Review Summary: Remember, never put 90% of your good riffs into the first two tracks.
Chuck Billy - Vocals
Alex Skolnick - Lead Guitar
Eric Peterson - Rhythm Guitar
Greg Christiansen - Bass
Louie Clementie - Drums
Testament was a fairly well-known band in the thrash metal scene by 1989, with two solid thrash albums under their belt. In an attempt to gain a wider audience via MTV, the band's third album, Practice What You Preach
, was written, with simpler songs designed to be catchy and lyrics that concentrated more on politics and various real-world problems than the more gothic, occult-driven themes of the first two albums The problem is that, for the most part, the songs aren't really catchy. Actually, they're rather boringly constructed, and the band only rarely shows a willingness to move beyond a mid-paced tempo.
I've got to admit that half of the album just bores me. Sure, it doesn't have the annoyingly intrusive attempts at atmosphere that plagued The New Order
, but instead we get dull riffs that simply lack the energy and agression that made the mid-paced numbers off of The Legacy and The New Order work. The riffs just try too hard to be catchy, but they have no hooks, and instead feel bland and derivative. A special mention must be made for the production, which manages the oh so awesome
feat of pretty much elimanating any character the guitars had, while simutaniously turning up the bass. Yeah, real great idea there.
Alex Skolnick, who usually delivers fantastic solo work, has what just might be the weakest performance of all the albums he did with Testament. None of his solos, baring the title track and "Perious Nation", are really memorable. Given just how well done his soloing was with... well, pretty much any
other record he did with Testament, it's a pretty bad sign when even he can't carry the songs.
That's not to say this plauges the entire album, per se. The title track and "Perious Nation" are easily the best tracks on this album, with actually memorable riffs, good solo work for Skolnick, and Chuck Billy's good vocal delivery. Of course, it's also a lesson to not put 90% of your good riffs into the first two tracks. The only other two tracks that i'd say are decent is "Blessed in Contempt", and "Greenhouse Effect", which scrape by because of Skolnick's guitar work, and the fact that the latter song's lyrics are at least fairly interesting.
To sum it all up, the title track and 'Perilous Nation' are pretty much the only songs on here that are actually good. 'Blessed in Contempt' and 'Greenhouse Effect' are above average, but really, this album has such a poor hit-to-miss ratio that it's almost not worth hunting and pecking through it to get the good tracks. At the end of the day, when it is all said and done, this is just a piss-poor LP, and it looks even worse when one compares it to any other record Testament has released. Two out of Five overall, and unless you must listen to the title track and 'Perious Nation', avoid this album.