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Classic Review: Testament - The New Order
The New Order

Label: Megaforce Records
Year released: 1988
Duration: 39:19
Tracks: 10
Genre: Thrash Metal


Review online: August 28, 2003
Reviewed by: Bahamut 502
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Rated 4.18/5 (83.64%) (55 Votes)

Testament, whether deliberately or not, followed in the tradition of Metallica's Ride the Lightning to deliver the more mature and musically developed sophomore effort in The New Order, generally considered among fans and critics as Testament's best work (in the Skolnick era-Testament, at least).

The Legacy was an outstanding debut and a relentless, straightforward Bay-area thrash album. But with The New Order Testament established its reputation as a collectively ambitious, musically talented unit. Everything on The New Order, just like Ride the Lightning, is brimming with a desire to mature musically and deliver a more diverse album without losing the original thrash intensity.

Future concert favorites like "The Preacher", "The New Order", "Trial By Fire", "Disciples of the Watch" and "Into the Pit" more than fill the obligatory classic thrash song quota. And a cover of Aerosmith's apocalyptic "Nobody's Fault" is the finest example of a cover by a thrash band done right; the song actually gives some insight to the band's influence and inspiration (unlike some covers by Megadeth and Slayer). One could almost mistake the song for a Testament original, if not for the trademark Aerosmith groove that lies beneath the dark lyrics.

Even after shifting through the classics, the cover and the surprisingly excellent filler (which could pass for standout tracks on any other release), the band showcases its true ability on the hauntingly somber and emotionally stirring instrumental "Musical Death (A Dirge)". This song alone makes The New Order Testament's piece de resistance -- and solidified classically-influenced lead guitarist Alex Skolnick's place as one of the greatest (if not the best) shredders to come out of the 80s thrash movement.

Metallica's Master of Puppets usually gets more praise and attention, Megadeth's Rust in Peace is probably more technically proficient, and Slayer's Reign in Blood is surely more aggressive, but The New Order is without a doubt the most musically rewarding album to come out the heyday of late 80s thrash. Any self-respecting metalhead who appreciates excellent musicianship and stellar songwriting should own this album. Essential.

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Review: The Gathering (reviewed by Christian Renner)
Review: The Gathering (reviewed by Eddiethe'Ead)
Review: The Legacy (reviewed by 4th Horseman)
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Review: The Spitfire Collection (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
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Review: Titans of Creation (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
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