Review: Testament "Low" A Heavy Album That Is Really Good and an Influential Thrash Metal Release
A Photo of a Desert in the Western US a Symbol of Westward Expansion
"Low" Track Listing
- "Legions (In Hiding)"
- "Hail Mary"
- "Trail of Tears"
- "Shades of War"
- "Dog Faced Gods"
- "All I Could Bleed"
- "Urotsukidoji" (instrumental)
- "Chasing Fear"
- "Last Call" (instrumental)
Why is "Low" Different and Why is it Such an Influential Heavy Metal Release?
Testament’s 6th studio album Low released is a really good album but be prepared to hear something VERY different. It is a really heavy album that will probably send shock waves through your body because you may start wondering what the heck is going on. The major change for this album in comparison the band’s first five albums is that the vocals are more guttural and heavier. No Chuck Billy does not sound like a dog that barks but he stretches out his voice, making it brutal and pretty easy to understand at the same time which brings up the album’s overall score. Also playing on this album is guitarist James Murphy and drummer John Tempesta. The album is also a very influential album because it addresses various issues that have been bad for the image of the United States over the nation’s history. People have to know what has happened in the past so that they can know why certain events are happening today. Low begins with a heaviness that fans of Testament had not seen prior to this point. The title track begins with a sort of heaviness that we had not seen from Testament as Chuck Billy has set a sort of standard with these rough vocals. I think that this vocal switch has really helped them out.
The Significance of the Song "Trail of Tears"
Low was released in 1994, the last real year of popularity for the show called Headbangers Boll. Once again, we have another power ballad in this album and this one is called "Trail of Tears." The song is about the displacement and destruction of the Native Americans. These Indians have had a lot of pride, not giving in to the aggression from those that were colonizing this country. Families are willing to travel long distances whether they have to travel through snow or desert sand in order to get to what they deem to be the “promised land.”
Strength of the Album Low
Is the Album Low Your Favorite Album by Testament?
"Dog Faced Gods"
Why is "Low" One of the Best Albums of 1994?
Among other albums released in 1994, Low is by far the best one that was released that year. Why is this? Because it has all the qualities that make for an enjoyable listen while also being a metal album. Besides the great, rough guttural vocals that I already mentioned, most of the songs are worth listening to from beginning to end. One exception may be the song called Shades of War. Urotskidoji is one of two instrumentals in this album that has a lot of bass guitar in it and sometimes it is fast as heck too. The drumming is pretty good too though John Tempesta cannot really replace the technicality and talent of Louie Clemente. This first instrumental has a sort of Middle Eastern influence in it as well. The amazing song Chasing Fear has always been one of my favorites as well. Once again, we hear a sort of Middle Eastern sound here and Chuck grunts the word fear. And then you know that these guys mean business with their heaviness. The song is about someone who thinks they are chasing fear, yet it is the emotion of fear is chasing them. The person’s mind is scared and confused at the same time as he has no idea of what to do. The person loses control of their body and their willpower slowly withers away. Ride is a really fast song that describes Jesus of Nazareth in a humorous kind of way.
"P.C." is One of the Most influential Songs Written By Any Metal Band
Another reason that the album Low is superior to other metal albums released in 1994 is for the song P.C. This is not just a song; it is a very influential song and it describes the corruption in the US government as our politicians are bought out by the corporations and often have to do their bidding. It is often the average person that pays the price just for living here. We must take back all that we have lost at whatever cost as Chuck Billy sings. The US fought a war to free itself from the control of the British and we must be able to properly exercise that freedom. The last verse is one of the best in any song as Chuck says:
“And what about the CIA?"
What the f*** is their real job anyway?
Starting Civil Wars in third world countries, exporting heroin to the Far East,” (Testament 1994).
This last verse is very influential because it is a very accurate description of what our CIA does as they are responsible for covert operations and coup attempts as they did in Iran in 1953. The band does a great job for writing this song because we have to inform the world that these abuses of power are unacceptable and we must have a country that benefits the average person and not just the 1% as you hear Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren talk about so much.
The Excellent Song Called "Chasing Fear"
Final Thoughts About the Greatness of the Album "Low"
Low is one of those albums that got mixed reviews but for those of you that crave heavy thrash metal that works well, Low is a good choice. No it is not a perfect album but Low has soft parts, a ballad, two instrumental songs and just enough heaviness to satisfy you.
Testament. 1994. P.C. Comp. Greg Christian and Eric Peterson.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2016 Ara Vahanian