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Testament "The Legacy": This Bay Area Band Releases a Very Solid Debut Album

Updated on August 10, 2017

Testament: The Legacy Front Album Cover

Track Listing for The Legacy

  1. Over the Wall
  2. The Haunting
  3. Burnt Offerings
  4. Raging Waters
  5. C.O.T.L.O.D. (Curse of the Legions of Death)
  6. First Strike is Deadly
  7. Do or Die
  8. Alone in the Dark
  9. Apocalyptic City

Who Are Testament? A Brief Introduction

San Francisco based thrash metal band Testament got off to a solid start with their debut album "The Legacy" released in 1987. The lineup for this album is Chuck Billy (vocals), Eric Peterson (guitars), Alex Skolnick (guitars), Greg Christian (bass guitars), and Louie Clemente (drums). This lineup would stay intact until after their 5th album called The Ritual in 1992. The Legacy would begin a streak of three awesome albums in a row for this American thrash band.

The Difference Between Legacy and Testament's Later Albums

One major difference between the band’s debut and the ones that would follow it is the fact that Chuck Billy tends to let out a lot of screams. However, these screams do not have the chance to annoy you unlike John Arch of Fates Warning (1982-1987) whose high pitched shrieks and general whiny vocals were hard to understand. Why should the world care about The Legacy? How did it contribute to American popular culture at the time?

The Importance of The Legacy to American Popular Culture

Because this album was a symbol of the kind of heavy metal that was popular at the time. The heavy, fast thrash that the world was used to was the type that was popular at the time. Testament are not band wagon jumpers and these guys just wanted to play fast, entertaining thrash metal that was exciting. Not only are the songs on The Legacy exciting, they also tend to be VERY fast!

The Song Called Raging Waters

The Legacy: A Brief Review

I hear a somewhat early Metallica influence in the song Raging Waters. The song is about a group of men that have set sail on a dangerous journey. However, they did not know or were not aware of the dangers that awaited them. They were thrown around the ship. They get the feeling that Satan is in control of the seas. They know by this time that they will not see their home again. Every man has to fend for himself as these men are living life by a thread, knowing that it may be sucked away at any moment. First Strike is Deadly features some of the highest screams we hear from Chuck Billy at this point in the band’s career. The melodies can remind us of Iron Maiden as well. Chuck Billy lets out another scream before the song switches back to its main riff again. The song is about prisoners that are condemned to their fate by what is known as the venom master. One bite from these snakes is deadly. Next is the melodic song Do or Die. This one is about a man that leaves home and goes off to fight a war. At first everything is fine and looking up for him. But the dangers of war have him scared, tense and very scared. He is getting ready to jump out of his plane, hoping to get himself to safety. He feels that all of his dreams have disappeared and he is trembling with fear, wondering what to do. The next song is called Alone in the Dark. Of course, we are not referring to the video game here. The song is about being in a world of darkness where there are demons and witches present. My favorite song in this album is the very melodic and catchy song Burnt Offerings. Even almost 30 years later, that song is still one of Testament’s best ones. Apocalyptic City starts out with some interesting guitar sound before getting into a heavy song. Over the Wall may be the famous song in this album. The song is about a prisoner that has been condemned to stay there for the rest of his life. He does not want to stay in that jail cell so he will do what he can to escape from this hell that he is in. Even if he is caught, he will try again to escape the jail cell that he is in. If you wanted to start a career in a solid way, this album is the way to do it. The Legacy features nine solid songs that show that Testament is a super skilled band and one of the best that the US has ever had.

The Song Called First Strike is Deadly

© 2016 Ara Vahanian

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