Brotherhood of the Snake by Testament (Nuclear Blast)
Following up on the huge success of Dark Roots of the Earth, Testament return with their thrashiest collection in years. The group has always been heavy and hard, but never this fast. Just listen to the second track The Pale King to hear Alex Skolnick and Eric Peterson’s blurred-finger riffs and you’ll know Testament mean business. Stronghold barrels on with Gene Hoglan’s super-tight pounding, Steve DiGiorgio back in the fold, his bass sounding like he’s striking bridge support wires, Skolnick and Peterson dazzling with one amazing solo after another.
Amongst all the mighty riffing and thrash tempos are lyrics about the Sumerian Gods, their wars and their subjugation of the human population as told by author Zechria Sitchin. On the title track Chuck Billy sings “They gather in masses, encrypting the stars/ To breed slaves sworn to war/ The thrashing and bashing and blistering burns/ Death brought forth to the world.” But in true rock’n’roll style Billy returns at the end to promise an uprising: “We are the ones who dominate (who dominate)…/ And we will always assume control!“
Born In A Rut slows things down a bit with a hair-throwing tempo, in his gruff voice Billy shouting to the world that he’s alright with himself and sure, he’s got some things to work out when he sings “I don’t really give a damn/ I was born to lose/ I will not live forever/ I have no excuse.” You understand in your gut he’s singing for the everyman, to accept your past and kick the future’s ass.
Centuries of Suffering incites you to moshing with Hoglan’s charging beats and blazing guitars, and Testament do what they do best: create catharsis, a release of all the hate and fear and frustration the crushed and disenfranchised masses have felt for generations.
And whichever side you stand on its legality, Canna Business is one killer song, with a clear message “Stoned world order is bringing in the green” and “medicine waiting to be rolled.” Regardless if you agree with the bands’ position, the song will get you moving and will be a mosh pit favorite.
The Number Game closes Brotherhood of the Snake with violent guitar slashes and rapid-fire drums, changing up the tempo and presenting some dramatic progressions, leaving you charged with energy, ready to play the album over again, and educating your mind in the process.
(by Bret Miller)