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Testament - The Formation of Damnation

By Charlie Steffens aka Gnarly Charlie, Writer/Photographer
Friday, May 9, 2008 @ 11:24 PM


Nuclear Blast Records

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Only a prophesier may have had the powers to foresee that Testament would one day resurrect and ride again. After the line-up changes, financial problems, the record label shits, and singer Chuck Billy’s death-defying battle with cancer, the band has emerged with not just a comeback album, but what could conceivably be its best work yet. Fuck it. It’s their best work yet. Entitled The Formation of Damnation, this album, in straight definition, is a masterpiece.

The recording boasts the return of guitarist Alex Skolnick and bassist Greg Christian, with Paul Bostaph (Exodus, Slayer) handling drum duties. Along with Chuck Billy and guitarist Eric Peterson, this sounds like the Testament of older days, yet it radiates a youthful vitality and an indescribable energy.

A true fan would expect that with the return of Alex Skolnick alone, the new material would be loaded with his trademark skullwrecking solos. Yes. And, it is obvious that Skolnick’s jazzy, orchestral journey has indeed enhanced his attack. He and Peterson jell intuitively, just like the old days, and in ”More Than Meets the Eye” the duo flaunt sterling guitar work. The songs are abundantly stocked with face-melting solos and spectacular drumming from Bostaph. The lyrical relevance is like that of earlier Testament songs--stark and apocalyptic--but with even greater intensity and meaning. The Formation of Damnation marks a very triumphant return of Testament and is a get-your-horns-way-the-fuck-up metal album.

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