Testament : Re-issues

Another swathe of re-issues have just been released by our favourite thrashers, Testament. Nuclear Blast are working their way through the sparkling catalogue and in this latest lot of albums to get the re-issue treatment, we think there may be a couple of gems to get your ears around.

The full list of albums to get new lives on jazzy coloured vinyl is as follows:

‘Live At The Fillmore’ (1995)
‘Demonic’ (1997)
‘The Gathering’ (1999) – Remastered by Andy Sneap
‘First Strike Still Deadly’ (2001)
‘Live At Eindhoven ’87’ (2009)

On first inspection, that looks like a bit of a cobbled together lot of albums but once you get stuck in there is plenty on offer.

We’re all Testament nuts here at Cackblabbath, so we’re obviously rejoicing at anything that comes out way from Chuck Billy’s direction but we’ve picked out a couple of standout presses from this latest offering from the legacy.

‘The Gathering’ is a criminally underrated Testament album in our opinion, but now with some added punch courtesy of Andy Sneap it sounds bloody unstoppable. Originally dropping just before the Millennium Bug was due to wipe us all out, the year 1999 was in the middle of some hard times for the classic heavy metal/thrash bands. New Testament albums made small ripples in those days and despite ‘The Gathering’ featuring some clobbering drums from Dave Lombardo, it is also looked back on as that period when Alex Skolnick wasn’t in the band.

However, with James Murphy on duty with the lead guitar and no doubt aided by Lombardo, ‘The Gathering’ turned out to be one of the heaviest Testament albums ever to be released. Fast forward to this little remaster and it sounds huge. ‘D.N.R.’ and ‘Down For Life’ have always been stone cold classics, but with a little more weight behind them, they now sound colossal. Even the more pedestrian ‘True Believer’ and grooving ‘Riding The Snake’ are revitalised here and sound much better for it.

The classic pinch-heavy instrumental is present and correct at the end too as ‘Hammer of the Gods’ finishes off a great trip through the often overlooked album from the catalogue.

Thrash is really lacking in seminal live albums. With a few notable exceptions, no thrash band has ever released anything that is looked upon as giving ‘No Sleep…’, ‘Live After Death’ or  ‘Live and Dangerous’ a run for their money. Testament’s ‘Live At The Fillmore’ must be up there with the best however.

The album oozes classic live material and despite being another child of the nineties, the atmosphere created on this number really sounds like a classic 80’s vibe record. There is some real crunch in the guitars and the leads squeal out from the mix too. There is a bit less in-between song banter on this one compared to the ‘Eindhoven…’ (also re-issued this week) release which allows it to flow a little better. The curious addition of the semi acoustic triplet of songs at the end of the album has always spoilt it a bit, but you can always just turn it off it offends you that much. The cover also might offend your eyes but most importantly, the music is outstanding on this release.

There’s a reason Testament aren’t in the Big Four and that’s because they are the best! As proven here…


TESTAMENT will be touring shortly, with Annihilator & Vader

29.3.2018 UK – Bristol, Motion
30.3.2018 UK – Manchester, O2 Ritz
31.3.2018 UK – Birmingham, O2 Institute
1.4.2018 IE – Dublin, Vicar Street
2.4.2018 UK – Glasgow, QMU
4.4.2018 UK – London, Koko