Thursday, September 6, 2012

Class of 2012: Testament - Dark Roots Of Earth

Sure, Testament has been around for nearly 30 years, but the recently released Dark Roots of Earth is proof that the band still has it.  Over the course of nine songs (not counting the bonus tracks), take note of commandingly solid drumming, top-notch guitar work, and strong vocals.

Opener "Rise Up" sets the tone for what's to come, while second track "Native Blood" finds Chuck Billy getting in touch with his roots and sending the message that he's not afraid to fight back.  The band slows down a bit for the title track, but you'll definitely be digging it by the time the chorus rolls around.  The album's best moment, "True American Hate," has a fist-pumping, catchy chorus as well as its share of guitar heroics.  In fact, don't be surprised if you're suddenly playing air guitar during this song (or at some point during the record).

Dark Roots of Earth's only misstep is the slow "Cold Embrace,"  whose nearly eight minutes certainly don't help.  Sadly, it's reminiscent of the hair-metal ballads from the 80s.

Fortunately, the next song, "Man Kills Mankind," gets things back on track, and "Throne of Thorns" is even better.  The record closes with "Last Stand for Independence," and by this time, it's clear that if Testament ever went away, then they are certainly back.

Grade: B  (84.3%)

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