Bay Area thrash legends Testament return with an album that fearlessly barrages with suitably titanic grit, unleashing a record that belies everything the band does best in devastating fashion.
Release Date: 3rd April 2020
Label: Nuclear Blast
Format: CD / LP / Digital
Ever since the Californian thrash metal heavyweights hit double figures with their album The Formation Of Damnation in 2008, the band has proven to be one of the most ferociously inventive band’s in a genre that has often overlooked them. That, as their thirteenth studio album, Titans of Creation, ascertains, is a crying shame, but the band don’t let that get them down. Instead, they are fearlessly barraging on with a suitably titanic grit, unleashing a record that belies everything the band does best in devastating fashion.
Whilst Children Of The Next Level, amassed with chunk, galloping riffs and shrieking, virtuosic lead lines alongside Chuck Billy’s thunderous timbre introduces an album with an echoic familiarity – it’s a song that wouldn’t sound out of place on any of their past three releases in truth – there’s something lurking deeper in its depths which subtly redefines their edge. The song builds to an evocative, journeying twin guitar harmony lavished crescendo that boasts beautiful and brazen moments, giving the track a rapturous conclusion and setting the tone for the rest of the fury ahead. It’s typical tyrannous Testament, yet it has a fresh vigour to it that is a joy to behold.
As anticipation for Titans’ release built, the band stated that there has been a renewed focus on the songwriting process this time around, and their attention to detail, married with the fusion of their individual contributions to the greater whole, helps elevate the record to an almost untouchable status. It’s hugely varied, with each track attacking from a different angle. Whether its WWIII’s breakneck tempos, City Of Angel’s sumptuously snaking riffs in which a devilish menace lurks or whether they’re dragging thrash metal tropes into the blackened forays of extreme metal on Curse Of Osiris, there’s a bucket load of versatility at play. It would be easy for a band with a career approaching forty years to sound repetitive and uninspired, yet Testament’s music now burns with a vivacity and remarkably virile venom, perhaps more so than ever before.
The tracks are adrenalising and destructive and you’ll struggle to find a metal album in 2020 better suited for both partying and pandemonium. Code Of Hammurabi, starts with a seething, wah choked bass line and ending with a siege of speed metal brilliance, whilst Symptoms is villainous, fist pumping anthem. Ishtars Gate is perhaps the most melodic, its hooks digging into you through Billy’s massive vocals as well as haunted lead guitar passages and Night Of The Witch is modern thrash at its ‘take no prisoners’ best. Weaker moments this record has not.
Titans Of Creation is savage, yet its classy too. The record sees modern Testament doing what modern Testament does best; dauntlessly wreaking havoc with an experienced intelligence that, despite their underdog status in the metal world, is leading the way for how brutal yet fun metal needs to be in this strange world we find ourselves in right now. Bravo.
Catch Testament’s lyric video for Night Of The Witch below. There is also plenty of content from the band on their YouTube channel.