TESTAMENT - THE FORMATION OF DAMNATION
METAL TO INFINITY
''The Legacy'' is still one of my favorite Thrash Metal albums; Testament dropped a pure bomb back in 1987. Testament was legendary since their beginning period, even for the history of Metal they received the status of immortality. Not only was the Bay Area Thrash Metal scene at the beginning of its top, the Testament gigs in Holland and Belgium were unforgettable too. I remember being totally knocked out when Testament hit the Belgian ground for the first time, as support-act of Anthrax in Antwerp. Testament was evil but still beautiful or how pure Thrash and terminating melodies could be so close to each other.
Although the new revival of US Thrash Metal is hitting us hard we have to admit that the oldies still have the most elements to prove what Thrash really is about. The new Death Angel is an everlasting CD but also this new Testament has everything to be a historical milestone. From the very first time I've heard the promo version I was blown away by the power, the vicious rhythms and the overwhelming blast of this disc. So many great moments are branded on this disc!
Starting with 'For The Glory Of...' is a perfect introduction to get into this treasure. The instrumental heavy loaded riffs and twin guitars bring the listener in the perfect mood for a Thrash Metal feast and only a few notes are needed to hear what the strengths of this disc are. First of all there's the mind blowing production; a pure wall of sound is coming over you and there's no chance to survive this thunderstorm. The return of Alex Skolnick on the first official new album, I don't include ''First Strike Still Deadly'', is another remarkable point! Along with Eric Peterson one after another devastating and twisted riff is played, the solos are miraculous and Skolnick is for a big part responsible for them. Man, this album holds superb fast fingered and virtuosic leads that will easily leave you speechless behind! If you watch the enclosed DVD about ''The Making Of'' (Limited edition version) you can easily see what I mean if I'm talking about this shredding guitar hero. Plug in and enjoy!
Also the charismatic Chuck Billy is in the form of his life and his amazing strong lows are blowing astounding refrains and choruses in your direction. His vocal lines are more like in 'the good old days', except for the high screams. What I mean is that power and melody are again perfectly balanced by my favorite Indian. My favorite tracks are the opening song, 'The Evil Has Landed', 'The Persecuted Won't Forget', 'Killing Season', 'Afterlife'.
Also the step in of Paul Bostaph (Slayer, Exodus, Forbidden, Systematic) is a strong point. Although Testament never had lack of outstanding drummers Bostaph may be considered as one of the best Heavy Metal drummers on earth. Bludgeon, twisted, varied drums on several tempi and with the perfect technical touches can be heard on this disc!
Although I own every Testament album I wasn't the biggest fan anymore. Why? To me their first release is still the best one, along with ''The New Order''. Afterwards there was an era in which they became too melodic to me, followed by a period that Testament was balancing at the edges of extremity. I lost the feeling of control somewhere in between but I'm glad to have 'contact' again with my old heroes. The best Testament is the band that mixes power, pure Thrash Metal elements and melody in a perfect equilibrium and on this disc I get it all back. In a realm of inventiveness Eric Peterson wrote ten Thrash Metal classics and Alex Skolnick and co surely helped him to lift the music to a higher level.
This album is announced as 'The Thrash Metal album of the year'. To me it is way too early to make this conclusion, don't forget also Death Angel released a gem this year and a lot is yet to come. Nevertheless I can say, shout and even scream that my good old Testament is back! My apologies to the biggest and most loyal fans who worship all their releases, but for me this is the Testament I want to hear! I want them to be violent, dynamic, 'in your face' but still melodic. ''The Formation Of Damnation'' has it all although to me it is not as magical as the debut which is the ultimate synonym of perfection! My points: 97/100 (review by Officer Nice)
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