Testament
Dark Roots of Earth


4.0
excellent

Review

by lostforwords USER (36 Reviews)
August 2nd, 2012 | 214 replies | 31,849 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A modernized version of their best work during the 80s, Dark Roots is coherent and consistent, without lacking variety

22 of 22 thought this review was well written

Third time’s the charm. Up to now, Testament have lost their momentum twice. First, when they weren’t able to expand on the success of Practice What You Preach and the records that preceded it, which resulted in conflicts between the members of the band, and a subsequent loss of direction, especially during the years of the death of thrash (post 1991). Then, right when it seemed that the all-star line-up of The Gathering would guarantee artistic and commercial success, several misfortunes hit Chuck Billy and the band proved once again unable to capitalize on the success brought by a very promising record. But by 2008, the world of metal had changed; thrash was back with a vengeance and Testament had 4/5 of their original line-up reunited. The Formation of Damnation, was an incredible record and implied that Testament can be an integral part of the new wave of thrash metal. It remained to be seen how they would react this time.

Dark Roots of Earth is finally Testament capturing the momentum. Now I can’t be sure how this will reflect commercially, but in terms of quality, this is top notch material again. The beauty of Dark Roots of Earth lies in the fact that there is a big picture. Gladly, Testament recorded one album that is not too long; just like old times, this means less (or no) filler material. It also means something more; that the record sounds as an album, as a whole, rather than a collection of songs.

Indeed, in a total of nine songs, Testament have divided their material wisely. Three mid-to-up-tempo groove thrashers; Native Blood, A Day in The Death and Man Kills Mankind, the first one being one of the best songs in Dark Roots, with its beautiful dual guitar harmonies and the catchy chorus (kind of like the “Indians” of 2012). Then, there is Cold Embrace, a semi-ballad, more or less in the vein of Low’s Trail of Tears, which means beautiful acoustic guitar work, with nice solos and heavy parts entering here and there to create build-ups and climaxes. There are two plain epics, the title track and Throne of Thorns, which is arguably the best song of this album; galloping rhythms, harmonized leads, a menacing Chuck Billy and an adventurous song structure overall, this is by far Dark Roots’ most interesting track. There is also Rise up, the opener, clearly destined to become a live staple, due to the nice vocal melody of the verse and the gang vocals during the chorus. Finally, there are two furious thrashers; True American Hate (which is pure thrashing madness, sounds a lot like the title track from the previous record-without the growls) and Last Stand for Independence, the closer. Among them all, only Man kills Mankind seems to be of lesser quality, probably because of its somewhat generic nature.

As mentioned before, Dark Roots is a very coherent work. There is enough variety to keep this record interesting from start to finish, but there is also a strong sense that it is a whole. Despite the variety, the band’s trademark elements are everywhere; shredding lead guitars courtesy of Alex Skolnick, dual harmonies, riffs that groove as much as they thrash (in Testament’s very own, The New Order- kind of way),catchy choruses and Chuck Billy’s melodic yet very aggressive vocals (the Hetfield disciple we all adore). Also, special credit must be given to Gene Hoglan whose performance is incredible, probably one of the few drummers who can fill-in for Paul Bostaph.

Dark Roots is pretty much a modernized version of Testament’s 80s albums. It is certainly no less impressive than their 2008 offering, it is more coherent, probably without the highs and the lows of the Formation of Damnation. However I feel that comparing one Testament record to another is less important than observing their actual status in today’s metal scene. I mean, honestly, which band among the big 4 has made such an impressive comeback?



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user ratings (414)
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....

  • donovan909 (3)
    Thrash icons, Testament, emerge with a new album, with an eye towards the past.....


Comments:Add a Comment 
KILL
August 2nd 2012



71402 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

gd shit

Digging: Invisible - El jardin de los presentes

KILL
August 2nd 2012



71402 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

wait is this rated the same as the gathering hehe

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
August 2nd 2012



6006 Comments


Excellent review, pos.

I have to check this out sometime.

Digging: Troldhaugen - Obzkure Anekdotez For Maniakal Massez

ViperAces
August 2nd 2012



12398 Comments


This review made me even more hyped about this album, though I have to say it sounded like more then a 4.

TheNotrap
August 2nd 2012



8035 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Good work man, have a pos.
Album rules.

Digging: Savage Grace - Master Of Disguise

Tyrael
August 2nd 2012



20824 Comments


I must hear this now that KILL gave it his seal of approval

RosaParks
August 2nd 2012



14837 Comments


why the hell is this album so long 174 mb is this thrash or opeth


o nvm bonus tracks

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
August 2nd 2012



6006 Comments


I must hear this now that KILL gave it his seal of approval

KILL is the Fenriz of sputnik

lostforwords
August 2nd 2012



445 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

No, Fenriz is the KILL of Darkthrone!!!

linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
August 2nd 2012



1860 Comments


Very good review, and I expect that this latest Testament album will please me too. Can't wait to see testament at Bloodstock in a week's time:D

Digging: Pallbearer - Foundations of Burden

lostforwords
August 2nd 2012



445 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"This review made me even more hyped about this album, though I have to say it sounded like more then a 4."

It probably is a 4, just as the Formation was, only The Formation had highs and lows, this one is a lot more balanced.

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
August 2nd 2012



4409 Comments


Great review, man. album is really good.

Digging: Shabazz Palaces - Lese Majesty

ViperAces
August 3rd 2012



12398 Comments


WOOOH! This finally topped The Gathering!
Feels kinda weird that it is rated higher then PWYP, SOB, Ritual and its rated as high as The New Order.

TheNotrap
August 3rd 2012



8035 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Only 66 ratings man...In December the rating will probably be 3.8/9.

ViperAces
August 3rd 2012



12398 Comments


Are The Gathering and Formation really better then PWYP?

TheNotrap
August 3rd 2012



8035 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Well in my opinion Formation and specially The Gathering are really great albums.
PWYP is Bay Area thrash nostalgic stuff (at least for me). The album has some classic moments like the title track or Sins Of Omission but also some less inspired moments...

Let's say all three are great releases.

SpiritCrusher2
August 3rd 2012



2982 Comments


well I haven't listened Formation yet, but The Gathering is my third favourite Testament, after The New Order and The Legacy

YUJOS
August 3rd 2012



916 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

^ Check Formation asap!!! Also good review Lostforwords.

lostforwords
August 3rd 2012



445 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks for the feedback guys.

One comment for the album:I wanted to say that I like Throne of Thorns very much and I would like to see more of this epic/adventurous side of Testament in the future.

ThrashTillDeath94
August 4th 2012



591 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Just picked this up yesterday, sounds great.

As far as 2012 thrash goes, its a toss up between this and Kreator's Phantom Antichrist.



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