[Album Review] TESTAMENT – “Dark Roots of Earth”
When we talk about thrash metal bands from 80’s, the “Big Four” are the first to come into everyone’s mind. I have no doubt about the stakes of Slayer and Megadeth in Big Four. I love them and I don’t fucking care about anyone’s opinion. Talking about Metallica, their first 4 albums were great (though I hear them quite seldomly). But after that, they were not as good anymore. But I respect Metallica a lot and I don’t have any problem in placing them into the Big Four. But when it comes to Anthrax, it’s difficult to say, you might call me a big con, but Anthrax is nothing great in the Big Four. I mean, unlike the other three bands, I don’t find Anthrax music amusing. But there are few other thrash metal bands which born in 80’s and are nothing less than the Big Four. Survived the 90’s and still continue to release albums that can tear the hair, the beautiful losers: Exodus, Testament and Overkill.
Testament, the American thrash metal band formed in 1983 by guitarist Eric Peterson, the only constant member of the band. And since early 90’s, Testament faced numerous changes in their line-up. Finally in 2008, after being in a dark hole for 9 years, they released their 9th studio album, solid and reassuring, “The Formation of Damnation“, with a line up carrying two of their original band members, who left the band in early 90’s, Alex Skolnick(guitar) and Greg Christian(bass). Later, it was named as fourth best album of the year 2008.
Well, I am not here to arouse the Big Four or The Formation of Damnation. I am here to talk about Testament’s latest album, Dark Roots of Earth. The only change in line-up this time is over drums. Since Paul Bostaph had some serious injury, Gene Hoglan filled in as a drummer. When I saw its album cover for the first time, I was dumbfounded. The album cover is totally satisfactory. 10 of 10 for sure.
From the beginning, it pulls the hair with a pretty good force. Rise Up is not genius, but it is fast, catchy, and cut to the scene with its big chorus, “When I say rise up , you say war “, may have a lot of success in the mosh-pit. The title track shows clearly how the group is so comfortable in their thrash, and particularly reassuring. Chuck Billy still has a great voice and Gene Hoglan provides a beast behind the drums.
But this is an aperitif, as the group presses the accelerator with the following title, Native Blood. This track is breathtakingly horny, fat in fat, heavy and has melodic passages between the sudden accelerations. With the brutal course, True American Hate, Ultra-fast, pulling the death into pure killing. Undoubtedly, these two are the best tracks of the album! A Day in the Death and especially Man Kills Mankind, has interesting and effective refrains.
Afterwards, of course, there are the titles of fillings, but lacks a bit of juice, especially towards the end of the album. With too long Throne of Thorns, that tapes for seven minutes, really, nowhere near to Native Blood or True American Hate. I am not saying it’s disgusting. But the group is capable of much better.
Plus the bonus with the CD / DVD gives us four more titles, Dragon Attack (QUEEN cover), Animal Magnetism (SCORPIONS cover) and Powerslave( IRON MAIDEN cover), and an extended version of the already too long Throne of Thorns .
The album is darling but not inventive. Definitely not the Trash of the year. In short, Dark Roots of Earth, endorses the approach taken by their previous albums, a good vintage Testament, good thrash, melody, the correct dose of beatings and solos pretty well knitted. A little on autopilot anyway, but reassuring and comfortable.