Testament- First Strike Still Deadly

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Saturday, May 1, 2010

While re-recordings of a band’s classic material may not always be accepted by its fans, Testament’s First Strike Still Deadly was met with a decent reception when it came out in 2001. At the time, the group had decided to take some of their material from The Legacy, The New Order and Souls of Black and re-record them with more modern recording tricks and updated vocals. And while some listeners are still going to prefer the originals, these new versions aren’t too bad.

The basic idea of First Strike Still Deadly was to give some of these older tracks better production values and record a few of them with the band’s original lineup, which featured Steve Souza on vocals. As these are personally some of my favorite Testament songs, I was certainly open to seeing how the band had changed them and as it turns out they did a pretty good job. For the most part, the original structures of the songs are all intact but there does seem to be a few minor tweaks here and there. The overall sound quality is stellar, and is sure to really help the tracks stand out for an entirely new generation of listeners. While re-recordings can sometimes be sketchy, this one seems to have had its heart in the right place.

As Testament fans would expect, Chuck Billy handles the vocals on the majority of First Strike Still Deadly but Steve Souza takes over for the songs “Alone in the Dark” and “Reign of Terror”. Considering that Souza was the group’s vocalist before they officially became Testament, it is interesting to hear how well he still fits in with the rest of the band. Both vocalists sound great on this effort and really seem to be giving it their all which makes this a release that thrash fans are sure to love.

I can imagine that fans may have been disappointed with First Strike Still Deadly back in 2001 as it was basically comprised of all the old songs they were already familiar with and didn’t offer any newer tracks. But looking back on it now this release was an interesting experiment that gave new life to some of the songs that got the band’s career started. Not a must have for the casual Testament fan, but if you really like their material pick it up.


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