Review Summary: An accessible thrash record that helped Testament become the metal giants they are today.
Practice What You Preach
Atlantic Records, 1989
The 80s, as you most likely know, was the pinnacle of thrash metal. Bands such as Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax, and Megadeth dominated the metal scene and created their own brand of fast, heavy music. Albums such as the formidable Master Of Puppets
and the furious Reign In Blood
took metal to new levels and showed the world how fast and aggressive music could be. Alongside the 'big four' of thrash stood Testament
, a band known for their occult themes and speedy riffs. Following the minor success of the band's sophomore album The New Order
, Testament decided to abandon their fantasy lyrics, replacing them with much more political and social themes that were very prevalent in the rapidly changing world.
Album opener Practice What You Preach
could be considered to be one of the bands defining songs. Starting with interesting guitar-bass interplay, the intro escalates into a powerful, driving riff. When the vocals enter with Chuck Billy's recognizable snarl, the listener is immediately introduced to the new, more political lyrics of Testament. The song is capped off with a very long, technical solo, which displays the talent of lead guitarist Alex Skolnik very well. Overall, Practice What You Preach
is easily the album's defining moment.
Despite peaking with it's opener, the overall quality of the album never really wavers. Almost every song delivers with catchy riffs and vocals, as well as some blistering solos. Although the repetitive formula eventually begins to drag the album down, the overall talent of the band members helps keep the album above water. Unfortunately, by the time the listener reaches the rather repetitive Greenhouse Effect
the initial impression set by the opener has begun to wear off, which somewhat detracts from the rather weak Sins Of Omission
. Luckily the thrash assault is broken up by the appropriately titled The Ballad
. Featuring a complicated acoustic intro similar to Battery
or Cemetary Gates
the song eventually builds up into a powerful, thrashing anthem. While the album should have ended on this powerful note, the band decided to add in two songs, the short, punky Nightmare
, and the instrumental Confusion Fusion
. While they may come across as great pieces of metal, they pale in comparison after following The Ballad
Overall, Practice What You Preach
is an excellent thrash album, although nowhere near a classic. A casual listener will find that many of the songs here stand better alone than together, as the overall repetitiveness may detract from the listening experience. Nonetheless, this solid album is a catchy and accessible piece of thrash, and is highly recommended for anyone trying to 'get into' the genre.
Practice What You Preach