Poor old Testament. They’ve spent months writing recording, honing and generally buffing up their latest thrash offering for our slavering delectation when world events come along and literally trump them by delivering a worldwide pandemic – surely one of the most thrashy obsessions to be endlessly represented in song since the genre erupted onto the world stage in the eighties…

So what do you do when real life starts imitating art on a global scale? That’s right -you thrash like a maniac.

And Titans of Creation is irrefutably a thrash record. All fifty eight minutes of it. Every second is designed to batter the senses, each minim an aural assault weapon, every bowel-bothering bellow a call-to-arms to those with ears to listen. Some of the tracks – the superb Dream Deceiver, for instance, or the back to basics battery of The Healers – could even be called quintessential Testament. But, as ever with these Bay Area bruisers, there is also enough experimentation going on to save the band from accusations of the mundane. Of course, when you have musicians of the calibre of those making this music, mundanity should never be a problem; brevity, however – or the want of it – definitely is in places. The band’s last album, Brotherhood of the Snake, had a real sense of urgency about it. Song structures were taut, and no time was wasted allowing tracks to outstay their welcome. Here. that urgency is sometimes lost, with songs such as City of Angels and Night of the Wish meandering when they really should be getting in and getting their jobs done a bit quicker.

That’s a minor point, really; in the scheme of an album that delivers truly great heavy metal in the form of tracks like Code of Hammurabi or the stompingly apt Symptoms a wasted minute or two can be overlooked. It’s hard not to get carried away with the madness of it all whenever Gene Hoglan launches another salvo of bruising drum battery, or when Chuck Billy‘s wounded bull roar licks into full effect. And if you don’t end up presenting to the local A&E with a serious case of RSI after flexing your digits to the frankly inhuman riffing and soloing of Alex Skolnick and Eric Peterson then clearly you haven’t been listening to this album properly. And don’t even get me started on the bass work of Steve DiGiorgio

In my review of … Snake, I pronounced that Testament had made a ‘great’ album; I stand by that, and, if Titans of Creation doesn’t quite stove the head in with the at-times manic intensity of it’s predecessor, it’s still a worthy addition to the Testament cannon and an album you should definitely take time to explore if you call yourself a fan of thrash metal.

Titans of Creation is out now on Nuclear Blast.