Thoughts on Testament's The Formation of Damnation


26. Mär. 2008, 23:04

Dyed-in-the-wool thrash metal fans, you now have reason to rejoice: Testament has returned. I'll resist the temptation to give in to hype (unlike my previous journal) this time around, so on to the review of The Formation Of Damnation:

It sure as hell didn't take long to recognize the path Testament laid down for itself on this album: unrelenting ferocity. This is an album that, to the satisfaction of the listener that was just assaulted with a barage of uptempo mania, never, and I mean never loses momentum. The breakneck stylings of "More Than Meets The Eye" and "Henchmen Ride" meld perfectly with the start-stop structure of tracks like "The Persecuted Won't Forget" and "Leave Me Forever."

As for the musical credibility, well, just look at the line-up: Chuck Billy on vocals, Paul Bostaph on drums, Alex Skolnick and Eric Peterson on guitars, and the band's original bassist, Greg Christian. What more could you ask for? Bostaph's time-keeping chops are evident on every track, but the aforementioned "Leave Me Forever" is a particular highlight. Skolnick, Peterson, and Christian riff away at deafening speeds and tear through solos like it's second nature. And finally, there's the always magnificent master of the microphone, Chuck Billy. I've said it before, but this bears repeating: he is the best vocalist in metal. Listen to the end of "F.E.A.R." as Billy snarls the line "Fear is only what you feel," then snarls it more demonically, the snarls it even more demonically, then belts out an inhuman roar that prompts you to ask: "Has this man tapped into the voice of hell itself?"

The last matter that needs addressing is the songwriting. If you're looking for exaggerated subtlety or farfetched experimentation, then The Formation of Damnation is not for you. However, Testament does still exhibit a unique sound full of nostalgic personality infused with modern sensibilities. Not every song is an instant classic, yet there is enough muscularity to enjoy the album as a whole and even rank a couple of its tracks as some of Testament's finest.

Stalwart and uncompromising – that's the way I like my Testament, and The Formation of Damnation is more than happy to accomodate. Consider this a hot contender for a lofty position in end-of-year lists; it's right up there with Meshuggah's ObZen and Byzantine's Oblivion Beckons.


  • antoni01

    i just hope i wont be shit.

    27. Mär. 2008, 13:10
  • ThrashBeast

    I agree this is definitely Testament at their best.

    1. Apr. 2008, 23:38
  • yerdumb666

    yes fear is one fucking badass song seriously.

    4. Apr. 2008, 6:19
  • Apollyon_

    Did you download it or something?

    8. Apr. 2008, 16:53
  • Kanixtant

    Great review. The Formation of Damnation is a lethal, lethal album.

    29. Apr. 2008, 6:12
  • flozn

    Agreed - great review! ;) I really didn't expect the album to be THAT DAMN GOOD! :D

    5. Mai. 2008, 3:11
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