Reviews Testament The Formation of Damnation

Testament

The Formation of Damnation

Since the mid 1980’s Bay Area thrashers Testament have persevered in the world of heavy metal, undergoing numerous lineup changes and even a few medical scares. While their peers in Metallica, Anthrax, and Slayer consistently received glorious praise and popularity with metalheads, Testament instead maintained a mediocre level of success as their unleashed album after album. Now, twenty-five years after their initial formation, Testament offer up their first album in six years, The Formation of Damnation.

The Formation of Damnation is an album that has been a long-time coming. Initial writing for the album started up in 2004, two years after the release of the preceding full-length, The Gathering. Mainstay guitarist Eric Peterson began writing for the album and for the first time in several years was rejoined by original guitarist and co-founder Alex Skolnick. It was the first time that the two and vocalist Chuck Billy had worked together since 1992’s The Ritual. Onetime Slayer drummer Paul Bostaph also returned to handle the skin duties with bassist Greg Christian completing the rhythm section. Needless to say, this lineup rekindled a sound of when the Bay Area scene dominated the world of heavy metal.

“For the Glory of…” provides an instrumental introduction with pummeling drums provided by Bostaph while Peterson and Skolnick serve up squealing guitar licks. “More than Meets the Eye” follows and Testament immediately have you thinking the year is 1988. There is some seriously shredding going on here. Both Skolnick and Peterson offer up some quality solos. “The Evil has Landed” and “The Formation of Damnation” continue the assault, the latter of which takes a much heavier metal approach thanks to the guttural vocals supplied by Billy. “The Persecuted Won’t Forget” is perhaps my favorite cut on this LP. The guitars are fast, crisp, and blazing. Bostaph is a machine; its no wonder Slayer picked him up when Lombardo left. Billy’s shouted delivery completes the equation perfectly. Testament never lets up on the pedal on The Formation of Damnation, proving that they are just as relevant now as when they first broke… or even more so. By the time you come to the end of the album you should be dizzy from all the headbanging you’ve done.

Lyrically, Billy covers a lot of bases. There are songs about politics, social issues, and religion. However, there are also songs that deal with the loss of family members, failed relationships, and even motorcycle riding. The variety is refreshing.

The Formation of Damnation is a great album for Testament to release at this point in their career. It draws heavily from their early years, but also incorporates the harder edge that has taken the world of metal to the furthest extremes that weren’t even imaginable when Testament first released The Legacy in 1987. Bottom-line, if you at all listen to metal, you need to own this album.

7.5 / 10Michael
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7.5 / 10

7.5 / 10

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