Testament
The Formation of Damnation


4.0
excellent

Review

by Trey Spencer STAFF
May 20th, 2008 | 82 replies


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Testament aren't reinventing the wheel, but they do a great job integrating their early material with the more modern sound of their previous album, "The Gathering".

Anyone into Testament knows that they are definitely a resilient band. Actually, anyone into Testament knows that it’s vocalist Chuck Billy and guitarist Eric Peterson that are the resilient ones. They’ve had to deal with original members jumping ship during hard times, a revolving door of (highly talented) session musicians, horrible label support, death and cancer. Despite these hurdles they continued to release quality metal albums proving that they were fully capable of maintaining the band on their own. Based on that, it was a total surprise to hear that they were bringing back original members Greg Christian and Alex Skolnick, with Paul Bostaph rounding things out on drums. With eighty percent of the original band back in the mix fans had to wonder what direction this new album would take.

All early interviews with the band had them calling it a mix between The Gathering and The Legacy, but I don’t see that as accurate. The reference to The Gathering is accurate due to the great drumming and frequent bursts of speed as well as the occasional riff and growled vocal part, but The Legacy just doesn’t fit. If anything, the other album this could be compared to would be Practice What You Preach due to the catchy and structured nature of the riffs, the increased use of melodies as well as the memorable choruses contained within each song. Another factor in comparing this to Practice What You Preach as opposed to The Legacy is due to the guitar solos of Alex Skolnick which are of the classy and highly developed variety found much more on Practice What You Preach.

Actually, when I first read that Alex Skolnick was returning to his lead guitar duties I was a little worried due to his past denouncement of metal, but that fear is easily forgotten by the time the short opening instrumental is over. He brings back the melody that the post-Alex albums were missing, and also brings back the awesome solos that he is well known for. In addition, he also contributed two songs to the new album. The song “Dangers of the Faithless” even manages to bring something new to Testament’s sound due to sections being written 5/4 time. His other contribution, “F.E.A.R.”, is actually one of the best songs on the album managing to mix a little bit of influence from The Ritual into an otherwise fast, aggressive, yet wholly catchy song.

Even though Alex Skolnick contributed a few songs, a majority of the writing was still handled by Eric Peterson and Chuck Billy. Their songwriting encompasses everything from their earlier era (More then Meets the Eye) to material that could have fit perfectly on The Gathering (Formation of Damnation), with the rest of the songs falling somewhere in the middle. There’s the mid-paced Practice-influenced songs such as “The Evil Has Landed” with its bouncy riffs, classy solos, and catchy choruses and there’s the faster, more aggressive material such as “Henchmen Ride” full of double bass and forceful vocals, but all of it is good.

In case it isn’t obvious by the fact that this album can be described almost exclusively through references to their past, Testament do not reinvent the wheel here. What they do is take a consolidation of most their past albums and create a new offering that should sit well with anyone that’s ever been a fan of theirs. Consequently, this album will not appeal to most of those people that found this band boring, generic, or unlistenable already. With that said, it should be approached with a fair bit of caution by those in the latter group, but not ignored completely because you may find yourself surprised. This album is also an obvious starting point for those that are new to the band as it definitely does a good job of representing their back catalog through new material.



Recent reviews by this author
Kenn Nardi Dancing With the PastSick of It All The Last Act of Defiance
Meshuggah I (Special Edition)Cannibal Corpse A Skeletal Domain
Rabbit Junk Pop That Pretty ThirtyAnathema Distant Satellites
user ratings (658)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
JohnnyGetYerKnife (4)
After a nine year wait, Testament return to form....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Willie
Moderator
May 20th 2008


16149 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I've managed to track down all but one of my missing reviews now through google and yahoo cache.

Digging: Mors Principium Est - Dawn Of The 5th Era

Odal
May 20th 2008


350 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good review and that's why I back mine up ;)

Willie
Moderator
May 20th 2008


16149 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks. I thought about backing mine up, but by that point I already had about 50 and I wasn't going to go back and save them all (which is still no excuse for the other 30 I wrote after considering it).

