The Formation of Damnation (Nuclear Blast)
By Scott Hefflon
Ninth studio album from the Bay Area thrash pioneers, the first released since 1999’s The Gathering. Meanwhile, the band re-recorded some early gems for 2001’s First Strike Still Deadly. This is the first release with original guitarist Alex Skolnick since 1992’s The Ritual, and first with bassist Greg Christian since 1994’s Low. I’ve been a fan of these longhairs since The Legacy first came out. Loved and tried to play along with the first three, took a break from them for the next three, then got into the deathy roar of Demonic. And been here since, through reworked this and compiled that. Testament has obviously been an influence on 25 years of metal, with members coming and going, doing solo stuff and joining other fine bands, true craftsmen one and all. This sucker’s aggressive without being all brawn over brain, the solos are glorious, of course, and the while the mid-tempo numbers kind of drag, they offset the speedkills thrash attacks nicely. Otherwise, it’d be even less varied, which, let’s face it, it kinda is. It’s hard to judge a great and influential band like Testament, one who’ve done great things, and continue to do them, but no new boundary has been pushed here, it’s just another great Testament record, the first we’ve been graced with in a decade.