Four years after the release of Dark Roots of Earth, TESTAMENT are back with their tenth album, Brotherhood of the Snake. It’s the third album the thrash metal band have recorded with Nuclear Blast Records, and in a career which has lasted over 30 years, the American group are still creating quality music.
The new album kicks off with the title track, Brotherhood of the Snake, and almost immediately there is that distinct sound of thrash metal. The riffs are hard and fast, which is what you’d expect not just from a TESTAMENT album, but from any thrash metal band. The intro to the title track is executed perfectly, with the riffs of Alex Skolnick and Gene Hoglan’s drums combining together to create the build-up, before the unmistakable growl from vocalist Chuck Billy all adding to the thrash metal tone – it is the perfect way to introduce what TESTAMENT and the new album are all about.
While some bands like to make little changes to some of the songs on an album, whether it be the inclusion of a ballad, a change in the pace or vocals and so on, TESTAMENT keep the same theme running throughout the album, all of which gives a good sense of continuity from the band and shows that they have hardly changed their style or approach to music throughout their career.
This then means that it is very hard to pick out stand out hits from the album, as each track taken on its own can be classed as a big hit in one way or another.
One song which is a particular highlight from Brotherhood of the Snake is the second track on the album, The Pale King. In a similar way to the title track, this song has an excellent build up to it which combine all of the thrash metal elements well. It starts off with a hard hitting, fast paced riff, and the intertwining with the drums all helps to create an excellent intro, while the song as a whole is certainly one you could imagine hearing at a live show.
The recipe is the same for the rest of the album, which again shows a great level of consistency from TESTAMENT. Apart from the previous two songs mentioned, it is very hard to pick another stand out track from the list, as they all sound very similar and could all be highlights.
If pressed into providing another stand out track, then it would be a three way choice between Stronghold, Neptune’s Spear or Black Jack – they are all brilliant songs in terms of the technicalities behind it, and all of them are packed with the thrash metal riffs and sound that you come to expect from TESTAMENT.
There is no doubt that if you are a fan of the band, then this album will not disappoint. The format is the same as it always has been for TESTAMENT, and for those who have not listened to the band before but are into thrash metal or similar genres, then Brotherhood of the Snake is right up your street.
On the whole, the album is flawless – each track that you hear on Brotherhood of the Snake is the epitome of thrash metal music, and TESTAMENT have delivered an absolute gem of an album.
Brotherhood of the Snake is set for release on October 28th via Nuclear Blast Records.
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