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4.1 out of 5 stars
The Formation of Damnation
Format: Audio CDChange
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 11 July 2008
Well people are allowed to have their own personal opinions about everything and in my opinion this album is one hell off an amazing thrash metal album. I've only really just gotten in testament before this i had bought Low & The Legacy. I downloaded this album, to see what all the fuss is about and man it is amazing. If you keep listening to this album all the way through everytime you notice different things. I totally disagree, with people saying it sounds all the same, it doesn't. It's better that Testament stuck to what they do best, if they did something different they'd be accused off selling just like what happend to metallica. Testament are a thrash metal band and they aint gonna change they play the music they like and give the thrash metal fans what they want. Now onto this bloody awesome album. Every song here is killer thrash metal, the best songs for me are well the whole album really. The lyrics have alot off meaning to it, for example in The Evil Has Landed is about 9/11 and that song is amazing. The title track is very heavy indeed the vocals are more onto death metal wether that matters or not it's heavy. The songs do differ from each other, and the last songs Leave Me Forever starts off slow with excellent vocals from chuck. To me if you don't like Testament then you're not really a thrash metal fan. This album is a must for thrash metal/Testament bands and with ex Slayer drummer Paul Bostaph that makes the album a whole lot better he was awesome with Slayer and he's even better here. Well done Testament for making one hell off a thrash metal album. Keep On Rockin' True Metal brothers!!!!!!!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 17 May 2008
As of late, I have been relishing in the San Francisco (Bay Area) thrash reformation that has happened over the past few years with several of the old illuminries bringing out some of their best work to date. A few acts that readily spring to mind are Exodus and Death Angel who have released some memorable albums in recent times and now in 2008, we have Testament's latest instalment, `The Formation of Damnation'. This is the first full release of new songs since 1999's `The Gathering' album, despite a few of best of albums thrown in for good measure over the years to keep the fans at bay. Upon my first listen to `The Formation of Damnation', I was struck with how well balanced this album was with each instrument fitting seamlessly into the mix without being drowned or over shadowed. Credit must surely be given here to esteemed British producer, Andy Sneap, for mixing the album and as usual, bringing the best out with every band that he works with. He is strongly regarded as one of the best and most sort after producers in the metal arena and Testament have benefited greatly from his vastly respected talent.

The band members are the same from the original Testament days, comprising of vocalist Chuck Billy, guitarists Eric Peterson and Alex Skolnick and bassist Greg Christiansen, but longstanding drummer Louie Clemente was not involved with this project so his replacement was in the form of journeyman drummer, Paul Bostaph. From a technical perspective, Bostaph has to rate alongside the likes of Dave Lombardo (Slayer & Grip Inc) and I can unequivocally say that I am a huge fan of his work, but on `The Formation of Damnation', this is finest hour for sure. He is the perfect addition to Testament camp and with his input; he brings a wealth of experience and a superior quality to the band. Let us face it, any drummer that takes up the vacant drum throne in Slayer by replacing the formidable Dave Lombardo is no slouch behind the kit and must be worth his weight in gold. The speed and dexterity between Bostaph's hands and feet is truly phenomenal and with each strike of the cymbals, snare and tom drums the clarity is incredible. Guitarist, Alex Skolnick is back in the fold after a sixteen year hiatus from Testament (his last recording was `The Ritual') and has kept himself busy by playing with mid-era Savatage, formed his own band and genre hopped by performing in a blues/jazz ensemble.

Skolnick injects some awe-inspiring playing on this disc and it is great hearing him duelling with fellow guitarist and founding member Eric Peterson. Peterson delivers the trademark Testament guitar sound that we have become accustomed to over the years; however, the guitar work is far heavier and has taken on a far more technical edge to the proceedings. There are some great guitar riffs and extended solos imprinted all over this album and this is what makes it such an exciting listen. Vocalist Chuck Billy sounds as menacing as ever and I believe his voice is stronger and more powerful, despite being diagnosed and successfully treated for a form of throat cancer several years ago. Two of the tracks have a sort of a death metal type growl to the vocals and this adds a different side to Billy's vocal delivery. The overall sound is unquestionably Testament as they have not deviated from the well-known blueprint, but the closest I can get to any of the other albums is perhaps `The Ritual' and `Practice what you Preach'. I am going to stick my neck out here somewhat and say that one of the tracks, `Henchmen Ride' has a distinctive old-school Metallica feel to the song.

