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

Updated on January 9, 2021
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Ara is a Journalism graduate from California State University Northridge who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

The album cover has a statue of a monster as there is a bird flying past it. There is a book that remains open and may hold the secret to something very powerful. The cover symbolizes a secret that lies in the Universe which has not been discovered.
The album cover has a statue of a monster as there is a bird flying past it. There is a book that remains open and may hold the secret to something very powerful. The cover symbolizes a secret that lies in the Universe which has not been discovered.

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? The Lineup for the Album The Legacy

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 The 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"

Songs Such as Over the Wall and Burnt Offerings Define the Greatness of The Legacy

Right from the beginning of this album, the fast and exciting song Over the Wall lets listeners know that Testament starts their career with speed, melody, and much enjoyment. Chuck Billy’s intense scream of “over the wall” defines this one even more than 30 years later. Burnt Offerings is another one of those songs that is most definitely memorable because if the melodic start that this one has as the song builds up and has a VERY catchy riff early on!

The Legacy: A Brief Review Part 2

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 more than 30 years later, that song is still one of Testament’s best ones.

About the Song Apocalyptic City and More About Over the Wall

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.

Your question might be how was The Legacy received by fans and critics? This debut received favorable reviews by critics and why wouldn’t that be the case? This is just more than 1980s thrash. It also has some classical feel to it such as in the beginning of the song “Burnt Offerings.” However, The Legacy is known for having mostly thrash metal riffs with fast solos, two qualities which were typical at this time period for many metal bands.

The Song Called "First Strike is Deadly"

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


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