Testament is an American thrash metal band from Berkeley, California. Formed in 1983 under the name Legacy, the band consists of vocalist Chuck Billy, guitarists Eric Peterson and Alex Skolnick, bassist Steve DiGiorgio and drummer Gene Hoglan. In the 33 years since its inception, Testament has had numerous lineup changes, and Peterson has been the only constant member. Billy replaced former singer Steve Souza in 1986, prior to the recording of their first studio album, The Legacy, and has been a member of the band since. Billy and Peterson are the only band members to appear on every album.
Brotherhood of the Snake is the eleventh studio album by American thrash metal band Testament, released on October 28, 2016. It is the band’s first studio recording with bassist Steve DiGiorgio since First Strike Still Deadly (2001). Brotherhood of the Snake also marks Testament’s fifth collaboration with Andy Sneap, who had mixed and engineered all of their albums since The Gathering (1999) and produced Dark Roots of Earth (2012).
Brotherhood Of The Snake—-Right from the start, let me say….listen to this release in headphones…..the mix is incredible. The music is phenomenal….the speed and the ability of these guys to still rock is incredible. Something about the phrasing and the way Chuck Billy sings is like no other band out there. This is just not out and out pummeling thrash metal…this is well constructed and thoughtful. An incredible track and a fantastic way to begin this release.
The Pale King—-Never allowing you time to catch your breath between songs, the tracks come at you with a blistering speed. The rhythm section of this band is just outstanding. The drums and the bass guitar match the voice incredibly well. The vocals are clear…concise and crisp…actually allowing you to follow along with the story of the song if you will. This is powerful and brilliant.
Stronghold—-A bit slower in pace but just as meticulous, this is well formulated and executed. Once the vocal hits, the pace of the song increases and the chorus kicks in with a crowd pleasing chant along. This is aggressive and brutal…..but still damn listenable.The leads are more pronounced on this track….allowing it a crisp sound….I love this!
Seven Seals—-With great breaks and slight guitar squeals, I trust Metallica really needs to deliver with their new release. The drums that lead this track are assaultive….driving it at a frenetic pace. The vocal is a bit slower…but the words and the phrasing is classic Testament. This is what I love about this band….true to the sound they helped to create.
Born In A Rut—-Deep sounds and a plodding bass line conjure up visions of the Apocalypse….when the lead guitar enters and brightens the song a bit, you are already well in the groove established at the onset of the song. The vocal is slowed a bit….but still powerful and full of dark imagery. There is a nice rhythmic flow to the track that makes it almost…well…catchy! This makes me think of Motorhead.
Centuries Of Suffering—-A full on return to relentless drumming and bass lines…this track is full throttle from the first note. The lyrics are intense…you can actually feel the picture that they paint. This is brutal….but well constructed and precise. This is a masterful band at it’s best.I can’t believe he can still sing with all of this energy….amazing!
Black Jack—-Squeals and breaks separate the monotony of the songs for me. The vocal on this track is back at a higher tone and the great word phrasing that Chuck has. This is another vivid photograph put to incredible music. There are nice tempo changes in the song that keep it sounding fresh.
Neptune’s Spear—-Variety in the musical delivery keeps this release fresh and new as you travel through the songs. Although the trademark Testament sound is always there, there is a bit of variance and that keeps me from becoming bored. The vocal never gets old and the energy of the band never ever lags. This is a stellar release. The delivery on this song is a bit slower…but you need that respite from time to time…and the band never loses it’s power despite the tone changes. The drums….damn….immaculate.
Canna-Business—-Epic in sound from the first note, the leads never die out completely but step aside to allow for the bass driven elements of the song. The lyrics are timely and perhaps meant to be heard on this late date of the impending election. The pace of the song never relents…but the lyrics never suffer. This is exquisite!
The Number Game—-Ending this release just as strong as it began, part of me wants it to go on and on forever. The drums…again…are just phenomenal…leading the entire band..including the vocals at an incredible fast pace. The yells that erupt from chuck are something to behold…and you can understand every word…amazing. This is a must have if you are a fan of the band or the genre’. Can’t wait to see this rolled out live!
****1/2 out of 5