CD REVIEW Testament

Band: Testament
Title: Dark Roots Of Earth
Label: Nuclear Blast
Distribution: PIAS
Release date: 27/07/2012
Review: CD

It’s not the first time I’m referring to the www-net for a band’s biography, yet in some cases it is really impossible, or exaggerated, to write down the history, even if it were purely informative. In Testament’s case you probably know what this ‘old’ band stands for, and I guess you might find so much information elsewhere – I’d rather focus on this newest pièce d’Art.

What I need to mention preparatory to the review: the band’s origins go back to the eighties, and therefore this band is one of the protagonists of the worldwide Thrash-scene, and especially the so-called Bay Area-sound. Ten studio full lengths before, as well as many live and compilation releases.
And when it comes to this record specifically: recorded with returned drummer Gene Hoglan (he left about fifteen years ago but did rejoin the ranks recently); produced, mastered and mixed by Andy Sneap (who worked with bands like Dimmu Borgir, Exodus, Nevermore, Arch Enemy, Kreator, Machine Head and tens of others); also released in a special deluxe digipack with different covers, which are produced by nobody else but Vile / Skinlab / Mudslinger’s Juan Urteaga (think: Vehemence, Exodus, Cattle Decapitation, Beyond The Embrace, Heathen etc.).

Anyway, the band was said to return to ‘their roots’, i.e. to play their stuff like they used to do at the end of the eighties. And Indeed, I was extremely, yet very positively, surprised by this new album after the first listen. And still after the second one, the third, fourth and, in mean time, six hundred and sixty sixth listen or so.

Dark Roots Of Earth comes with that typical vibe that characterised efforts like The Legacy, The Ritual, Souls Of Black and the likes, with the same solid basics, but of course the execution does not differ that much from (a part of) the nineties era of the band either; think Low or The Gathering… The foundations have not changed, i.e. up-tempo and anthemic yet melodic Thrash Metal with inclusion of the well-known ballad’ish points of rest. That’s all right, because it’s their trademark and it has been a successful formula throughout many years. Yet on top of it, the average quality of the compositions (read: the song-writing), as well as the actual performance and final production / mix, are top-notch. I guess this might be their most varying album as well, and therefore it’s another reason why Dark Roots Of Earth is so enormously interesting.

I’m sure many Thrash fans will point this record as album-of-the-year, and I do understand why. Personally, I did lose my interest for the better part after Low and Demonic especially, yet now I’m ‘back into’ Testament. Highly recommended!

90/100

Ivan Tibos.