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TESTAMENT - Demonic (reissue)


It’s hard to believe that TESTAMENT’s Demonic is over a decade old, but after a short spell of being out of print, the crew at Prosthetic has wisely chosen to keep the album alive and available for the masses. Originally planned as a death metal side project called “DOG FACED GODS” based on a track from the band’s previous album Low, Demonic was nonetheless released under the TESTAMENT name, assembled by mainmen Chuck Billy and Eric Petersen following the departure of much of the band’s lineup from Low. “Demonic Refusal” kicks things off with an atom bomb of heaviness with Chuck’s deep growling delivery offering a new menace to his vocals. It unleashes a band light years away from the safer, more melodic textures found on The Ritual. After a strong opening, the band keeps the momentum rolling with the driving punch of “The Burning Times” and “Together as One” driven by Eric Petersen’s extra crunchy riffs complimented nicely by guest drummer Gene Hoglan’s hammering beats. “John Doe” on the other hand, sees the band shift comfortably in to a half-time shuffle, grooving like no tomorrow while still maintaining its thunderous delivery. This continues throughout the album well in to the final closing track, “Nostrovia.” Overall, Demonic can be seen as somewhat of an oddity in the TESTAMENT catalog, with little of the melody and hooks found on earlier classics such as The New Order and Practice What You Preach. On the other hand, Demonic was TESTAMENT’s heaviest, bludgeoning record to date, trading off melody for sheer force. It replaced shredding guitar solos with thick, heavy grooves creating a more rhythm based album. Over ten years later, Demonic still remains an audio force and holds up considerably well against most of what today’s metal has to offer. The folks at Prosthetic must have realized this as only the album cover was changed (inexplicably the original with nails driven into the skull is harsher than the new cover), and there are no bonus tracks or enhancements. As such, fans who own the original will have little reason to purchase this reissue, but for those who missed out the first time, now is the time to pick up this must own disc. (Prosthetic Records)