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Review: Testament "The Gathering" 1999 Thrash Metal Album

Updated on July 15, 2017

A photo of the CD The Gathering

A little bit of information about The Gathering

San Francisco based thrash metal veterans Testament have adopted a style of music that is often times fast, heavy, and brutal in terms of the low guttural style of vocals since 1994. And that formula has really worked out well. Their 1999 album The Gathering is another example of a heavy album that is good. The song that really got me into the album is the first song called D.N.R. (Do Not Resuscitate).

The songs D.N.R. and Down for Life are two of the best songs in the album

The song is about a person that is nearing the end of his life but he is very regretful because his life has been filled with lies, unfulfilled dreams, and a lot of pain. He wonders whether there is more that he could have known about life and that he could have been more successful than he was. If he is in so much pain that he cannot tolerate living anymore, then he should not be revived. We cannot get time back and as we die, will we see the light at the end of that tunnel or not? This is one of those philosophical songs that can really make a listener think. I write these thoughts on a night where I am trying to just settle down and find a sense of calm in an increasingly competitive United States where we are expected to maintain a certain standard of living in order to be deemed acceptable or successful. But the song D.N.R. is clearly one of the best songs in the band’s career. Down for Life is a song that talks about trying to maintain a strong relationship with a sibling even though you may have your differences with him. And just like the 1994 album Low, the first song in this album shows that the band is capable of having very strong starts.

The songs Eyes of Wrath and True Believer

The third song Eyes of Wrath is about a beast that goes around terrorizing the city and killing whatever person is in its path. I feel that this is a subject that has been kind of covered too much. The song has a type of guitar play that sounds like it came from Asia, a sort of exotic feel to it, much like the song Chasing Fear. Even in the later stages of their career, Testament uses a pretty decent amount of melody to keep themselves interesting. The Gathering features two members that we did not see earlier in the band’s career. They are Steve Digiorgio (former member of Sadus) and Dave Lombardo. True Believer is a song about an evil force. You can interpret this song to mean that it is about Satan. When someone truly believes in something and they are so dedicated, they cannot be stopped.

The excellent song called D.N.R.

How does The Gathering compare to Testament's earlier albums?

Testament has always been a thrash metal band, but 1992’s The Ritual is mainstream enough that it may not be considered enough thrash metal for some fans but that album is a really solid one in the band’s history. This is not to say that The Gathering is a bad album. It is just not as good as the band’s first six studio albums. If there was any sort of decline for this band with this album, that would prove to be short-lived.

Rating the album The Gathering

How strong of an album is The Gathering?

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The Gathering: songs 7-11 and conclusion

Allegiance is a song about trying to defend and preserve Native American culture even if that means going to war to defend those values. These people have had to be ready to resist the attempted domination of their culture by foreigners. Unfortunately, Native American people have lost much of their land and their way of life due to Manifest Destiny.

The song called Careful What You Wish For is a song about the fact that life is not what it may seem at certain times. The song tries to send the message that we live in a very screwed up world where people hide their true feelings about others and there is much uncertainty out there. The thing is that people have the ability and the capacity to be not so deceptive and to be more honest and caring. But with over 7 billion people on the Earth, we are bound to come in contact with many people that live to lie and deceive others. Sewn Shut Eyes is a song that is about what hatred can do to a person when that feeling or emotion is allowed to fester and gain control of the person’s mind. There is no human being in this world that can be totally pure in the traditional sense but we can at least try to recognize what to do when the feeling of hate arises within us. The song Fall of Sipledome is about what can happen to the world since global warming is a reality that all of us have to deal with. As the ice in the Arctic areas melts, this will cause a rise in the Earth’s temperatures that will put the lives of many people at risk. Overall, 1999’s The Gathering is a decent album from these thrash metal veterans but it is not even close to being as good as 1994’s Low.

The song called Down for Life

The song called Eyes of Wrath

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