Testament – The Formation of Damnation

After 1999’s “The Gathering” Testament proved that an old school thrash band could still be relevant in the new millennium. It is still their strongest album and just annihilated everything in its path. They quickly followed that up with “First Strike Still Deadly” in 2001, which consisted of re-recorded versions of older material. And it was a valid follow up to “The Gathering” because it took all those old songs ad injected them with musical steroids. Unfortunately soon after, Chuck Billy was diagnosed with cancer, putting the band’s future in doubt. Luckily a group of Testament’s peers bonded together ad raised money for his medical bills by organizing the “Thrash of The Titans”. This single event jumpstarted the careers of a number of older thrash bands who are currently releasing the strongest material they’ve ever written. Luckily chief Billy was able to recover, and with the support from their peers Testament went back into the metal scene.

However, it seems like this record took FOREVER to make. However, the band hasn’t missed a step in this 9-year period, and with this record they’ve actually managed to put the “Big Four” of thrash to shame. This record, like its predecessor ten years before, just crushes everything in its path and places Testament as a force to be reckoned with once again. I’m still in shock that this record is so amazing that it fulfilled and exceeded every expectation I had of it.

Aside from the amazing production (thanks again Andy Sneap, you really are the Bob Rock of thrash metal!) this record sounds like it could have come out 20 years ago! And rightfully so, as it shows the band hasn’t betrayed its roots and adopted some of the trendy emo-mallcore metal that’s stinking up the scene today. Chuck Billy and Eric Peterson have once again proved themselves to be the current Hefield/Ulrich of heavy metal. Speaking of the devil, Chuck Billy sounds EXACTLY like he did 10 years ago. The death metal roar, early Hetfield-esque growl still mixes together extremely well and there is just no evidence of cancer in his voice. This guy STILL sounds possessed! It’s also good to see guitar virtuoso Alex Skolnick rediscovering his metal roots and re-joining the band. He’s got some pretty cool solos on this record, and this should satisfy the hardcore fans of the band. “F.E.A.R.” is credited entirely to him, and if this doesn’t prove to you that the man is bleeding metal these days then there’s no hope for you. Let’s not forget about Paul Bostaph, who got the gig after departing from fellow thrashers Exodus. I saw Testament just two months ago, and Paul is definitely the guy for this band. On record and on stage, he’s absolute machine, and this time I hope he stays with the band.

Songs like “More Than Meets The Eye”, “The Evil Has Landed” and “Afterlife” provide a nice sense of melody, balanced with some pretty cool hooks in true Testament fashion. I also like the all out thrash fest of the title track, and songs like “The Persecuted Won’t Forget” and “Henchman Ride” will somehow make you keep hitting the repeat button on your CD player. The last tune, “ Leave me Forever”, is a little different for Testament, but it fairly dynamic and I still find it enjoyable. It’s hard to post a song-by-song review, because every cut stands on its own. No filler material here!!

This record does symbol a rebirth for the band, as after a decade long hiatus from releasing new material, they have shown that they’re not out to rest on their laurels and are now stronger than they ever were, in every sense of the word. I highly recommend this album to any heavy metal fan. Aaaahhhhhh it’s good to see these monsters are back! Hopefully, their opening spot in this summer’s mammoth Metal Masters Tour will knock people out of their seats. Rest assured, I’ll be there head banging the entire time!

Rating – 9.3/10

Review by Bluto

1. For the Glory Of….
2. More Than Meets The Eye
3. The Evil Has Landed
4. The Formation of Damnation
5. Dangers of The Faithless
6. The Persecuted Won’t Forget
7. Henchmen Ride
8. Killing Season
9. Afterlife
10. F.E.A.R.
11. Leave Me Forever

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~ by Justin on May 1, 2008.

2 Responses to “Testament – The Formation of Damnation”

  1. Man, when I first listened to this album, it kicked my ass. Killer riffs, sick solos and like you said, Chuck’s demonic ( pardon the pun 😉 ) growls. This album rocks. Great review.

  2. Great return for Testament!

    9,5/10

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