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Practice What You Preach

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  • Testament may not have invented thrash metal, but they are still a very underrated band. The musicians in Testament are equally as talented as anybody in thrash’s Big Four bands (Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, and Anthrax), and they are more hook oriented than many speed metal bands. Lead guitarist Alex Skolnick’s solos are a lot more technical than Slayer’s, and are usually every bit as breathtaking as Metallica’s. The guitar shredding on Testament’s third studio album, “Practice What You Preach” (which was released in 1989), is, of course, no exception. Even when the rest of the band (especially the drummer) sounds somewhat generic, Skolnick soars on every track with fiery, blowtorch riffs and wonderful solos. “Time Is Coming” and the title track are both catchy numbers with chugging riffs, thumping drums, and vocals which almost echo James Hatfield (plus “Practice What You Preach” has a shout a long of “preach!” in the chorus.) These songs are also both capped off by a lengthy, wailing guitar solo. Likewise, “Perilous Nation” features up and down, classical-sounding guitar work, “Envy Life” has an ascending solo, and “Sins of Omission” is highlighted by another superb, very complex solo which has several different parts to it. Other standout tracks include “The Ballad” and the instrumental (albeit brief) album closer, “Confusion Fusion.” The former track, “The Ballad,” kind of sounds like Metallica’s 1986 single, “Welcome Home (Sanitarium),” because it begins as a power ballad with acoustic plunking, but it gradually builds and gains momentum. Over the years, this album has taken a slight dip in sound quality, but it has aged better than some of the music from the Eighties. Testament may not be as iconic as some thrash bands, but albums like “Practice What You Preach” prove that they definitely should be. This is another great, must-own album from one of thrash’s most important, most underrated, and finest bands.

    Posted on December 28, 2009