Testament- Demonic

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Friday, April 30, 2010

For some reason, whenever Testament fans talk about the group’s music it seems as though they treat 1997’s Demonic as a god awful release that is better left forgotten. But now that the album has been reissued by Prosthetic Records along with a few of the band’s other efforts, I am not exactly sure why people seem to hate it so much. Sure, this was the effort where Testament decided to drop some of the thrash and write material that fell under the groove/death metal category. And while it’s far from their best effort, there are still some catchy riffs and enough interesting moments to make this worth a listen.

Demonic is certainly one of the slowest albums that Testament ever wrote, as almost all of the songs on the album are mid-tempo and alternate between some groove metal and death metal styles. There are some catchy riffs on a few of the tracks that really grab you and pull you in, but unfortunately the rest of the material just doesn’t have enough memorable moments. It was admirable what Testament was trying to do on this effort as they clearly wanted to shake things up a bit, but this is definitely one of those albums where some of the songs are better than others.

To fit the shift in sound, vocalist Chuck Billy also decided to make some changes on Demonic. While some of his trademark clean vocals are present throughout the course of the album the majority of the time they have been replaced by lower pitched growls. This was a new thing for Billy to try at the time and he certainly proved that he was more than capable of pulling it off. In addition to this, the heavier growling gives this release a genuinely evil feeling and makes it what is easily the darkest Testament effort ever.

I can certainly see why some Testament fans don’t like Demonic as it is a bit of an oddity in their discography. However, despite the fact that it isn’t a disc worth running out and getting immediately there are some noteworthy moments and this isn’t the absolute garbage that some people would have you believe it is. If you’re just getting into Testament check out their other material over this, but if you’re absolutely looking for everything they have to offer consider giving it a chance.


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