First Strike Still Deadly
Review by Luka on February 13, 2002.
I was always one to view Testament as a somewhat trailing satellite in the wake of early thrash kings Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, and Kreator. My metal needs were more than satisfied back then and Testament never seemed to offer anything really groundbreaking. I hadn’t truly embraced the true prowess of the Bay Area geniuses mainly because the early albums always seemed to have a muddy sound and generic feel. Maybe it’s just my old tapes that have been sitting on the shelf for over ten years, maybe not, they’re garbage now.
Eleven choice tracks from the violent and energetic first two albums completely redone and amazingly remonstered, this was an utter metal slap in the face! It’s one thing when some kick-ass new band takes you off your seat with one bad-ass track after another, and something completely indescribable hearing songs you know from before come to life and rip you apart with monstrous energy that you never knew lurked there! This stuff is 100% true, just like the early line-up, Skolnick steps back into the band for the arduous and intricate lead guitar parts, right alongside long-time axeman Eric Peterson. Tempesta’s aggressive drumming is now crystal clear with the sharp production, oh how I love modern technology!
The original songs are unworthy of bowing to the new versions. This is the album for Testament’s time capsule. 'Alone in the Dark' is absolutely breathtaking, with original demo-singer Steve Souza doing the vocals. He also does the screams on the very aggressive, Slayer-like, previously unreleased 'Reign of Terror'. I can not disagree with any track selections, though there was plenty room left on the disc for more, and hearing some more of my old favorites like the classic 'Curse of the Legions of Death' would have certainly sealed the lid on the godly album.
Bottom Line: Testament classics not only hold the test of time, they once again stand tall in today’s metal scene after a little refurbishing. This ought to be inspiration for their next studio album!
Categorical Rating Breakdown
Rating: 9 out of 10