: powerful thrash with an ear for melodicism. And the band is in rare form. Alex Skolnick is even better than on the first album and not a single solo disappoints or fails to be technically impressive. Louie Clemente is even more frantic and energetic, Eric Peterson crafts some killer riffs, and Greg Christian provides the backbone, playing a much more significant role than on The Legacy. And Chuck Billy, of course, is Chuck Billy. He doesn't shriek quite as much as on their debut, but he hasn't yet adopted that very Hetfield-esque manner of shitty melodic singing. Here he still sounds badass. The first four songs showcase these aspects in everyone and are pretty damned catchy too. No problems thus far.

But then we get to track five and the complaints begin to manifest. This album has too many interlude/intro clean riffs with solos over them. It's almost as if the album was catered to Skolnick's love of playing melodic solos over clean passages: two tracks are complete instrumentals in that vein ("Hypnosis," "Musical Death") while three others have extended intros. Now it was all right for the first track, that arpeggio sequence before "Eerie Inhabitants" casts a killer mood, but after awhile, it becomes contrived. Soloing over clean riffs just isn't cool anymore when you do it for half the tracks on your album. The worst example is before "Disciples of the Watch." It's easily one of the best songs on here, as it's fast, catchy, heavy as fuck, and supported by the utmost in riffage, but it starts with a clean intro fade in immediately after the fade out of the clean instrumental, "Hypnosis." Whose idea was that? That kills the album flow and hampers the song a bit. I completely disagree with the tracklist here, but others have been less forgiving.

As for the rest of the songs? Nothing spectacular, but still quite listenable. "Nobody's Fault" is probably the best of the rest. I'm not familiar with the original song (it's Aerosmith), but this version is pretty sweet.

Altogether it's far from terrible. Average for the jaded, perhaps, but killer for the uninitiated. Half the tracks are absolute classics and Skolnick's soloing is amazing beyond words, and quite frankly, that's good enough for me. And it certainly beats some of what would follow it....

Average thrash album - 65%

Mungo, March 17th, 2007

A year after their good but not great debut 'The Legacy' Testament released their second album. 'The New Order' isn't as good as what came before it and is probably worse in every way than it, but it still remains an alright thrash album that is good to listen to every now and then.

The biggest downfall of 'The New Order' is that it has the same problem as 'The Legacy', that being not enough riffs to fill up all the songs. Whilst on 'The Legacy' they milked all they could out of the riffs on offer and integrated longish solos to make up for the lack of them, here they fill the gaps with acoustic interludes and intros. There is an intro to half the songs on here, and most have an interlude halfway through. Had they put all of this into a single instrumental of about three or so minutes it wouldn't be so bad, but when the listener finds his/herself fast forwarding through large quantities of various songs it is not a good thing. The interludes sound out of place and are generally pointless, and disrupt the flow of the songs which is a critical element of any respectable thrash song, while the intros are unnecessary and too long for their own good. Skolnick was, and still is an awesome guitar player, but that doesn't justify the fact that a considerable percentage of the album is acoustic.

When there are some actual riffs on display, it's nothing special anyway. As on the first record, there are some good ones scattered here and there but for the most part this is really generic stuff for the year it was released. And the fact that a lot of them are dragged out too long for their own good and, like the debut, sound similar to each other, you don't really get a good thrash record. There are rarely more than two or three riffs per song, and as Thrash Metal requires a lot of quality riffs to succeed, this also brings it down. The production is basically the same as the debut except a little louder and cleaner. The guitar tone remains weak and lifeless, and still has that annoying 'fluffy' sound which makes the riffing sound boring.

Not all is lost however. Chuck Billy's vocals remain quite good, and while not having the same amount of aggression that he held on 'The Legacy' he still is an above average vocalist. The solos are still awesome and brilliantly melodic, even coming close to some of Priest's stuff in terms of quality. There are a few standout songs as well. 'Eerie Inhabitants', despite having the one minute plus intro and interlude halfway through has some pretty decent riffing in it. 'Disciples of the Watch' also has a pointless long intro but when the riffs kick in it gets the head banging, while 'Into the Pit' is a catchy, fast song with a great gang chorus.

