Testament
Demonic


3.0
good

Review

by canadapantsman USER (7 Reviews)
February 10th, 2006 | 36 replies


Release Date: 1997 | Tracklist


How am I supposed to classify this album? Death Metal? Thrash? Demonic is a very strange album, but ironically, unlike many records receiving this label, it isnít really all that good. A strange mixture indeed, with old school thrash forming the core, downtuned (only a step down to D) guitars and growls enforcing a new death metal feel, and some use of the minor and major pentatonic scale and rehashed riffing in some songs that kind of make them soundÖ uninspired and recycled.

The Music
Guitar riffs have always been Testamentís strong point. In their early glory days Testamentís distinct and technically proficient riffs and complicated soloing was courtesy of the legendary Alex Skolnick, who joined the band while still a teenager. Eric Peterson, the rhythm man that has been with the band since the very beginning is also talented, as he shows on this record, though he comes no where near matching Skolnick in his skill. James Murphy, the replacement, showcases here the death metal skills he picked up with Death and Obituary, helping the album to feel fresh. Pinch harmonics pop in constantly which shine clearly despite the slightly muddy guitar tone.

The bass is more audible than on their previous album, Low. Other than that there isnít much to say about it. It might have been a big deal to have tone like this on another bandís album, but Testament are known for not being content with letting the bass fall back in the mix.

Chuck Billy is certainly one of thrash metalís more powerful vocalists, and here he displays his extreme vocals, which previously werenít used. Again, the death metal influence in Testamentís music begins here. While his vocals on the follow up to Demonic, The Gathering, were much better, these are pretty good by comparison to other grunts and growls that were and have been around.

Gene Hoglan, another former member of the legendary Death plays on Demonic. Hoglan provides probably my favorite part about the album, which is the drumming. It isnít mind blowing, but it really complements the songs perfectly. The double bass pedals arenít overused, utilizing their somewhat sparing usage to accent a songís climax or emphasize a verse/bridge/chorus etc.

The Album
Demonic Refusal is the first song. The beginning of this song begins with the satanic cheese. We hear the ď9... 8... 7... 6... 6... 6Ö" clip, which kind of ruins the mood to be honest. The rest of this song is pretty solid, but nothing to go out of your way to listen to. The Burning Times is a song about wars and whatís going on in the world, much like some of the tracks off Practice What You Preach. The difference being that this has that heavier death metal feel. Pinch harmonics were overused in this song, but then they form the songís lead structure. Not all that well written. It just doesnít get the juices flowing if you know what I mean. It makes me feel like a stereotypical black metal guy at a concert. The band is rocking out to the extreme, but there I am in the corner standing looking at the floor with my arms crossed.

Together As One is certainly one of the better tracks off this full-length. The first riff is complicated and technical, yet plodding along slowly at the same time. Everything here fits well, and the vocals are complementary to the music. The guitarists make effective use of that wah pedal and other effects, harmonization, and just plain inspiration. It brings that creeping sensation to the table that the previous two tracks hinted at, but just couldnít deliver.

Jun-Jun receives my vote for the best song off of Demonic. Not only that, it is one of Testamentís best songs period. Like Together As One, Murphy makes use of his wah pedal and kicks some buttocks. Double bass drumming assists in pummeling your worthless skull as more wah-accented assault and pinched harmonics show you the metal Testament is all about. Peterson and Murphy show what they are all about too, with leads popping up throughout the three minutes and forty three seconds that leave you ready to hit the seek button on your stereo to go back for one more listen. Or two.

John Doe has some fairly heavy percussion going on, but doesnít really stand and deliver despite the airy pinch harmonic overtones. The riffing is boring, and the song is thankfully quite short. Murky Waters, on the other hand, starts out with some quite thrashy guitar work and soon progresses from mid-paced marching to a galloping onslaught driven by kick drum and six string power. The chorus part slows down, but stays heavy. Certainly one of the better songs to be found here.

Hatredís Rise is a good song with some classic Chuck Billy vocals and less of the growling. This song reminds me a lot of their cover of the Scorpionís Sails of Charon, it has the same basic verse structure mixed with a different chorus arrangement and a solo that doesnít compare. Recycling old ideas? It sounds so, but let us just leave things with two words, ďabove average".

Distorted Lives is another boring song with good drumming in the vein of John Doe, only this song is marginally better and quite a bit heavier. Even though the riff is more interesting, it still seems kind of bland and gets old quick.

