Album: Brotherhood of the Snake
Release Date: October 28th, 2016
Label: Nuclear Blast
Testament is one of the most influential thrash metal bands out there, no matter what. They never achieved the financial and media success of the Big-4, but then, neither did they need it nor it was necessary for listeners. In fact, it may even be a better thing to stay away from that top tier for quality’s sake.
Brotherhood of the Snake is their 11th release and sees the return of legendary Steve DiGiorgio on bass. The last time he was around was back in 2001 with First Strike Still Deadly. One of the good things about Testament is that you always know what to expect. The musical quality meter tends to stay somewhere in between solid and epic, unlike the volatile sonic output of the so-called Big-4.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of some of the releases of Big-4 and I wholeheartedly agree the first three of them being a member of that elite group. Not sure about Anthrax, sorry. However, they tend to go to the extremes, releasing great albums followed by horrible ones. Brotherhood of the Snake has nothing disappointing going on. Solid technical infrastructure provided by Gene Hoglan and Steve DiGiorgio. Guitar work is nothing short of mind blowing. Eric Peterson and Alex Skolnick are two of the best guitar gods out there, hands down! And Chuck Billy is Chuck Billy, no words needed, no superlatives required.
Now, the problem with Brotherhood of Snake is variety. If you are looking for similar tracks carrying thunderous speed, power and anger, everything is there. If you are looking for an appealing story, Brotherhood of the Snake delivers it with its Sumerian based power monger story. However, if your ears search for variety in tracks, things get somewhat complicated. The neck braking pace becomes somewhat tiresome after a while and your ears start searching for alternative approaches to tracks, interesting and different hooks. You know… variety. Perhaps it is what makes those Big-4 bands so successful in some way: trying extraordinary things while taking risks of total failure. One even had an album called Risk (and I liked it, although it was not Megadeth).
I cannot say Brotherhood of the Snake is their best or the second but it is not a bad album either. The grade I write down to the bottom is wholeheartedly how I felt in the last month I have listened to this album. You can check the tracks Brotherhood of the Snake (a killer opener), Seven Seals (solid guitar harmonies for flavor and my favorite of the album), The Pale King (another neck breaker). Even if it is not another The Legacy, it is a solid thrash disc from one of the genre’s gods. Enjoy!
Eric Peterson – Guitars
Alex Skolnick – Guitars
Chuck Billy – Vocals
Gene Hoglan – Drums
Steve DiGiorgio – Bass