Testament - The Formation Of Damnation
Nuclear Blast
Thrash Metal
11 songs (49.33)
Release year: 2008
Testament, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Aleksie
Album of the month
Enough with the history lessons and career recollections. You want that? Plenty of info on the official web page. More often than seldom, I get tired of writing or reading about the past of a band in a review when all I want to know about is the latest release. There are just some albums that give that gargantuan energy rush and one doesn’t want to waste time with anything but the bare essentials. Let’s get right to the point of explaining why the new, painfully long-awaited Testament album rules with reckless abandon!

The band as a unit is mercilessly intact and going for the kill with ruthless power. Chuck Billy has recovered into glorious form after beating a tumor into submission and sounds like a warrior exclaiming victory, whether we are talking about his trademark half shout/half spoken snarl or the frightening growls. The beast lives in the big chief and speaks through him with force. Eric Peterson riffs and widdles like The New Order has just been released as just about each song contains much foil for blistering air guitar-sessions. I’m so glad that Alex Skolnick is back in the fold, as I feel he is one of the most tasteful and stylish lead players ever to grace the genre of thrash. His solos are just as beautiful as they are technically impressive. Greg Christian pins the soundscape into the ground with solid walls of bass, which work brilliantly in tandem with Paul Bostaph’s versatile and brutal drum work. The #1 skinsman for hire of extreme metal is in fine form and does the thrash beat just as well as some proggy fills and rhythms. No matter how much an all-star unit inhabited The Gathering, the classic line-up spiced with Bostaph just might be the definitive line-up of Testament.

For The Glory Of… is an opening instrumental that feels just like the sight of a murderous horde of vikings closing in on the horizon. There’s nothing you can do to stop them – just wait still and hope that your demise will be quick and painless. That’s why it was slightly surprising that the first two actual songs, More Than Meets The Eye and The Evil Has Landed weren’t overtly quick but rather slightly faster than mid-tempo and emphasizing the heaviness. The former rolls along with a smooth, galloping beat and features some nice shout-along choruses. The latter makes some interesting jagged tricks with the rhythms that emphasize the fist-pumping, straight-forward chorus. The title track comes out at the fourth spot just purely blasting out of the gates as Bostaph lets the snare have it and the gallop just gets more and more frantic. Billy takes his shout to the guttural level and necks begin to snap under the pressure of overt headbanging.

Dangers Of The Faithless makes another twist with a 5/4-time rhythmic base and some oddly fixed vocal lines as well. A slightly progressive tune that I didn’t expect for sure, but one that has grown as one of my favourites of the record. Skolnick shines on the leads and lets it rip with awesome melodies. The following twosome of speed monsters is the final blow to the mosh pitters out there. The speed metalling The Persecuted Won’t Forget at first seems like a whirlwind of downpicking metal brilliance, but is just upstaged by the even faster Henchmen Ride, my favourite tune of the pack. When the tempo picked up after the second chorus upon the first listens, I lost my mind and had to hear that single transisition over and over again. The final four songs are great as well, but zeesh, I just can’t get over to describe them more. Henchmen Ride is just so bad ass!

Overall, this is one of Testament’s finest albums to date, and I barely dare to think what they can conjure onto a hard drive after they have gelled on the road with this line-up, which I hope and pray stays intact for many more albums to come. The record serves traditional metal mayhem in equal doses with some suprises. The band has not been content with simply being awesome, but also inventive. Enough with the superlatives and brown-nosing. Mosh! Bang! Kill! Jump! Thrash! Testament is back and you need to get The Formation Of Damnation. Now!

Killing Songs :
All of 'Em!
Aleksie quoted 95 / 100
Jeff quoted 86 / 100
Other albums by Testament that we have reviewed:
Testament - Souls of Black reviewed by Bar and quoted 80 / 100
Testament - Demonic reviewed by Bar and quoted 68 / 100
Testament - Dark Roots Of Earth reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 90 / 100
Testament - The Ritual reviewed by Goat and quoted 81 / 100
Testament - The New Order reviewed by Tyler and quoted CLASSIC
To see all 10 reviews click here
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