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The Formation of Damnation

Review by Gary Hill

This CD represents Alex Skolnick’s studio return to the world of Testament. What they have produced is an album that takes no prisoners. They don’t slow it down or mellow it out to give you a break. Instead it’s an unending onslaught. With any thrash comparisons to early Metallica are obvious, but this gets more technical and melodic than that. It’s a disc that will pound your skull in and have you begging for more.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 3 at

Track by Track Review
For The Glory Of...
They waste no time. This one pounds in and Skolnick throws some killer melodic lines over the top of the plodding metal fury. This instrumental is just a little over a minute in length and serves as a dramatic intro to the CD.

More Than Meets The Eye
Continuing in much the same way as the music that preceded it, this one screams out of the gate. They work through the introduction and then speed the festivities up for the growling vocal delivery. This thrasher is a killer. The guitar solo is of the technical variety. After they end the cut they deliver one last burst of power as a bit of a surprise.
The Evil Has Landed
This comes in with an angular, twisting riff. It works through this for the introductory segments, and then pounds out in more typical thrash. This is another scorcher. The instrumental section/guitar solo portion of this is simply awe-inspiring. They take no prisoners on this one. 
The Formation of Damnation
After the brutal onslaught of the last few tracks one might expect they’d drop it down for a ballad. Well, one would be wrong. This is even more brutal than what we’ve heard thus far. The vocals are death growls and the pounding thrashing is incredibly frantic and crushing. The staccato mid-section jam is a great touch, too.
Dangers of the Faithless
Here we get a more melodic metal approach on the introduction. The track shifts out into something akin to European power metal. The more thrashed out central song structure feels a lot like vintage Metallica to me. They include an epic metal type instrumental motif later and the outro has a more melodic feel to it.

The Persecuted Won't Forget
This might be the fastest tune on the CD. This is guaranteed to break necks in the mosh pit. Brutal and frantic, this thing is simply incredible.

Henchmen Ride
Here we get a slightly slower thrash grind. It turns to more frantic thrash later in the number. This is another smoker. Interestingly enough the disc isn’t suffering from any kind of lack of variety. Considering that they haven’t let up on the onslaught, that’s remarkable.

Killing Season
It’s more powerhouse thrashy metal. This one pounds out heavy and with a tasty riff. The guitar solo on this one is melodic and yet screaming. At times it reminds me a bit in terms of guitar sound of early Judas Priest.
This screamer is another that has a bit of an old-school Metallica vibe to it. The guitar solo is more melodic than that, though.
The formula isn’t changed here, and yet, there is no sense of monotony. That’s a real tribute to this band. We have another killer slab of thrash here.
Leave Me Forever
Now this is where they do change things up. A dark, more stripped down, verse section is nearly fusion-like. It’s somewhat mellower nature makes the pounding choruses feel all the heavier. This contrast holds the track and a noisy guitar segment, a bit like some of the early Priest stuff (think of “Sinner”) ends the track and the whole CD in fine fashion. It leaves you with a nearly irresistible urge to hit the “play” button again.
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