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Album Reviews : Testament – The Formation Of Damnation

By on May 7, 2008

It’s been almost a decade since Testament’s last album and a hell of a lot can change in that amount of time. Personally, I really had no idea what to expect. There were statements made by the band that the album was sounding more like their older material, going back to their roots in way. Let’s be honest, how many senior bands have said that and actually been telling the truth? Well, luckily, Testament weren’t lying and this album does indeed go back to their older, thrashier sound.

The heavy grooves that were very prominent throughout their previous album, The Gathering, take a back seat. They aren’t gone entirely, with “Killing Season” and “Afterlife” both have some fantastic slow(er) groovy riffs but certainly not to the same extent. Instead, the songs are much faster and thrashier, along the lines of their late 80’s material, but with the heavier sound they have developed of late. Chuck uses higher growls and not as much of the deeper more death-metal vocals of The Gathering.

The main (and only) problem is the lack of variety. Each track is fantastic on its own, but listening to the whole album it can often be difficult to know which song you’re listening to. A ballad or some more lighter guitars (think “True Believer”) would’ve been a definite improvement and could give the tracks a bit more individuality.

There are a couple of clear highlights, the title track being one of those. It’s definitely the heaviest track on the album, and some of their heaviest material to date, and is just a damn solid track in every way. The riffing may not be overly original but it’s executed extremely well and the drums fit in and complement the guitars perfectly. To top it all off, it featured one of the best Testament solos i’ve heard in a while. Another highlight is the chorus and “woah’s” in “More Than Meets The Eye”, I can definitely see that song really going off live with some audience participation.

Musically, the album is top notch with consistently solid riffing, great vocals (as to be expected from Chuck), a series of fantastic solos and drums that generally fit in perfectly and really complement the other instruments. While I actually prefer the groovier style of The Gathering, this album is a very solid one for what it is. Other than the lack of variety, it’s hard to pick many other faults. Yet another great release to add to their already brilliant discography. 7.8/10

Band: Testament
Album: The Formation of Damnation
Year: 2007
Genre: Thrash
Label: Nuclear Blast
Origin: USA

Track Listing:
1. For The Glory Of…
2 . More Than Meets The Eye
3. The Evil Has Landed
4. The Formation of Damnation <- reviewers choice
5. Dangers of the Faithless
6. The Persecuted Won’t Forget
7. Henchmen Ride
8. Killing Season
9. Afterlife
10. F.E.A.R
11. Leave Me Forever


Mitch Booth is the owner, designer and grand overlord of Metal Obsession. In the few seconds of spare time he has outside of this site, he also hosts a metal radio show over on PBS 106.7fm in Melbourne (Australia) and organises shows under the name Untitled Touring. You should follow him on Twitter.