Testament - _Demonic_
by: Drew Snow (
Pop quiz, hot shot: How many times did Testament break up, reform, and change drummers and other members in the last two years? I don't know the exact numbers, I prefer to leave such matters to the metal-statisticians among us, but it seemed for a while like every month, there was a new line-up, but now they've finally put together a stable line-up and emerged from the shadows with their seventh, and by far heaviest, studio album, _Demonic_. When I say this is their heaviest ever, I mean it. You might have thought that _Low_ was some pretty heavy material, but trust me, this is much more so. Vocalist Chuck Billy's predominant use of death vocals (present in small bits on _Low_) and the chugging guitars should be all one needs to hear to prove it (plus the members all put on some weight and now resemble Sepultura, _Chaos AD_ era). Now, whether this is a good thing or not I'm still undecided on. On the one side, ripping tracks like the eerily addictive "Burning Times" make a compelling argument for the former, but in comparison to their previous work (I can listen to any previous Testament album besides _The Ritual_ and be in bliss), something falls short. I can't really recognize this as Testament. It certainly doesn't bare much resemblance to their albums prior to _Low_, and even _Low_ can probably only be considered a step-brother to _Demonic_. To me, it sounds like Chuck, Eric, and the rest of the Testament guys have been very pissed off lately, as well as listening to a fair amount of mid-paced death metal. Not that there's anything wrong with that. I love Testament for what they are, and I love death metal for what it is, however, _Demonic_ just doesn't strike the right balance between the two, in my eyes, and while the band might win over new fans with this release, older fans of their more thrashier days may be mildly disappointed with this much altered effort.
(article published 7/14/1997)
||Testament / Stuck Mojo / Strapping Young Lad
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