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Testament: The Formation Of Damnation

Testament may be the greatest American thrash metal band never to make it to the mainstream major leagues. Except for their great appeal in the UK and Europe, they might as well be considered part of the underground metal scene in America. And that's a damn shame, because, simply, they are very, very good at what they do. Coming from the same era as Megadeth, Metallica and a host of others, Testament is what Metallica should be today. Testament has not compromised power, intensity, or significant fret work to accomplish their current sound (unlike Metallica). Despite serious personnel and personal problems affecting the band in the last 10 years, Testament has delivered their strongest work ever on 'The Formation of Damnation.' More importantly, Testament is being recognized for this accomplishment. 'Formation' won the "Best Album" award at Metal Hammer's Golden Gods Awards ceremony on 16th June 2008, beating albums by Atreyu, Avenged Sevenfold, Children of Bodom and Down.

You can expect classic Testament on this work: heavy, powerful, galloping at times, and full of rich, blistering riffs. Passing over the intro, from 'More Than Meets The Eye' to the final 'Leave Me Forever,' you are pummeled into submission with intense metal. 'More Than Meets The Eye' gallops along in a classic thrash and speed metal form with plenty of great guitar licks. Songs like 'The Evil Has Landed' and 'Dangers Of The Faithless' (great vocal arrangement) venture more into high octane heavy metal than trash. But generally, everything else is definitely heavy thrash metal. Yet, at times, I thought I heard moments of progressive metal, possibly on 'The Henchmen,' 'The Persecuted Won't Forget,' and 'Leave Me Forever,' the best song on the album.

Testament deserves recognition for 'The Formation Of Damnation;' it's a fine work and much better than most any current modern American metal. If there is any flaw on this work it is the fact that Testament continues their effort to dip into death metal nuances in the vocals. They don't need to do this whatsoever. It only diminishes their character and dumps them into current trends. Otherwise, if heavy thrash metal is you thing, then look no farther than Testament. Nobody else is doing it quite this well today.   - Craig Hartranft


In Short

Absent from the studio since 1999, the underrated and often neglected American metal band Testament is back with a vengeance; and possibly their finest work ever. 'The Formation Of Damnation' is a complete audio assault: power and intensity is perfectly matched with ripping guitar work. Did I mention Alex Skolnick is back. Fasten your seatbelt!

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