Brotherhood of the Snake is the eleventh studio album for Testament. The Bay Area veterans have released another strong Thrash Metal showing that isn’t a departure from previous releases from the band.
The intro riff to Brotherhood of the Snake immediately sets the tone for album. It’s a classic driving thrashy riff that screams Testament. Long-time listeners of the band will instantly feel at home.
This is the first release with bassist Steve DiGiorgio since 2001 and his signature bass style adds a different presence compared to previous releases. The individual performances are all solid. Chuck Billy puts in another all-round solid vocal performance while connecting with mystical lyrics (particularly in the first three tracks, which tie in the Brotherhood of the Snake concept). Alex Skolnick puts in another lead guitar clinic, while Eric Peterson continues to write engaging Thrash Metal riffs. Drummer Gene Hoglan uses speed tastefully, rather than going full speed all the way through, which too many Metal bands are guilty of these days.
I think that’s what makes this album so enjoyable; this is a band that still understands dynamics. Sure, there aren’t really any clean guitar parts or big breakdowns, but they still have a strong sense of groove and know the right time to add in full speed blast beats.
In the simplest terms, it’s ten tracks of solid Thrash Metal. There’s no wasting time with fancy experimentation and different sound scapes, just pure thrash metal to its core. Heavy, but catchy songs that always go against the grain of whatever is popular in the mainstream.
It’s definitely easy listening for people familiar with Thrash Metal. For those who aren’t, if you’re into modern bands like Trivium or Bullet for my Valentine, it’s very possible you’ll enjoy this.
Reviewed by Nutman