The Very Best of Testament

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There's a very weird thing about thrash metal -- when it gets to a certain velocity and technical prowess, the guitars no longer sound like guitars, they sound like processed metallic machines. Which, of course, is part of the point, but it will often be slightly strange to listeners, even if they're hearing a band as acclaimed as thrash metal titans Testament. And that may be off-putting if they're coming in cold to Rhino's The Very Best of Testament. Regardless, this 2001 collection does an excellent job of summarizing their albums, featuring three cuts apiece from their first two albums, The Legacy and The New Order, two from Practice What You Preach, five from their 1992 crossover attempt, The Ritual, and a cut apiece from the live Return to the Apocalyptic City and 1994's Low. Not much here for collectors or the dedicated, outside of good sound, notes from Martin Popoff, and track-by-track analysis from guitarist Eric Peterson, but this does summarize their career quite well, even if it leans a little too heavily on The Ritual for some tastes -- and even with that crossover material in tow, the band's music still remains a daunting taste to acquire for outsiders.

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