Testament are thrash metal royalty at this point and the band have rarely misfired, especially since their triumphant comeback in 2008 and their latest record, Titans of Creation, proves to be a continuation of the streak of Album of the Year contenders that they have consistently put out over the past decade.
The record starts out on a fairly standard note with its second single ‘Children of the Next Level’. While this isn’t a bad song it definitely feels like it should be somewhere around the middle of the record… But that is down to personal preference and probably would have worked better if it opened with its first single ‘Night of the Witch’. A small nitpick but the enjoyment of an album is usually dictated by how much forward moment it has from the start.
The most notable thing about the album is that each member feels like they are given moments to shine which is great considering each member is considered a virtuoso of their respective instrument, most tracks feature a song that is led by a specific member; Ishtar’s Gate and Code of Hammurabi prominently feature intricate bass riffs from Steve Di Giorgio. Alex Skolnick has a number of slower, more exotic guitar solos to offset the numerous times he is just left to run riot along the fretboard, as he has been known to do so well for so many years.
There’s a risk of legendary musicians feeling wasted with certain bands; Chris Broderick with Megadeth, Jeff Loomis with Arch Enemy were prominent examples that felt like their skills weren’t being utilised to the fullest extent or just feel like they were limited by the rest of the band or the songwriters but at no point does Gene Hoglan feel like he doesn’t belong in Testament or he’s being limited. His contributions feel focused and precise, as you would expect from The Atomic Clock, and no one on the record feels like they are trying to overshadow each other which could easily have happened with a lineup that features this much talent.
Titans of Creation has a lot of variety throughout its runtime and shows just how versatile Testament can be, including high tempo thrash anthems that show off the peak technicality of its instrumentalists like WWIII and Curse of Osiris to slower more doom metal style tracks like City of Angels and Ishtar’s Gate, simply put; the record has something for everyone.
Titans of Creation is out now via Nuclear Blast Records.