Testament The Spitfire Collection

After guitarist Alex Skolnick left Testament in 1992 after the release of the MTV-propelled The Ritual, these Bay Area thrash demigods struggled through a spate of albums that were uneven in comparison to their classic late ’80s output. After 1994’s Low, their last for major label Atlantic, the band fell into their leanest years, the best of which are compiled on The Spitfire Collection. Assuring sales by book ending it with three live tracks (all scorchers from 1999’s Live at the Fillmore and 2005’s Live in London), this once overlooked studio fare sounds better in this abbreviated context. The death metal-like "John Doe,” the viciously punctuated "Down for Life” and the 2001 re-recording of "Over the Wall” make for a solid retrospective thanks to key players like James Murphy, Steve DiGiorgio and Dave Lombardo, who rotated through Testament’s ranks. Curious fans may instead consider the two-disc Days of Darkness, which covers more studio cuts but sacrifices the live tracks. (Spitfire) (Spitfire)