By all accounts, the Oakland thrash metal titans’ 11th album didn’t have an easy birth. Facing mounting pressure to meet deadlines, fulfil touring commitments and, most importantly, top 2012’s solid Dark Roots Of The Earth, tensions were running high in the Testament camp.
Iron sharpens iron, though, and that strain has resulted in one of their best albums to date. A semi-concept record about secret societies, alien kings and religion, Brotherhood Of The Snake is a suitably venomous listen.
Crammed full of old-school thrash thrills and featuring predominantly speed metal-based songs for the first time since their early days, it’s an exciting, breakneck experience. Chuck Billy is in the form of his life and his inimitable vocals are full of melody, particularly on the hook-laden, future pit anthem Born In A Rut. In fact, all members have raised their game here. Drummer Gene Hoglan turns in a vintage performance on Black Jack, guitarists Alex Skolnick and Eric Peterson consistently shred up a storm and bassist Steve DiGiorgio, recently reinstated after a decade away, lays down some sick low end throughout, firmly stating that this brotherhood are stronger than ever.