Sunday, September 9, 2012

Disciples of the Mosh

Testament – Dark Roots of Earth

Nuclear Blast – 2012

Muthas, Thrash titans Testament are back with their first album since 2008’s The Formation of Damnation and it’s a rip ride of metallic awesomeness.  The band serve up a disc chock full of their trademark blend of thrash and melody that is both immediately accessible and instantly memorable.  2012 has been a great year for the elder statesmen of Metal (see here for instance) and Testament continues this trend.  Dark Roots of Earth is an improvement over Formation, because the album is tightly focused and much hookier than the previous outing.  Also Gene “Atomic Clock” Hoglan lays waste on the drums like an enraged thunder god.  Great Odin’s Raven! The man is a beast behind the kit!

The festivities get started with the sure-to-be-a-future-live-favorite “Rise Up,” which is a thrashy, sing-along anthem.  Metalheads will surely be screaming WAR at the top of their lungs in the pit when the band cranks this up.  Continuing with the spinal cracking is “Native Blood,” which is the first single from the album and concerns Chuck Billy’s pride in being a Native American.  Check out the video for it below:

The title track is another melodic thrash masterpiece which has a very Megadeth-sounding intro and is about the Mayan apocalypse. Chuck and the boys crank it back up with the frenzied moshfest of “True American Hate.”  This is the best track on the album and will pummel your face with its intense riffery and unrelenting lyrical venom.  HAILZ!  Check out the lyric video for it below and bang that head!

Other standout cuts are the epic “Throne of Thorns” and the groove-metal majesty of “Last Stand for Independence.” Also featured is the first Testament ballad in years, “Cold Embrace.”  This is an epic and sweeping masterpiece that showcases the band’s exceptional versatility and writing prowess.  It's most definitely NOT a puffy-shirted, keyboard-laden crapfest but rather a ballad in the tradition of “Beyond The Realms of Death.”  

The album comes in several different versions: a standard 9 track jewel case CD; a digipack with 4 bonus tracks and a bonus DVD;  a double colored vinyl LP with 3 bonus tracks, and a Japanese release with one bonus track.  The version we have here at The Metal Blog of Metal is the digipack with the 4 bonus tracks.  Those tracks are killer, with covers of Queen’s “Dragon Attack,” Scorpions’ “Animal Magnetism,” and Iron Maiden’s “Powerslave.”  The last bonus track is an extended version of “Throne of Thorns” which is just slightly longer than the LP version.  Of note is that the Japanese version’s bonus track is a 2012 re-recording of ”Practice What You Preach” and it’s exclusive to that release.  We suggest you grab the digipack for the loads of bonus material and a really cool DVD that includes 4 songs from a live show.

The Bottom Line:  As of right now, this is the best album of 2012.  It’s that good, and is a must buy for Metal fans.  Testament is a well-oiled thrash machine and they do not disappoint.  Buy or die!  


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