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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Testament - Dark Roots Of Earth
Dark Roots Of Earth is the tenth full-length studio album by the legendary San Franciscan Bay Area Thrash Metal band Testament. It was released on Nuclear Blast in the summer of 2012, following up 2008's critically acclaimed The Formation Of Damnation album. Like that album and indeed also its 1999 predecessor, The Gathering, the album was produced by the famous British...
Published on 30 July 2012 by Gentlegiantprog

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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good workaday thrash
I've been into metal since the late 80s but somehow Testament have passed me by. I bought this on a recommendation from a long-time fan (and a reliable source of musical tips) and as an introduction to the band it's pretty solid. There are some great riffs throughout and punchy production, but on occasion it descends into classic lumpen bay area thrash, which jars a bit...
Published 21 months ago by Bored at Work Scotsman


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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Testament - Dark Roots Of Earth, 30 July 2012
By 
Gentlegiantprog "Kingcrimsonprog" (England) - See all my reviews
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Dark Roots Of Earth is the tenth full-length studio album by the legendary San Franciscan Bay Area Thrash Metal band Testament. It was released on Nuclear Blast in the summer of 2012, following up 2008's critically acclaimed The Formation Of Damnation album. Like that album and indeed also its 1999 predecessor, The Gathering, the album was produced by the famous British producer Andy Sneap.

There was a bit of background intrigue regarding the album's drummer in as much as that although the excellent and underrated Paul Bostaph was still a member of the band just before the time of the album's writing, due to an injury, the drums on the album where actually played by another former Testament band member (and member or contributor with dozens of respected and influential bands) Gene Hoglan. Consequently the album has quite a different feel, as far as the drumming goes, to The Formation Of Damnation.

Interestingly, the band also worked with Lamb Of God's Chris Addler on this record, but his tracks didn't end up on the standard version of the album, although his version of the track `A Day In Death' can be bought separately online.

Stylistically speaking, Dark Roots Of Earth very much continues in the path set by the previous two Testament albums, mixing elements of their classic Thrash sound with some elements of their more Death Metal influenced mid period, toned down. The result is an album that has songs with the occasional use of Death-vocals like 1997's Demonic album, sharing song-time with melodic singing and guitar harmonies like 1989's Practice What You Preach album, as well as the somewhat controversial new usage of Blast Beats. This pretty much creates a best-of-both-worlds scenario for fans of the band's entire catalogue.

The main body of the album however is made up of speedy double-kicks, chugging low-pitched guitars and mostly shouted vocals, punctuated frequently by Alex Skolnick's and Eric Peterson's creative leads and solos. So, effectively it pretty much embodies the classic Bay Area Thrash sound, but in a way which still comes across as fresh and modern primarily through the excellent production job and the surprising amount of melody in the songwriting.

There are also a couple of tracks, including the Title Track and the semi-ballad `Cold Embrace' which try other ideas and styles as well, which adds a touch of variety to the album, breaking up the stream of faster pounding numbers and allowing it to flow well from beginning to end.

Highlights include the catchy opener `Rise Up,' the catchy single `True American Hate' and the aforementioned semi-ballad `Cold Embrace.'

At the end of the day, its going to be down to personal preference how much you enjoy the album and where it fits in the band's catalogue. Some people will find it a little too modern and some people won't find it light and melodic enough. Some people would prefer if Louie Clemente or Paul Bostaph had been on it and some people just don't like modern production at all. If any of these things sound like how your mind usually works then this might be one to skip but it's definitely a personal-preference issue if you dislike the record rather than any inherent lack of quality.

What can't really be argued is that the band have put in a tremendous amount of care and effort into crafting this album and care has been taken to mix old-school and modern styles to keep things fresh. It isn't just formulaic and it isn't just phoned-in and I personally enjoy it a great deal. Due to the album's very high anticipation level and all the excitement surrounding it, I'm not sure at this point if the album will retain all of its potency with the passage of time or how much respect the fans will give it two or three albums down the line, but it certainly leaves an incredibly strong first impression right now and is far, far from a disappointment or let down.