'The New Order' is pretty much generic, average thrash. There really isn't much that makes it stand out from the competition apart from some great soloing and above average vocals, and while it isn't bad by any stretch the feeling that you've heard all this before and better stays with you throughout. If you do not already have this record and are thinking of purchasing it, I recommend getting it cheap and when playing it keeping your finger on the fast forward button, as with so many pointless interludes and intros you'll need it.

The new opinion - 82%

Bloodstone, September 9th, 2005

[new review, first one written on April 4th, 2004]

I believe I went a little too nuts over this album when I first got it...so here's a new review of it. Maybe I should've just deleted the old one since there are already 11 others for it, but nah, let's be a bit more productive here. No, I haven't fully converted into UltraBorism yet, I still think there are qualities to it that should warrant this as a safe purchase for the general thrash metal fan, but it's not without its flaws. Some really notable, glaring flaws.

Like the previous 'The Legacy', this is stylistically speaking a pretty good representative of the late 80's bay area sound - but just like that album, it does very little in the way of genre progression and/or innovation. Even less than 'The Legacy', I have to add. Riffs are heavily derived from 'Lightning'/'Puppets'-era Metallica and Exodus and worse yet, there aren't that overwhelmingly many of them either. At least when I am seeking out thrash, I expect riffs, many fucking riffs, to senselessly pummel me, one after one and continue doing so even when I'm down and out - but alas, Death Angel or Vio-lence this is just not. Most songs on here are built around maybe two or (at most) three discernable, memorable riffs and the rest is just kinda random...be it fast chugging or simple melodic fills to give way to vocals or lead guitar instead. This is arguably the album's true weakness, and what makes it inferior to the debut.

The other problem is the seemingly endless amount of light acoustic parts - they are piss-poor as hell and very much corrupt the flow of the album. Sometimes I think this album is trying to be 'Master of Puppets', but at this point in their career, Testament don't have enough skill to either write GOOD acoustic parts or skillfully intermix them within the album to give it "epic" strengths to go with all the monotone thrashing. For example, "Eerie Inhabitants" has not only the intro, but at 2.50 where you'd normally expect to have a slower, bludgeoning section, you instead get ANOTHER little calm part - it's not evil/eerie, it's not mystical, it doesn't make sense being there in the first place - it's just fucking disappointing; irritating. At least you have Alex Skolnick's pompously glorious lead work on top of it (and on most other non-thrashing sections on this album too), but even he does not in my opinion deliver here quite the way he did on the previous album. At times his leads tend to get a bit on the boring side, in the Yngwie "neo-classical" sense (but there is always the "Disciples" solo...HOLY FUCK!!). "Trial by Fire" has another boring nearly one minute long intro; "Hypnosis" is an agonizing TWO minutes of pure acoustic boredom, directly followed by YET another calm section that is the intro of "Disciples of the Watch". This is unbearable; very, very poor construction here. As if that wasn't bad enough, the album ends with a whimper in a beyond boring four, FOUR fucking minute-long outro track. Like any other intro section/interlude on here, but made even more unnecessarily long. Argh. "Musical Death", indeed.

Whoa, but I am still giving this 82%? How the hell am I going to justify that now?! Then I'd have to go back and see what exactly it was that I saw in this album back in the day...that would be 2½ years ago now. Well, as is the answer with so many other thrash albums - it's the riffage. When this album actually DOES deliver the riffs, it delivers them hard, precisely, correctly, smoothly, passionately and with maximum effective-ness - simply put, magic happens. The sound is totally indistinct and the guitar tone is really your typical dime-in-a-dozen late 80's thrash one - but the band knows how to work with limited material (Eric Peterson's rock-solid rhythm guitar deserves mention) and in the end turn out something really damn enjoyable and, most of all, HEADBANGABLE. The execution is rather simple (drumming in particular), but that allows for increased accessibility - perfect for a complete thrash newbie like me said 2½ years ago, knowing nothing of thrash outside the big four. The title track, "Trial By Fire" and "Disciples of the Watch" - catchy, fast, effective thrash metal bangers that will have anyone bob their head in no time, since the riffs are delivered on a silver plate as opposed to the Death Angel school of cramming them down your throat (thanks Boris;)), risking to go by unnoticed for some, like the inexperienced. But with repeated listens, the thrashier and more aggressive numbers "Eerie Inhabitants", "Into the Pit" and "The Preacher" will appeal to anyone as well if one can enjoy the catchier songs on here in the first place.

