When I first heard of these guys was many years ago when they all were in a thrash metal band called Sacrament. Years later after disbanding in 1994, they were never heard of again, until mid 2021 when former members Paul Graham on drums and Mike Torone vocals formed Testimony Of Apocalypse, which was named after their Sacrament debut full length.
It was going to be interesting to say the least, with even before the remasters of both Sacrament albums that had occurred, I thought their sound of Testimony Of Apocalypse was of poor quality and to their credit Haunts Of Violence was certainly much better as a follow up second album. I wasn’t expecting a huge change, with this new album especially being out of the industry for almost 3 decades. As we all know, technology has vastly improved immensely within the recording process over the years, so I was pleasantly surprised on the output this time around.
Testimony Of Apocalypse have just released their brand new debut album None Escape The Judgement through their label and distributor The Charon Collective last month. Over the last 12 months TOA released five singles from the debut, which just like Def Leppard and their 1987 album Hysteria is way too much for any band, especially if its half your album. But, you live and learn I guess.
- Unleashed (2.53)
- Redemption (5:48)
- Lamb Of God (4:39)
- Truth VS Lies (4:53)
- A Day Of Wrath (4:41)
- Take My Spirit (5:09)
- Majestad (5:06)
- Walls (3:51)
- We All Shall Rise (4:29)
- Blessed Are The Dead (5:08)
- Paul Graham (Drums)
- Nick Pacitti (Guitars, Bass & Keys)
- Mike Torone (Vocals)
Beginning the album with the song Unleashed, I felt it wasn’t the right track to begin with the album, it seemed to lack that impact and bite needed for a introduction on your new representation towards the listener.
Funnily enough, Redemption kicks in next and I can honestly say, could it be exactly what they meant?. This song certainly did redeem itself after the first track, also as being the first single released almost 12 months ago. It was what we were expecting from these guys from the word go. Brooding, heavy and brutal, not on a overly fast scale as you would expect from some death metal bands, but they set the tone it deserved.
Lamb Of God is next in line and a very much like the intro with signs of strings and use of the floor tom, it gave you the blackened metal sound which I purely like, just on principle alone. The guitar tones and use of the bass lines compliment the song as a whole, a mixture of groove and melodic guitar solos, reaching the peak of this composition, they did however, try a little bit too much a little later on that didn’t seem to fit, before the groove enters again!! Maybe I’m just boring but, I would have preferred the same tempo, with the majority of this piece of songwriting, which I believe is supposed to be.
Truth Vs Lies exposes what began in the beginning of the album, again lacking the overall boldness that Redemption and Lamb Of God delivered. I’m sorry if it seems I’m slamming these guys, however this song should be at the back of the queue, so to speak. I believe its more a placement issue than the actually the song itself, otherwise its great and well rounded sound, its just not something you would expect on track number four.
A Day Of Wrath brutally assaults your senses with speedy snares drumming and with that guitar tone which is sensational, to be yet again, to be let down at the 1:30 minute mark, when their sound comes up quite empty, only to change direction again and to fill the empty gap a little later on. Groove driven with thrash elements, expressing a much bolder sound is what is carrying this song throughout.
Leading into the second half of the album None Escapes The Judgement, Take My Spirit begins very well, I can see what they are doing here, doomy and slowed down tempo that cranks into a speedy solo that I liked very much indeed. The ever repetitive vocal delivery finds itself rise up again, which is OK, I might add, as I believe consistency is key and Mike’s tone is on point and its given exactly as it needs to be. The chorus seemed quite troubling to me, with the double bass and guitar appearing to be out of time, which is accompanied by a vocal echo of the line take my spirit that falls a little flat and empty again in parts. My analysis suggests its hemorrhaging at points in the song, which I found disappointing.
Majested comes in next and the out of time elements seems to show its ugly face again, however this time, I believe this was intentional, as to express their creative side of progression meets brutality. An instrumental mixed with acoustic guitars and a nice layered mix. A stunning song with great solos, which the band is showing great musicianship. I knew they had it, however in my opinion this song is the strongest track on the album thus far.
Walls makes its entrance, which is a groove driven song, that is very well done, both vocally pleasant and wisely used to add to that element of doom and with a Gothic touch, which I find quite tasteful. Then their next released single We All Shall Rise steps in as we make our way near the end of N.E.T.J., with another swinging groove piece that holds its own. I’m finding the latter part of the album more enjoyable that the first, again song arrangement has a lot to do with that, or maybe I’m just being over critical. Never treat my opinions as gospel! For we all like what we like, and I’m free enough to express that opinion.
Finalizing the album with The Day Of The Dead, which was their last single released before they dropped their album to the waiting listeners. Its a good way to see this album out, with it fast and furious in parts, showing mixtures of the album as a whole, adding acoustics and with shredding layered solos, the creative aspect is also accompanied by wholesome groove bound licks and changes that are vastly different to what I heard earlier.
Overall, I have very mixed feelings with None Escapes The Judgement, was great in parts and lacked in some ways too. The sound itself was really good and well balanced and received. To me its a decent record for the band, however I do know that Testimony Of Apocalypse are writing new music at the moment and I’m encouraged as I know, that after almost 30 years out of the business, there is always bound to be some cobwebs to clear and the next release will certainly be one to watch out for.
Christian Sullivan – 8/10, The Metal Onslaught Magazine