Review Summary: Testament's third album is a good enough for fans of the band, but shows the beginning of the band's decline musically.
Testament has always been highly regarded by the metal community for consistent and quality releases. Their material may not always adhere to certain genre standards, but the band's integrity can not be questioned. The band first two albums was some of their best work to date and unlike many other bands, Testament kept releasing quality music well into the 90's. "The New Order" is a very hard act to follow, that album was damn near perfect, but the band did it's best to satisfy eager fans with this release. Sadly this release would mark the high-point of the band's career. The album saw the band finding a small amount of mainstream success, and increased the band's fan-base due to some MTV exposure.
One noticeable change found on this album is the shift in lyrical content. On previous albums Chuck Billy would sing of dark themes such as the occult and witchcraft, but this time around lyrical content deals almost entirely with politics and society. Despite this change, the music still remains strong and occasionally melodic enough for most metal-heads, and the overall feel of the album is still gloomy and aggressive. While the material is still heavy enough, the production is a step down from "The New Order". The drums seem to have this clicking sound that I honestly can't stand, and the guitars seem to be turned down a notch. Many of the gongs are also bit slower on this album which takes away from the overall heavy feel exerted on other albums. This album does have some of the band's best material though. Some of my favorite Testament songs like the heavy and catchy title track, and the slow but beautiful "The ballad" make this album noteworthy. However, many of the songs failed to grab my attention, and aren't very memorable or compelling. Despite all of this, the band is still musically sound as each member shows their skills and abilities. The bass seems to play a larger role here than in previous works from the band, with the bass actually being audible enough and leading into a couple of the songs. The guitar work is also very impressive due to some melodic guitar solos and heavy riffs. This talent makes up for some of the negative aspects of this album, because if it weren't for the skillfully executed guitar solos and riffs, and audible grooving bass, i wouldn't really care for this album to much.
This album marks the downhill struggle the band would have to endure throughout the 90's. I really wanted this album to stand tall with "The New Order" but sadly it doesn't. This album and the follow-up "Souls Of Black" are decent albums for long time fans, and while they are still heavy, they do not hold up to the band's earlier material. Nevertheless, the band did create a good album deserving of a listen from most metal fans. If you like politically charged and heavy thrash, this album may be for you.
- Practice What You Preach
- Perilous Nation
- The Ballad
- Confusion Fusion (Instrumental)
Chuck Billy - vocals
Alex Skolnick - lead guitar
Erik Peterson - Rhythm guitar
Greg Christian - bass
Louie Clemente - drums
Produced and engineered by Alex Perialas
Released: August 8, 1989