"I've always hated the people who cry and whine "sellout!" when a band tries to grow and mature their sound.The lyrics, guitarwork, and overall quality and refinement of this album is *TOP* notch. "Return to Serenity" almost brings tears to my eyes; there is such feeling and emotion in the songs that it pains me to see where the band has gone now, and how the separation of heavy metal fans and their adamant "underground" attitude can otherwise prevent musicians from making superior music.I got rid of all the Testament albums I had after this one, because they just felt very 'angsty' and like they were trying to appease all the folks who essentially screamed at them for trying to make some eloquently heavy music with 'The Ritual'.A fantastic CD that will never grow old in your collection."
Interesting and definitely worthwhile
Ilia Asafiev | Maryland, USA | 02/23/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"First of all, here's where I stand. Testament is my favorite heavy metal band, and The Ritual is one of my favorite albums of all time. Here's why.Everything begins with a brooding "Signs of Chaos," an eerie-sounding guitar solo, foreshadowing the things to come. It leads right into "Electric Crown," which has an element of Metallica to it, but that's exactly where that ends. The album continues with a heavier offering, "So Many Lies." Going on, we encounter "Let Go Of My World," an oddly-timed bit with an absolutely incredible guitar solo. There are quite a few surprises, up until the very end.The compositions on this release are wonderful. There may be one or two weaker songs, with some riffs keeping with trite key progressions, but these weaknesses can be overlooked without much regret.One thing that cannot be overlooked is the lead guitar work - Alex Skolnik shines on every one of the tracks with melodically complex and technically stunning solos. The highlights for me are "Agony", where the solo reflects the song title very appropriately, and the ballad "Return To Serenity," for which the guitar solo is long and varied, building up to its resolution - similar in compositional approach to such pieces as Scorpions' Still Loving You and Pantera's The Sleep.The vocals are also quite good. I'm not a fan of the later vocal styling that Testament adopted, and this is very little like it. There is a clear melody in the singing, but it has a definite growl to it, which conveys quite well the adrenaline high that the singer experiences through his music.The production quality is mediocre, but not so bad as to take away from the good elements of the record. If you play this on the most average speakers/headphones, you will be able to make out what the band's trying to play/say. Quality may be subpar, but at least it's consistent.And on a final note, this album is not to be compared to any of Metallica's efforts. Metallica could only wish they had the guts to put out something like this, especially nowdays; their lead guitar, for example, does not even begin to compare. I'm amazed that people actually say that this album is inferior to Metallica's self-titled release. Production-wise, perhaps, but definitely not musically."
Testament's Best Album
AJ | 05/02/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have been a Testament fan for 14 years, and this is definitely my favorite album! Every single song on here is great. If I am in a bad mood I pop this CD in and I always feel better. Chuck's beautiful voice is amazing. Even my kids ask me to play this album in the car, and they usually complain about any other metal I play (and we're talking the good stuff like Maiden and Anthrax!) I say definitely buy this album, you will not be disappointed! Testament rules!"
Testament- The Ritual
Christopher Labaume | Moulton, TX | 06/30/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Old school thrash metal with a dark, slow groove. Clean sounding vocals well sung by frontman Chuck Billy, Blistering solos ripped with absolute finness and perfection by guitarists Alex Skolnick and Eric Peterson, a steady, pounding rythym section from bassist Greg Christian and drummer Louie Clemente. I would love to see this original lineup put out a new recording sometime in the near future."
Blows Metallica's Black album out of the water
Daniel V Davis | Dallas, Texas | 06/15/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Metallica and Testament both switched from thrash to heavy crunch around the same time. Problem was Metallica's sound got wimpy. Testaments sound has the heavy crunch that Metallica was hopeing for and failed. A very underrated album. Check out Return to Serenity and Electric Crown for starters and compare to the [stuff] Metallica did and judge for yourself."