Hallowe’en Night Post, 2012: Testament– The least you need to know (i.e., The Legacy and The New Order)

I bought The Legacy cassette on Hallowe’en 1987, after being floored by the video for “Over the Wall” on the then-new Headbanger’s Ball; around 6 months later I bought the “Trial by Fire” vinyl single with its B-side of “Nobody’s Fault,” and then The New Order cassette on the day it came out (May 10, 1988– along with the newest Vinnie Vincent Invasion cassette, but that’s neither here nor there).

I’ve been playing guitar nearly 30 years, long enough to honestly evaluate who my influences are/were.

I’m pretty much 1/3 Tony Iommi, 1/3 Stevie Ray Vaughn & Jake E. Lee and 1/3 bay area thrash metal– which here pretty much means one third Testament lead guitarist Alex Skolnick and rhythm guitarist (and primary songwriter) Eric Peterson.

I nearly literally worshiped guitarist Alex Skolnick’s solo abilities for years (and I hate solos and never take them if I can help it). I didn’t realize until years later that I was also tacitly worshiping Peterson’s riff-writing abilities.

In my opinion, The Legacy has held up the best, in terms of menace, power and intensity, of any other purely thrash metal record; Among the Living is probably second, and then Peace Sells and then, The New Order.

There’s really not a bad tune on The Legacy, but “Over the Wall,” “Burnt Offerings,” “Raging Waters,” “Curse of the Legions of Death,” and “First Strike is Deadly” (also the title of their demo), with its great, great solo section, are the best.

The New Order has Testament’s best song, “Trial by Fire,” a great, Poe-inspired thrash tune (“Into the Pit”), and is overall pretty great.

Happy Hallowe’en!


  1. Man, you have been bu-sy! Halloween clearly tickled your blogging bone. I never got Testament. I’ve tried, I really have. There are bits, ie the bits that sound like Metallica, that I like well enough but the whole leaves me a bit cold. I think there’s a reason why they aren’t considered in the same league as the big four. Maybe you had to be there? In 1987 I was listening to Madonna and Michael Jackson!

    1. Yeah, it’s easily my favorite holiday, and nearly every metal album I wanted to review fit the seasonal theme. After “The New Order” I don’t care for Testament at all, but “The Legacy” especially I still love.

      And don’t knock MJ, now: I still work out to “PYT.”

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