Testament- The Gathering

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Friday, April 30, 2010

Following their death metal/groove metal experiment Demonic, Testament regrouped two years later and returned to the thrash style that they had been known for in the past. The resulting effort, The Gathering, is often considered to be one of the band’s better efforts from this time period and when listening to the reissue from Prosthetic I would be inclined to agree. Although it didn’t quite reach the heights of their earlier albums, this is still a damn fine effort from one of thrash’s more noteworthy acts.

Some of the slower groove elements from Demonic are still present on The Gathering, but the instrumentalists have returned to a lot of the faster paced thrash riffs that fans had come to expect. The result is an album that has some of the elements of the original 80’s Testament sound and some of their 90’s styles making it feel as though it has the best of both worlds. However, there when compared to albums such as Souls of Black The Gathering doesn’t quite match up in terms of memorable songs. Although it gets off to a fairly strong start and immediately hits you with catchy, heavy riffs by the end of the album the songs have started to blend together. This isn’t that big of a deal though, and if you enjoy thrash you’ll probably enjoy this release.

By this point in time Chuck Billy had decided to ditch the death metal growls he had attempted a few years earlier and had returned to his traditional clean vocals. While I will miss some of the growling, Billy sounds great throughout the course of The Gathering as he has an impressive level of energy and really comes at listeners full force. There are also plenty of memorable choruses on these songs and quite a few of them could become tracks that people choose to spin fairly regularly.

Testament may have attempted to branch out with Demonic, but on The Gathering they were back doing what they do best. While some of the riffs do run together the lyrical content often manages to redeem them and this is in my opinion the band’s best release from the 90’s. Prosthetic’s reissue includes one bonus track, and if you’ve never experienced this album before and enjoy thrash or other Testament releases it is a must have.


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