Testament – “The New Order”

Honoring one album from a legendary metal band typically requires little in the way of justification. When we choose to induct a second album from that same artist, it can feel as though the burden of proof is on us to explain the decision. With Testament’s second LP (and second Decibel Hall of Fame induction, following 1987 debut The Legacy), this simply isn’t the case. Anyone who would debate this record’s worthiness is fighting a losing battle. There are few releases in the thrash canon that can match Testament’s combination of melody, musicianship and unrelenting intensity.

The New Order arrived at a transformative time in metal. Thrash’s pioneers, both European and American, had not only established this new, more extreme version of metal, but had unwittingly helped sprout other germinating strains. Additionally, by the late ’80s, metal—even some of the extreme stuff—had become commercially viable. Major labels signed the Big Four (Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax and Megadeth), Death Angel, Exodus and Testament because they thought those bands were eventually going to move a lot of units.

While The New Order did ultimately prove to be a major launching point in Testament’s successful four-decade-long career, it’s also the origin of the band’s most beloved songs. Ragers like “The Preacher,” “Disciples of the Watch,” “Trial by Fire” and the title track have been crowd favorites that rarely (if ever) leave the Bay Area quintet’s set lists. For 30 years, mosh pits have swirled into action every time the band launches into the lurching, ominous intro of the rampaging and anthemic “Into the Pit.”

This song, so emblematic of what makes The New Order a classic, demonstrates everything that separates Testament from their thrash peers. Be it lead guitarist Alex Skolnick’s incredible virtuosity, vocalist Chuck Billy’s perfect blend of gruff barks and well-placed melody, rhythm guitarist Eric Peterson’s frenetic riffing, or drummer Louie Clemente and bassist Greg Christian’s careful balance between hardcore punk intensity and total precision, no band sounded like Testament on The New Order—which they will play in its entirety during their appearance at Decibel Metal and Beer Fest: Los Angeles in December. In short, Testament brought their take on the thrash genre to a whole new level.

Need more Testament? To read the entire seven-page story, featuring interviews with all members on The New Order, purchase the print issue from our store, or digitally via our app for iPhone/iPad or Android.