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The Formation of Damnation

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Editors’ Notes

The Formation of Damnation finds Testament’s original lineup (minus drummer Louis Clemente) coming together for the first time since 1992. The album is exactly what it needs to be: a reiteration of Testament’s patented Eighties thrash, injected with a renewed rage to match the meanness of the contemporary metal scene. Even though the band members are in their forties now, they sound positively fearsome on tracks like “Henchmen Ride,” “The Evil Has Landed,” and “The Persecuted Won’t Forget.” Having beat cancer, singer Chuck Billy comes on with a furor almost unmatched in today’s metal scene. While the title track features him in full-on grindcore growl, he thankfully revives his swaggering Testament throat for the majority of the tracks. It's hard to envision any band pulling off a merger of vintage thrash and contemporary attitude this masterful, and the fact that this no-filler album is the comeback work a 25-year-old band only makes The Formation of Damnation more impactful.

Customer Reviews

Testament is back

Testament has endured just about every single calamity a rock band can during their lengthy history -- band members coming and going, label switches, and most seriously, a band member's successful battle against cancer (singer Chuck Billy). But after all these years, Testament is still going strong, and to celebrate their 25 year anniversary since their initial formation, 4/5's of the group's definitive/best-known line-up has reunited for their first appearance on a studio album in 16 years, 2008's ‘Formation of Damnation.' With drummer Louie Clemente being the only no-show (former Slayer drummer Paul Bostaph -- who briefly previously played in Testament -- takes his spot here), the classic Testament thrash sound lives on in such tracks as the title track and "The Persecuted Won't Forget" (the latter of which puts the speedy drum skills Bostaph perfected in Slayer to good use). The group also offers a song that focuses on the horrors that unfolded in New York City on 9-11 ("The Evil Has Landed") -- albeit nearly seven years after the fact. As one of the ‘80s era thrash bands that never strayed far from their original path (if anything, they only got heavier as the years progressed), Testament's trademark thrash is expectedly all over ‘Formation of Damnation.'

No Comparison

you cannot compare metallica and testament. there two great bands, but two different styles. metallica has never been this heavy. sure you will say they're both thrash, but testament is heavier and you cant compare the two.

Wow! They haven't lost a thing. Great thrash album.

Listening to this album brought back some memories: Being a young guy and witnessing Testament nearly bring a club down in late 1989 while they were touring to support "Practice." Listening to "Souls" on a cassette walkman while walking to work as a metal head teenager in 1990 or 91. Seeing Chuck in Slim's in San Fran about four years ago while he was watching Alex perform on the Friedman/Poland/Skolnick tour (and, not that you care, but I didn't bug Mr. Billy, but it was great to see him looking healthy and on the road to recovery.) Back to the music, though. While I always appreciated Testament, I think "Souls" was the last album of theirs that I purchased before The Formation of Damnation. This is a great album with some very solid songwriting. Like the modern Exodus material, Testament seems to be able to reach back and recreate what made them great back "in the day," but they were able to kick it up a notch or three. It sounds modern and classic, and it's very, very heavy. Highly recommended to all fans of the trash metal genre.


Formed: 1985 in San Francisco, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Testament were the biggest thrash metal band never to reach the platinum plateau. In fact, the San Francisco quintet seemed on the verge of challenging Metallica (their most obvious influence) in the melodic thrash sweepstakes, but their run toward the top was eventually derailed by inconsistency, bad business decisions, and the genre's dwindling appeal. Unable to change with the times like Metallica, Testament quickly faded from sight in the early '90s, but have remained active and very popular...
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