In these uncertain times with coronavirus running rampant and half the world in lockdown you can always rely on the ever dependable Testament, who earlier this month released Titans of Creation. It is their 13th album and it follows the same sonic path as their last three outings The Formation of Damnation (2008), Dark Roots of Earth (2012) and Brotherhood of the Snake (2016) – mixing their classic ‘80s sound with extreme metal elements and pin sharp production.
Telling the tale of the religious cult Heaven’s Gate and their mass suicide lead single ‘Children of the Next Level’ kicks things off, it is a fiery serving of classic Testment sporting a massive chorus. This fire continues in the lightning quick ‘WWIII’, Gene Hoglan’s frenetic drumming and a blistering Alex Skolnick solo soundtrack an age old thrash favourite – a grim and gory tale of nuclear war. The old and new sit side by side in the brutal ‘Night of the Witch’, Chuck Billy’s growls and black metal style shrieks compliment the meaty riffs and demonic aura like fish compliments chips. The new is front and centre in the heavy as hell ‘Curse of Osiris’, a three and a half minute explosion of harsh vocals and furious blast beats.
Things slow down slightly in ‘City of Angels’, a menacing mid-paced track that deals in murder – specifically those of the night stalker Richard Ramirez. ‘Ishtar’s Gate’ spices things up a bit with an Egyptian feel to it but the albums nearly hour long length mean tracks blur into one another by the end. Nothing here is bad – Testament do not do bad albums – but the running time and the lack of variety take their toll slightly. That and the odd placement of ‘Catacombs’, a melodramatic instrumental that piques the interest but feels disjointed after the galloping ‘Curse of Osiris’.
Yet again those Bay Area thrashers have delivered another rock steady album full of catchy, frenetic and brutal headbangers. Whilst it may not be their best, the 58 minute run time hampers it a tad, it sees their post 2008 purple patch continue.