Company: Nuclear Blast Release: 2012 Genre: Thrash Reviewer: ChaosLord
A return to a somewhat older style
Titans of thrash, Testament, return with Dark Roots of Earth the follow up to 2008's Formation of Damnation. To say that waiting on this album was an exercise in patience would be an understatement but the wait was definitely worth it.
Dark Roots showcases a trip back to the Practice What You Preach era in the form of Chuck Billy's vocals. While his growling is still present throughout, Billy has gone back to singing songs and I must say, he sounds better than ever. His delivery and tenor on songs like Dark Roots of Earth, Cold Embrace and A Day in the Death send chills up your spine and really shows that he has been working on his clean vocal styling while still growling like a caged beast. To complement his vocals, the band continues on with their more modern musical sound. Eric Peterson and Alex Skolnick offer a dynamic duo capable of making Downing/Tipton and Murray/Smith proud. Each guitarist feeds of the other and both show that they still have plenty of metal chops left.
The album features a ballad, Cold Embrace, that is very reminiscent of The Ballad off Practice and is something that I have missed from the band for a long time. Throne of Thorns however, is my favorite track off the album as it has melody, heavy riffage, fantastic solos and is the quintessential Testament track. The production on the album is phenomenal and really is done incredibly well to tie everything together.
If you're looking to spend a few extra bucks, go out and pick up the deluxe edition. The deluxe package features 4 bonus tracks, 3 of which are covers of the Scorpions' "Animal Magnetism", Queen's "Dragon Attack" and Maiden's "Powerslave". There is also an extended version of Throne of Thorns as well. In addition to the bonus tracks, you get a DVD chock full of metal magic--a look at the making of the album, a live performance at the Avalon and for the gearheads out there, a gear check with Eric and Alex.
This album is the best Testament album since Low was released and with the return to a somewhat older style, I am very excited for the next chapter of Testament. So bangers, go out and pick up your copy of Dark Roots of Earth, you won't be sorry!
About this Writer: Greg Watson // Greg Watson has been hooked on the loud and heavy sounds since the summer of 1994 when he first heard the opening notes of "Operation: Mindcrime" by Queensryche. Since then his tastes have expanded and grown like the ever evolving heavy metal tree of genres. He has been an active member of Maximum Metal off and on for 10 years. In his spare time, Greg enjoys deciding the fate of his loyal subjects in the realm of Skyrim and secretly playing air keyboard to "Separate Ways" by Journey when no one is watching. He currently resides in Roanoke, VA with his wife and his metal wannabe beagle.
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