Testament, with Alex Skolnick in the lineup, was the greatest metal band ever, IMHO. The New Order and Practice What You Preach are the metal equivalent of the Mona Lisa, great works that others have tried, but failed, to equal. If someone can come up with better chord progressions than Skolnick and Eric Peterson come up with in Trial By Fire and Disciples Of The Watch, I would like to know about it. Not that those are the only two great songs on the CD. I kid you not, there is not ONE bad song on this album. The thing that makes these to CD’s so great is Testament’s ability to play very fast but still keep a definate melodic flow to thier music, unlike a couple post-Skolnick efforts, Low and Demonic, that have little or no melodic flow to them. I am happy to report that thier latest effort, The Gathering, is a vast improvement on those previous two efforts. Though not up to Order or Preach quality, it is infinately more listenable than Low or Demonic.
Metal Album Reviews[RSS]
The debate over what is the best Testament album is always an interesting one, because, even though the music isn’t so different on each albums, they all have their own unique theme. The Legacy is in your face 80’s thrash, Practice What You Preach and Souls of Black have their thrash meets melody elements, The Ritual has it’s mainstream metal, Demonic has it’s Death Metal elements, and Gathering , like Legacy , in your face thrash, but updated. Even though all their albums are good, I’d definitely say ” The New Order” (released in 1988 and their second album) is the best. As far as thrash goes, it definitely is up there with albums like ” Master of Puppets” ( Metallica) , “Reign in Blood” ( Slayer), and ” Rust in Peace” ( Megadeth). While Testament isn’t as big as those bands ( from a genre point of view), The New Order is great. The album is so melodic yet so heavy/fast at the same time. I have never listened to an album with so many songs that are easily concert set list worthy. There’s ” Eerie Inhabitants”, ” The New Order”, ” Trial B y Fire” , ” Into the Pit”, “Disciples of the Watch ( quite possibly the Testament classic), and ” The Preacher”, which are all very important songs in Testament’s history . ” Hypnosis” and ” Musical Death ( A Dirge)” are both great instrumentals. ” Nobody’s Fault” , which is an Aerosmith cover tune, is greatly translated from Classic Rock to Metal. ” A Day of Reckoning” to me is the only average song on he album. I love all the melodic intros and inspirational lyrics.I highly recommend this album , and I say if you only had to buy one Testament album ( Although The Legacy and Souls of Black are great too) , get this one.
When Testament released “The New Order” in 1988, they laid to rest the rumors that they might go through a sophomore slump. This album showed that Testament definitely didn’t follow in the footsteps of some bands and use up all of their good material on their first album, thus leaving them strapped for ideas when the time comes to write/record their sophomore release. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think Testament held anything back for their debut; “The Legacy” was a great album. But Chuck, Greg, Louie, Eric, and Alex obviously didn’t run out of ideas, because “The New Order” is another prime example of thrash excellence.
Chuck sometimes hits high notes (as in “The Preacher”), but he sounds best when he uses a low, gruff voice (which is most of the time). Louie’s drumming is typically fast and talented, Eric anchors the songs with his rhythm guitar, and Greg’s bass notes are occasionally audible, but (as is the case with “The Legacy,” and most early Testament discs) lead axeman Alex Skolnick runs the show. I shouldn’t even have to tell you (it should just be a given) that Skolnick is in fine form, here. After all, he didn’t earn the title of being a “classic” for nothing. On almost every song here, Alex pulls out more than a fair share of hefty riffs and amp-shredding solos.
“Into The Pit” is one of my personal favorite Testament tunes, and it remains a concert favorite to this day (probably because Chuck has admitted the band wrote this song just to get the crowd moving). With a highly energetic beat, pounding, rapid drums, fast tempo changes, and a catchy shout-along chorus, “Into The Pit” is a timeless, top-shelf thrash song, and it’s one of heavy metal’s first ever mosh pit anthems..
The other nine songs are almost as great. “Eerie Inhabitants” opens the album with a pretty, spacey acoustic guitar intro, and segues into a stomping beat which is propelled by a blistering guitar lead. Also included is a lengthy (50 second), winding, melodic and very complex solo (is there any other kind of Skolnick solo?!) Track three, “Trial By Fire,” has grinding, churning riffs and a wailing solo, making it probably the best song on this record for showcasing Skolnick’s sheer talent. There are three other lost classics on here, including the speedy, bruising sixth track, “Disciples Of The Watch,” which is backed by a thumping rhythm section and careening guitars. “Nobody’s Fault” is a risky but well executed and fitting Aerosmith cover, and is highlighted by clean singing and some almost Hammett-style guitar work. And, lastly, the album concludes with “Musical Death.” This is a mostly slow, completely instrumental song with beautiful acoustic plucking.
