Rating:
8.6
Testament - The Gathering
28 June 1999


01. D.N.R.
02. Down For Life
03. Eyes Of Wrath
04. True Believer
05. Three Days In Darkness
06. Legions Of The Dead
07. Careful What You Wish For
08. Riding The Snake
09. Allegiance
10. Sewn Shut Eyes
11. Fall Of Sipledome
12. Hammer Of The Gods [bonus]


When you come upon such an era that was in the midst of the fires of both revival attempts and modernization, it may occur to you as surprising that a band such as Testament - which was always the first to be affected by outer pressures - released what many fans consider as tying with their best works of all time.

Supporting Chuck and Eric on this album was perhaps an all-star lineup of '90s metal; you had the astounding James Murphy (Death, Obituary) on lead guitars, virtuoso Steve DiGiorgio (Death, Sadus) on bass and the wunderkind, well-known Dave Lombardo (Slayer) on drums. So, from an outer perspective, this looks like a ridiculously high-quality masterpiece, right? A bit wrong, I suppose, if you thought all the creativity of those three was mashed into one. With the support Chuck and Eric had, however, they just managed to fully plunge out the creative ideas they wanted to accomplish; which still resulted in a good output.

"D.N.R. (Do Not Resuscitate)" may have one of the best riffs ever, "Eyes Of Wrath" has a perfect song structure and atmosphere and "True Believer", "3 Days In Darkness" and "Careful What You Wish For" are one of the catchiest, yet darkest stuff one could expect from a thrashing band. Even "Down For Life", which is simplistic, carries a good riff and a personal lyrical subject which deals with the addiction of their former bassist. Performance wise, Lombardo pulls it very well and with complex structures, but DiGiorgio and Murphy are rarely shining out. So, what prevents The Gathering - in my opinion - from being the larger-than-life album that it is being portrayed as?

One thing: inequality in deliverance. Yes, Eric and Chuck are very good writers, but many of this album's potential is wasted when you have two legendary fretboarders that you rarely even utilize. This in itself results in the shallow feeling of the album's songs; many have riffs that repeat a tad more than they should, many are devoid of interesting solos and many are devoid of interesting breakdowns. It's perfection in the eye of a cynic, but never in the eye of a perfectionist. And despite all that daze, it's still damn good. As for the Testament sound, it does a good job in combining their two last albums into one, but is still not as good as Low or any of the first three.

Recommended for all of us who love good riffs, songs to sing along to and badass music, but do not expect a grandiose performance of good musicians, for there's wasted potential here. It's still damn good, I repeat, though.

Highlights: "D.N.R. (Do Not Resuscitate)", "Eyes Of Wrath", "True Believer", "3 Days In Darkness", "Down For Life" and "Riding The Snake".

** For one thing that could possibly attract you to love the whole thing, try bonus track "Hammer Of The Gods".

Performance: 10
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 8


Band profile: Testament
Album: The Gathering


 


written by Iron Nostarion | 16.05.2012


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.

Guest review by
amerislave

Rating:
9.8
In the late 90's a lot of thrash bands called it a day or tried to tailor there sound to accommodate the popular alternative rock craze (that hardly seems alternative does it?).

Testament was one of the glaring exceptions to that trend. Their albums got heavier as the decade progressed. "The Legacy", "The New Order" and "Practice What You Preach" are the early albums that you think the band could never top, but in 1999 Testament released their crowning achievement called "The Gathering".

Read more ››
published 21.12.2008 | Comments (9)



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s7mon - 16.05.2012 at 22:55  
For me The Legacy is their best album, but The Gathering is pretty awesome as well.
Sentient 7 - 17.05.2012 at 10:50  
This is pretty much my favourite album of all time, and has been since the day it came out. This album is the perfect 10 in my eyes.

It is true that DiGiorgio and Murphy are rarely heard here, but the music is in no way lacking. They seem to tackle the embarrassment of riches with mixing the album for the listeners enjoyment and leaving the ego's out. Things are busy enough here as it is, imagine having the bass and lead guitar also battling for attention - would it actually make it any better?

My favourite aspect of this album - and what really keeps me coming back to the entire album, not just certain songs - is the variety. There is the ferocious death metal of Fall of Sipledome, the stoner groove of Careful what you wish for, there is thrash and rock and many other genres all blended together with a heavy dose of oppressive atmosphere throughout. Yes I'm a complete fanboy, and this is my yardstick for perfection.
Ace Frawley - 18.05.2012 at 13:39  
On my wishlist. Thanks for the review.
Iron Nostarion - 19.05.2012 at 17:01  
Written by Sentient 7 on 17.05.2012 at 10:50

This is pretty much my favourite album of all time, and has been since the day it came out. This album is the perfect 10 in my eyes.

It is true that DiGiorgio and Murphy are rarely heard here, but the music is in no way lacking. They seem to tackle the embarrassment of riches with mixing the album for the listeners enjoyment and leaving the ego's out. Things are busy enough here as it is, imagine having the bass and lead guitar also battling for attention - would it actually make it any better?

My favourite aspect of this album - and what really keeps me coming back to the entire album, not just certain songs - is the variety. There is the ferocious death metal of Fall of Sipledome, the stoner groove of Careful what you wish for, there is thrash and rock and many other genres all blended together with a heavy dose of oppressive atmosphere throughout. Yes I'm a complete fanboy, and this is my yardstick for perfection.


I'm a more complete fanboy than you brother and I agree that the mix was a bit hard to achieve, but there's no doubt it could have been better. Yet I say it again, this is still damn good.

Although, your argument could be proved wrong if you listen to Low more, Murphy and Peterson make a way better team and Christian's genius is shown, as well as Billy and even Tempesta. That album is way more balanced on focusing on the fellow musicians. Here, I think Eric got too much time more than Murphy. Just check out the title song from "Low" and you'll see what I mean, the lead of Murphy perfectly fits with Eric's riffage.

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