I used to be a big fan of these guys back when "New Order" came out. I was dropped off after "Souls of Black" The riff might have more punch, but the vocals have pretty much picked up where "Souls of Black" left off and are not trying as hard as they did on "Low" or "Demonic". Aside from Gene Hoglan, who no one is going to complain about, this is pretty much the original line up. They keep the momentum up until "Stronghold", which is just not as well written as the first two songs. It seems to rely on speed and guitar solos, with nothing to really grab me. If you think about the songs from "the Legacy" or "New Order" which were just as fast, they hooked you in with the melody and the melody here is filler compared to the awesome sauce they had cooking on the first two songs. The keep things at a fast thrashing speed, but have more groove for the vocals to lock in over on "Seven Seals". They christian slant to the lyrics turn me off a little on this one, but lyrics aside it finds them back in fine form.
"Born in a Rut" could easily be a Five Finger Death Punch song with it's tough guy "walk on home boy" like spoken sections. It's not a bad song for what it is. Modern day metal kids looking to get into thrash will find this to be a more accessible entry point. It only takes the first few seconds of a Testament song for me to figure out if I am going to like it or not and "Centuries of Suffering" got the job done in the opening riff. They is a perfect example of how they can make the more rapid fire riffing work best for them as this is classic Testament. This rule works once they locked into the verse riff for "Neptune's Spear". It's hard not to head bang to this one. The song writing loses focuses once more on "Black Jack" which is about Las Vegas, so much for Apocalyptic City. The chorus to this song is actually terrible. I being to lose my ability to pre-dict what is going to be a bad song, in the album's third act. While "Canna Business" is not a bad song. It feels like filler to me.
They end the album with the hammering charge of "Number Game". It's not as catchy as some of the album's stronger songs. There are some moments, but you know the rule here is "cool riffs alone do not make a good song". So it looks like they still have some good songs in them, but are far from taking the throne that Anthrax got for themselves. I'll round this one up to an 8. This album is not bad, but as a whole it can't touch the first five.