Testament – The Gathering

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Reviewed: June 1999
Released: 1999, Burnt Offerings / Spitfire Records
Rating: 5.0/5
Reviewer: EvilG

Man, is it ever a great feeling to hear a band that has survived since the 80’s without ever once faltering. For any Testament fan that couldn’t handle their last CD “Demonic” because of the death metal sounds, well you’ll be happy to know that the band has reached a happy medium between “The Legacy” and “Demonic.” Don’t go looking for songs like “The Ballad” or “Trail of Tears” on this CD though, because this is 100% brutal thrash!!!

The only original members left in Testament today are vocalist Chuck Billy and guitarist Eric Peterson. They have been joined, for at least this recording and tour, by Low-era guitarist James Murphy, bassist Steve DiGiorgio (Control Denied, Death, Sadus) and drum lord Dave Lombardo (Grip Inc., ex-Slayer). This “Gathering” of metal genius should arouse the interest of many a metal follower. Lombardo’s performance is amazing. Out of all the “guest” musicians on this CD he REALLY, REALLY shines!!! His playing has more intensity than anything he’s done in years! On the song “Fall of Siple Dome” his double bass playing made me replay the song again to make sure it was for real. Man this guy hasn’t played that fast since perhaps Grip’s “Hostage To Heaven” or maybe even Slayer’s “War Ensemble.” As for Eric Peterson, he should be hailed as a thrash riff god!!! Basically he wrote this CD himself and what a fine job he’s done! It’s not one-dimensional and certainly keeps my attention for the full CD. As soon as the first song “DNR (Do not Resuscitate)” kicks in I was grinning ear to ear. It’s hard to pick out golden moments on a CD where every song is great, however from the top of my head songs that are memorable include “Legions of the Dead” which is more of a death metal song. Then there’s the godly “Fall of Siple Dome” and the 80’s Testament sounding “True Believer.” Nothing sucks about this CD. If I was forced to make a complaint it would be that I would of hoped that James Murphy’s soloing would of been more intense. What he does do is great but I know for a fact he could of done better.

If you’re a fan of thrash metal or brutal metal in general then this CD will be stuck on repeat in the player for quite awhile. Fans of older Testament will be more than pleased as will new fans that were picked up from “Demonic.” Testament are the only remaining band that sprung forth from the original bay area thrash scene of the 80’s who have not broken up or changed their style of music. Such convictions makes a fan like me even more fiercely loyal.


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