Review Summary: Testament have released another excellent thrasher that proves they’re still the most reliable band of the original thrash era.
Testament have never been the best thrash band to come out of the eighties, but they’ve been the most consistent. While other bands of the era have followed trends, broke up, and/or lost their fire, Testament have always been there representing metal to the best of their ability. Even when they started hemorrhaging musicians in the early nineties, they still managed to release top-tier metal (except for Demonic
, but that wasn’t supposed to be a Testament album). To me, though, Testament didn’t really recover from their classic line-up splitting until the return of Alex Skolnick and Greg Christian for The Formation of Damnation
. It was The Formation of Damnation
that found the band touring and releasing albums with predictable regularity again. It was also the album that restored the best of their classic sound while still retaining the more extreme and modern influences of their mid-era releases.
The problem, if you want to call it one, was that each of their subsequent releases rehashed the same style. In a vacuum, this didn’t really affect their quality, but taken back-to-back each album felt a little more uninspired than the last – modern Testament by the numbers. While Titans of Creation
doesn’t really deviate from their modern formula, it does feel more inspired, and maybe a little more diverse, than either of their last two releases. The ‘inspired’ part simply comes from the stronger songwriting found throughout the album. The songs on Titans of Creation
feature a wider array of galloping riffs, as well as stronger guitar and vocal melodies, more dynamics, and better choruses. By extension, the stronger melodies and choruses lead to a slightly more diverse album overall.
So, while “Dream Deceiver” may initially sound like just another modern Testament thrasher, the galloping riffs and catchy chorus feel like they could have come from Practice What You Preach
. Later, “City of Angels” surprises with a sound that delves into the mid-paced mainstream era of The Ritual
, but with the aggressive edge of their modern material. My personal favorite, though, is “Curse of Osiris”. "Curse of Osiris" hits with the high-tempo modern death-tinged thrash Testament excel at, but they manage to surrpise with an excellent black metal section that comes from nowhere, as well as a slower groove section. It should go without saying that a majority of Titans of Creation
is full of the modern sound that has dominated the last three Testament albums, but it's also as solid, yet predictable, as you might expect.
When Testament’s classic line-up (mostly) reformed for The Formation of Damnation
, they settled on a formula that blended their classic sound with their more extreme modern metal influences. Since then, they’ve released two variations of that same formula… and now they’ve released a third. If there is one thing that can be said about Titans of Creation
, though, it's that it feels less like Testament by the numbers than the previous two releases. This is due in large part to stronger songwriting and better guitar melodies, as well as a slightly more diverse sound that pulls more from their classics. Whether that’s enough to make Titans of Creation
sound like anything other than more of the same (and whether that will even matter) will be up to the individual listener. One thing is for sure, with Titans of Creation
Testament have released another excellent thrasher that proves they’re still the most reliable band of the original thrash era.