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Review: "Souls of Black" by thrash metal band Testament

Updated on January 19, 2018

What makes Souls of Black Different From Testament's First Three Albums?

Thrash metal band Testament entered the year 1990 having released three VERY good albums to end the decade of the 1980’s. Their 4th studio album called Souls of Black is the weakest album of these first four but I can assure you that it does not mean it is weak as in poor. Musically, the main difference is that Chuck Billy does not use the high pitched screams that we heard in the first three albums. The album was released on Megaforce Records, the same record label that Metallica front man James Hetfield told fans about in 1983 that released the album Kill Em All.

A Photo of the CD Souls of Black

Source

Why is the Album's Cover Worth Talking About?

The album’s cover is similar to a few other covers from famous bands. It is similar to Black Sabbath’s Mob Rules and Blind Guardian’s Battalions of Fear in the sense that the cover shows a group of druids and one of them is holding an image of a shattered heart.

Souls of Black: Songs 1-4

The first few songs set the tone for the album. The song Falling Fast features Chuck Billy trying to use a forceful vocal chant to show that he can still sing with authority. The song is about seeking help from the LORD GOD our creator so that anyone of us that are going through bleak times can be helped out before we take our own lives. Some people find that they cannot take much more than they have had to deal with. The title track Souls of Black features a very good bass part to start. The song is being very critical of politicians as they are in office not to serve their constituents but many of them are there to follow what their corporate masters tell them to do. They essentially take away the hopes of the citizens. Chuck Billy does an excellent job on the chorus. Many people’s hopes can be lost due to the actions of these politicians.

The Song Called Falling Fast

The Major Con of the Album: the Song Called Absence of Light

The next song Absence of Light is one of the weaker songs in the album and it is about portraying life as nothing but a gloomy existence for many people. Sometimes it can feel like your hopes and dreams have been taken away from you because of extended war or other reasons.

Souls of Black (lower growling style vocals by Chuck Billy)

Souls of Black: Songs 6-7 and Song #9

The song Love to Hate is a song about a ruthless tyrant who will eliminate anyone that gets in his way. The result will be that he will pay for his crimes eventually. The song Malpractice is a song about being against the medical industry because some doctors can cause their patients to bleed to death due to improper practices or negligence. The song has a neoclassical influenced solo in it. One Man’s Fate is a song about some people’s lives being like time as nothing but leading to decay. Life on this planet is limited so don’t waste it.

About the influential song Seven Days of May

The album ends with the song Seven Days of May which is another politically inspired song. Those of us that value the good values in a nation will struggle just to make sure that democracy flourishes. The song is trying to say that democracy promotion is beneficial but in order for that to happen, the people must have a say in their government. Sadly the US today is less of a democracy because of the rise of corporate special interests and the power of the pharmaceutical companies. However, the song PC is better than this but Seven Days of May is still a good song.

The Song Called The Legacy

About the Ballad Style Song The Legacy and Final Score

The Legacy is the band’s first real ballad and it is about someone who reminisces about going back to the past when they were a child laughing, playing, and living in another way. But as we know, we can never turn back the clock and go back to our younger days. The past is only a memory that we can look back at and think about what we have accomplished so far.

Souls of Black gets a score of 80 out of 100 points.

© 2017 Ara Vahanian

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