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The Legacy

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The Legacy
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Type: Full-Length
Release Date: April 21st, 1987
Genre: Classic, Thrash
1. Over The Wall
2. The Haunting
3. Burnt Offerings
4. Raging Waters
5. C.O.T.L.O.D.
6. First Strike Is Deadly
7. Do Or Die
8. Alone In The Dark
9. Apocalyptic City


Review by Felix on September 19, 2022.

Wow! It’s been 35 years since I bought this piece of vinyl (unbelievable and shocking), and I admit that I did not listen to the record very often during the last, well, 33 to 34 years. This is not to say that Testaments first full-length is a bad album – not at all. Nevertheless, back in 1987 thrash metal was, at least from my point of view, still pure ecstasy (“Reign In Blood”), cold-hearted violence (“Bonded By Blood”) or, in its less pure yet still mega-exciting form, crossover-influenced catchiness (“Game Over”). Three perfect albums – and then came “The Legacy”. Once again, a good album, but not even close to perfection.

A lot of good songs can be found here, a stable fundament of classics. Testament did not yet suffer from the "one killer one filler disease" in 1987. One can discuss about the short, somewhat expressionless “C.O.T.L.O.D.” (very weak chorus), which does not reach the filigree level of song-friendly guitar work that characterises this debut. This track wants to reflect the primitive and completely strict side of the band, but it fails to leave an authentic impression. It delivers a relatively solid crossfire, no more, no less. Instead of this song, the band should have put "Reign Of Terror" of the Legacy demo on the album. I will never understand why exactly this neckbreaker was the only song of the tape that did not get access to this debut. “Reign Of Terror” is missing, in terms of the song itself, but also in view of the general musical approach.

The remaining eight tracks give us the feeling to listen to good thrash, competently designed, equipped with energy, a proper dose of melody and a fine, sometimes even excellent flow. “Over The Wall” grabs the listener by his dirty collar and pulls him into the song and the entire album immediately due to its rebellious and speedy guitars. The dynamic “The Haunting” with its slightly bulky riffs is even better in view of the earworm chorus. This list could be continued up to the mighty, multi-layered closer “Apocalyptic City”. One hit follows the other, but there is a small amount of water in the wine. What I miss is a tiny little portion of raging madness. Sometimes single parts or screams border on insanity, but after all, “The Legacy” appears as an album of more or less controlled outbursts. Okay, “Raging Waters” or “First Strike Is Deadly” give almost full speed ahead and maybe I cannot fully express what I mean. For me it just feels as if the guys did not take the final step on a long and actually great journey. Or did they already know that slightly more melodic songs are their core competence? The extremely strong melody line of the verses of “Burnt Offerings” point into this direction.

In terms of production, Chuck Billy’s voice gives no reason to complain, but the recording of the instrumental section left room for improvement. “The Legacy” suffers a bit from the blurred drums and the guitars lack the deadly sharpness of the guitars of “Bonded By Blood”. The entire album sounds a little dull. Anyway, the songs reveal their strength and the casual riffing of “Alone In The Dark” or some furious parts of “Apocalyptic City” show impressively that the dudes do not run out of steam. This is why you can still pay attention to the record every now and then, even 35 years after its release. It is a thrash metal classic, no matter what I say and regardless of my objectively high though comparatively low rating.

Rating: 8.2 out of 10

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