Again; accessibility is the key here. If you're already into just about any other popular thrash metal band on the planet outside of the big four, then there is very little for you here. But if you're struggling with albums such as 'Darkness Descends', 'Bonded By Blood' and 'Pleasure to Kill' and find nothing but pure noise in them - take heed of this album. Just don't expect it to own you as much once you've moved onto greater things. Also, the song "A Day of Reckoning" is just unforgivably boring, beyond redemption.

It's Alex Skolnick shredding it up,need I say more - 81%

Demon_of_the_Fall, December 16th, 2004

Testament's second full length release "The New Order" brought to the table more mature tracks, still injected with a lethal dose of Thrash ofcourse, and filled with crazier guitar solos. Alex simply puts to shame virtually every other guitarist on the planet, with riffs that rip your skull off, and tasty fucking solos that cannot be decribed in mere words. The drumming by Louie Clemente, isn't very ear-grabbing to say the least but atleast it fits with the music nicely. Greg Christians bass playing is very fucking dynamic, and I protest that he is one of the most underated bassists in metal. Listen to Disciples of The Watch and you wouldn't dare tell me that you can't thrash your fucking neck off to that. Chuck Billy does a pretty good job on vocals this time around, and actually sings quite great as a thrash singer. The First Strike Still Deadly (2001) album which Testament redoes shows 5 tracks off this one. First Strike sounds thicker with some amazing production although the solos aren't quite as what were on here, and Billy sings in his lower pitched voice more. This is easily one of metals finest gems in the 80's thrash movement, along with Anthrax's "Among the Living", and Racer X's Second Heat for a shredding good time! The only real shabby things about this album are the production, there are a couple of suegeway tracks that seem like they shouldn't be there, and Louis uninspired drumming. Other than that this album can do no wrong, jesus christ I mean "Into the Pit" and "The Preacher", two of Testaments best songs, are on here. Although the production is a tad disappointing for this day in age, think about what it would have sounded like back then! In 88!!!. This album quite obviously inspired many guitarists, although most guitarists could never come close to touching Skolnick's greatness.

Standout Tracks: Eerie Inhabitants, Eerie Inhabitants, Trial By Fire, Into The Pit, Disciples of The Watch, The Preacher

ZZZzzzz... - 26%

Vim_Fuego, August 8th, 2004

Testament was often considered one of the second tier of thrash bands, behind the big four of Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax. In the shadow of the big four, the likes of Testament, Exodus, Forbidden, and Overkill struggled to gain the recognition of their more famous peers. But it never came. For the likes of Exodus, it was a travesty. For Testament, it was never going to happen– they simply weren't good enough.

Before all the old school thrash fans out there call for my head on a spike so crows can pick my dead staring eyes from their sockets, let me explain. Testament was and is a good band, but never reached beyond that level in the 1980s. The New Order is a good example of why. On first listen, it has all the ingredients of a good thrash album, but a few hours later, you're struggling to remember any of it. Put simply, Testament as a whole were poor songwriters back in the 1980s. The riffing is solid, but unimpressive. Alex Skolnick's leads are adequate, but not dazzling. Chuck Billy's vocals are flat, and poorly executed in places. The song lyrics are standard, middle–of–the–road thrash fare. All seems "good", but nothing is "great", so promotion to the major leagues never came.

Testament were often unfairly labelled Metallica clones. Unfortunately, many media at the time had no idea about thrash metal beyond Metallica or Slayer, so bands were generally compared to one or the other of them. Testament had their own sound. Listen to "Disciples Of The Watch", the best song on the album. The bass was audible. The rhythm and lead guitars were quite different to Metallica's sound. And Louis Clemente ran rings around Lars Ulrich when it came to drum technique and skill. Unfortunately, it just did not seem to gel on the rest of the album. It is like tomato sauce, ice cream and beer– all fine on their own, but mixed together? Not appetising at all.

This album is probably of interest as a history piece today, but you would not use it to show someone how good thrash was back in the 80s. It is simply too mediocre for that.

Overrated, but still has something to offer - 70%

Crimsonblood, November 11th, 2002

Regarded as a classic by a lot of people except Boris, and perhaps a few others (including me), The New Order is one of the better pre-Low Testament releases, but then again I’ve never been a huge fan of old Testament.

