As is often the case with Metal bands, Testament's best selling album was its worst. 1992's The Ritual can still offer some relief to listeners suffering the wasting effects of Metallica's post-Metallica output, but any fan will tell you the band's first three albums -- recorded in '80s -- simply destroy this sorry piece of studio milquetoast. The odd thing is, in live performances they remained a rippingly good unit of shredders, doling out big, bold, bloody chops like butchers on a bender. Lead guitarist Alex Skolnick was one of an elite few capable of holding his own against Metallica's Kirk Hammett and Slayer's Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman. The Ritual made it apparent, however, that Skolnick valued virtuosity over ferocity, so they replaced him and never looked back. After adding Death Metal legend James Murphy, Testament started making the heaviest records of their career. Demonic and The Gathering are no mere crust-after-pie recordings; they're absolutely ferocious. More than a decade in, Testament will never warm another bench for Metallica, now that they've again taken the field with straight-up sluggers like Slayer and Sepultura.