Genre: Thrash Metal
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
One of the reasons that made me like Testament was their attitude during the 90’s. While most of their colleagues either softened their sound or embraced the Pantera – Machine Head style, Testament became more extreme, added death metal elements in the music (especially in vocals) and generally became faster and more aggressive. And at some point at the end of that decade they released “The Gathering”, one of their best album (if not the best) and the beginning of their current “era” (music-wise). Hence the reason for this introduction and the short trip on the memory lane. In 2016, four years after “Dark Roots of Earth” they return with “The Brotherhood of the Snake”. Observation number one: the guitar duo of Skolnick/Peterson has done some incredible work, probably delivering the most complete (guitar-wise) album of Testament. The rhythmic parts are so good they should be taught in a seminar, especially in the slower parts and that with lead guitars that are even better. Frankly, I don’t think there is another band in that genre that has such a great variety of musical themes and be so inspired and interesting at the same time. It is only natural though, when you have the best rhythm section of extreme sound (Hoglan/Di Giorgio) your compositions by default get another dynamic. It is like they are both having a party and at points it seems that they take over the songs while other times it is like they battle between them while the rest of the band are “just” collecting heads. Deliberately last (but surely not least) is the great Chuck Billy. Once again he gives a recital with a great range in vocals, though the more extreme parts are less compared to their other releases, but so are the melodic parts. Whatever way he chooses to sing the result is at least excellent and naturally that’s the case with their new album. Musically “The Brotherhood of the Snake” continues what they did in “Dark Roots”, it has 2-3 faster songs, it sounds more diverse, it’s the new Testament album, so why are you still reading this review instead of going to listen to the album? Icing on the cake? They will perform live soon and they will play some of the new songs. The only problem will be the pain on our neck after the head banging, and I am sure that it will take quite some time for the pain to pass.