Nuclear Blast [Release date 03.04.20]
The world may well have gone crazy at the moment with Coronavirus changing people’s day to day lives to such an extent that nothing feels normal. It is good then to have something to bring you some normality and grounding and this album does just that.
Testament play old school thrash which is unapologetically fast, loud and unrelenting and that is just how it should be. This album takes you back to a time when life was simple and social distancing was reserved for that guy at a gig that hadn’t washed his jeans or tour shirt since the last time that particular band had been in town!
‘Children Of The Next Level’ kicks things off, blasting into a huge riff setting the tone well for what is to come. ‘WWIII’ carries on the onslaught with lyrics which are scarily apt for the current worldwide lockdown with Chuck Billy screaming in the mid section ‘Everyone is gonna die, there is no escape’, hopefully things are proved otherwise!
‘Dream Deceiver’ slows the pace a little but there is no letting up on the powerhouse riffs with Alex Skolnick and Eric Peterson both playing up a storm. ‘Night Of The Witch’ sounds like an early Slayer track but with good harmonious vocals in the chorus.
Of the twelve tracks on offer there are many highlights, in fact dip into any track and you won’t be disappointed. ‘City Of Angels’ is the closest you get to the ballad of the piece. It combines quieter passages with full on, chugging riffs and also contains a blistering solo from Skolnick.
Another noteworthy track is ‘Symptoms’ which is built on a complex riff which twists and turns and tests drummer Gene Hoglan’s skill to the max. The album is rounded off by a track which will have the mosh pit in a frenzy when played live, ‘Curse Of Osiris’. This is thrash at its very best, machine gun riffs combined with a full artillery salvo from the rhythm section which is guaranteed to turn the pit into a human tornado.
Testament are not out to re-invent the wheel here, rather they have done exactly what they have been doing for the past 30 odd years in producing a thrash metal masterclass.
As I write, frontman Chuck Billy and his wife are both recovering from Coronavirus following his return from the band’s recent European tour. Hopefully we will see him and the band back on the road soon, ready to rock hard once more.
Review by Dave Wilson.
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