While the world goes mad about Metallica's latest offering, Testament chugg (quite literally and heavily) along, offering us an album which I think is quite possibly their best release to date. Brotherhood of the Snake is the sound of a band that has not simply mashed all of their previous releases together to make something that appeals to the lowest common denominator; instead they've continually evolved - which is what a band is supposed to do.
Brotherhood opens with the album's title track - and to use a word that I'm generally loathe to use, it's fucking brutal. Crisp riff, proper mental drumming and an opening vocal roar to bring you to your knees. Broooootal. Chuck Billy is in fine form, while Peterson and Skolnick punish our ears with some of the heaviest guitar work that Testament have come up with in quite some time. This album is heavy as fuck. I'm aroused. Gene Hoglan batters the kit and Steve DiGiorgio's bass is right up front. Did I mention that I'm aroused?
The Pale King gallops along making me giggle with delight. I'm as excited by Brotherhood as I was by The Legacy (1987 - yes, admittedly I was but a young, un-discerning whippersnapper back then but that doesn't detract from the brilliance of either release). The guitar runs make me laugh out loud. I am, quite literally, over-joyed. Every layer of instrumentation is perfect. Every change of pace adds to the fun. Stronghold keeps up to that pace, and I feel this album is perhaps Testament's heaviest yet. The soloing is proper metal.
For fuck's sake - I can't pick a favourite track; they're all marvellous. Seven Seals? Hoglan's drums. Born In A Rut? Hoglan's drumming and DiGiorgio's bass. Every track on here? Everybody doing everything. I put this album on and destroyed every piece of furniture in the fucking house. Closer The Number Game is so, so good. There are ten tracks on here and every one of them is sweet as the devil's teat. Get this. Now.