Rating:
8.7
Testament - Dark Roots Of Earth
27 July 2012


Disc I
01. Rise Up
02. Native Blood
03. Dark Roots Of Earth
04. True American Hate
05. A Day In The Death
06. Cold Embrace
07. Man Kills Mankind
08. Throne Of Thorns
09. Last Stand For Independence

[Limited CD/DVD and vinyl edition bonus]
10. Dragon Attack [Queen cover]
11. Animal Magnetism [Scorpions cover]
12. Powerslave [Iron Maiden cover]
13. Throne Of Thorns [extended version]

[iTunes bonus]
14. A Day In The Death [feat. Chris Adler]


Unfortunately the era of Bonded By Blood, Pleasure To Kill, and Agent Orange is long gone, but luckily Testament took a stab at nostalgia with their newest album Dark Roots Of Earth. And while The Formation Of Damnation, their 2008 release after an almost 9 year hiatus, was definitely a step into the right direction, it was a bit too modern sounding, and I actually didn't care for Chuck Billy's vocals on it.

For me, thrash is about shredding guitar riffs, fast and ear-piercing solos and thundering double bass without over using the mighty triggers. And I am happy to report that Testament succeeded in all of the above.

With Dark Roots Of Earth, right off the bat and with the opening riff on "Rise Up" I knew Testament went old-school again a) with their sound and b) oh hell yes, we brought back sing along choruses. I can't wait to see them live, since the chant: "When I say Rise Up…You say War" will be the anthem from the new album.

Alex Skolnick is THE man of guitar solos, hands down! Not just a little lick here and there, but rather long and drawn out, and most of all memorable, guitar solos. There is also a lot of emotional riffing throughout the entire album without making the whole thing feel cheesy.

Chuck Billy has a very distinctive voice and it's nice that he went back to his old-school singing style instead of the lower, raspier performance he did on the predecessor.

I believe he sounds stronger than ever and really showcases his vocal range on "Cold Embrace"; the ballad on the album. And while I am not a big fan of ballads on a thrash album, I can easily overlook this, since the fast and galloping tracks do outweigh this flaw.

Gene Hoglan is one of the most versatile drummers in the business today, and it's no surprise that he almost surpassed himself on this release. Enough said!

To start a song with a bass intro is about as bad ass as it can get, so it was no surprise to me that "A Day In Death" totally delivered in the 4 string department. As a matter of fact, the bass sound is heavy in the mix throughout the entire album.

Even though some of the ideas on Dark Roots Of Earth do sound recycled, the band sure did produce a solid piece. And while some of their peers today go the "we need to progress" route, Testament actually went backwards and delivered a modern, though still classic thrash album.

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


Band profile: Testament
Album: Dark Roots Of Earth


 



Written on 02.08.2012 by
D.T. Metal
Editor-in-Chief

Professional concertgoer ... dangerously armed with a camera!
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Comments

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Kub - 02.08.2012 at 11:16  
Eh, what is this bullshit with iTunes exclusive track? I really hate this trend. Why the hell can't I buy a complete album in a normal store? Very disappointing that Testament decided to give something extra only to people who buy on iTunes.
John Shock - 02.08.2012 at 14:24  
I agree with the review but i think it's weaker than in thought...if i we're on votes, i'd say around 7.5/8...nothing more! But i have to listen to it again to gain complete recognizement for the album...but overall its a nice album, the weakest point was Chuck's voice on Cold Embrance...i didn't like it, said it!
D.T. Metal - 02.08.2012 at 16:51  
@ Kub: I think a lot of labels are pushing this iTunes stuff recently so I don't think this will go away :-(
theFIST - 02.08.2012 at 18:43  
I think it has a too clean production, but it"s played well
would have preferred growls instead of most somewhat cleans as well
Cynic Metalhead - 03.08.2012 at 08:33  
I hope no one will start bashing about this album anymore because we're through enough of THIS.
Fradd - 03.08.2012 at 09:25  
8.7? Pretty high for a thrash album these days. I'll check this one out.
S.K.Ø.M - 03.08.2012 at 14:03  
Written by Fradd on 03.08.2012 at 09:25

8.7? Pretty high for a thrash album these days. I'll check this one out.



If you will check this album based on the review rating, you will have bad time ..
Aviator15 - 03.08.2012 at 17:30  
I was apprehensive about seeing these guys with Anthrax in Toronto in September because of their new album. But now I have absolutely no reservations, this album is awesomely heavy and fast and I think I'm more excited to see Testament than I to see Anthrax, even though I've seen Testament before. Just can't wait for RISE UP, that is going to be awesome!
Mattybu - 03.08.2012 at 22:05  
Cool review, I'll be checking this out. Formation was pretty good, Testament seems to be more or less on the right track these days.
Iron Nostarion - 05.08.2012 at 23:44  
Totally agree with this review. Yeah, Cold Embrace wasn't the strongest ballad they had ever done, but I'm a sucker for Testament ballads so this can fit in nicely with "The Ballad", "Return To Serenity", "Trail Of Tears", "The Legacy" although all the mentioned tracks are pretty much higher in nostalgic quality.

Good review. Gene Hoglan's a beast, yes. xD
Daniell - 07.08.2012 at 09:55  
Even though the last great album that Testament released was "The Legacy", I still listen to their new albums hoping for something good. And the first three songs here gave me a bit of hope. Alas, further on everything went back to normal, i.e. mediocre, forced and boring. Excellent musicianship can't save bad composing skills I'm afraid.
Marcel Hubregtse - 07.08.2012 at 16:33  
Written by Daniell on 07.08.2012 at 09:55

Excellent musicianship can't save bad composing skills I'm afraid.



Exactly, you hit the nail on the had. This has been their precise problem ever since The Legacy (and half of The New Order)
The Black Halo - 07.08.2012 at 19:07  
When I first heard Cold Embrace I honestly thought it was Mudvayne's lead singer. Not a good thing.
WolfBroth3r - 08.08.2012 at 16:55  
Written by Kub on 02.08.2012 at 11:16

Eh, what is this bullshit with iTunes exclusive track? I really hate this trend. Why the hell can't I buy a complete album in a normal store? Very disappointing that Testament decided to give something extra only to people who buy on iTunes.


Agreed! Makes me want to just go get the 'bonus' track from a torrent just to flip off iTunes...
Metalex - 08.08.2012 at 23:10  
Exellent albulm Testament really did a great work there Cheers!
Guib - 09.08.2012 at 08:03  
Written by Kub on 02.08.2012 at 11:16

Eh, what is this bullshit with iTunes exclusive track? I really hate this trend. Why the hell can't I buy a complete album in a normal store? Very disappointing that Testament decided to give something extra only to people who buy on iTunes.


bleh... its only a featuring of a track already on the album. Does not sound that interesting to me
nille - 01.02.2013 at 08:30  
What the fuck ?? !!

The album should be out this year I can take! Why is it that so few of the planted areas??

Andy Sneap lost in that album to be involved so it should be ignored ??

Are you really Metal head ??

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