Normally, when we are talking about genre-defining records, we are looking at records that came out right around the start of said genre, or at least when it gained popularity. Take thrash for example – a genre that has been around since the early 80s, a genre with a Big Four in Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax. Defining albums have been the likes of Reign In Blood or Kill ‘Em All, but now there is a new player in this discussion.
Testament have had a somewhat tumultuous career since they formed in 1983 but have been on a fantastic rise back to the top since original guitarist Alex Skolnick re-joined the band in 2005, and their latest output, Brotherhood of the Snake continues that trend.
Starting with the ominous sounding title track, Brotherhood of the Snake kicks off in promising fashion. Half singsong, half doom-laden growl, track 1 shows that Testament mean business, and that their mind-blowingly talented lineup want to produce the best thrash-revival record of 2016.
‘Seven Seals‘ shines as an early highlight of the album, fusing elements of old-school Metallica and Slayer to astounding effect. Whammy dives, lightning fast solos and brutal riffage reign supreme here and showcase Brotherhood… as a spectacular concept album with a rich, clear storyline shining through.
As the old saying goes, it’s all killer, no filler throughout the 45 minute running time. Granted, album closer ‘The Number Game‘ may be slightly forgettable note on which to end arguably their best work to date, but that isn’t to say it is a bad song. Every second is brilliantly crafted, with care and attention being paid so that not a single second goes to waste.
This is an album that does an outstanding job of maintaining the sounds and textures that made thrash so popular in its hey-day, without sounding dated at all. This a fresh and clean effort that utilizes all of thrash’s defining characteristics without feeling re-hashed. Thrash is alive, ladies and gentlemen, and Testament want to prove it.