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Testament: Original Album Series

Thrash heroes get an economical history lesson

Testament were always unlucky not to be considered part of the Big 4 of thrash and this boxed reissue of the band’s first five albums, released originally between 1987 and 1992, explains why.

It begins with the debut The Legacy, which immediately set Testament apart from many of their contemporaries. They not only had virtuoso guitarist Alex Skolnick but also Chuck Billy – a singer who was as at home on more intricate songs as he was barking out speed-metal lyrics.

The New Order, from 1988, was the album that got the Bay Area band attention beyond the thrash diehards. Songs like The Preacher were powerful invocations of mainstream metal influences. More socially and politically aware, 1989’s Practice What You Preach continued the quintet’s development, balancing deep-heat intensity with more subtle moments.

A year later Souls In Black expanded on this template, offering a diverse and confident style. And in 1992, The Ritual shifted everything to a slower, heavier regime, with some outstanding moments like Troubled Dreams.

This basic box set offers no extra tracks and no accompanying sleevenotes, but for a mere tenner, it’s still a reminder of Testament’s importance to the thrash movement.

Malcolm Dome had an illustrious and celebrated career which stretched back to working for Record Mirror magazine in the late 70s and Metal Fury in the early 80s before joining Kerrang! at its launch in 1981. His first book, Encyclopedia Metallica (opens in new tab), published in 1981, may have been the inspiration for the name of a certain band formed that same year. Dome is also credited with inventing the term "thrash metal" while writing about the Anthrax song Metal Thrashing Mad in 1984. With the launch of Classic Rock magazine in 1998 he became involved with that title, sister magazine Metal Hammer, and was a contributor to Prog magazine since its inception in 2009.