In 1989, I started Kindergarten. I have no idea what type of impact this album had when it came out, musically, culturally, etc. I have no clue how metal heads reacted to this offering at first, and I have no clue how many people jumped on or off the Testament Fan Wagon because of this album. With that, I would love to state that, thanks to all that, any albums I review that aren't from 2002 + will not have any real bias whatsoever, be it to save my “metal rep”, or to trash or praise an album once thought the opposite.
With all that said, I would like to say that, without question, Practice What You Preach is THE greatest Testament album of all time! Dealing with politics, the environment, and religion, the album is a simply unrelenting assult on all three, showing the reality of it all as well as displaying some shows of the occult. The album does something that any truly great album does, and that is give you track after track of entertainment and a flow that is hard to duplicate. Some have said that the album was recorded “live” in the studio, with no overdubs (save the occasional one of the vocals, obviously). I actually think there is a lot of validity to that claim as listening to it reminds me of Megadeth's album Youthanasia before the remix & remaster of 2004. There is a flow here that embarks feelings of a living organism of pure metal might!
The album starts off with a ferocious riffing assault with the title track, “Practice What You Prech”, delivering a one-two punch with the riffs and the lyrics, a fierce take on whatever, really, you want; Religion, politics... it's a rather open-ended song, really, and can be easily applied to anyone who doesn't follow the simple mantra of doing what you say. “Envy Life” is a nice, fairly slow rocker on the album, namely dealing with the classic themes of the occult. “Time is Coming” has a feel that I can only attribute to something such as being hurled through some futuristic corrupt city, like Chicago in Robocop, or Philadelphia in 2006. The flow of the song overall, thrown in with the venomous lyrics about the corruption of government, lends to a feeling of great movement.
How easily the hard-rocking and heavy-hitting track “Blessesed in Contempt” flows into “Greenhouse Effect” is simply more proof of what I mentioned earlier about it being a pure organism of ferocious metal might! “Sins of Omission” has always been a personal favorite, and I still claim that the opening sounds incredibly familiar to the theme to Night Rider! Honestly, listen to that and tell me it's not a little similar! But if the album has anything similar to a stinker, it's “Ballad”. Hearing Chuck trying to sing, albeit like a wounded animal on this one, is a little painful. But there is still something to that song that, within the context of the album, actually gives some validity to it existing. As a slow rocker and an attempt at a ballad (reminding me of Metallica's “Escape” form Ride the Lightning), it may fail, but it serves as a decent break during the album.
The albums closing tracks then serve as a ferocious reminder of the sonic assaults that Testament is capable of! “Nightmare (Coming Back to You)" has to be one of the fastest songs I have ever heard the song write and record, and lends itself more to it's punk influence with a style only Testament can bring. The instrumental that closes the album, "Confusion Fusion (Instrumental)", seems to be a mostly improved song, which actually lends nicely to the overall nature of the album.
In closing, warts and all, this has to be among one of the best metal albums of all time when listened to as an album. The tracks stand great alone, but it is together that they stand tallest, each one fitting with another to form a brilliant album.
With that, I give this album a 4.8 out of 5. Obviously, I had to take off points for “Ballad”.
BUY THIS ALBUM!