Bfhurricane
May 20th 2008


6197 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice, vintage thrash metal. Im basing this off of only a few listens on their myspace, but I like it.

BurlySlayerFan
May 20th 2008


51 Comments


After hearing the two tracks on their MySpace and reading this review, I wanna hear the rest of this. The "Woah" bits are really catchy in 'More than meets the eye'... been singing it all day...

Foodforthegods
May 22nd 2008


425 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This cd is just flawless. I'm so happy with the result. Being a huge Thrash fan. Testament is definatly the top US thrash band Right now. Megadeth are back in the good way. Metallica definatly needs a good thrash records to get back in the picture. Anyway Testament got back with a mix of old school thrash and the mordern sound they got on the gathering. Alex solo are amazing and as usual Chuck Billy is the best thrash singer of all time. Bostaph also did a good job behind the kit.

More Than Meets The Eye
The Evil As Landed
The Formation Of Damnation
The Persecuted Won't Forget
Henchman Ride
F.E.A.R.
Leave Me Forever

all good tracks...



Bfhurricane
May 22nd 2008


6197 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I will admit I like this better than United Abominations. This should give Metallica a good kick in the ass to do something worthwhile with all the time theyve had on their hands.

Willie
Moderator
May 23rd 2008


16149 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I definitely like this more then United Abominations, but on the other hand that album isn't bad either. It's the first one I've liked since Rust in Peace.
As for Metallica, they were done with their album before this album came out, but if they heard this they're probably too arrogant to care because their album will outsell this one no matter what.

theyneedyou
June 14th 2008


229 Comments


Killing Season is soooo fucking heavy.

The didn't leave my CD player the first month I had it.

Thrasher86
June 26th 2008


181 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good album, better then UA idk I like them both on the same level. The Persecuted wont forget is my favoirte.

Curse.
Contributing Reviewer
August 8th 2008


8021 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This album is insane but I will always be an Exodus man

WarAllTheTime988
August 13th 2008


360 Comments


So I've been a Testament fan for a while but was super hesitant in buying this 'cause I thought it would ruin my high standard of Testament stuff, but I was CD shopping and decided to take a chance and WOAH! What a nice suprise, great production, good tunes, and not a bit disappointing. Possibly seeing these guys tommorow night and after listening to this about 5 or so times I could not be more excited!

Willie
Moderator
August 13th 2008


16149 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is one of their best albums. You could tell that they were just happy to play together again (and probably happier that their original drummer opted not to rejoin).

WarAllTheTime988
August 13th 2008


360 Comments


It really is nice to see bands from the 80s etc still putting out good records and touring..this summer alone I've seen some pretty sick bands (not all from the 80s or putting out records but still sick to see). Try this for a summer...Van Halen, At The Gates, Megadeth, probably Testament, and Motorhead. Pretty sick if you ask me, and I also caught The Red Chord for $5 which has nothing to do with this argument, but just in general is sweet!

Trax
August 22nd 2008


7 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I honestly felt that skipping the first half of this album improved it.

First few tracks were pretty bleh next to old testament imo.

Bleak123
September 11th 2008


1902 Comments


The title track is a fucking ripper. Album owns face!

MassMetal
December 4th 2008


83 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

the amazing thing about these guys is the variety of material they have had, and how great they still sound..imo james murphy never gets the credit he deserves esp. on 'live at the filmore"

hybridstigmata
January 26th 2009


169 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This cd kicks so much ass.

Willie
Moderator
January 26th 2009


16149 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I honestly felt that skipping the first half of this album improved it.
A lot of the really good tracks seem to be near the end, but the first half is still really good.

Sabottheory
April 20th 2009


355 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Sounds like everyone in Opeth is into it, will check it out.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy