Testament - The Gathering (Remastered)

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As part of a re-issue series of Testament albums acquired by Nuclear Blast, a new remastering job has been done on 1999's The Gathering by in-demand English producer (and Hell guitarist) Andy Sneap, who mixed the original release. The Gathering was a significant album for Testament as it successfully combined the heavier, death metal oriented style they adopted on 1997's Demonic, with more of their classic thrash sound. In a sense, it is the template for what modern Testament sounds like, and was a basis for the highly successful The Formation of Damnation album which reignited their career (alongside the singing to Nuclear Blast and the return of Alex Skolnick on guitar), even though there was a nine year gap between them. It was by far their most popular album for nearly a decade at the time, and many would probably question that it needed remastering in the first place. It was always a great sounding record, but when compared side-by-side to this new mix, it's clear the original actually had a loudness problem which Sneap has completely fixed. The new version has significantly less distortion, especially at the high end, likely caused by clipping, much less "splash" on the cymbals, and a fuller sound to the guitars and bass. Chuck Billy's vocals are slightly less isolated as well. The vinyl release in particular should benefit from the sonic upgrade, given that the medium tends to show a great appreciation of warmth anyway, and the addition (on both the CD and LP) of the instrumental bonus track Hammer of The Gods from the Japanese release provides an extra incentive for older fans to re-buy. Fans who don't have it already, need it anyway - it's one of their most important records.

Written by Andy Lye
More: 2018, Albums, Quickplay Reviews, Re-release, Thrash Metal,

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