After many years of loving Testament’s (and many other Thrash bands’) ‘80s output but being suspicious of anything new, in 2008, Testament blew my mind with their superb The Formation Of Damnation album, it was a real game changer. In 2012 they followed it up with Dark Roots Of The Earth which was also amazing, real album-of-the-year stuff.
Could Testament keep up the hot-streak of superb modern albums, like Exodus have been able to? Or would they have ups and downs like Anthrax and Megadeth have?
2016 saw them release Brotherhood Of The Snake and match all expectations. Yet another winner! The album opens really strongly, with its best two songs ‘Brotherhood Of The Snake’ and ‘The Pale King’ but isn’t front-loaded. Side two contains perhaps the hardest tune ‘Centuries Of Suffering’ and the ridiculously catchy and memorable late-album highlight ‘Canna-Business’ (Side note: Not just a typical rock ’n’ roll excess druggy song, but about them de-criminalizing it and using it for medicine).
The production, as with the last two albums, is spot on. Even though Andy Sneap is the best producer for modern albums by ‘80s Metal bands, and isn’t in charge this time (choosing to self-produce instead), they seem to have learned a lot from working with him last time around, and capture much of the same sound and energy.
Unlike some other veteran bands still putting albums out nowadays, Testament don’t let this snake outstay its welcome. At just 10 songs, there’s no filler and no flab. It makes the album much better. There’s no point filling the disc up with more songs and diluting the impact when you can just use only what you need and have a better experience overall. All the songs here are necessary.
The performance out of the band is great. Its precise and technical without loosing the crunch and power. The riffs pummel you and the leads impress. This is not an album that finds you loosing attention or letting your mind wonder.
Expertly produced, savagely played, finely crafted. Brotherhood’ is a firing-on-all-cylinders gem that is everything a Testament album should be… fast, hard, concise, musical and catchy as hell.