Despite the aforementioned popular opinion I wouldn’t go as far as to say that this is classic, the first two tracks, despite having some decent moments, seem to plod along just a little too much and don’t really grab your attention; like I said, there are good moments in both songs, but not exactly what I would call classic material. Things eventually pick up for Testament, as the songs become more interesting further into the disc, my favorites being “Disciples Of The Watch” and “The Preacher”. Everything is relatively rudimentary on The New Order, the drumming, despite having decent fills, is pretty simple (where is the thundering double bass?) and the riffs could certainly be better in some cases. It’s weird, some riffs are really cool, and others just sound like bad rip-offs of Artillery. Of course, the two consistent features are Chuck Billy’s strong vocal performance and the lead work. The band has also done a good job in the lyric department, as the lyrical content tends to be more thought-provoking than most.

This isn’t a bad release by any stretch of the imagination; there are some good songs on here, however, I do think it is a bit over-rated as there just aren’t enough quality features to keep me coming back. I enjoyed it while I listened to it, but aside from certain songs, the whole CD probably won’t get much play in the near future; and this is somewhat helped by the poor production, it makes the band (and not rightfully so) sound like they’re playing without much feeling… something which is not good for Thrash. In the end though only the most finicky Thrash fan will probably not get some enjoyment out of this, and it is still better than Practice What You Preach and is a good starting point for newcomers to the band.

Song Highlights: Trail By Fire, Disciples Of The Watch, The Preacher, A Day Of Reckoning

Half this album can pretty much be thrown away - 29%

UltraBoris, August 21st, 2002

The official length of this album is 39:19, but really about half of it is complete noodling around in the way of atmosphere. Which is too bad, since overall, some of the songs here are better than what appeared on "The Legacy". It's just the incessant fast-forward jockeying that totally relegates this album into mediocrity.

We start with "Eerie Inhabitants". Yes, it's got an intro... the thing is, you're going to have to grit your teeth and bear with this one, because it's part of the same track as the actual song. Wait two minutes, and then the riffs start up. This here is some pretty decent thrash, but it's all been done before. Very formulaic, and it kinda resembles that Talking Heads song that goes "We've got computers, we're tapping phonelines, we know that that's not allowed". (I forget the song title, something like "Life During War" or something.)

Then the title track, "The New Order" - not quite as strong, but really not all that bad. Just a bit generic - this is where the album starts to reek of "I've heard this before", whether it be Metallica or Exodus or even Artillery.

"A Trial By Fire" has the dumbest verses, they go through the motions without any energy - the chorus is also pretty cheesy, except the last line. That leads into a cool guitar solo at one point - again, what is Skol doing in this band?? He could play rings around anyone else, but the thing is, no one really knew how to write totally kickass riffs, and that was the real problem with Testament (still is, really). Then, "Into the Pit" - this is apparently their concert staple. Another kinda average thrash song. The riffs under the verses really aren't that distinguishable from, say, those of "The New Order".

Then we get into "Hypnosis" which is some fucking around on guitar for a few minutes. Sucky. Then, the next song, is more fucking around. But don't hit skip, because this will, at some point in time, lead into the best song on here, "Disciples of the Watch". This has some Slayer-esque riffs to be found, and in general is the fastest and heaviest song here. The intro of course makes no sense.

"The Preacher" is next. Other than being a complete ripoff of Exodus's "Faster than You'll Ever Live to Be", this is an okay song... there are lots of machine-gun vocals, and the melody is EXACTLY the same as the Zetrodus work mentioned above. Oh and the riffs aren't nearly as tight. P is no H team.

Next is "Nobody's Fault", which is an Aerosmith cover. This has some nice, different-sounding ideas thrown in, and it may be argued that this is the best song on the album, simply because it is refreshingly different. "Sorry, I'm so sorry..." somethingsomething "andnowitsjustalittletoolate!!!" This is a really nicely done chorus, it gets faster and faster until it explodes.

Then, "A Day of Reckoning" - another mediocre thrash song, supported barely by about two riffs. There really aren't all that many different, interesting, memorable riffs on this album. Maybe eight. Compare with Dark Angel's 246. Yeah, you're fucked. The last song is more guitar fucking around. I really don't see the point, all those interludes are really absurdly boring beyond all hope. What they really do is turn a marginal thrash album into something truly disastrous.