Amps and Green Screens turned seven years old today. I really can’t believe it. Something that was hatched at 2 a.m. by two drunk knuckleheads in Red Oak, TX back on March 31, 2013 has become a website that people actually want to visit and read our thoughts on Heavy Metal (mostly) and all our other crazy nonsense as well. And for that I am eternally grateful. I never imagined we would get to this point. I can also think of no better way to celebrate this milestone than with a review of an album from one of THE juggernauts of heavy…the mighty TESTAMENT. Their brand new offering Titans of Creation (April 3, Nuclear Blast Records) picks up where Brotherhood of the Snake left off, imposing its will on you from note one.
“Children of the Next Level” opens the disc with a furious run, the twin guitars of Alex Skolnick and Eric Peterson strafing the ground below them with machine gun riffs while vocalist Chuck Billy lets slip the dogs of war. “WW III” takes up the battle axe and swings for your goddamn head, while “Dream Deceiver” manages to be not only be heavy as fuck, but also sports one of the catchiest hooks in this band’s catalogue. Every time I hear it I’m singing for hours! Obviously this was an album favorite. A fog of darkness rolls in with “City of Angels”, a tune about Richard Ramirez, aka the Night Stalker, who terrorized residents of Los Angeles and San Francisco during the 1980’s. You can just feel the evil emanating from this track.
“Symptoms” showcases bassist Steve DiGiorgio’s exceptional talent while drummer Gene Hoglan lays down a beat that is thick like poured concrete. Elsewhere “False Prophet” is vintage TESTAMENT all the way while still sounding fresh and modern. This one’s gonna put a hurtin’ on some people’s necks and some doctors might need to be called. “The Healers”, Holy Sweet Fuck-All, this is THE best song on the record!! An homage to the medicine men who helped and guided Billy during his battle with cancer, lyrically and musically this is right up there with some of the best work they’ve ever done…period. The one-two punch continues with “Code of Hammurabi” and quite frankly I can see the band going ballistic playing this one live.
With “Curse of Osiris” it’s like they said, “Hey let’s go completely batshit and just fuck everything up in our path. Sound good?” Fuck yeah, it does!! Now, usually intros/outros are not my cup of tea, right? But closing instrumental “Catacombs” is really, really cool. It’s only two minutes long, but the atmosphere is such I often find myself listening four to five times before I move on. At the end of the day, holy shit has TESTAMENT done it once again! Titans of Creation is a worthy addition to an already storied body of work, and a perfect companion to their last effort. Juan Urteaga and Andy Sneap recorded, mixed, and mastered it beautifully. Pick this one up wherever you buy your music, and send love and positive vibes to Chuck Billy, who is recovering from this awful Coronavirus as we speak. We love you, Chuck!!
STANDOUT TRACKS: “The Healers”, “Children of the Next Level”, “Dream Deceiver”, “City of Angels”, “False Prophet”