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Testament - Good Or Bad + Why?


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C'mon... "THE LEGACY" is a masterpiece! One of the best thrash albums ever. Definitely in my top 10. Unfortunately, they never matched it...

...yet I am incredibly satisfied with their latest album! 

 

Their best? Sure. A masterpiece? I can't get behind that notion at all. They've always just seemed really restrained sounding to me, trying harder to make themselves sound catchy than to go for the throat. Their leads and vocals have never been their problem, but their rhythm guitar and drum departments have always been lacking. Lots of dull beats with minimal variation and non distinct triplet riffs ad nauseum, which are at their best when the vocals or leads latch onto something really interesting to help you forget about hoe much they suffer in those areas.

 

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But the first record offers plenty of variation! It musta been Derrick Ramirez who came up with all the great riffs because afterwards they kinda became scarcer...

Seriously, I think "The Legacy" is almost flawless... Almost because Louie Clemente has never been on par with the rest of the lot... But still, I do believe that his drumming on "The Legacy" is his best! The middle of that record is very fast and menacing... I am talking about "COTLOD", "First Strike is Deadly" and "Raging Waters".

Melody is always there, especially in the solos department, but it is mostly accentuated in stuff like the midpaced "Alone in the Dark" and "Burnt Offerings".

To me "The Legacy" is downright amazing and offers great variation. Also, I fucking love the fact that it has no SOCIAL COMMENTARY bullshit at all. I'd go fantasy lyrics over preachy bullshit any day! I fucking hate how many a thrash metal band became annoyingly preachy at the tail end of the 80's! "Practice What You Preach" is the nadir of that...Are you kidding me? That itself sounds so fucking preachy! "Do what the fuck you wilt", THAT would have been a cool heavy metal Mr. Crowley title of an album and motto too! Who the hell is Chuck Billy to shout such moralizing shit? 

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Testament started out strong. The Legacy and Practice What You Preach (and a couple songs from Souls Of Black) are absolutely excellent for some classic thrash. They only sold out when they adapted a death metal sound in Dark Roots Of Earth or Formation Of Damnation. Overall, they have some excellent melodies, solos, and songs. I'd rate them good, in fact, maybe even my favorite Thrash bands.

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Love me some Testament and like most i think they should have replaced Anthrax in the big four. But Testament was unfortunately a little late to the party and ended up with the other second rank thrash bands like Overkill, Forbidden and Death Angel.

Their first three albums are nearly flawless to me, after that you can argue about the quality of some of their releases. I will defend "The Ritual" til my death though. Sure they tried to imitate the more commercial sound of the Black album and Countdown to Extinction but they did it the best of all three bands. It still was more accessible for regular listeners but maintained that sligthly rawer thrash edge, it's shame the fans didn't appreciate it at the time. "Low" is another criminally underrated album which deserves way more praise. They came back with a vengeance and went full on thrash again even though it was 1994 and metal was all but dead. They kept representing thrash metal while other bands like Megadeth, Metallica and Anthrax were going the alternative route in hope of commercial success.

Also thought "Dark Roots of Earth" was a great comeback after a longer period of silence. Unfortunately the two albums that followed were all pretty mediocre and felt like Testament was just going through the motions. But after 30 years that's kind of to be expected. They still do awesome live shows and get regular airplay in my home.

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I like Titans and Brotherhood. Titans has one crappy song that wasn't needed (Catacombs) but I liked how Titans came out. Sure the early albums are good and cemented them as a thrash band worthy of being at the top but I don't think the last few albums where just going through the motions.

Chuck and co do put on killer shows, even when they are sitting mid tier on some festival gig, but their headline gigs are still as good now as they used to be.

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I like the Ritual better than Practice for songwriting quality. I'd rank it right behind the first two records. But the band has gotten too comfortable and have fallen into a serious rut the last 25 - 30 years with a lot of boring, uncreative and uneven releases which harbor lots of filler. So even if for the sake of argument we were to remove Anthrax from the big 4 as I've heard so many people suggest, no fucking way would Testie deserve to round it back out ahead of Overkill and Exodus, that's just nuts. IMHO of course. [insert any other pertinent & necessary disclaimers here]

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Who'd really want their favourite band lumped in with the likes of James and Lars, Scott and Charlie, and Dave and his Ego. I realise they all have massive egos but Dave Mustaine's takes up a tour bus on it's own, the rest at least share the bus.

 

Leave the Big 4 as it is and lets bands like Exodus, Testament, Overkill and Flotz do what they do best, kick arse!
 

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