Overall; Dark Roots Of Earth is an excellent and enjoyable fifty-minute album. Fans of Testament should check out the album, especially if they already enjoyed the previous album; fans of Thrash should check out the album, especially if they like the excellent renaissance its been enjoying in recent years as classic bands either reform or release their best albums since the eighties and in fact, fans of Metal in general who for some reason haven't yet explored Testament should consider at least checking out this album if they have the time and money to take a shot on it.

***If you chose to get the special edition version, you can enjoy four bonus tracks, including an extended version of `Throne Of Thrones,' as well as the Queen cover `Dragon Attack,' the Scorpions cover `Animal Magnetism' and the Iron Maiden cover `Powerslave.'

Furthermore, you get a DVD featuring a 29-minute making-of documentary, although the band did give away most of the footage in free webisodes prior to the album's release.

There is also a 9-minute `Gear Tour' from the guitarists where they take you through the pick-ups and pedals and that sort of thing.

Finally there is a 20-minute live concert from the Avalon Ballroom, Santa Clara California, February 19th 2012. The track listing is: 1. Practice What You Preach 2. Over The Wall 3. Souls Of Black 4. Disciples Of The Watch.

It is a multi-camera shoot and a fairly energetic performance from the band in front of an enthusiastic crowd (they have fun and you even hear the 'Breaking The Law' riff at one point), although the sound quality isn't incredible and the vocals and guitar are fairly low in the mix. Despite these sound problems it is still fairly enjoyable, and watching Skolnick's guitar solos close up should be interesting for guitarists. Basically, it is a nice enough bonus feature but isn't of the same production value as their Live In London DVD.

The packaging of this special edition version is in an elaborate glossy book-style presentation, with the pages stuck into the case's spine and the discs held inside a `page' each. And overall the whole thing is worth the extra money if the price difference is small enough and you haven't already got a copy of the album***
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars delightful, 29 July 2013
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This review is from: Dark Roots Of Earth (MP3 Download)
Don't buy this if you like Justin beiber or you will bleed to death from more than one orifice. Very good.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Testament are BACK!, 4 Aug 2012
By 
Trevor Beckett (Tonbridge, Kent.) - See all my reviews
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Absolutely amazing package - the CD itself contains some of the best tracks Testament have recorded since Practise What You Preach - the production is top notch and the addition of Hoglan again on drums is killer! Skolnick is back to his ferocious best adding his trademark bluesy-licks and scalular runs with sweeps and wicked vibrato!

The DVD is an excellent watch and the guys come across as genuine, level headed musicians with a real passion for what they are doing.

One of the best CD's of the Year, bar none!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Stuff!, 7 Sep 2012
By 
D. Thompson (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dark Roots Of Earth (Audio CD)
So another Testament album, and I have to say it is really quite good. Probably the best they have done in several years. The opener sounds a bit like a cros between slayer and kreator which is not a bad thing and the good riffing and vovals carry on to the end.
Worth buying if you are a die hard fan of these guys or not.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 4 Sep 2013
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More in line with their more melodic albums (The Ritual/Souls of Black) than their traditional thrash fare but a brilliant album nonetheless. Strongly recommend this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant album, 18 Aug 2013
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It's the first metal album in years to which I've actually been listening to repeatedly in my car. There's a couple of songs at the beginning which are kinda 'meh', but overall, especially from the fourth song onward, this album absolutely kicks ass. Strongly recommend it to all the metalheads out there.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good album but not the best, 10 Jun 2013
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This is a great Thrash album, but even close to be the best of Testament. I really miss the Practice what you preach era!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars awesome, 13 Jan 2013
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not listened to testament myself for years, got it for my other half who is still a fan but this is currently playing i my car over and over again. its great
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars classic from the creators of metal, 4 Sep 2012
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since the early 80s many bands came and went faster then pop hit songs are forgotten \m/ and only the best of the best are still with us \m/ the difference about Testament is that they had never made a bad album and they still play the best music and create the best hits \m/ buy this album play it and rock on this is the only thing that i can and will repeat buy this rock on and bang your head to the best metal album of the year and the best album since machine head master piece last year \m/ this is what metallica should learn from and listen to \m/
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 27 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Dark Roots Of Earth (Audio CD)
I love this album. It's great all the way through. It's the first Testament album I got and a great starting point.
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