"Brotherhood of the Snake"

By Theron Moore

“Brotherhood of the Snake” is a statement, a musical declaration that metal isn’t dead, that rock is alive and well and Testament still have a lot of gas left in the tank. I like this record because it harkens back to their first three records, it has that feel, that edge to it.  Testament has always been a band that’s brought the metal, they just did it three steps higher with this record.  Normally when I listen to a record I catch one or two songs that connect with me.  “Brotherhood of the Snake,” “Pale King,” “Neptune’s Spear” “Centuries of Suffering” and “Blackjack” floored me.  

I wasn’t a big fan of what Testament was doing in the mid 90’s, early 2000’s but ever since “The Formation of Damnation” and their last record, “Dark Roots of Earth,” Testament have reconnected with their fans and themselves and in many ways it’s a new musical renaissance for us all.  On this their 11th studio record they’re rejoined by bassist Steve Digiorgio and drummer extraordinaire Gene Hoglan.  The chemistry this lineup has on record, on this record, is staggering.  

Says guitarist Eric Petersen – “It’s different. This one is more thrash. I mean, this has got some of the fastest stuff that we have ever played. Usually, we have one or two thrash songs, and then we have some mid-tempo, and then we have a slow, heavy one, and then up-tempo kind of stuff. Half of the new record is thrash, which we've never done before."  

Song topics run the gamut from war and politics to the legalization of marijuana (“Canna Business”) as well as ancient aliens.  Singer Chuck Billy has commented that “Brotherhood of the Snake” was inspired lyrically by the “Ancient Astronauts” TV show, specifically drawing from the “Ancient Astronaut Hypothesis.” 

“Brotherhood of the Snake” is one of the band’s best, all-time.  If you’re a fan of the sound Testament developed on their first three records, this buds for you. The band sounds sharp, tight and firing on all cylinders.  Eleven records in and this band is still on top of their game.  Buy it.