On `Henchmen Ride' at 1: 36 mark as the song travels into the bridge, the tempo shifts and has a very strong resemblance to Metallica's, track `Motorbreath' from the `Kill `em All' album. Check out the `Motorbreath' track at the 1: 27 mark - a striking resemblance; however, I will leave it up to the respective listeners to make their own mind up. A small observation, some will agree with me, others will not, but Testament have far too much talent to be accused of plagiarism. `The Formation of Damnation' has a youthful exuberance about it, exhilarating and superior song writing, having a very a fresh modern feel to the music and by far is their heaviest instalment to date. Mention has to be made of the great full-gloss presentation of the limited edition version (non-jewel case) with the apocalyptic artwork and the digipack being slightly larger than normal. The artwork inside is also well presented with some ominous pictures. To choose a favourite track is difficult as they are so brilliant in their own right, but two are justifiably worth a mention. `Afterlife' with some great hearty riffing with the lyrics having a meaningful role by talking about the relationship between a father and son, death and the afterlife and I'm left feeling they were written more from a personal perspective.

It is always inspiring reading lyrics like these that have so much heartfelt meaning than the usual doom and gloom that is ever present with so many bands in the extreme metal genre. `More than meets the Eye' is a brilliant opener after the intro, shredding guitar work, but the standout instrument for me is Bostaph's drumming as the song gallops along at a furious and merciless pace. As for the c.d, I could not find any major fault with it; however, my only criticism with this c.d. /d.v.d. had to lay with the d.v.d. package. The short d.v.d. was nothing to write home about, uneventful and generally boring with an amateurish camcorder tour of the studio, viewing of Bostaph's drum kit and Peterson getting a damaged fingernail attended to by a beauty therapist - stimulating stuff lads, not. The photo-gallery was okay, again nothing too flash or mind enthralling but for the fervent fan, this would have been a welcomed addition. This release is the best thing I have heard in 2008 thus far, and in my view knocked Exodus's mighty opus `The Atrocity Exhibition, Exhibit A' right off its perch. If you like your thrash undiluted, brimming with pureness that relives the halcyon years of the 1980's when this genre was unforgiving, then this is a mandatory purchase for anyone that worships at the altar of thrash metal!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 2 September 2008
Testament are well on form with yet another great release! It should be pointed out that although Testament were not one of the big four of thrash metal (metallica, megadeth, slayer and anthrax) many people still consider them to be an unofficial fifth! And releasing albums like this just goes to show why!

You can expect proper no-nonsense guitar, lyrics and drums from this album. If I had to choose a favourite track I would probably have to say Henchmen Ride. It is a proper tribute to the skill of the band and lets hope theres more where that came from in the future.

Any proper metaller that doesnt like this album should be put out of their misery!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 29 June 2008
After 20+ years of producing first class Thrash, did anyone seriously expect a change of direction in 2008? Would Granny change her recipe for fruit cake? Of course not. People like me would only complain.
Super-heavy guitars, memorable hooks, and Chuck Billy on top form on scary vocals - just as we know and love them.
Practically all that has changed since the first 3 albums, apart from the drummer, is that they sing about Sept 11th these days instead of nuclear war.
Whilst the songs are not quite up to the impossibly high level of the best on the Gathering, the quality never falls below excellent, and keeps on right through to the last track.
If Testament keep can releasing albums of this quality, I will keep on buying them........
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 19 August 2009
Amazon's customer service is second to none. Very fast delivery and great prices. The Formation of Damnation album by Testament is nothing short of mind blowing. If you're looking for a decent metal album then look no further. This is high octane quality metal at its best. Lead guitarist Alex Skolnick is awesome, one of the best metal guitarists on the planet. You won't be disappointed, I can't stop playing this album. Thanks Amazon, keep up the brilliant work.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 15 January 2012
Testament is really one the very few bands out there making music in such a consistent way. Formation of Damnation is Testament at their very best! Chuck sounds better than ever and Alex's work is amazing! Put together Paul, Greg & Eric and you have explosive material!
If you're a Testament fan you need to get this without second thought.
If you haven't listened to Testament until now (if that is ever possible!) get this and listen to how it's done!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 3 July 2008
Thankfully this albulm was bought for me as a gift, because if it had been otherwise i would have been kicking myself very hard many times. The only beef is with the DVD, as one review has already stated it contains short footage of the band doing some studio stuff which is neither interesting nor enjoyable. Skolnick does a solo at one point and that's cool but not worth an extra three pounds, plus you can see it on youtube anyways. My advice is buy this special edition if you are a fetishist who enjoys the fancy packaging, otherwise just buy the CD.

