Published Apr 01, 2020Compared to some of Testament's peers, the band have produced a steady output this past decade — a new studio album every four years since 2008. Still, Titans of Creation feels like a long-awaited followup to 2016's Brotherhood of the Snake, given that the band have been teasing it for a couple years now.
There's no need for a long, drawn-out intro — Titans of Creation jumps straight into a whiplash-inducing frenzy of chugging riffs and blasting drums with opener "Children of the Next Level." The momentum continues to build with another straight thrasher, "WWIII," before giving way to "Dream Deceiver," which is about as catchy as a thrash metal tune can get.
If there's one track on Titans of Creation that could become a set list staple, it's "Night of the Witch," a textbook thrasher with no hallmark of the genre left out. The mood shifts with the melancholy croon of "City of Angels" before the ethereal "Ishtar's Gate" and intricate "Symptoms" steer the record into new territory. It reverts back to more straight-ahead thrash afterwards, but songs like "False Prophet" and "Code of the Hammurabi" aren't quite as memorable as the record's first few tracks. Still, "The Healers" and "Curse of Osiris" both pack a punch.
Titans of Creation boasts complex guitar and bass work, mechanically precise drumming, powerhouse vocals and crisp, clear production that still manages to leave the razor-sharp edge intact, with songs that will be exciting to hear live. But even the mighty Testament haven't been spared the difficulties of these tumultuous times for touring musicians.
The group were on a European run with Exodus and Death Angel amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, and returned home to find vocalist Chuck Billy, his wife Tiffany, and several crew members had contracted the virus. They're recovering now, but the fate of just about every spring and summer concert tour is up in the air.
It may be a while before fans get to catch these Bay Area thrash veterans live again, but at least they have a monster of a new record to enjoy while waiting. (Nuclear Blast)