Testament - _The Formation of Damnation_
(Nuclear Blast, 2008)
by: Jackie Smit (
Sweet fancy Moses -- no sooner had I managed to devour the latest Death Angel opus, for what Nuclear Blast set this proverbial Rottweiler loose on my unsuspecting ears. And make no mistake, it may have been some nine years in the making, but _The Formation of Damnation_ is as explosive as a crate of C4, and in no time at all it rubbishes any suggestion that time away has caused its creators to develop ring rust.Indeed, with the classic duo of Alex Skolnick and Eric Petersen once again pulling guitar duty, very few releases to bear the thrash tag over the course of the last five years can come anywhere close to sounding as technically flawless and immediately mesmerizing as this -- that much is clear when the dual salvo of "More Than Meets the Eye" and "The Evil Has Landed" mop the floor with practically every Johnny-come-lately and reunited gang of OAPs in a matter of a handful of a earth-shatteringly on-target, masterfully executed riffs. Not to be outdone by his associates, Chuck Billy turns in one of the finest performances of his career; his voice veering more often than not toward the melodic snarl of _Souls of Black_ rather than the all out death metal onslaught _Demonic_ and _The Gathering_.Ironically though, this seems to up the intensity stakes even more, with "The Persecuted Won't Forget" and "Afterlife" serving as prime examples of just how a devastating a musical entity Testament can still be. Now, if only a certain other member of thrash metal's big four can get their acts together in quite the same manner, then this will be a year for much rejoicing and merriment indeed.
||Testament / Stuck Mojo / Strapping Young Lad
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