Janiss Garza
May 29, 1992 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Ritual

Current Status
In Season

We gave it a B

Testament’s brand of frenzied mayhem and high-amp clamor helped establish thrash metal in the ’80s. Now, the sophisticated, more discerning strains of their fifth album, The Ritual, are proof that thrash as we know it is gone. But before parents breathe a sigh of relief, they should know that this quintet is no less heavy, forceful, or loud. It’s just that with tunes such as ”Let Go of My World” and ”The Sermon,” they’ve slowed the music down a few RPMs and added subtlety to the arrangements. Metal’s new direction is exemplified by the slow, spine-chilling sense of foreboding in ”So Many Lies,” and in the hypnotic, nightmarish minor chords of the title cut. The one thing Testament hasn’t changed is its lyrical content. The songs are still angry and frustrated, threatening harsh retribution for lies and injustice. Frankly, this sort of kvetching is beginning to wear thin, but at least the music is maturing. B

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