I managed to snag the limited edition digibook of this album and it looks superb. The cover art for Testament’s albums are always top-notch and more often than not, so is the album content. I am not quite sure where ‘Brotherhood of the Snake’ stands in terms of Testament’s other releases. It has some moments of greatness for sure but there are a couple of tracks that weren’t quite up to scratch for this listener. The title track and the excellent ‘The Pale King’ get things off to a fantastic start. The title track in particular comes screaming out of the speakers and really sets the tone for the rest of the album. Chuck Billy sounds great, spitting venom through his words and the guitar work, as expected from Peterson and Skolnick is tight, focussed, fast and sounds great overall.
The opening guitars to track three, ‘Stronghold’ sounds a little like an old Slayer track. I can’t remember which one and it’s bugging the hell out of me (maybe The Antichrist?). It is a bit of a lull after the blistering assault of the first two songs. It isn’t bad, it just isn’t brilliant either. ‘Seven Seal’ sounds like an older Testament track, great intro to this one. The guitars really shine here and whilst ‘Born in a Rut’ slows things down a little, it’s a nice change of pace, a very cool track, I really dig it. ‘Centuries of Suffering’ comes at you at 100mph and smashes you in the face like a brick. A punishing track with Billy sounding ferocious on vocals. “Black Jack’ is, for me the albums weakest track, it doesn’t do much for me at all and even Billy doesn’t sound interested during the chorus.
‘Neptune’s Spear’ is another great track. Crushing guitars, a thundering rhythm section and Billy sounding great too. ‘Canna-Business’ is not great to be honest. Billy tells us exactly what he thinks about the legalisation of Cannabis in some parts of the US and I would’ve done without the track to be honest. It almost sounds like a half-hearted b-side and for me is one to skip over. The final track is ‘The Number Game’ and it finishes the album on a high. Classic Testament sound, fast, in your face. A monster song.
I have a lot of time for Testament. Their albums are consistently high quality. The production is good, musicianship is very tight and the songs are there too. Not quite as good as ‘The Formation of Damnation’ which is a great album imo. ‘Brotherhood of the Snake’ is another fine entry into the band’s catalogue. Testament show no signs of slowing down and I for one am a happy man. A couple of tracks were a little underwhelming but overall it is a killer album.