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Signs of Chaos-Best of Testament

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★★★★½
(23 Reviews)

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  • This is the one and only Testament CD that I own, and lemme tell you this, this CD has all their best songs packed in one CD! But, many other good songs have been left out, such as “Trail of Tears” and many others…! But, this album delivers the goods! Some of my fave songs off this album are, Electric Crown, Alone in the Dark, Ballad, The Legacy, and Return to Serenity. “Sails of Charon” is a new addition, and its awesome! It has an excellent intro, and outro! The other new track is “Draw the line”.Signs of Chaos – Best of Testament is a great title for any Heavy Metal fan!

    Posted on January 1, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Testament represents some of the best of the 80’s metal scene; unlike they’re “hair band” brethren, they kept an edgy sound and image through the mid-80’s to mid-90’s. Like any other “best of” album, it represents a good mixer of their catchy riffs and melodic ballads.Possibly the best reason to buy this album, however, is to get the last two tracks, Sails of Charon and Draw the Line, both previously unreleased. Usually, “best of” albums will contain one or two such songs just to get the fans who already bought all their albums to break down to buy the compilation album, an insidious scheme. When you finally listen to those “unreleased” tracks, you find out why they were never released before. However, the two tracks here are possibly the strongest songs on the album! Sails of Charon is great stuff, and their cover of Aerosmith’s Draw the Line smokes the original version, a rarity for a cover version to do.

    Posted on January 1, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I have to say, back when I was first into heavy metal I had heard the song “Alone In The Dark” which sent me into the CD stores searching high and low for Testament CDs. And what did they have? The Legacy, The Gathering, Low, Practice What You Preach, and this compilation album – Signs of Chaos: The Best of Testament. At a price of $15 for 17 songs, I really couldn’t pass it up. And I am freaking glad I didn’t!

    The CD starts off with “Signs of Chaos”, a very cool guitar-only intro to one of my now favorite Testament songs “Electric Crown”. Alex Skolnick tears up the solo on that song with some awesome melody. He has to be one of the best metal guitarists ever.

    Then there’s “The New Order” which is insanely fast and is a very good song. Then there’s the song that got me into Testament in the first place “Alone In The Dark”. Really an all around good song, probably one of their finest moments.

    Next of note would be the song “Souls of Black”… The song begins with a lightning clash and a very fast arpeggio… And then bam, you get hit with an ultimate thrash riff. Heavy and forceful. The lyrics to this song are really great in my opinion too.

    Then there’s “Trial By Fire”, “Low”, and “Practice What You Preach”. These guys are really good at playing their instruments and singing. Awesome songs that never get old.

    Next is “Over The Wall” with the most amazing intro riff and one of the best solos of all time; followed by “The Legacy”.

    But my most absolute favorite Testament song ever is “Return To Serenity”. From their album THE RITUAL from 1992 I believe, just before Alex left the band, they made this jewel of a song. A neat accoustic intro, with a very melodic and speedy solo… It almost sounds like a ballad, but it’s probably one of the best I’ve ever heard. This song alone makes this album worth buying.

    Finally, one more song of note, and it is the previously unreleased track “Sails of Charon”. A bit of wah and harmony action in this song, and it is fairly heavy to boot.

    If you do buy this album, you will not be disappointed. Testament has to be the best thrash band to ever exist. Alex Skolnick, Chuck Billy, Eric Peterson, and all the others have made this band into the best Bay Area Thrash band ever… And more. This CD is definitely a 5 stars out of 5; and worth every penny of what it costs!

    Posted on January 1, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Testament was probably the most overlooked thrash band of the 80’s and 90’s with none of their albums ever reaching a platinum status. Their guitarist, Alex Skolnick, was taught by guitar wizard Joe Satriani and was probably the most talented guitarist in the genre. He, along with Eric Peterson, formed one of the best guitar teams in all of thrash (if not the best). Their singer Chuck Billy was an excellent vocalist (especially compared to some of the other singers of that time), even though he never really broke new ground. They combined all of these elements and released several excellent albums before turning to death metal in the mid-90’s. This album only goes up to 1997 so there isn’t that much from that death metal period. Here’s how the songs rate:

    1+2. Sign of Chaos/Electric Crown 9/10- The first is a thirty-second guitar solo which has a neo-classical sound to it. The second part is a so-so metal song, but a good song to start off the album.
    3. The New Order 7/10- Decent song off of their second album.
    4. Alone in the Dark 8.5/10- The lyrics and chorus are kind of weak, but the guitar is excellent.
    5. Dog Faced Gods 9/10- A death-metal song that is saved by an excellent chorus and instrumentation.
    6. Demonic Refusal 5/10- I knew that this death metal song would be lame when it opened with a space shuttle countdown “10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 6, 6,…” This does have good guitar work but that is about it.
    7. The Ballad 9/10- The first half is pretty much a rip-off of Metallica’s “Fade to Black.” Even though Testament was never known for its lyrics, these are terrible. The song isn’t even about anything (I guess that’s why they named it “The Ballad”). But of course, there are excellent guitar parts that make this song so good, but I dock a point because it is so much like “Fade to Black.”
    8. Souls of Black 9/10- The setup of the song, as well as the main riff, seems taken directly from Metallica’s “For Whom The Bell Tolls.” That being said, this is still a memorable song, and the riff is terrific. Minus one point for being like Metallica though.
    9. Trial by Fire 10/10- At first I didn’t like this song, but it grew on me. It has one of the greatest riffs I’ve ever heard, and has a specatacular solo.
    10. Low 9/10- That chorus sticks in your head and while it is from their death-metal period, this is still a good song.
    11. Practice What You Preach 10/10- Great song off of the album with the same name. Try not to yell “Preach!” every time that the chorus comes up.
    12. Over the Wall 10/10- Another excellent song (noticing a pattern?), but what makes this song so great is the memorable drumming and the brilliant Skolnick solo in the middle.
    13. The Legacy 10/10- An exceptional ballad from “Souls of Black.” Of course, there is an excellent chorus and solo. Builds up and up, and by the end you wish it could still go on.
    14. Return of Serenity 10/10- Testament’s greatest contribution to metal is this outstanding ballad with a passionate, heartfelt guitar solo in the middle by Skolnick. Possibly Testament’s best song.
    15. Perilous Nation 6/10- Unremarkable song. Not really anything bad, but nothing good either.
    16. Sails of Charon 6/10- One of two previously unreleased songs on the album. Good riff, but I would’ve liked to hear a solo from Skolnick.
    17. Draw the Line 4/10- So-so cover of the great Aerosmith song. Chuck Billy is no Steven Tyler which is what makes this song not worth your while.

