After such an amazing start to their career, TESTAMENT really only could go down hill and even though “Practice What You Preach” was a little more user friendly it still succeeded on so many levels its hard to really use that against it. So it’s not surprising that their next album “Souls Of Black” is even more listener friendly. And although many Thrash fans and Metalheads claim it to be too watered down for consumption, I would argue the point that it’s underrated album that deserves all the attention it gets.
Compared to their earlier work it does seem to pale in comparison. It’s not quite as Thrashy and many of the more complex performances the band can do becomes simplified for the album. But at the core of this album, TESTAMENT is still there and their song writing is still strong on the album even if some of the details change.
This album does suffer from a handful of songs that standout massively in comparison to the rest. Although all the songs are relatively strong on the album the first few are just classic tracks up front and right away which makes the rest of the album feel somewhat faded on full listen. But it’s somewhat of a mirage, as the rest of the album really doesn’t fade. And the songs if taken out of context are still really damn good.
And some people tend to complain about some of the jazz influenced elements on the album too. And although they are not all that often one can definitely hear a new found jazz tinge to all of Skolnick’s guitar work. But it’s somewhat subtle on the album and doesn’t detract that much from the Thrash that does come out.
This is just a great album from beginning to end. It covers a wide variety of styles whether it’s the ballad “The Legacy”, the catchy as hell “Souls Of Black” or the Thrash-terpiece “Love To Hate” the band are still firing on all cylinders for this album. Its not as strong as many of their earlier albums but it’s a great addition to their catalog.
Songs to check out: “Souls Of Black”, “Face In The Sky”, “Love To Hate”.
(Online October 7, 2008)