Silencing all concerns that TESTAMENT might have shot their load on "The Legacy", the band follows with a magical sophomore effort in "The New Order". Continuing on with their tried & true formula of melodic Thrash, they offer up ten more songs of blissful Metal-mastery, minus perhaps the cover of AEROSMITH's "Nobody's Fault", which is a bit too happy and/or Rock'n'Roll for me (not to mention their video for that song, *gag*), but it can easily be excused on the merits of the remaining nine songs.
"Eerie Inhabitants" slowly begins with a rather...eerie...intro...perhaps one of my all-time favourite intros of ANY Metal-song, so brooding and menacing, and a perfect prologue to the heavenly Thrash-attack to follow. Following up with the brilliant title track, hitting just as hard as its predecessor, all doubts that TESTAMENT have softened up are quickly put to rest. The band easily sounds as hungry here as on "The Legacy", but their sound has been sharpened a bit. Simply put, it's more professional. There is definitely a more "Rock'n'Roll"-feel on this album compared to the debut, but it's balanced out with equal amounts of Thrash, and thankfully, we get more than enough Skolnick-solos to soothe our cravings.
We also get two outstanding instrumental songs, sounding very dark and melancholic. I have a great fondness for them both, especially Skolnick's beautiful melodies in "Musical Death (A Dirge)". The inclusion of these two songs was an excellent choice, making immortal classics like "Into The Pit" and "Disciples Of The Watch" sound even heavier by comparison. I really love it when Metal-bands aren't afraid to slow it down a bit and get "moody", and TESTAMENT were great at it! Wish they hadn't have stopped doing the ballads after "Low"...
Chuck Billy's vocals are, in a word, sensational here, more refined and sharp as compared to "The Legacy". He can hit some high notes, but his range is best suited in the middle-register, and there is just the right amount of reverb placed on his vocals to make them sound very full and well-rounded. Perhaps my favourite Billy-performance in TESTAMENT's discography...
And definitely in my top 3 of the band's entire catalogue. This is essential Thrash Metal which no one should be without, I shouldn't even have to remind you!