Just imagine yourself at your first concert, with you right up at the barrier cheering on your favourite band. The band come on and you realise youíre so up close you can see up Chuck Billyís nostrils, then Chuck shouts, ďThis oneís dedicated to all you muddafukkas at the front!" Eric and Alex then attack each other playing their guitars and you start jumping up and down like a maniac. You canít help but scream your lungs out to, ďInto the pit!!!" Oh yes, this is Testament and they are living it large!
Testament are a thrash band which in my opinion could be considered a part of the big four (the leaders of thrash including Megadeth, Metallica, Slayer and Anthrax) but for some odd reason they never seemed to make it. Maybe because there first album came out when these bands were releasing their third album! That doesnít make Testament any less of a great band. The New Order is Testamentís second album and was a big step for the band as it did attract some attention from outside the thrash underground. So what have we got here? A huge mix of head banging tunes mixed with some slights hints of melody. Oh yeah, thatís how I like it! But bare away the excess flab and this could just be considered your basic thrash set-up. That isnít a bad thing at all but some times you can get a bit bored by all the bands copying each other from time to time. But when you are in the mood then oh boy, does this deliver.
Iíll describe the band a bit more. Chuck has a pretty unique voice for outside the genre but itís pretty basic if you know your thrash well. Itís quite slow but not like growling or anything. The guitar duo is my favourite part of the band combining melody with some of thrashís greatest solos. Listen to the intro to the song "The New Order"
and donít tell me you didnít cream yourself at the finger-tapping solos. I do get confused sometimes at the time signatures which to be honest arenít that complicated but they do keep you thinking. But no matter how amazing the guitars are, the most amazing thing I noticed about the album is that the bass is loud and it plays a major part! Okay, this might not seem much to the average user of Sputnik but it is to me as I am a pretty big thrash listener and with most thrash the bass is always hidden away behind the riffs and the double bass. It just seems like a nice change for the bass to be important once and a while and it is undeniably refreshing. Greg does however tend to follow the guitar but sometimes the bass even overpowers the guitar.
Louie is an okay drummer, he isnít the best as he does basically do what all the other thrash band drummers did back in those days. That includes unlimited amounts of double bass, some fills here and there and use of the crash cymbal. Overall, the band simply do what they need to do here and they do it fine while adding some extra talent into the mix. One thing I did notice however is that the album doesnít seem to show the band fully developed. This was however their second album and they were pretty young men then so I can understand that. Another thing that bugs me is something which has nothing to do with the members. I canít really listen to this album every day, it just blends when you try that and itíd be better to store this away for that wee special listen.
Weird though that my favourite track off this album is the fun short song everyone likes. This is ďInto The Pit"
which is a short thrashier song and it is vastly speedy. The song is about being in the hot depths of the moshpit so you should guess what my intro was about now. It is a fairly repetitive song but at itís length I donít care less. Itís a clear-cut thrash song thatís bound to make you spring up. Another hot feature of this album is the slow songs. They base on melody rather than speed and thatís lately what Iíve been looking for in a thrash band. ďMusical Death (A Dirge)"
is a track brimming with beauty whether itíd be the slow, melodic acoustic in the background or the passionate guitar solo played on top of it. It is almost like a slower version of Anthraxís Armed and Dangerous as after the classical guitar and guitar solo it almost goes into a more cleaner bit with drums and the whole lot. A beautiful instrumental and it certainly impressed me loads. I love these little things that Testament put in so much of their songs, there is several bits in ďEerie Inhabitants"
which is just acoustic and get thisÖ. the song is heavy! The weirdest thing about the album is the song ďNobodyís Fault"
which is an Aerosmith cover but it sounds like any Testament song which was pretty strange to me.
I guess Testament are just as strong as the big four and they certainly have more talent than some of them. They delve in more than what they are suppose to and it makes an incredible listen. I even hinted at some early death metal influences, it isnít big but some of it sounds like you could imagine an old school death metal band playing over it. It shows they can do more than what any old thrash band can do. I can pick out a lot of thrash influences as well. There is hints of Metallica, Megadeth and even some of Anthrax. Testament could have been bigger than those bands but sadly those bands just pushed right by them. I recommend this to any thrash fan, it is nearly a law in itself. I can also recommend it to the normal metal fan but I donít see anyone wooing there self outside the genre. Good stuff.
Cathedral gives this a recommendation to those within the genre