The Formation Of Damnation review by Testament

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  • Released: Apr 29, 2008
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 7
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.8 (108 votes)
Testament: The Formation Of Damnation
1

Sound — 10
Anyone who is a fan of legendary Bay Area thrash metal band Testament knows that one of their key trademarks is that they do not follow any other trends of other thrash bands. In the early 1990s when Metallica decided to become more "commercially accessible," Testament went in the exact opposite direction, becoming almost a death metal band in their brutality. However, as amazing as these albums were, fans still searched for that missing piece. Today, they have found it again. Ladies and gentlemen, Alex Skolnick is back. Arguably the greatest and most technical thrash guitarist of all time, Skolnick's prowess of shredding makes it's welcome return to the band after a long 16 years. However, what makes the album's sound truly amazing is Testament's combination of their classic Skolnick-era speed and technicality with all the heaviness of the 90s, including Eric Peterson's brutal crushing rhythm guitars. Former Slayer drummer Paul Bostaph rounds out the band with his excellent double-bass talents, along with some surprisingly interesting drum parts.

Lyrics — 7
I personally over the years have generally loved the lyrics of Testament's albums, but unfortunately I must admit that by far the weakest part of the album are the lyrics/song titles. For example, "The Evil Has Landed" is about 9/11... 7 years after it happened. Also, while Testament's social commentary is pretty good and original, on this album some of it feels a little stereotypical and overused, like the "Society is choking me" in "The Persecuted Won't Regret." However, what saves the album's lyrics is Chuck Billy's voice, who is living proof that cancer cannot only be beaten, it can be beaten to a pulp; not only has Chuck's voice withstood vocal cancer, but it almost sounds the better for it. I have heard his voice compared to sounding like he just gargled broken glass, and that is about right. It's that cutting, rough and earth-moving scream that keeps your adrenaline pumping and your head banging.

Overall Impression — 9
In an age where pure thrash is almost gone, Testament has the nerve to say, "this is thrash." Not only have they been able to make a truly brutal album, but they have also returned to their thrash roots and proven that true metal never gets old. If I were to pick three of the best songs on the album, I would say that they would be "Afterlife," heard on tour last year, "The Formation Of Damnation," and "More Than Meets The Eye." However, true metal may not get old, but at the same time the album only really stands out because of Chuck Billy and Alex Skolnick, without whom it would probably not be as incredible. In any case, at this rate I can honestly see Testament releasing more and more thrash albums. Skolnick's guitars make this album an early contender for "Metal Album of the Year", and certainly is a must have for all lovers of thrash, or even all metalheads.

28 comments sorted by best / new / date

    metal overlord
    Soul-Monger wrote: mightmuffin wrote: Shredy_Mc_shred wrote: In a edition of Total guitar magazine this album got 2 out of 5 stars ??? WTF ??? Thats cause the guys at total guitar are a bunch of wankers You have to be unbiased with reviews, and cast away your fandom. Regardless, A 3.5-4/5 would have made sense. (Nothing ever deserves a true 5/5.)
    Except this album. I never was a big Testament fan, but I started listening to them and found this. Now you can't peel me away from it. That's how good it is.
    Soul-Monger
    mightmuffin wrote: Shredy_Mc_shred wrote: In a edition of Total guitar magazine this album got 2 out of 5 stars ??? WTF ??? Thats cause the guys at total guitar are a bunch of wankers
    You have to be unbiased with reviews, and cast away your fandom. Regardless, A 3.5-4/5 would have made sense. (Nothing ever deserves a true 5/5.)
    mightmuffin
    Shredy_Mc_shred wrote: In a edition of Total guitar magazine this album got 2 out of 5 stars ??? WTF ???
    Thats cause the guys at total guitar are a bunch of wankers
    SanJose
    BlisteringDDj wrote: I can't wait to get my hands on this one!!!
    Same here!
    irish666
    if you go back through testament,s past you will find a bit of everything on this album but no ballad. thats the only thing missing from this album but over all it rocks in every department vocal,s guitars leads and drums all kick arse i just hope they come to Adelaide when they tour aus this year i would love to see them live
    Dprat
    I just downloaded this entire album off the Real Networks. Awesome Awesome Awesome. Great album from start to finish.
    genolk
    "In the early 1990s when Metallica decided to become more "commercially accessible," Testament went in the exact opposite direction" um... did you never hear of "the ritual"? don't get me wrong i really dig that album, but don't tell me that testament didn't try and go commercial... Eric Peterson even admitted that "return to serenity" had radio play written all over it in the the inner sleeves on the "best of testament". that being said, after the "failure" of the ritual they did gear shift back into heavier territory with low. but from any angle, the ritual was a commercial shift.. regardless of what they have done after it And my final words: YEHARRR!!! TFOD kicks major bumhole!!!
    Towner_45
    hells yea this album ****in thrashes, love The Evil Has Landed fav track at the moment
    ax1
    sweet album .have u guys noticed that one riff from "more than meet the eyes" sound a bit like metallicas new song "death is not the end"
    DemonicShredder
    it's a must have album, the classical line-up of the band is ****in awesome.cant' stop listenin to the album, loved each track of it.fav. (more than meets the eye,killing season,henchman ride,the porsecuter wont forget) GO BUY
    jumpmanhat
    "more than meets the eye" sounds inspired by trivium, and then i was like, ohya! they admitted that... i havnt heard the rest but no matter the outcome their earlier shit kicked ass, cant ask for much more.
    TheAmenCorner89
    Heard some of the tracks online, and I have to say this album is awesome, wityh razor sharp riffs that bash you over the head with a furious thrash assaualt. This may just hit my top 5 this year