2016 will certainly be remembered for many things, on the positive side it has been a great year for metal releases including those by the veterans of thrash metal. First came Megadeth followed by Anthrax, Flotsam and Jetsam, and Death Angel. On the German front Sodom and Destruction have new albums and the future is looking damn fine also, I am so pumped for new material of the Kreator kind set for an early 2017 release. Overkill also have another album now slated for 2017 and Exodus are said to be unleashing a new album next year also, and with both bands still releasing killer albums I can't wait to hear those recording also.
Speaking of stellar thrash albums the long running metal group Testament sure have their share, and they now have another with Brotherhood Of The Snake, and speaking of which Chuck Billy sure has plenty of venom in his vocals. Brotherhood Of The Snake is the San Francisco Bay Area groups eleventh studio album and the band sure does come packing their big guns with a big slice of vigorous thrash. Vocalist Chuck Billy, guitarists Eric Peterson and Alex Skolnick, Steve DiGiorgio on bass, and drummer Gene Hoglan have recorded a worthy followup to the excellent Dark Roots of Earth from 2012. Testament clearly haven't forgotten the past and listening to this new album it's so cool to hear those touches of that vintage Testament sound, from the guitars to the drums I was reminded of old school Testament. Influence for the Brotherhood Of The Snake came from the story of a secret society from way back in time who went by that same name, and their belief was that an alien created mankind to serve as slaves and handover the Earth's resources.
The guitar duo of Eric Peterson and Alex Skolnick is one of the best as they have proven so many times in the past, and their performances on Brotherhood Of The Snake reinforces just that. Drummer Gene Hoglan is a legend behind the kit and I was so thrilled when he joined the band, it's crazy how he makes those complex patterns look so easy when you watch him play. While being the technical powerhouse that Hoglan is and I really enjoy all those extra touches that he brings, he also eases it back and stays faithful at stages to that earlier Testament style.
The title track explodes to life first with a torrent of thrash metal and Chuck Billy's growls the band is on fire, Testament have recorded so much ultra catchy riffs over time and "The Pale King" has more of that, once the band locks into that groove it's so addictive. It doesn't matter when you got on board with Testament Brotherhood Of The Snake has it all covered, from many breakneck addictive speedsters like "Centuries Of Suffering" to the mid paced "Neptune's Spear" which has such a Practice What You Preach era vibe at times.
Brotherhood Of The Snake is such a gripping combination of that early and more recent Testament metal. I was having a hard enough time trying to decide between Death Angel and Anthrax for my thrash album of the year, and now thanks to Testament it's a three way decision but I'm not complaining with albums this good to choose from.
See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!
1. Brotherhood Of The Snake
2. The Pale King
4. Seven Seals
5. Born In A Rut
6. Centuries Of Suffering
7. Neptune's Spear
8. Black Jack
10. The Number Game