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Testament - "The Formation Of Damnation" (CD)

Testament - "The Formation Of Damnation" CD cover image

"The Formation Of Damnation" track listing:

1. For the Glory of (1:12)
2. More Than Meets the Eye (4:31)
3. The Evil Has Landed (4:44)
4. The Formation of Damnation (5:10)
5. Dangers of the Faithless (5:47)
6. The Persecuted Won't Forget (5:49)
7. Henchman Ride (4:00)
8. Killing Season (4:52)
9. Afterlife (4:13)
10. F.E.A.R. (4:46)
11. Leave Me Forever (4:28)

Reviewed by on April 27, 2008

"vocals of front man Chuck Billy sound the most evil he’s sounded in ten years"

“The Formation of Damnation” marks Testament’s first release in almost ten years, since 1999’s “The Gathering.” This is also the first time they recorded an album with original member, Alex Skolnick, and it shows. Testament has never been known as breaking barriers with new metal. However, their old-school thrash-metal band sound never left for mainstream glory. Even though they have not recorded new material for a while, no evidence shows any type of slowdown.

The production of this album is crisp and clear with the guitar work up front and never backing down. With Alex Skolnick back in action, lead guitar on Testament hasn’t sounded less fresh. There are no ballads--only close to fifty minutes of non-stop thrash. There are a few good techniques that the tracks end or open up with. The vocals of front man Chuck Billy sound the most evil he’s sounded in ten years. It is a unique voice that has grown to have minimal fall for melodic choruses on this album. Sometimes, experimental growls from Billy are surprising and fresh. Solos, fast and heavy, fly in all over, providing for a more delightful, chaotic tone.

The song written about the September 11th attacks can get a little too talkative, especially compared to the rest of the album. It has a completely different flow from the rest of the album. The songs do get a bit hard to recognize in the later tracks because they do not hold their own uniqueness. Because there are no melodic grooves, it isn’t as catchy as I would like.

With these imperfections aside, the album holds true to what Testament is about and what it will continue to be about in albums to come.

Highs: classic thrash metal sound, great riffs, solos galore, evil vocals

Lows: too standardized making many tracks sound the same, could use more melodic singing

Bottom line: A good first effort from a revamped Testament in almost 10 years of non-recording. Welcome Back!

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)