New Eyes of Old is one of those songs that seem to make up the bulk of Demonic. They arenít really good or bad. There are enjoyable parts, and there are enjoyable ones. Fortunately, unlike many of its brothers in art, New Eyes of Old is mostly enjoyable.

Ten Thousand Thrones
starts off heavy, and then it slows down and loses the listenerís interest briefly, but long enough to be noticed, before throwing in a cool haunting section. Unfortunately it then returns to the ďlosing interest" sort of sound with the boring, repetitive, and recycled riffs. The haunting section returns with its muddy, semi-distored sound to peak your interest and spark your hopes. Will they build on this original-sounding guitar line? No, the song ends. And then with Nostrovia, which is little more than the chanting of the title with some cool drumming and a droning guitar riff for about a minute, the album ends too. And youíre left with remembering some really good songs, but mostly average filler material. Fun times.

Overview
Certainly not Testamentís best, but a must have for a fan of The Gathering and Low, especially since this album was a definite improvement over Low (easily their worst album, so I guess that isnít saying much). This marks the point in Testamentís career where the double bass and brutal drumming became part of their sound as well as where they really began to expirament. Instead of "selling out" and becoming softer with the change in the music scene like many of their contemporaries (Metallica, Megadeth) Testament forged their own sound and though forced deeper into the underground, refused to let up on the intensity. Plus this album has cool cover art.

Recommended Tracks

Jun-Jun 5/5
Together As One 4.5/5
Murky Waters 4/5
Demonic Refusal 3/5

Overall 3/5



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other reviews of this album
Dethtrasher (3)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Dethtrasher
February 10th 2006


2211 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Good review, I don't like the growling stuff of testament but they are still a band that I really enjoy.

Aakon_Keetreh
February 10th 2006


448 Comments


i have never had the urge to listen to testament

FR33L0RD
November 24th 2006


1466 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

I personnally think its their worst album
i dont like the introduction of "Death Metal" elements in the album
especially the voices...growling
No killer song either...

science4
February 20th 2008


18 Comments


Haven't heard the whole album, except for one track which wasn't bad..........by death metal standards that is (i.e, not as high as thrash).
I've seen a couple of Testament videos from the late 80s, and whoever did the vocals back then was brilliant. Why change that?

If you ask me, becoming a death metal band is a 100 times worse than selling out!!!!!!!!!

Mikesn
Emeritus
February 20th 2008


3709 Comments


becoming a death metal band is selling out

Wizard
February 20th 2008


19644 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

What? How do you sell out being a death metal band? Do you think DM is popular? I was under the impression you had to make money to sellout.

Digging: Ash Borer - Cold of Ages

Zoo
February 20th 2008


3759 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is their worst album. Fortunately, this is as bad as it gets for Testament (new album pending).

Wizard
February 20th 2008


19644 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Agreed^^!
Hopefully their newest album is a step up from The Gathering.

Slaytan
March 7th 2008


1186 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I don't think this album is that bad. Granted, it's no where near as good as the rest of their discorgraphy, but this is still a good listen.

hate
February 16th 2009


2 Comments


YOUR REVIEW SUCKS MAN,GO AND SCREW A GOAT

hate
February 16th 2009


2 Comments


all you losers,i think this is testament's best album right after the gathering,most of you haven't understood it,so go and screw a goat

BornDeadBuriedAlive
March 3rd 2009


413 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

But goats are awful in bed. :/

XIVIX
April 16th 2010


63 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I don't know what is everyone's problem with this record. I personally loved every bit of it. Sure, it's not like Testament's regular albums but that is a good thing when it's something different done well.

People are too fucking picky.

KILL
August 28th 2010


72280 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

underrated

Digging: Throwing Muses - Throwing Muses

Terrifyer
August 28th 2010


3403 Comments


this isnt death metal in the slightlest silly thrashers

KILL
August 28th 2010


72280 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

yea its just the vocals

Willie
Moderator
August 28th 2010


16149 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I don't care what it is, it's bland.

Digging: Mors Principium Est - Dawn Of The 5th Era

KILL
August 28th 2010


72280 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

all i know is john doe>>>jane doe

Terrifyer
August 28th 2010


3403 Comments


anyway this is better than Low and Souls Of Black

Willie
Moderator
August 28th 2010


16149 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Souls of Black is mostly terrible because of the shitty production. Low is the beginning of the band's modernization attempts and was hit or miss... this, on the other hand, is has no excuse for its issues.



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