The Gathering (Testament album)

The Gathering is the eighth studio album by American thrash metal band Testament, released on June 28, 1999. It was the first release the band had done with Spitfire Records.[1] Co-produced by band members, Chuck Billy and Eric Peterson, this was the first album featuring new musicians Steve DiGiorgio on bass guitar and Dave Lombardo on drums. Billy, Peterson and Lombardo, along with longtime Testament collaborator Del James, are also given composer credits on the album.

The Gathering
Testament (band) - The Gathering (album).jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedJune 28, 1999
GenreThrash metal, death metal
LabelBurnt Offerings
Spitfire (1999)
Prosthetic (2008)
ProducerEric Peterson, Chuck Billy, Phil Arnold (2008)
Testament chronology
Signs of Chaos
The Gathering
The Very Best of Testament
Alternative covers
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic4.5/5 stars review


The Gathering featured eleven tracks when it was released, drawing critic and fan acclaim for such songs as "D.N.R. (Do Not Resuscitate)", "Riding the Snake", and "Legions of the Dead".[2] After release Testament embarked on the Riding the Snake World Tour to promote the album with "touring" lead guitarist Steve Smyth (ex-Vicious Rumors) and Sadus drummer Jon Allen. The tour ended in 2001 shortly before frontman Chuck Billy was diagnosed with cancer.[3] As a result, Testament would not release another studio album until 2008 with The Formation of Damnation, although they did release an album of re-recorded material, First Strike Still Deadly, in 2001.

The Gathering is the first of five albums to date featuring engineering and mixing work done with artist and former Sabbat guitarist Andy Sneap. It is also the first of five reissues that Testament has done with Prosthetic Records.[4] The album was reissued January 8, 2008, with an instrumental bonus track, "Hammer of the Gods," increasing the new track total to twelve. While "Hammer of the Gods" is listed on the track listing of the original American release, it does not actually appear on the CD. However, it does appear on the worldwide Prosthetic Records 2008 reissue.

Album cover artwork for The Gathering was done by Dave McKean who also did the cover art for the two prior Testament studio albums Demonic and Low.

Critical reactionEdit

In a 2010 Interview, Chuck Billy describes how the free flow of ideas between Dave Lombardo and Eric Peterson was the "key and secret" to the album's overall heavier sound in comparison to previous albums.[5]

Chuck Billy's aggressive vocal approaches and darker death metal sound were apparent earlier on the last album, Demonic, and continued to be on The Gathering, but it was the range and diversity that the singer achieved on this album that drew the highest acclaim.[6] While the album's songs range from heavier death metal to a more melodic thrash metal, it was the singer's ability to go from his distinct sound to a death metal growl while blending the two that has been noted as trademark Testament.

At the time of release Testament had not done a music video since 1994's Low and was looking at possibly using live footage as a music video to promote The Gathering. Demonic, the band's previous 1997 release, had been handled by a distribution company that went bankrupt to the tune of $44 million which had stranded most retail supply in locked warehouses and off the shelves, seriously hurting the album release.[7]

The Gathering reached #48 on the German album charts, its only chart showing, possibly reflecting problems from the prior albums and a lack of coverage rather than weaknesses with the album.

Track listingEdit

"Hammer of the Gods" did not appear on the domestic American re-release, though the song title was listed on the album cover. It is an instrumental bonus track originally only available on the Japan reissue; however, it was eventually added to the Prosthetic Records worldwide 2008 re-release.[8]

1."D.N.R. (Do Not Resuscitate)"Billy, Peterson3:34
2."Down for Life"Billy, Peterson3:23
3."Eyes of Wrath"Billy, James, Peterson5:26
4."True Believer"Peterson, Ramirez3:36
5."3 Days in Darkness"Billy, James, Peterson4:41
6."Legions of the Dead"Peterson2:37
7."Careful What You Wish For"Billy, James, Lombardo, Peterson3:30
8."Riding the Snake"Billy, Peterson4:13
9."Allegiance"Billy, Lombardo, Peterson2:37
10."Sewn Shut Eyes"Billy, James, Peterson4:15
11."Fall of Sipledome"Billy, Peterson4:48
Total length:42:40
Japanese Reissue and Worldwide Prosthetic Records Reissue
12."Hammer of the Gods" (Instrumental)Peterson3:11
Total length:45:51




  • Chuck Billy – co-producer
  • Eric Peterson – co-producer, engineering
  • Andy Sneap – engineering, mixing
  • James Murphy – engineering
  • Phil Arnold – executive Producer (2008)
  • Vincent Wojno – engineering (2008)
  • Kent Matcke – engineering (2008)
  • Dave McKean – album cover artwork


  1. ^ "Spitfire Albums (1) The Gathering (1999), (2) First Strike Still Deadly (2001), (3) Days of Darkness (2004), (4) Live in London (2005), (5) The Spitfire Collection (2007), (DVD) Live in London (2005)". Aug 2012.
  2. ^ "The Gathering Review". All Music. 1999.
  3. ^ "About Testament". Nuclear Blast.
  4. ^ "Reissues with Prosthetic (1) The Gathering (2008), (2) Demonic (2008), (3) First Strike Still Deadly (2008), (4) Live at Eindhoven '87 (2009), (5) Live at the Fillmore (2011)". Aug 2012.
  5. ^ DF, Anzo (12 May 2010). "Interview with Chuck Billy". Metalsucks.
  6. ^ Bowar, Chad (8 January 2008). "Testament The Gathering".
  7. ^ G., Evil (1999). "Interview with Eric Peterson". Metal Rules.
  8. ^ Archive, News (6 November 2007). "Prosthetic Records To Reissue Two Testament Albums". Blabbermouth.

External linksEdit