By Lisa Marklinger
As the legend goes, The Brotherhood of the Snake is a secret society to the fore of culture and civilization as we know it now: Earth was constructed by “a serpent-infested swampland called Snake Marsh.” The Alien King (Ea) engineered humans to work as slaves to mine for gold. Or something like that.
Testament has taken this mythical apologue and infused it into their 12th studio offering Brotherhood of the Snake – a self-described concept album – distinct in its lyrical content from their previous works, which used to lean more towards politics, the environment, angsty emotions and reality.
The title track, also the record’s first single, invites us on an allusive trip that storms forward over the course of 10 songs, ending fittingly with “The Numbers Game,” a narrative about a 14-day, 14-night killing spree. Musically, it’s everything one might expect from Bay Area thrash – high BPMs, tangled upper-register guitar with extended runs and solos layered over a groovy, funk bass line. This while the second guitar gusts around the percussion, smartening up the others, but staying subdued enough that all parts can be admired separately.
Even after 12 albums, Testament shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Though, they better be better than just good every time they drop an album because thrash doesn’t need a comeback; it never really leaves.Brotherhood of the Snake, Testament