Anthrax, Megadeth, Death Angel, Flotsam And Jetsam, and Vektor. And like that was not enough, we are still highly anticipating the new Metallica album that comes out later this month. But until then, we have another big thrash release to feast on, the 11th effort from Testament, entitled "Brotherhood of The Snake". The band has been on a roll after Chuck Billy's return, releasing two fantastic records in "The Formation of Damnation" and "Dark Roots of Earth". Needless to say, I had a lot of expectations entering this release.
It does not take long to realize that we are in for a big treat. The title track opens it all up, and does so in classic Testament fashion, with extreme speed, frenetic guitar work, and a Chuck Billy that simply crushes everything in his path. We have heard similar songs from the previous two albums, but that certainly does not mean that we get tired of them, especially when the instrumentation is so god damn great.
Surprisingly, that is the only true steam roller that "Brotherhood of The Snake" offers us. We do got some fast songs here and there, but nothing that really blows you away. Fortunately, the band has other aces up its sleeve, because even if this album is more contained than its two predecessors, it still has the same determination. The music is truly top notch, hitting you in a lot of levels, showing off an impressive diversity that we have not seen in some time. Does not matter if the music relies on melody, heavy attitude, or simply the beastly drumming of Gene Hoglan, it still holds a very high quality.
As for the main theme of the album, I stand indifferent about it. The whole idea of this ancient society that more or less controls the world is kind of meh, but the band do make the best out of it, creating some interesting content. And the diversity shows off even here, with the band singing about drugs, gambling, and even aliens. While not being a pure concept record, "Brotherhood of The Snake" does have a solid theme to rely upon.
So now the question is, does this album stand up to its newer brethren? It most certainly do, even if I feel that the song material is not as memorable. Sure, we do got some songs that stick with you, like he very melodic "Neptune's Spear", the infectious rhythm of "The Pale King", and the slow pace chugging of "Born In A Rut", but both "TFoD" and "DRoE" was packed with memorable tunes. However, I do feel like this album have a longer life length, not waring down as easily, so that is a sure plus.
So in conclusion, it is Testament, you know this rocks. "Brotherhood of The Snake" more than well holds its own against the other 21st century records from the band, and does so with impressive width and pin point accuracy on the instrument department. This is yet another proof that this has been an amazing year, not just for thrash metal, but for all metal. So go listen to it now, because this is some sweet ass thrash candy that will last for a long time, or at least until that Metallica album finally comes out.
Songs worthy of recognition: Brotherhood of The Snake, Stronghold, Centuries of Suffering, Neptune's Spear
Rating: 8,5/10 Pale Kings