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The Formation of Stagnation….
Testament is definitely not a band that needs another introduction put to paper. Basically, these guys are one of the most consistent old guard thrashers still putting out material in 2020. The duo Skolnick (lead) and Peterson (rhythm) has proven many times that both are among the greater guitarists of metal’s veteran generation.
Initially, Titans of Creation put a smile on my face. Once more, we are being welcomed by a super-slick, crispy production job – courtesy of Andy Sneap – and a cover art that is actually fantastic this time around and I was tempted to preorder the vinyl for the artwork by Eliran Kantor alone. But in the end that smile would fade. I’m glad I didn’t get the album on wax because the material itself just didn’t show a lot of staying power in the long run and I simply don’t like having mediocre albums in my little vinyl collection.
These words might sound a little harsh to you, but see – you are basically getting what you are expecting from Testament in 2020 with minor variations and little surprises. Indeed, the black metal flirtations on “Night of the Witch” and “Curse of Osiris” are a nice touch, the heavy grooves and memorable choruses of “Dream Deceiver” and “Symptoms”, as well as the rather successful attempt of creating a convincing atmospheric pull in “City of Angels” provide some pleasant meals for the hungry modern thrasher, but ultimately that is about all that really sticks to your mind after Titans of Creation has run its course.
While being a more consistent CD as a whole, there are fewer highlights to be heard compared to its predecessor Brotherhood of the Snake, even the ear-catching moments I’ve mentioned earlier can’t carry their momentum through the entire songs (no “Seventh Seal” or “Neptune’s Spear” to be found here). There seem to be even more “stock” riffs being thrown at the listener than on that last album and the lyrical themes are not exactly a step-up either, though I guess it’s been a while since you came to Testament for lyrical mastery, right?
I’m not trying to rail against the band too much here because technically speaking, this is still modern Testament and it’s amazing how great Chuck Billy has preserved his voice, especially considering this man is drawing well near his 60s and had dealt with quite some serious health problems in the past (and even contracted that pesky Covid-19 virus shortly before the writing of this review – and he’s survived that one too). You know what you are getting with Hoglan and DiGiorgio as well – flawless exection, no surprises.
It’s a competent package, but it just doesn’t stick. I’ve given it a few spins over the last couple of weeks but apart from the few picks I chose before in this review, it’s basically all out my system within a matter of hours. I’m sure I’ll try to get closer to this one again sometime in the future, but with so many more interesting thrash albums out there I’m afraid Titans of Creation is not exactly a top priority.
Except for the amazing, amazing cover art – I should put Kantor’s painting on my wall instead, with Dark Roots of Earth blasting in the background, because that is the modern Testament album you should be listening to right now.
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