It’s been a while since there was a new album from thrash legends Testament. It’s fair to say that their latest album, Brotherhood of the Snake, is definitely one of the most anticipated metal records of 2016, and Testament certainly haven’t disappointed.
First impressions of Brotherhood of the Snake start with the striking artwork by renowned metal cover artist Eliran Kantor. It’s vivid orange background and imposing 3-headed cobra instantly catch the eye and set the stage for a dark and aggressive listen.
There’s plenty to offer musically on Brotherhood of the Snake. Each song has a myriad of great riffs to keep the ear pleased and the head banging. The riffs are composed of varying ideas but sound just like the Testament riffing we all know and love. The title track is a strong opener which storms along at a banging mid-fast pace. There’s two very different sections to the song with the first being more upbeat and the second slowing down and showcasing contrasting riffs between heavy chugger and a simple melodic octave chord idea. The two sections seem to blend together seamlessly despite sounding like two different songs. They work beautifully together and are a testament to the band’s songwriting prowess.
“Brotherhood of the Snake” sets the tone brilliantly for the rest of the album. There’s lots to hear – simple power chord riffs, legato ideas, death metal-esque growls, time and tempo changes, guitar harmonies, shredding solos, blastbeats… Testament showcase it all. Through the more mid-paced “The Pale King” with it’s mix of melodic NWOBHM riffing and flashes of black metal-esque guitars to the more straight up thrashing of “Stronghold” and the melodic harmonies and 3/4 rhythms of “Seven Seals”, the band are on top form delivering a tight, heavy and all round great performance. The trend continues throughout the rest of Brotherhood of the Snake from the stomping grooves of “Born In A Rut” through the breakneck thrashing and deathly edge of “Centuries of Suffering” to the varying ideas within “Neptune’s Spear” and the headbanging final triple thrash assault of “Black Jack”, “Canna-Business” and “The Number Game”.
Testament haven’t disappointed with their upcoming album Brotherhood of the Snake. The songs are chock full of everything we love about Testament with frontman Chuck Billy’s excellent vocal performance, guitarists Eric Peterson and Alex Skolnick’s awesome riffing and soloing interplay, and rhythm section Steve DiGiorgio (bass)’s and Gene Hoglan (drums)’s pounding foundation all working together to create a disc of all-round awesome thrash metal. There’s lots of different ideas on aural display on Brotherhood of the Snake yet they all fit cohesively, and the music flows seamlessly from section to section, from song to song. Despite its approximate 45 minute run time, the album feels as if it’s over really quickly and in turn makes the listener want to spin it over and over again.
Brotherhood of the Snake is a great modern thrash metal album that stands up well among Testament’s awesome back catalogue, the songs are sure to go down well with the fans at upcoming tours, and the album is certain to be talked about as one 2016’s best album at the end of the year.
Highlights: “Brotherhood of the Snake”, “The Pale King”, “Centuries of Suffering”, “Canta-Business” and “The Number Game”.
The album is now available to pre-order with a release date of October 28th. If you’re happy using Amazon then you can help raise a few pennies for this website through these links:
The Nuclear Blast store has some more interesting, exclusive and limited versions such as the Splatter, Brown & Silver Vinyl + Box Set (Limited Edition Mail Order Box Set inc 5 brown vinyl 7″ , 7″ album booklet,CD, poster flag (100 cm x 150 cm), metal pin).
Testament will be on tour throughout the UK and Europe from the 28th of October to the 30th of November promoting Brotherhood of the Snake and supporting Amon Amarth.