Testament - The Ritual
Atlantic
Thrash Metal
11 songs (54:21)
Release year: 1992
Testament, Atlantic Records
Reviewed by Goat
Archive review

My first experience with Testament wasn’t with the classic The Legacy or The New Order, or 1999’s well-regarded The Gathering, but with another album that starts with ‘The’: The Ritual. Often dismissed as Testament’s attempt at Metallica ‘Black Album’-style success, it’s nonetheless one of my favourites from the band. It may not be quite as thrashy as its predecessor, 1990’s Souls of Black, nor was it the critical and commercial success that the band wanted it to be, but the songwriting is top-notch throughout. First track proper Electric Crown is undeniably killer, stomping chorus and the spectacular guitarwork especially giving a good hint of the Skolnick/Peterson wonders coming your way. It’s worth owning just to hear a thrash guitar team at the peak of their melodic powers, frankly. So Many Lies has an almost proggy opening, working well with the ominous rumbling riffage and more great leadwork, Deadline’s crushing force and Agony’s pre-The Gathering-esque heaviness keeping your head banging.

You can hear why people compare Testament to Metallica from Let Go Of My World alone, a stomping thrash beast that could have fit on any of Hetfield and co’s best albums. Yet I’d say from the title track here alone that Testament are easily Metallica’s betters when it comes to the heavy, atmospheric ballads, Chuck Billy’s singing voice much better than Hetfield’s and the guitars, again, simply excellent. As The Seasons Grey follows suit, but I’ll confess to finding Return To Serenity rather dull. Fortunately, it’s the one letdown on an album full of excellence, oft-forgotten songs like The Sermon and Troubled Dreams more than solid. And given the praise frequently bestowed on the more ‘modern’ and groovier Low, why shouldn’t Testament’s most underrated album get a little sugar? The Ritual may not have been a commercial success, but it is far from a low point in Testament’s career.

Killing Songs :
Electric Crown, So Many Lies, Let Go Of My World, The Ritual, Deadline, Agony, The Sermon
Goat quoted 81 / 100
Other albums by Testament that we have reviewed:
Testament - Souls of Black reviewed by Bar and quoted 80 / 100
Testament - Demonic reviewed by Bar and quoted 68 / 100
Testament - Dark Roots Of Earth reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 90 / 100
Testament - The New Order reviewed by Tyler and quoted CLASSIC
Testament - The Legacy reviewed by Phil and quoted CLASSIC
To see all 10 reviews click here
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