Wednesday, 2 November 2016

ALBUM REVIEW: Testament - "Brotherhood of the Snake"

By: Richard Maw

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 28/10/2016
Label: Nuclear Blast



In simple terms, this is an excellent thrash album which reaches the heights of Testament's classic records. With ten tracks of quality you cannot lose. This is vicious and state of the art. Highly recommended.

“Brotherhood of the Snake” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1. Brotherhood of the Snake (4:14)
2. The Pale King (4:51)
3. Stronghold (4:00)
4. Seven Seals (5:39)
5. Born In A Rut (4:59)
6. Centuries of Suffering (3:34)
7. Neptune's Spear (5:26)
8. Black Jack (4:22)
9. Canna Business (3:52)
10. The Number Game (4:38)

The Review:

Testament are the band most often mentioned as the band just outside of the Big Four of thrash (I think Overkill is up there as well). Certainly, they are the band that Metallica could have been had they stuck to their roots and guns- if Lars wasn't involved, anyway.

With Gene Hoglan on drums, the musicianship here exceeds anything that Ulrich has even thought about in the last twenty five years. Sure enough, Hoglan blasts off on the title track as Peterson supplies brutal riffage. Testament 2016 is on top form. They have been building up a head of steam for the last decade; “The Formation of Damnation” was a very good record, as was “The Dark Roots of Earth”. This is even better. It is a feast of thrash all the way through. It blows away their tepid early 90's records. It is up there with career high points (the two most recent albums certainly count) such as “The Legacy” and “The Gathering”. Track after track, this is a relentless beating.

It is fantastic to hear that the Bay Area thrash bands that matter have still got it. With Exodus coming off a decade of really solid albums, Testament are also vying for the West Coast crown. To be fair, Death Angel are also on the form of their lives at the moment too. It is a good time to be a thrash fan. Skolnik produces lead pyrotechnics as per, while Chuck Billy remains one of the best thrash vocalists (and certainly the most versatile). “The Pale King” is a stormer, “Stronghold” is a muscular beast, “Seven Seals” sounds absolutely vintage in content and delivery, “Born In a Rut” is catchy and menacing... the album is only half way and already it is a winner.

The latter half of the album is just as vicious- it kicks off with a real banger in “Centuries of Suffering” and does not let up form there. The material here is concise and epic sounding- no mean feat- while the band are playing with some real fire in their bellies. As “Neptune's Spear” and “Black Jack” sprint past, the album is nearly over. It is an engaging listen and an easy album to listen to all the way through, too. “Canna Business” expresses thoughts that many readers will agree with and “The Number Game” is an excellent closer.

In simple terms, this is an excellent thrash album which reaches the heights of Testament's classic records. With ten tracks of quality you cannot lose. This is vicious and state of the art. Highly recommended.

“Brotherhood of the Snake” is available everywhere now


Band info: facebook

FFO: Metallica, Exodus, Death Angel, Overkill

1 comment:

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