The New Order is here !
Testament's second LP is one of thrashmetal's strongest follow-up. 1988 was a pivotal year for this explosive new style of heavymetal for a lot of young acts i.e: NUCLEAR ASSAULT, CORONER, DEATH ANGEL, FORBIDDEN and OVER KILL ...and the San-Francisco boys did not disappoint.
Not only fast, punchy and aggressive, but the album also features not only one but TWO well crafted instrumental tracks that displayed their intrigue towards a more progressive approach and superior musical craftsmanship. They even included an AEROSMITH cover in "Nobody's Fault" as an added bonus.
Still today, tracks like "The New Order", "Trial By Fire" and "Into The Pit" are still performed in the live environment.
Practice What You Preach
October 9, 1990 - 2020: 30 years of: Souls Of Black.
After the Big Four, comes the Other Big Four.
Commercially way behind METALLICA, MEGADETH, ANTHRAX and SLAYER, the collective union of LEGACY, their previous moniker, have been practicing what they preach since the new order. From the Old to the New, this is the thrashmetal TESTAMENT.
Record #4, the pressure was on, but the San Francisco quintet were locked and loaded. Hypothetically, the following Big Four could've been: TESTAMENT, SUICIDAL TENDENCIES, DEATH ANGEL and the New-York hate-pushers OVER KILL. Many matured records under their collective belts, fan approved and ready for action, they were thrashmetal's next big thing ...but some black-album changed all of that.
A quiet classical-guitar intro opens up and the freightrain that is "Face In The Sky" hits were it hurts. Louder and meaner, this time they take no prisoners. Thrashmetal riff abound on "Falling Fast" where monster Chuck Billy even tries the almost deathmetal grunts. Menacing and foreshadowing of deadly things to come.
In this new era of intelligent-thrash, more political cynicism is infused within on the swingin' track "Souls Of Black", the massive mastodon "Seven Days Of May" and the social inequities of "Malpractice".
And now the obligatory powerballad. No not hardrock love-songs from The Strip, but once again, a powerful roller-coaster of melodramatic powermetal. Alex Skolnick shines on the lead-guitar and leaves no untouched-frets behind. Thrashmetal powerballad, a TESTAMENT signature-move now firmly part of their "Legacy"
On tour with the Metal Gods of JUDAS PRIEST for their brilliant Painkiller album and later with the European-edition of the Clash Of The Titans along SLAYER, MEGADETH and SUICIDAL TENDENCIES, the Bay Area boys were in good company, and on the last step before metal-stardom. Yet in late-1991, the rock-landscape and music-industry had other ideas, take the I-5 North, look up, way up, way up pass Tacoma.
A living proof that our society is filled with souls of black.
Souls Of Black = video
The Legacy = video
Interview in 1990
Live in Toronto in 1990
Clash Of The Titans show in Stockholm in 1990
Seen Between The Lines DVD
October 4, 1994 - 2019: 25 years of: Low.
Securing their legacy, TESTAMENT did practice what they preached and brought us a new order: How low will you go ?
After the departure of guitar-wiz Alex Skolnick, most of us though it was the end for the San Franciscan souls of black. Yet the apocalyptic return was set in stone: toying in the deathmetal field with their new found sound, vibe and lead-player in Mr. Deathmetal himself James Murphy (from DEATH, OBITUARY, CANCER and DISINCARNATE fame) ...TESTAMENT were back for another ritual !
1994-95 not stellar years for thrashmetal. The hate and aggression was now mostly power-chords and melodies for some. A handful of CDs had grit and took a stand: GZR's Plastic Planet, MACHINE HEAD's Burn My Eyes, PRONG's Cleansing and KREATOR's Cause For Conflict to name a few.
Low is an impressive release, for a majorlabel for 1994, the other 2 heavies at the time were PANTERA and the unholy SLAYER. Although the 80s were clearly over by that point, the Big 4 should've been the Big 5, along with TESTAMENT being at the pole-position for this coveted spot.
The title-track opens-up the CD and sweeps the floor with a monolithic start-stop riff. The massive incendiary statement "Fuel the fire for war, it's man against mankind" is one of the band's now most recognizable verse. Downtuned and down to business, "Low", the track and the album is a metal-monster of the 90s. The onslaught continues on "Legions (In Hiding)" and "Hail Mary" were we get some of Murphy's goods.
The wall-breaking "Shades Of War" and "All I Could Bleed" are massive TESTAMENT 2.0 moshing monsters. Never did the Billy + Peterson creative duo got so lethal: dangerous thrash with a deathmetal feel and production. The explosive "Dog Faced Gods" and "Ride" incorporates hints of MESHUGGAH while the instrumental "Urotsukidôji" displays clever bass-lines and prog tempo changes.
25 long years later, TESTAMENT are still active and Low clearly highlights a rebirth in the band's career. This new death-thrashmetal trajectory shall be cemented with 1997's Demonic and the all-star union of 1999's The Gathering.
The 1995 companion CD Live At The Fillmore is a first full-length feature concert that displays catalog classics from the holy book of thrash: the Old and New Testament. Kudos for the 3 acoustic bonus-tracks of their fan-favorite power-ballads, because yes the thrash-titans were also a genuine power-ballad generator, ever since 1989's Practice What You Preach LP.
Low ...a high point in TESTAMENT's discography.
Low - video
Interview in 1995
Live in Argentina in 1995
Live At The Fillmore CD
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