Testament
Dark Roots of Earth


3.0
good

Review

by donovan909 USER (24 Reviews)
July 28th, 2012 | 31 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Thrash icons, Testament, emerge with a new album, with an eye towards the past..

Throughout Testament's storied career, to many fans, thrash's overlooked underdogs, has shape-shifted with the times. While Metallica was getting ready to further alienate some of their most hardcore fans with Load (two years later), Anthrax had just released their Sound Of White Noise the year before, and it looked like thrash's pioneers were all teetering on radio play and selling albums, except for 94's Testament release, Low.

Not that every band has to stay on the same page or have room to grow, but in that general time frame, Testament had tapped into the pulse of where metal was going, incorporating growls, death metal, and an overall change into a more extreme sound. They followed up with Demonic, with which they totally abandoned their core sound, going for a more pure death metal sound. Then came The Gathering, which was the highlight of the 'new' Testament sound. It had thrash, death, it had growling, groove, and it had some great melodies.

After a 9 year silence, they came back with Formation of Damnation, which seemed to cover all the bases, bringing back some of the original sound, while retaining some of the death metal touches as well. Which bring us to Dark Roots of the Earth, after another 4 year wait. The fact of the matter is, looking at Testament's back catalog, they really have not moved forward that much with this release. That is not to say that they have to continually be pioneers or reinvent the wheel, but they seem to have evolved with each release, for better or worse. That is why this album feels stagnant.

It is not that it is a poor album by any stretch of the imagination. It is still far beyond the drivel that is seen in much of today's metal market. What brings it down is the standards they have set for themselves over the last two decades. It is head and shoulders above what many metal-heads consider the 'Big Four'. Though the last releases of Anthrax, Metallica, and Megadeth have seen all three bands headed back in a heavier direction, Testament has never stopped being heavy. There is no 'return to form' for them. However, if anything, this album could be considered a return to form, if comparing it their older releases such as, Souls of Black.

They have toned down the death metal flourishes to almost non-existent, brought back the ballads ('Cold Embrace'), and with Skolnick (guitarist) fully back into the fold by actually co-writing much of the record, it takes a nostalgic step back into past. This is truly a matter of taste. For those that like the heavier, more brutal-side of Testament, they will find much less to salivate over, except for a few songs, such as, 'True American Hate'. For the older fans, that miss the original sound of Testament, the old-school thrash, the 2 minute solos, there is plenty to chew on here.

But regardless of which side of the coin the listener falls on, the song writing feels tired, almost forced, and Chuck Billy's vocal melodies border on monotonous. On a positive note, the production is fierce, crisp, and holds up to the best of what is out there in metal today. Unfortunately, after a few spins, most of the songs are forgettable, and it seems more appealing to dig into their back catalog if in the mood for some Testament.



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user ratings (420)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • Subrick (3.5)
    This old horse ain't dead yet...

    Jesse Knight (4)
    25 years of music and Testament is still going strong....

    Shachar Sagui (3.5)
    Testament release a great album - but also prove that they have no where to evolve, and th...

    NeoSpaz (4)
    Testament further proves that 2012 is a good year for Thrash Metal....

  • lostforwords (4)
    A modernized version of their best work during the 80s, Dark Roots is coherent and consist...


Comments:Add a Comment 
ViperAces
July 28th 2012


12466 Comments


Cant wait to get this from Amazon, heard the two singles and they are amazing.
Good review, that kind of what I except from this album but I still hope it will be great.

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
July 28th 2012


4443 Comments


Nice review, mate. I was thinking about reviewing this myself. Just got the album in the mail, though its feeling more like 4-3.5 for me. POS'd

ShadowRemains
July 28th 2012


21077 Comments


pretty awesome album cover

Digging: Execration (NOR) - Morbid Dimensions

Titan
July 29th 2012


5077 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Awesome album, reminds me of The Ritual....Review was well written, but I totally disagree with it.

demon of surveillance
July 29th 2012


837 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Please spell Megadeth right, it's killing me. Other than that good review, although I don't agree.

Digging: The Contortionist - Language

TheNotrap
July 29th 2012


8109 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

To each is own but I disagree with this rating.


donovan909
July 29th 2012


24 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

no preference to whether they are really heavy or leaning back to the old school. Either way, I found this to just seem lackluster when compared to most of their catalog. RiffOClock nailed it...I didn't want to write a 'fanboy' review..I love Testament, they are just capable of better material...

voodman
July 29th 2012


1 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I don't know why people always feel the need to walk through a band's history before reviewing the album. Don't write so much, just review the album. It only started from the 4th paragraph.

AskAak
July 29th 2012


77 Comments


"RiffOClock nailed it..."
lol oh boy

someone plz review this asap.

METALFACE666
July 29th 2012


172 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

review suck dicks

Titan
July 29th 2012


5077 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

The Ritual 2

KyokushinMaster
July 29th 2012


182 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

review was well written, except you spend too much time on the back history instead of reviewing the album. I do not agree with the rating i truly think this is one of their best albums.

NonApplicable
July 30th 2012


1991 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The album has a real old school vibe to the production. Pretty wicked.

BlackLlama
July 30th 2012


1691 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I wanted to listen to this for a week or so before reviewing this but you summed up my initial thoughts nicely. I think what kind of Testament fan you are is going to affect how much you enjoy this release. I'm much more of "New Order" fan and not so much of their 90's work and beyond. While the mix and the musicianship on this album is great, the songs just aren't the best. Maybe I need some more time to let it sink in and it will bump up. I just didn't get that immediate wow factor like I did from Electric Age or Phantom Anti-Christ. This one smacks of the 90's to me.



I will say though, the Powerslave cover fucking rules.

Digging: Pitch Black Forecast - As the World Burns

keyserfunk
July 30th 2012


288 Comments


Real solid review. You know your Testament. i've always enjoyed the heavier side of Testament and wasn't thrilled with All American Hate, but am still looking forward to giving this some spins.

KjSwantko
July 30th 2012


9443 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Jamming this right now and definitely enjoying it. Testament is still kicking ass

bloc
July 31st 2012


34926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album rocks but I do think the chorus for Native Blood is really cheesy.

NonApplicable
July 31st 2012


1991 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I wasn't as keen on Formation of Damnation as everyone else. This in my opinion is better.

KILL
July 31st 2012


71965 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

tis

Digging: Exodus - Blood In, Blood Out

Tyrael
July 31st 2012


20901 Comments


KILL we need to know how you feel about this album man since you are sputnik's thrash authority



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