    Testament somehow managed to have excellent production on every one of their albums. This is great because none of them are hurt because they sound poor. My only complaint is that for some reason, the songs were mixed very low. This would not really matter that much, but I have to turn it up louder whenever this CD is playing and turn it down again after it is done, but still this is a small complaint. This is an excellent buy because this disc is almost 70 minutes long, and filled with excellent songs. I’ve actually found where Alex Skolnick went after Testament. After a bief stint with Savatage, he went back to school and is now a jazz guitarist. He currently is the leader of the Alex Skolnick Trio, as well as a member of the Trans Siberian Orchestra. I actually saw him play with the TSO and it was a shame. Even though he was the lead gutarist, he sat in a corner and just played his songs. There was no jumping around, no movement, and no passion. While the rhythm guitarist and the bassist where doing their pyrotechnics, he did nothing. It’s a shame because he was just nineteen when The Legacy was released. He could have been up with the ranks of Slash and Jimmy Page had he stayed on purpose, or maybe not considering the sad state of music these days. Anyway, this is an excellent buy. Testament was heavy, but is much more accessible than, say, Slayer. Pick it up just to hear Skolnick play, he’s that good.

    Posted on January 1, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Signs of Chaos- The Best of Testament(1997). The First Compilation For Testament.

    In the 80’s, Thrash bands like Metallica, Megadeth, Slayerand Anthrax(The Big 4) are generally what you think of, yet other bands, like Testament, Overkill, and Metal Church, were as good, if not better than those bands. Testament amazed many with their underground and critically acclaimed albums ‘The Legacy’, ‘The New Order’, and ‘Practice What You Preach’. Although they are best remembered for their 80’s material, Testament’s 90’s albums are excellent, and they are still making music today! Needless to say, any fan of Heavy Metal or Thrash should know of Testament, and, in my opinion, they are equal to Metallica. That’s actually quite surprising if you know me, since Metallica’s 80’s albums are some of my favorite albums. So, is Testament’s compilation a winner or a bomb? Read on to find out!

    PROS-

    -CONTAINS SONGS FROM EVERY TESTAMENT ALBUM- Signs of Chaos contains songs from ‘The Legacy’, ‘The New Order’, ‘Practice What You Preach’, ‘Souls of Black’, ‘The Gathering’, ‘Low’, and ‘Demonic’.
    -ALMOST 80 MINUTES LONG!- Many compilations fail to get anywhere near the 80 minute limit, but Testament’s ‘Signs of Chaos’ is remarkably close, getting more bank for your buck!
    -CHEAP!- Although it costs $16 on Amazon, most stores have clearanced this album, so, instead of paying more money for imports, you can get ‘Signs of Chaos’ for a low price, and it’s very easy to find.
    -TWO EXTRA TRACKS!- Signs of Chaos contains two extra tracks, “Sails of Charon” and the Aerosmith cover “Draw The Line”. These tracks are excellent, and fans of the band may want to pick this album up for them.
    - GREAT LINER NOTES!- Signs Of Chaos gives an informative and interesting read on the development and history of Testament, and this is always a plus for me.

    CONS-

    “DEMONIC REFUSAL”- For the albums ‘Low’ and ‘Demonic’, Testament experimented with Death Metal, and the two Death Metal tracks here are “Dog Faced Dogs” and “Demonic Refusal”. While the instruments are just too good on “Dog Faced Dogs” to not like the song, “Demonic Refusal” has nothing appealing, and the vocals make me sick. Definitely the album’s low point.

    Overall, Signs of Chaos is a great introduction to Testament, and a great addition to fans who’ve only purchased their first three albums. Testament, while not being as popular as other Thrash bands, retains the same amount of talent and emotion, and anybody who picks up this album will immediately notice this. Really, there’s nothing wrong with this compilation, except for the mediocre song “Demonic Refusal”, and even then, you can always skip it. If you already have all of Testament’s albums, you may want to pick this up for the extra tracks, as they are very good.

    HIGHLY RECOMMENDED TO FANS OF HEAVY METAL, THRASH, TESTAMENT, AND ALICE IN CHAINS(THEY BEAR A RESEMBLANCE(ETC. “THE BALLAD”). IF YOU LIKE METALLICA AND MEGADETH, DEFINITELY MAKE A NOTE TO CHECK OUT TESTAMENT AND THIS GREAT COMPILATION!

    Also Recommended-

    Rust In Peace- Megadeth
    The New Order- Testament
    Master of Puppets- Metallica

    Thanks For Reading!

    Posted on January 1, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now