This album saw a reunion with Gene Hoglan, who played drums on the band's 1997 album Demonic. During the recording, Hoglan filled in for Paul Bostaph due to his "serious injury".Chris Adler of Lamb of God provided drum tracks on the iTunes bonus version of "A Day in the Death".Dark Roots of Earth is also the last Testament album with bassist Greg Christian, who left the band for a second time in January 2014.
Dark Roots of Earth has received mostly positive reviews. Ryan Ogle of Blabbermouth.net awards the album eight-and-a-half stars out of ten and states, "This album is anything but a rehashing of former glories. The skilled interplay between Alex Skolnick and Eric Peterson, which features a wall-to-wall showcasing of intricate and harmonized runs, back-and-forth soloing, hooky riffs and metallic perfection, is at the centerpiece of this album. The duo displays everything that made them among the most formidable guitar teams on the late '80s / early '90s while placing everything into a modern context." Ogle also praises the music a "noticeably different vibe than its predecessor by leaning more towards their (now) classic American thrash roots", while he describes the album as a "2012 take on Testament's classic and pioneering sound."
Dark Roots of Earth sold over 20,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release, and reached number twelve on the Billboard 200—Testament's highest U.S. chart position to date. By March 2013, Dark Roots of Earth sold around 60,000 copies in the U.S.