‘Titans Of Creation’ is a fitting album title from a band that’s been playing music for 37 years and has 13 studio albums their name. The 12-track recording from Bay Area thrash legends Testament has many moods and material contained within; all of which somehow tie into a common philosophy of creation and its necessary counterpart: destruction. “We’re more talking about history or present-day things that are going on already,” Testament guitarist and sole original member Eric Peterson says. “And we’ve always kind of done that with Testament. We have songs which are political but it’s things that have happened already. It’s not like forcing our issue or whatever.”
Peterson is audibly excited for Titans Of Creation to be released into the wild and reckons this could be one of their best. “We’ve always been kind of dark but this is a really dark record in a cool way. It’s got a lot of groove. It’s real heavy. I don’t want to sound stereotypical like, ‘Yeah it’s our best record. It’s really heavy,’ you know, but it really is,” he laughs. “There’s a lot of cool different styles on there. All circling around what we’re about but still kind of having a fresh take on everything. It sounds like Testament … There’s definitely some old school kind of feeling but it sounds new. It sounds weird but that’s what I’ve been told by people that have heard it. They’re like, ‘It sounds old school, but it sounds fresh’. Nothing rehashed. Just doing what we do.”
According to the band, Night of the Witch carries a vibe far more akin to black metal, with Peterson providing vocals which meld with Chuck Billy’s guttural growls. Taking some influence from Robert Egger’s 2015 horror movie, The VVitch: A New England Folktale, the song carries with it a magical quality that directly reflects the mood of the film. “It’s on the fantasy side but it’s still very real,” Peterson says. “There are some historical events that have happened that are on the record. Some dark things that have happened.”
On Children Of The Next Level, the lyrics rage about the outrageous philosophies of the Heaven’s Gate cult founded in 1974. Dream Deceiver describes being trapped in a dream by an otherworldly female force who is slowly working to degrade the mind. According to the band: “Dreams are part of existence, but when we are asleep, we are entirely vulnerable; one of the many mysteries of being human.” Written by guitarist Alex Skolnick, Symptoms is filled with intricate guitar work that represents the complicated and spellbinding journey that comes along with handling depression, mood swings, and a countless list of mental health frustrations. The lyrics in this song discuss a sad truth: that mental illness is more common than we all think, and more common than many of us are willing to acknowledge.
On a lighter note, a vibrant track entitled The Healers swings back and forth between waves of death and thrash, heavy and melodic, light and dark. The words are spiritual, and extremely personal. They describe Billy’s own experience dealing with all-natural medicine men; the elders of the Earth, and how they managed to help him pinpoint and heal his past illness. City Of Angels comes bearing an entirely new sound for Testament. The creeping sludge-iness and slow, stalking tempo walk hand in hand with the gruesome tale of ‘Night Stalker’ Richard Ramirez.
Eliran Kantor stepped up once again to create the cover artwork. Three monstrous titans stand in the place where the planets are formed. One pours moulding liquid which the others hammer into human DNA, twisting and turning into the ring of a newborn planet. Each titan has the flame of a dying star burning in their chest; the origin of the atoms making up the bodies that are bubbling and boiling on the curves of the spiralling helix.
Titans Of Creation is out now via Nuclear Blast.