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Testament "the Legacy" Album Review: The Beginning for One of the Bay Area's Thrash Metal Legends

Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.


Songs List for Testament's First Album

  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"

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 Legacy" Songs Analysis

For the purposes of this revised look at this influential album we will analyze those songs that are not on the compilation album First Strike Still Deadly. On the night of September 16, 2022 as I listened to this debut for what seems like the millionth time, it is one of the strongest Testament albums for sure. The Legacy is an album that does have melody for sure and it is not just your standard thrash metal album that is focused on speed as its main trademark or quality even though there are many fast parts in it for sure. 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. There is a reference in the song to something known as “the Devil’s Triangle.” 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. 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.

“Apocalyptic City” starts out with some interesting guitar sound before getting into a heavy song. The song is lyrically about someone being born into a world that has him disillusioned. He feels like he has nothing to live for and he is ready to lose 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. Testament set a legacy of excellence early with this debut and what is interesting is that this is the name that they went by at first before changing to their current name. Then there is a song called C.O.T.L.O.D. This is called “Curse of the Legions of Death.” This song is about witches going on the offensive as the priests grow impatient. Lyrically, this album is pretty similar to the one that would come after this album. Chuck Billy offers a laugh at the end of the song before the song’s title is repeated for the last time.

Final Thoughts and Other Perspectives About "The Legacy"

In terms of debut albums by metal bands, The Legacy is a super outstanding way for this band to have set in motion for what is eventually going to become their thrash metal legacy after they have retired from the scene. The online media magazine Loudwire gave this debut several accolades. One of them is that the magazine called The Legacy Testament’s best album in 2016. This is a very promising debut on par with Metallica’s Kill ‘em All which is quite a statement to make. Even the worst song on this album is still good. I would say that the weakest song on The Legacy is Raging Waters but even that one is good to listen to. The song may also be trying to tell us to be careful whenever we go sailing on a ship because you never know if the currents may be too strong to handle.

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.

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© 2022 Ara Vahanian

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