Testament – Titans Of Creation (Nuclear Blast)

After storming back with 2008’s The Formation Of Damnation, Testament have set about reminding the world why the Big Four should really have been the Big Five. The Bay Area boys have thrash metal running through their veins. They’ve done more than most to keep the scene’s soul alive. And they deserve great praise for the way they carried the genre’s torch into the 2010’s, while never relying on their 80s material for a quick nostalgia hit.

True to form, Titans Of Creation stands up to anything the quintet have released post ‘08 and indeed, feels more honed and finely crafted than its predecessor, 2016’s Brotherhood Of The Snake. The jaw-dropping, ionosphere-touching musicianship, the widescreen, progressive flourishes, the rich attention to detail – it’s all there, as you’d expect from a band who carry Messrs Billy, Skolnick, Peterson, DiGiorgio and Hoglan in their ranks.

But as you dive into slick, full-throttle opener Children Of The Next Level (inspired by the Heaven’s Gate cult), or its follow-up, the apocalyptic World War III (inspired by, well, you know), you’re also taken back to Practice What You Preach or The New Order, albums that helped to define thrash metal as we know it. The sweet rushes of adrenaline, the white hot surges of aggression, the blistering tempos… they are completely intertwined with this album’s DNA.

You’ll find the pummelling, ultra-catchy Dream Deceiver rubbing shoulders with the complex, swirling Code Of Hammurabi, and the hard-edged groove of City Of Angels, mixing it with the Sumerian soundscapes of Ishtar’s Gate and The Healers’ dark, mutating death riffs.

You’ll discover Chuck Billy’s passionate roar trading blows with Eric Peterson’s startling, black metal-style vocals on Night Of The Witch. You’ll appreciate Alex Skolnick’s deeply reflective song writing on Symptoms, a poignant exploration of mental illness.  

Above all, you’ll be grateful that we have Testament in our world.

Titans of Creation? More like Metal Gods.