Truly the second age of Thrash Metal has come. Now that there is a scene and some mainstream value for it, Thrash Metal not only is revitalized but so are some of the bands that brought about the first coming. After a nine year hiatus from new material (we were given some re-recordings and a live album though) TESTAMENT is back with the long awaited follow-up to “The Gathering”. And all doubts have been obliterated.
With an almost full reunited line up, TESTAMENT present us with “The Formation Of Damnation” a slab of true modern Thrash Metal. Start to finish, “The Formation Of Damnation” is the work of Metal gods as they riff, batter, pummel and shred their way through nine years of frustrations and life. Not only is this album good but its really fucking good.
Not really a return to an older sound, this latest album presents a slightly Thrashier modern TESTAMENT sound. There are moments of which I hear some of the older material in the writing, particularly in “Dangers Of The Faithless” but nothing that is going to play on nostalgia.
The depth of this album is ridiculously stunning as with each listen I find something subtle and new within the songs that I hadn’t caught before. It helps that every member of TESTAMENT is still on the top of their game. Chuck Billy (vocals) and Eric Peterson (guitars) are writing with an intensity never before seen and with the return of Alex Skolnick on guitars and Greg Christian on bass the band has the talents in its fold to really dig deep. It was definitely nice to hear Alex back with his somewhat signature leads and solos as he really compliments Peterson’s writing and playing so well. It’s a little detail that TESTAMENT was missing for far too long. Also with gun-for-hire, Paul Bostaph behind the kit – it’s hard to go wrong. In fact, this might be Bostaph’s best performance I’ve ever heard. Considering the band’s he has played with this is a certain feat. And we can’t forget Chuck Billy. If you enjoyed his performance on “The Gathering” then this album is going to be great for you. He gives us an even more varied sound on “The Formation Of Damnation” as he croons and even Death growls (the title track is absolutely brutal) his way through some of the best lyrics from the TESTAMENT discography.
All of the above is an understatement to the pure joy and love I have for this album. TESTAMENT are not only putting out their best material in years but possibly in their career. Move over all you newer Thrash Metal bands. TESTAMENT is back to reclaim their thrown as some of the greatest Thrashers of all time – and “The Formation Of Damnation” is their proclamation.
Songs to check out: I usually choose three songs – but this album absolutely has no filler whatsoever. Listen to the entire album.
(Online May 20, 2008)