If you’re a thrasher or metalhead, you shouldn’t even be reading this review. Even though it’s sound quality is a bit dated, and the album, as a whole, is less than forty minutes long, you should already know that “The New Order” is a classic. Essential listening? Absolutely!
A survey of some of the greatest 80’s metal albums would be worthless without this 1988 wonder. In close quarters with _Peace Sells_ and perhaps only reigned over by the ubiquitous _Master of Puppets_, _The New Order_ smokes them all by a nautical mile on chops and taste. Guitarist Alex Skolnick was so far advanced over any of his peers, technically and melodically, that he ended up floating over to fusion (someone asked what he was doing after Testament – check out Savatage _Handful of Rain_ and his fusion band Attention Deficit, also the jazz-oriented Alex Skolnick Trio). The album teems with incredible playing, at times eerie and atmospheric as it is technical and erudite. The gorgeous “Hypnosis”, “Musical Death: A Dirge” and especially his playing on “Trial By Fire” – which alone could fill an entire volume on proper foundation for metal guitar theory – is simply unmistakable and beautiful. At the time, other than maybe Jason Becker and one or two other boys hiding in the Shrapnel metal stable, there was simply no one that was even CLOSE to being his peer, technically or artistically (well – maybe Hammett, but Skolnick still owns me to this day). Of course, this album wouldn’t be important as it is if there wasnt an incredible band behind Skolnick, one of the best to ever lay claim to the mantle of thrash. Chuck Billy remains one of metal’s best-kept secrets, posessing at once both terrifying range and demonic growls. Eric Petersen ably supports Skolnick’s nimble arpeggios with excellent songwriting, compositional and sympathetic rhythm work, and bassist Greg Christian and rock-solid, never flashy Louie Clemente complete the lineup of the best metal band to never quite make it big. Boasting classic thrash-metal production from Alex Peralias, the band tears through terrific speed-metal numbers like “The Preacher”, “Disciples of The Watch” and the bonadfide classic “Into The Pit” with a fury rarely seen at that time, or any other. A highlight which somehow, beyond belief, seemed to get left off of BOTH of the Testament “best of” compliations, is the fantastic Aerosmith cover “Nobody’s Fault”, and should be reason alone to get this album if your Testament collection is unthinkably lacking it. Perhaps owing to its brevity, but more due to its varied textures, idiosyncratic and complex songwriting, and strong performances, this is the very best album this incarnation of the band ever put out, vastly superior to the somewhat more melodic but less-consistent _Practice What You Preach_, _Souls of Black_ and swan song _The Ritual_. Mark these words: own this, and your record collection will bear the unmistakable stamp of a metal masterpiece.
Heavy, Brutal, Great backing vocals, great main vocals…IT’S ALL SO GOOD! Where does one start with such a masterpiece?
I believe this is Testament’s best album. Regardless of the merits of my position I do believe this is a major step up from thier debut the previous year. The album starts off with Skolnick’s “Bach-rock” errie guitar playing intro only to then descend into a heavy mid-tempo Thrash song.
The Vocals are great. Chuck Billy’s talents are showcased here: There are high points where he screams and there are low points where his growl makes you quiver. Very Talented.
The guitar work is one of a kind. Alex Skolnick and Eric Peterson make a great duo. The work is overall very heavy (for the time) and insanely complex (listen to some of the solos and intros.)
The bassist does a good job of making himself known unlike in their ‘87 release. Other than the bass-only parts, he blends in pretty well with the rest of the crew.
The drumming is generic but better than in their debut. Mostly just normal rock beats. There is a little bit more double-bass than in their debut -not much however if you are the usual ’80s Thrash fan. The overall speed is mid-tempo, not slow but certainly not fast (exception: “The Preacher”).
I would say that this is their finest effort. If you have even a passing interest in 80s Thrash Metal you need this album NOW. It is more intricate than some of the 80s counterparts but is just as intense.