Sunday, 29 June 2008



Usually when I decide to pick up a Nuclear Blast record, from any of their assorted regions, I often cringe. Anyhow, with metal giants, Testament releasing their ninth studio album, I felt it was essential to add to the collection.

"Dull. Contrived. Boring." these are the first notes I took upon listening to the album through the fourth time. "It's all so needlessly 1987, it's all so boring, repetitive song structure, repetitive album structure, dull, and boring. Clich├ęd and generic." That's the second. As you read, I was fairly disappointed upon placing this one into the CD player. A steadfast issue, that could do with a push-back; this record will be universally accepted within the metal community, as one of the better records of 2008, simply because of the name, and status of such a release, not to mention artists. Testament still within formation, are celebrating their twenty fifth anniversary since their initial formation. Four out of five of the original dominion of Testament has reunited for their first appearance onto a studio album in sixteen years, for Formation Of Damnation. Clemente is the only missing entity, and we now have Paul Bostaph taking the role of drumming throughout this album, (noted, past Slayer drummer). So, you can predict the type of stigma that such a line-up carries.

Moving onto the structure of the actual record, the actual song titles make me shudder and redden at the same time. It's slightly unfair that I'm single handily parting these issues, often I ignore song titling until I've read the lyrical value behind them, but, such titles are so melodramatic, a stereotypically boring westernised examination of political stances across the globe, and read as if we're living in North Korea. And I'm still convoluted about the title ‘FEAR’ (note it’s written specifically differently on the cover – ALL CAPS). I'm not sure if their referencing the video game (mind you the lyrics pose on no stance about a survival horror first person shooter, that the story revolves around a supernatural phenomenon which the squad FEAR are asked in presence of to contain), or they've simply wrote the title to gather the attention of the viewer - as if the expansion of marketing was needed for a record of such calibre. So, onto the actual music, now that I’ve cleared some minor frustrations. The production of this record is of course top notch, and beautiful; but what do you expect of someone as excellent as Andy Sneap. This is another artistic beauty to his mammoth of a portfolio. This is Testament, so I’m not expecting anything incredibly deviating, but I haven’t enjoyed this past fifty or less minutes listening to this attempt at straight thrash metal. Bill Hicks’ interpretation of one being upon the effects of marijuana whilst continuing to attempt to be interested on an on-going medium is rather a summing of my feelings toward this record, apathy. However, I would lie to you if I didn’t suggest that “Killing Season” was OK, at least I didn’t ‘sigh’ for around one hundred and sixty seven seconds. There’s something else I enjoyed about this album; I did enjoy the last track, “Leave Me Forever” because truth be told, this record will. The performance of each band member is excellent however, and perhaps this is a credit to the engineering present throughout the record, but the vocals, guitar work, and drumming is outstanding and typically artistic as thrash giants Testament get (typically I’m ignoring track layout, in depth analyses of track structure, and the tracks themselves because it’s all binary, if not, a typical thrash motion and I believe I’ve already expressed enough steam yearned by the frequency content of such a record).

This record may be essential to any only thrash loving fan, and dedicated Testament hardcore, but for wiery neutrals like myself, you could save throwing money at it. It didn’t surpass any expectation being perfectly honest, although carried much weight on its’ shoulders. I believe I’m done with straight thrash for twenty four months, at least I think that’s a fair recovery period. Now where’s my copy of The New Order, The Ritual, or The Legacy? 2/5.

Posted by Posted by Andy at 2:55 am
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