Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Clone: Testament

Another The Clone tag. Once again, here I will post bands that remind me of other bands. Keep in mind I will be finding clones of bands that either broke up or take their time releasing albums. That would be the reason I started looking for bands like Testament.

I actually wasn't a fan of early Testament. I felt it was a rip-off of Metallica, listen to Practice What You Preach. It wasn't until I saw a video for Trial by Fire that I realized I should check them out. I picked up their greatest hits album and was blown away by Dog Faced Gods from Low. So I went out trying to find it, but couldn't. Instead I found First Strike Still Deadly, which is an album of re-recorded Testament classics from their first couple of albums. The songs were tons better. Chuck Billy used some of his deeper vocals and didn't try to sound like James Hetfield. After that I went and got Low, The Gathering, and Demonic. All were great, with Low probably being my favorite. After The Ritual, Testament went for a more modern thrash sound and went away from the mainstream metal that Metallica and Megadeth had created.

After The Gathering, I waited for a new album. But members came and went and eventually Chuck Billy was diagnosed with a brain tumor. It would be about 10 years in between albums from The Gathering until The Formation of Damnation. So in the meantime I looked for bands that sounded like Testament. Musically, it's not that hard to find that same kind of thrash element that Testament has. The difference maker here is the vocals. Chuck Billy has a unique sound. He is harsh without death metal vocals. So we are really focusing on the vocals this time around. So, here's my list;

3. HavocHate - Cycle of Pain: This is their second album and last that I know of. Their first album kind of sounds like Exodus in terms of vocals. This guy really has that deep harsh, but not death metal vocals down. Musically, holy crap! Modern thrash all over the place. It shouldn't surprise you once you read that Testament's bass player actually plays on this album. Years ago I talked about this band when I was describing modern thrash, HERE. The drumming is probably the highlight of this band. Listen to Still Alive. Drumming perfection.

2. Sanctity - The Road to Bloodshed: if you thought Havochate's vocalist sounded like Chuck Billy just listen to Sanctity. This guy nails it. I really can't say anything else. Now, there are those clean vocal moments ala Trivium, and even some Halford-like screams. It's an interesting mix, but it works. Musically, if you are fans of Testament, you won't find anything wrong here. Ironically, the lead singer and drummer left the band and the rest of them...who knows? This was their one and only album. It showed some great potential, but unfortunately, it appears that they are done.

1. Susperia - Unlimited, Cut From Stone, Attitude: This band just rocks. Since Unlimited they have really come into their own. They were formed by some guys from Dimmu Borgir and at first they were a black metal band. With Unlimited, that was all but gone and they were mainly a thrash metal band. These 3 albums are great with little filler on them. I think Cut From Stone might be their most complete album from start to finish, while Attitude is a bit more mainstream, but don't think I am talking The Black Album here. So why is Susperia number one? Well, musically it's thrash so that the first, but obviously it's the vocals. Athera is the closest thing to Chuck Billy besides Chuck Billy. In fact, he's so good that I put him on my list of top 10 metal vocalists over Chuck Billy. When I picked up their latest, Attitude, it took me a long time to realize that Chuck Billy actually sings on one of the tracks. Now, I can pick him out easily, but the first couple of clue that's how close they sound.

Amazing huh? Clearly, Susperia belongs as number one on this list. The funny thing after doing this list is that Susperia is the only band that is still making music. It's like the other bands were there to keep us happy until Testament returned.

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