The Formation of Damnation

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The Formation of Damnation
Testament - The Formation of Damnation.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedApril 29, 2008
StudioFantasy Studios, Berkeley, California
Genre Thrash metal
Label Nuclear Blast
Producer Eric Peterson, Chuck Billy
Testament chronology
The Spitfire Collection
The Formation of Damnation
Live at Eindhoven '87

The Formation of Damnation is the ninth studio album by American thrash metal band Testament, released on April 29, 2008. It was Testament's first album since 2001's First Strike Still Deadly , and their first of new material since 1999's The Gathering . It was also Testament's first release with original guitarist Alex Skolnick since 1992's The Ritual and bassist Greg Christian since 1994's Low . This was also the band's only studio album recorded with drummer Paul Bostaph, who joined Testament in 1993, but became a full-time member in 2007 before leaving the band four years later.

Thrash metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music characterized by its overall aggression and often fast tempo. The songs usually use fast percussive beats and low-register guitar riffs, overlaid with shredding-style lead work. The lyrics often deal with social issues and criticism of The Establishment, using direct and denunciatory language, an approach borrowed from hardcore punk.

Testament (band) American metal band

Testament is an American thrash metal band from Berkeley, California. Formed in 1983 under the name Legacy, the band's current lineup comprises guitarists Eric Peterson and Alex Skolnick, lead vocalist Chuck Billy, drummer Gene Hoglan, and bassist Steve Di Giorgio. Since its inception, Testament has had numerous lineup changes, leaving Peterson as the only constant member. Billy replaced original singer Steve "Zetro" Souza in 1986, prior to the recording of their first studio album, The Legacy, and has been a member of the band since. Peterson and Billy are the only members to appear on all of Testament's studio albums.

<i>First Strike Still Deadly</i> album

First Strike Still Deadly is a compilation album by Testament, released in 2001. It consists of re-recordings of songs released on The Legacy and The New Order, as well as a re-recording of "Reign of Terror", which was originally on Legacy's Demo 1 and was also a b-side from the "Trial by Fire" single. On some Japanese versions of this release, a different cover is present, and the disc is an Enhanced CD and includes a bonus QuickTime documentary with live clips of various incarnations of the band.


The follow-up to The Gathering was first mentioned in 2002 [1] and was originally scheduled for release in early 2004, [2] but was not completed yet. Due to the band's touring schedule and line-up changes, the album was put on hold for a number of years before being completed in 2007/2008.

Background information

Testament first mentioned their follow-up to The Gathering in May 2002, stating that guitarist Eric Peterson was busy writing new material for the album that would take "little more time since The Gathering" and be "a challenging act to follow". [1] It was also confirmed that the album would be brutal "with a lot of dual lead trade-offs between guitarists Peterson and (then-guitarist) Steve Smyth."

Eric Peterson (musician) American musician

Eric Peterson is an American guitarist. He is best known as the only constant member of the US thrash metal band Testament. Peterson has also formed a side project black metal band called Dragonlord, in which he plays guitar and also sings. In Testament, Peterson was originally a rhythm guitarist while Alex Skolnick handled all lead work. More recently though, Peterson plays leads along with Skolnick.

Steve Smyth is the guitarist for the metal band One Machine.

On February 15, 2004, it was announced that drummer Paul Bostaph, a former member of Forbidden and Slayer, would join the band to record the album. [3] It was also announced that the band was planning on entering the studio in April/May, with an intended release date of late 2004. The band posted a long update about progress on the album in October 2004. It was revealed that Peterson recovered from a triple fracture and leg surgery and was able to travel and work with the band again. [4]

Paul Bostaph American drummer

Paul Steven Bostaph is a heavy metal drummer currently performing for the thrash metal band Slayer. His drumming career began in 1984, when he was 20 years old, and he has since worked with bands like Forbidden, Exodus, Systematic, Testament, and BlackGates. describes Bostaph as "a true professional and one of the best drummers on today's metal music scene."

Forbidden was a thrash metal band from the San Francisco Bay Area. Formed in 1985 as Forbidden Evil, the group was founded by Russ Anderson and Craig Locicero, who were both ever-present members. Since their formation, Forbidden have broken up and reformed twice with numerous line-up changes. The most recent line-up of the band comprised Anderson (vocals), Locicero (guitar), Matt Camacho (bass), Steve Smyth (guitar) and Sasha Horn (drums). After breaking up for the first time in 1998 and briefly returning in 2001, Forbidden reunited once again in 2007 but has been on hiatus since 2013.

Slayer American thrash metal band

Slayer is an American thrash metal band from Huntington Park, California. The band was formed in 1981 by vocalist and bassist Tom Araya and guitarists Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman. Slayer's fast and aggressive musical style made them one of the founding "big four" bands of thrash metal, alongside Metallica, Megadeth and Anthrax. Slayer's current lineup comprises King, Araya, drummer Paul Bostaph and guitarist Gary Holt. Hanneman and drummers Dave Lombardo and Jon Dette are former members of the band.