Speaking on the CD i admit i was expecting a bit more, but i have only listened through once and that was enough to impress me greatly. The tracks have some really catchy riffs and the solos are blindingly good, but you can't expect anything less in terms of solos as far as Testament are concerned. Chuck Billy hasn't lost his fire either, it's arguable that he has improved over recent years and the deliverance mixed with the - quite frankly - brilliant songwriting are really top-notch compared to even the hottest bands of today.

In terms of subject matter the songs could arguably be seen as a little contradictory, as you have songs that are both patriotic and rebellious, but for any nihilists out there that don't really give a crap as long as they can bang their head this shouldn't pose any relevant problems to you.

In a nutshell; buy the CD, but think hard whether you want to spend that extra hard-earned money on a hard-back style package.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Testament return with a brand new studio album, reuniting 4/5 of the classic line up and bringing with them the incredible Paul Bostaph, one of metal's most underrated drummers and a true embodiment of thrash itself.

What a strong album The Formation of Damnation truly is. The album mixes the band's trademark thrash metal roots with the more contemporary style found on later releases such as 'The Gathering,' to create a very heavy, very fast and ultimately a very impressive album.

The blistering 'More Than Meets the Eye,' is incredibly fast and catchy, highlighting the bands thrash metal style, which contrasts nicely with the title track; 'The Formation of Damnation,' which is a more modern mixture of contemporary metal and death metal. (Especially rewarding considering Chuck Billy's impressive vocal style)
Elsewhere, the poignant track 'Afterlife,' uses a mixture of melody and terrific lyrics to deliver a simple but effective message in a powerful style.

Overall, This is the sort of album that you will still be listening to in twenty years time, it just feels like a classic and sounds like a monster. 'Brutal,' is an understatement, but its the closest you're going to get to a fitting description. The album toes the line between modern and classic in a very successful way, and I strongly recommend you give it a chance. Its as creative as 'Low,' and as energetic as 'The Legacy.'

I can't recommend this monster of an album highly enough.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 29 April 2008
I'm not going to talk to extensively about the album itself. What's to say really? It's crushingly heavy, fast, brutal and all that other great stuff you come to expect from testament. It also has more catchy songs than the last couple of testament albums. In short the music is amazing.

The reason for the 3 stars is that the limited edition package isn't that amazing. The actual packaging is quite nice. It's like a small hardcover book, and features some extended artwork on the front. It's much nicer than the standard digi-packs that you get with cd's.

The main problem is the bonus DVD, isn't really worth the extra few pounds. "The making of the formation of damnation" is very weak. It's about 20 minutes of hand held camera footage, of the band recording parts. There are no interviews or maybe somelive footage. Sure thats what you expect from this kind of thing, but in comparison to the chimaira equivilants, it's pretty boring and doesn't add much value. The only slightly amusing moment is seeing Eric Peterson getting his nails done.

In addition to that there is a photo galery and the whole album in a higher quality sound format. In my opinion those additions aren't particularly inspiring.

To conclude this is a great album, it's already winning awards and accolades and deservedly so. Just the bonus material is weak and would only recommend it if you really get a kick out of special packaging.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Testament are a band that havent always been good,this is their ninth album,they have had more ups and downs than a mountain climber,they trailed to the big four thrash bands of the 80s by some way when you actually look at the facts and to me only a few of their previous albums are worth throwing money at.
This is the bands first album proper since 1999 and two old members have returned and they now have former slayer drummer paul bosptaph on drum duties so there could only have been a new lease of life created,oh yeah and lead singer chuck billy beat the cancer that nearly took his life so there is that to consider as well,all in all the stars were aligned for testament to take their chance and with this they have done that and then some,you want thrash that melts your eyebrows then get this and get it now.
This album is superb,in terms of out and out metal that worked prior to this in recent time my mind recalls machine heads the blackening and lamb of gods sacrament,two metal albums that slayed from start to finish and this does as well,hands down.
This album retains some speed when it gets going,frantic,savage riffing along with drumming from a higher level and melodies that punch at you rather than spoon feed you,chucks vocals are better than ever and he can still throw out death vocals when he feels like it,check out the title track for proof,there are no bad tracks here,that is some achievement,every second isnt a miracle of music granted but there is little to fault here,bands like bullet for my valentine can cower off now,this is metal,i feel i need say no more.
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