Since the release of 2008’s stellar The Formation of Damnation, Testament have maintained the sort of breathless form that not only upholds the notion that these Bay Area legends are more than the equal of their so called “top four” brethren, but also that few younger bands can match their levels of hunger and focus. Now with the frankly peerless rhythm section of drummer Gene Hoglan and bassist Steve DiGiorgio in tow (joining the classic era trio of Billy, Peterson and Skolnick), the ridiculous metallic pedigree featured in their iron-clad ranks means that Testament have rarely sounded as ferocious or exciting as they do on Titans Of Creation.
Simply put, this record rips with the authority of battle scared veterans given a nitro-boost of cutting edge brutality, immaculately produced and rippling with muscular triumph. Indeed, strident opener ‘Children Of The Next Level’ straddles the line between the timeless troupes of classic thrash and state of the art thunder, all typically Testament enough to thrill die-hards to the bone yet not even for a second sounding outmoded, and by the time we get to a groove-led ‘WWIII’, ‘Night Of The Witch’s tooth-rattling extremity or an exhilarating ‘Curse Of Osiris’ (featuring Chuck Billy in full, multi-larynxed beast mode), it’s clear that this is the heaviest Testament have sounded yet.
However, as crushing as Titans Of Creation proves to be, the album’s greatest strength is the magical chemistry between these pro-fret wranglers, a shrewd blending of traditional values and modern fury handled with the energy of a band half their age, balancing virtuosity (Alex Skolnick is still the metal guitar player to compare all others against), precision riffing and merciless hooks for twelve expertly crafted thrash anthems. Make no mistake, nearly forty years on, Testament are still on a quest to demolish all in their path.
Titans Of Creation is released on 4th April via Nuclear Blast and can be purchased here.
Words: Tony Bliss