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Testament – The Spitfire Collection

Label: Spitfire Records
Format: CD
Released: 2007
Reviewed By: Rich Catino

Ok so let’s look at the idea of a "Best of", "Greatest Hits", "Anthology" or "Collection" compilation. It does serve a purpose because if done right it can be a nice retrospective of an artists career, or a part of a, and you should get at least one track from each release by the artist. Point two, not everyone can afford to purchase every album put out by our favorite bands so this way by owning a "Best Of" or "Collection" you can have a smathering of everything, or at least all of a bands greatest hits you remember from MTV and/or always hear on the radio. Third, for someone who is looking for an introduction to a band this is a great way to get an idea of what type of songs you may like, as well as a history to the band and how their sound changed over the years.


With that in mind how many "Collections" should a band have? Well obviously no two compilations should be the same and each one should offer a significant number of tracks different from those found on others. And keep in mind we all know the band themselves don’t always approve or pick the tracks for these compilations.

At this point in 07 if I am correct this is Testament’s fifth. You got, and a few are accounted for on their official website; "The Best of Testament" from 1996 on Atlantic Records, "Signs of Chaos: The Best of Testament" in 1997 on Mayhem Records which I recommend as you get something from each album up to "Demonic" along with two unreleased tracks ‘Sails Of Charon’ (Scorpions) and ‘Draw The Line’ by Aerosmith, "The Very Best of Testament" put out on Rhino Records in 2001, "Days of Darkness" a UK two CD set with tracks from the Spitfire records "The Gathering" (1999), "Demonic" (1997), & the re-recordings from "First Strike, Still Deadly" (2001) on Snapper from 2004. They also have, if you were curious, three live records out. "Return To The Apocalyptic City" E.p. from 1993, "Live at the Fillmore" from 1995 with James Murphy on guitar, and the reunion "Live in London" from 2005.

Now the Spitfire Collection” offers only material found on the said label’s releases with nothing new, unreleased or taken from "The Ritual" or "Low". So this comp has its holes and is what it is. Here’s what it has to offer: 'The New Order', 'Souls Of Black', 'Practice What You Preach', 'Into The Pit', 'Trial By Fire', and 'Disciples Of The Watch' are all from "Live in London" and book end the disc with ‘Over the Wall’ and ‘The Preacher’ from the re-recordings found on "First Strike Still Deadly". 'Hatreds Rise', 'The Burning Times', and 'John Doe' are off "Demonic", 'Careful What You Wish For', 'Down For Life', and 'Riding The Snake' from "The Gathering".

What would I have changed, lose ‘John Doe’ (really????) and put in ‘Demonic Refusal’, ‘Careful What You Wish For’ and not ‘D.N.R.’..are you kidding me??!! So overall what do us Testament fans either learn or benefit from buying this latest compilation...well nothing because we probably own all three of these releases to begin with. For the casual fan looking for a well rounded “Best Of” this is not the one as even with the classic songs included they are not studio versions. The one thing to note on the plus side is that all these recordings have a consistent sonic quality which is very heavy and crushing.

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