Album review: Testament – Brotherhood of the Snake
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★★★★★ When it comes to ‘80s thrash bands, Testament is something of a genetic anomaly. While a great deal of the Californian five-piece’s contemporaries have evolved into “legacy bands” – for example: Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax and Forbidden – Testament constantly feels like it is moving forward with intense wrath and a hungry thirst to tear down all within its path. The group’s post-1999 career (while it may not have spawned many records) is one of the best latter-day repertoires that any rock band could ever hope for. The Gathering (1999), The Formation of Damnation (2008) and Dark Roots of Earth (2012) especially are albums that not only live up to those of Testament’s youth, but also in many ways out-do them. Not only that, but the 21st century has also seen the vocals of lead singer Chuck Billy get far stronger than they have ever been, the return of beloved guitarist Alex Skolnick and a resurgence in popularity thanks to an array of recent, stunning tours with some of the biggest names in metal. Testament has only been on the up and up in its later years, and their eleventh album – the upcoming Brotherhood of the Snake – will only make things better. To say that the build-up to this new record has been insane would be an understatement. Unlike a lot of contemporary releases, Brotherhood of the Snake’s production has been a very public affair; Testament has been talking and teasing fans about this record for about half a year at this point, with the general consensus seeming to be that it is going to be the heaviest thing they have released in quite some time. And while it is easy to disagree with that sentiment, what we have on our hands is still a release more than worth the four-year wait that fans have had to endure since Dark Roots of Earth.
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