In February 2005, Testament manager Phil Arnold of Thrill Entertainment issued an update on the band's then-current and upcoming activities, commenting that the band had reopened their studios, which were closed while Billy received treatment for cancer, at a new location in Pittsburg, California. [5] In September 2006, Alex Skolnick, who had rejoined the band in 2005 and replaced Smyth, stated that the band would return to the studio in early 2007 to resume work on the new album. He revealed that material was "sketched out" for the new album. [6]

Alex Skolnick American musician

Alexander Nathan Skolnick is an American musician who is best known as the lead guitarist in the thrash metal band Testament from 1983 to 1993, and again from 2005. He has also performed with the Alex Skolnick Trio, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Savatage and Metal Allegiance.

In February 2007, Billy stated that the band planned to enter the studio in April. He revealed that the band had four "really great" songs, and hoped to have the rest of the material ready within a few months. [7] In March 2007, Peterson announced that the band was working with drummer Nicholas Barker on some of the material. [8] In June, Billy announced that eight or nine songs were being worked on. [9] The same month, the band signed with a new label, Nuclear Blast, and announced a March 2008 release date for the album. [10] The title was revealed in November 2007, [11] which was followed shortly thereafter by an announcement that the album's release date had been postponed to April 29, 2008. [12]

Nicholas Barker British drummer

Nicholas Howard Barker is a British extreme metal drummer best known as the original drummer for British metal band Cradle of Filth.

Nuclear Blast German record label

Nuclear Blast is an independent record label and mail order record distributor with subsidiaries in Germany, the United States and Brazil. The record label was founded in 1987 by Markus Staiger in Germany. Originally releasing hardcore punk records, the label moved on to releasing albums by melodic death metal, grindcore, industrial metal, power metal and black metal bands, as well as tribute albums. It also distributes and promotes two post-hardcore/metalcore labels, SharpTone Records, focused on American scene, and Arising Empire, focused more on European bands such as Novelists, Imminence, Cold Snap and While She Sleeps.


Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [13]
Allmusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svgStar empty.svg [14] 9/10 [15]
IGN 8.4/10 [16]
Sputnikmusic 4/5 [17]

The album debuted at number 59 on the Billboard 200, selling 11,900 copies in its first week. It won the "Best Album" award at Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards ceremony in 2008, beating albums by Atreyu, Avenged Sevenfold, Children of Bodom and Down. [18] They later named it the 4th best album of 2008 in their end-of year top 50 albums list. In addition, voted it the best metal album of 2008. [19]

"More Than Meets the Eye" was released as an official DLC for the Rock Band series, while "Henchmen Ride" was released separately on the Rock Band Network. By July 2012, The Formation of Damnation has sold over 84,000 copies in the US, [20] and as of November 2011 it had sold around 300,000 copies worldwide. [21]

Track listing

1."For the Glory Of..." (instrumental)  Eric Peterson 1:12
2."More Than Meets the Eye" Chuck Billy, Del James Billy, Peterson4:31
3."The Evil Has Landed"Billy, Steve Souza Billy, Peterson4:44
4."The Formation of Damnation"Billy, SouzaBilly, Peterson5:10
5."Dangers of the Faithless"Billy, Del JamesBilly, Peterson, Alex Skolnick 5:47
6."The Persecuted Won't Forget"Billy, SouzaBilly, Peterson5:49
7."Henchmen Ride"BillyBilly, Peterson4:00
8."Killing Season"Billy, SouzaBilly, Peterson4:52
9."Afterlife"Billy, SouzaBilly, Peterson4:13
10."F.E.A.R." ("False Evidence Appearing Real") Alex Skolnick Skolnick4:46
11."Leave Me Forever"Billy, SouzaBilly, Greg Christian, Peterson4:28


Credits are adopted from liner notes. [22]

Additional personnel
  • Steve "Zetro" Souza, Steve Esquival and Nick Souza - Additional gang vocals
  • Lyle Livingston - Strings and choir keys on "For the Glory of"
  • Recorded and engineered by Andy Sneap and Vincent Wojno
  • Additional recordings by Eric Peterson
  • Produced by Eric Peterson and Chuck Billy
  • Mixed by Andy Sneap
  • Photography by Tyler Clinton
  • Artwork direction and concepts by Eric Peterson
  • Artwork and illustrations by Eliran Kantor


Chart (2008)Peak
Finnish Albums Chart [23] 12
German Albums Chart [24] 15
Oricon Albums Chart [25] 42
Swedish Albums Chart 27
US Billboard 200 59

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