Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Testament - Practice What You Preach (1989)

In my opinion Testament never truly lived up to the promise of their debut and yet, aside from their horrendous flirtation with "groovy" death metal (Demonic) they've never released an outright stinker, either.

While 'The New Order' toyed around with "happier", "bouncier" riffs, 'Practice What You Preach' wholeheartedly delves into the concept. It was one of those albums that I could tell right off the bat something was amiss and yet it wasn't as obvious as say 'Cold Lake'. I mean, sure, this was still an outright, bonafide thrash record with all of the I's dotted and T's crossed but it felt too "safe". Someone had knocked the teeth out of this band's skull. The fact that I picked this up at the record store along with Sepultura's 'Beneath the Remains' probably didn't help much, either.

Yeah, there's just something that's not terribly engaging about this album. Oddly enough, I do enjoy the band's "pussy magnet" track, 'The Ballad'. Being that even amidst the war on posers, thrash bands were not immune to tacking on an acoustic track for good measure, it never really bothered me at the time nor after (though the irony was never lost on me).

The rest of the album really just feels like a dump-truck load of filler. It's the weirdest thing. Nothing outright sucks but nothing on here is that great either. Nothing stands out, except for Chuck Billy's death metal growl at the beginning of 'Envy Life', which is pretty fucking brutal and I believe, the his first attempt at singing that way.

Overall, I feel as though 'PWYP' is a waste of a great album cover. It looks so much better on the outside. But that visual promise soon gives way to the empty feeling of unfulfillment. This would also be the case with the band's next album, 'Souls of Black'. Another sub-par effort boasting an incredible cover. I can only conclude that Testament is one of those bands who does better when they're not pumping out product in a prolific manner.

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