Ugh this is tiresome but Testament is the latest Thrash band to irritate their fans (me) by slamming one of their own records. Singer Chuck Billy tells Terrorizer:

[1992's The Ritual] was actually written a lot heavier and thrashier, and at that time, Alex [Skolnick, guitar] was on tour with [goofy bassist] Stu Hamm doing some other gigs and coming back to listen to the songs we wrote. He was like, 'I'm not playing over the thrash parts! We need to slow it down and get some straight-ahead beats.' And when it did that, vocally, for me, it made it kind of boring because it's just one straight path, and it really slowed everything down and broke up the dynamics we created originally.

OK, I get it; you guys are humiliated about relinquishing creative control to Atlantic Records and your snooty lead guitarist. But every motherfucking song on The Ritual rips, propelling the unadventurous album atop the teeny pile of brilliant melodic hard rock records. These albums are elusive and originate from dubious sources: Take Lacuna Coil's Karmacode, a frustratingly riffless Korncore record with every snappy melodic (and harmonic) twist and turn in the book. And even though it's marred by dated, bubbly production, Karmacode slays, bront to fack. And of course the little-loved yet dud-free Skunkworks album (Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson's foray into hooky rock). Monster finale on that bitch.

The HooM! search for more classics like these was rekindled thanks to last week's discussion on MetalSucks about Stone Sour and Shinedown. Loudly endorsed by MS commenters and Anthrax's Scott Ian, Stone Sour's Come What(ever) May found its way into my stereo but It only took three songs for my hopes to be dashed: CW(e)M starts strong with sing-along hard rock but sags under the foul mainstream production and too fucking much Corey Taylor dumbness. Shut up, sir. It's reminiscent of my first experience with 'La Vida Loca': dancing around with my toothbrush at first chorus, then fucking sick of it by fade out. Keep your eyes peeled in 2021 for Taylor and crew's apology. 

Shinedown, you're up. Don't disappoint me. 

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