Testament
The Formation of Damnation


4.0
excellent

Review

by JohnnyGetYerKnife USER (19 Reviews)
November 15th, 2009 | 12 replies


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: After a nine year wait, Testament return to form.

Testament arrived on the thrash scene way back in '87, arriving in the wake of Metallica, Anthrax, Megadeth and Slayer, who had already made their mark in the music world. Throughout the 1990's, the band suffered a number of linup changes, with only vocalist Chuck Billy and guitarist Eric Peterson remaining throughout the decade. Despite this, Testament soldiered on, delivering a number of excellent albums. 2008 saw Testament release their first album in nine years, which was just one of the reasons for this being one of the most anticipated metal albums of the year. The other reason for its anticipation is that it contains the original lineup, except for drummer Paul Bostaph. So, here we have, The Formation Of Damnation, an album that proves that Testament are back, and that they are in search of the soul that they had on previous albums.

That soul is back on this new record. It's a modern day thrash metal record, no more no less. But, despite the return of the original members, Testament's output is exactly the same as it was in the '90s. So, it's thrash metal riffs with a death metal tinge, as well as the trademark melodies that the band add. Among the members that have returned, we see Skolnick, the lead guitarist. His shredding is welcome and familiar, but it sometimes feels like he's playing material mostly written by Peterson. He gets songwriting credit for Dangers Of The Faithless, and, unfortunately, adds the unnecessary technicality that bogged down 1992's The Ritual, which was pratically, The Skolnick Show, whilst Peterson is capable of running the show himself. The Persecuted Won't Forget is some of Testament's most dynamic work in years and when Skolnick swoops in with a jaw-dropping solo, it's merely an added bonus.

Probably the best thing on the album, other than the nine year wait, is Chuck Billy, who is seemingly ageless. His vocals are just as harsh and ferocious as they were on 1994's Low, when the band experimented with pure death metal. As always, the lyrics are slightly awkward, (Election day spitting bulls--t to the enslaved/Make them believe compromised insanity) This time though, the lyrics are directed, protesting the war in Iraq. Anyway, Billy's vocals have always been about their sound. Even though he has a limited 'comfort zone', he's quite expressive.

The Formation Of Damnation explodes with energy, yet it's muzzled by adequate production, and mastering that makes it seem really loud. The album is one long peak, making it a tiring listen. Andy Sneap contributes his usual clear, heavy mix, but the mastering destroys all separation and smears everything together. However, the material is good, the song is average and it leaves the listener wanting more. If Testament are leading are leading the damnation, f--k it, sign me up. By all means check out The Formation of Damnation. Come to it with no expectations and you'll go home plenty satisfied and refurbished from its energy. And you can't say that about a Red Bull...



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user ratings (648)
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3.8
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other reviews of this album
Trey Spencer STAFF (4)
Testament aren't reinventing the wheel, but they do a great job integrating their early material wit...


Comments:Add a Comment 
JohnnyGetYerKnife
November 15th 2009


157 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

My third review. I'll probably write another paragraph or two later though...

Willie
Moderator
November 15th 2009


16019 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

dds the unnecessary technicality that bogged down 1992's The Ritual, which was pratically, The Skolnick Show
When was the last time you listened to that album? There was nothing technical about it.

Digging: Skrew - Universal Immolation

Xenorazr
November 15th 2009


442 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Yeah, the only really technical part I can remember from The Ritual was the solo for Agony, which is too short to really be considered "technical".

JohnnyGetYerKnife
November 15th 2009


157 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'll edit that. I was probably thinking of some other album...

FadeToBlack
November 15th 2009


10926 Comments


His vocals are just as harsh and ferocious as they were on 1994's Low, when the band experimented with pure death metal
they experimented more with groove metal on Low. besides they have never played anything that really resembles death metal

good review though, i'll vote

WarAllTheTime988
November 15th 2009


360 Comments


Album is still awesome. Here's to hoping they still have another few good ones in them!

TheSpirit
November 15th 2009


17883 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review/ album

Digging: Wreodan Heahl - Laecig

JohnnyGetYerKnife
November 15th 2009


157 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks, man. Nice avatar btw. I lol'ed

Eclectic
November 15th 2009


3302 Comments


Ima fan of the band
not a fan of the review.

He gets songwriting credit for Dangers Of The Faithless, and, unfortunately, adds the unnecessary technicality that bogged down 1992's The Ritual, which was pratically, The Skolnick Show, whilst Peterson is capable of running the show himself

Very long and awkward sentence. Perhaps consider putting a fullstop after The Skolnick Show. There's also a typo with pratically.
Anyway, Billy's vocals have always been about their sound

First of all: can you please explain that sentence, I didn't know you could have vocals that weren't about their sound.
Second of all: Ditch the anyway its unprofessional and awkward in a review that otherwise seems to be straying away from that kind of thing.
The Formation Of Damnation

You put this in italics in the last paragraph which made it seem like you were referring to the album name. Judging by your last paragraph you're not, so you may want to switch it to bold.
it's thrash metal riffs with a death metal tinge

Honestly, I hear more of a groove metal tinge, very little death metal. Though that could just be my untrained ears, something's making me doubt it.

Other than that the review was good so I won't neg.

JohnnyGetYerKnife
November 15th 2009


157 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks man, it's 9:30PM over here and I've posted 5 reviews today so I'm falling aslee........p. I'll edit when I get a mo.

Eclectic
November 15th 2009


3302 Comments


Dude, calm the fuck down with the reviews. How long did it take you to write this? half an hour? not really good practice mate.

zaruyache
November 15th 2009


6587 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

they experimented more with groove metal on Low. besides they have never played anything that really resembles death metal

Try Demonic on for size ;-) And Dog Faced Gods off Low sounds pretty much like death metal to me.


Digging: Natural Snow Buildings - The Night Country



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