Dark Roots of Earth

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Dark Roots of Earth
Album cover of "Dark Roots of Earth" album by Testament.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedJuly 27, 2012 (2012-07-27)
RecordedJune 2011 – February 2012
GenreThrash metal
LabelNuclear Blast
ProducerAndy Sneap
Testament chronology
Live at Eindhoven '87
Dark Roots of Earth
Dark Roots of Thrash
Singles from Dark Roots of Earth
  1. "True American Hate"
    Released: 2012
  2. "Native Blood"
    Released: July 20, 2012

Dark Roots of Earth is the tenth studio album by American thrash metal band Testament. It was released on July 27, 2012 in Europe, and four days later in North America by the independent German record label Nuclear Blast Records.[1][2] The album is available in three configurations: CD, CD/DVD and vinyl with the latter two versions including four bonus tracks.[2][3] The album was produced by Andy Sneap, who mixed and engineered the band's previous three studio releases, The Gathering (1999), First Strike Still Deadly (2001) and The Formation of Damnation (2008).[2][3] The album artwork was created by Eliran Kantor.[2][3] A music video was made for the track "Native Blood".[4] Dark Roots of Earth entered the Billboard 200 at number twelve, Testament's highest position ever.

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 who was unable to attend the recording sessions because of a "serious injury", although the latter left the band in December 2011.[5] Chris Adler of Lamb of God provided drum tracks on the iTunes bonus version of "A Day in the Death".[6] Dark Roots of Earth is also the last Testament album with bassist Greg Christian, who left the band for the second time in January 2014.[7]


"Native Blood" was released as a single from the album on July 20, 2012, both as a download and a limited edition 7-inch single.[8] A video was made for the song as well.[9] A Spanish version of "Native Blood" entitled "Sangre Nativa" was released on the "Native Blood" single.[10] Previously, "True American Hate" was released as a free download.[11]

"Native Blood" was described as being about Billy's Native American heritage. "True American Hate" was written about the prevalence of hatred, particularly anti-Americanism, in younger generations around the world, often perpetuated by their upbringing. Billy has described "Cold Embrace" as being about "a girl becoming a vampire and never being able to see the sun again." He added that the band hoped to pitch it for a Twilight movie. "Dark Roots of Earth" was described as being a metaphor about the band. "Rise Up" is about war.[12]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
About.com4.5/5 stars[14]
Allmusic4/5 stars[15]
Jukebox:Metal5/5 stars[18]

Dark Roots of Earth has received universal acclaim. 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."[16]

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.[20] By March 2013, Dark Roots of Earth sold around 60,000 copies in the U.S.[21][full citation needed]


To promote the album, Testament embarked on US and Canadian tour co-headlining with Anthrax and openers Death Angel in fall 2012.[22] The three bands had already been touring the US together since fall 2011, with Anthrax supporting their 2011 album Worship Music.[23][24]

In January and February 2013, following the dates with Anthrax and Death Angel, Testament embarked on a U.S. headlining tour with Overkill, Flotsam and Jetsam and Australian band 4Arm.[25]

Track listing[edit]

1."Rise Up"Chuck BillyEric Peterson4:18
2."Native Blood"Billy, Del JamesPeterson5:21
3."Dark Roots of Earth"Billy, James, PetersonPeterson, Skolnick5:45
4."True American Hate"Billy, SouzaPeterson, Skolnick5:26
5."A Day in the Death"Billy, Souza, SkolnickPeterson, Skolnick5:38
6."Cold Embrace"Billy, JamesPeterson, Skolnick7:45
7."Man Kills Mankind"Billy, JamesPeterson5:05
8."Throne of Thorns"Billy, JamesPeterson, Skolnick7:04
9."Last Stand for Independence"Billy, JamesPeterson4:42
Total length:50:48


Writing, performance and production credits are adapted from the album liner notes.[26]


Session musicians
  • Chris Adler – drums on "A Day in the Death" (iTunes bonus track)
Bonus cover tracks production
  • Juan Urteaga – recording, mixing
  • Nik Chinboukas – additional recording of "Dragon Attack"
  • Paul Suarez – additional recording of "Animal Magnetism", "Powerslave"
  • Chuck Billy – mixing
  • Eric Peterson – mixing
Artwork and design


  • Driftwood Studios, Oakland, CA, USA – recording
  • Backstage Studios, Derby, UK – recording
  • Trident Studios, Martinez, CA, USA – additional recording, recording (Bonus cover tracks)
  • Spin Studios, New York City, NY, USA – additional recording (Bonus cover tracks)

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (2012) Peak
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[27] 21
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[28] 54
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[29] 29
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[30] 12
Danish Albums (Hitlisten)[31] 29
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[32] 32
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[33] 4
French Albums (SNEP)[34] 46
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[35] 4
Hungarian Albums (MAHASZ)[36] 1
Japanese Albums (Oricon)[37] 56
South Korean Albums (Gaon)[38] 91
South Korean International Albums (Gaon)[39] 10
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[40] 11
Polish Albums (ZPAV)[41] 8
Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE)[42] 57
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[43] 8
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[44] 10
UK Albums (OCC)[45] 57
UK Independent Albums (OCC)[46] 5
UK Rock & Metal Albums (OCC)[47] 3
US Billboard 200[48] 12
US Independent Albums (Billboard)[49] 1
US Top Hard Rock Albums (Billboard)[50] 1
US Top Rock Albums (Billboard)[51] 1
US Top Tastemaker Albums (Billboard)[52] 2


  1. ^ Rosenberg, Axl (May 15, 2012). "Album art + release date for Testament's Dark Roots of the Earth!!!". MetalSucks. Retrieved May 21, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d Childers, Chad (May 16, 2012). "Testament Reveal 'Dark Roots of Earth' Album Artwork + Track Listing". Loudwire. Retrieved May 21, 2012.
  3. ^ a b c Hart, Josh (May 15, 2012). "Testament Reveal Artwork, Track Listing, Release Date for New Album, 'Dark Roots of Earth'". Guitar World. Retrieved May 21, 2012.
  4. ^ "Testament - Dark Roots of Earth Review". Guitarhoo!. Guitarhoo.com. March 29, 2013. Retrieved January 1, 2015.
  5. ^ "Drummer PAUL BOSTAPH Quits TESTAMENT". Blabbermouth.net. December 1, 2011. Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  6. ^ "TESTAMENT: New Album Title Revealed; Tour With ANTHRAX, OVERKILL, DEATH ANGEL Planned". Blabbermouth.net. July 13, 2011. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
  7. ^ "Testament Parts Ways With Bassist Greg Christian, Announces Return Of Steve DiGiorgio". Blabbermouth.net. January 13, 2014. Retrieved January 13, 2014.
  8. ^ "Testament: 'Native Blood' Single Now Available". Blabbermouth.net. Roadrunner Records. July 20, 2012. Retrieved August 15, 2014.
  9. ^ "Testament Frontman To Discuss 'Native Blood' Video On 107.7 The Bone". Blabbermouth.net. Roadrunner Records. November 5, 2012. Retrieved August 15, 2014.
  10. ^ "Native Blood". music.amazon.com. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
  11. ^ "Testament: 'True American Hate' Available for Free Download". Blabbermouth.net. Roadrunner Records. July 2, 2012. Retrieved August 15, 2014.
  12. ^ "testament: New Songtitles, Lyrical Concepts Revealed". Blabbermouth.net. Roadrunner Records. February 3, 2012. Retrieved August 15, 2014.
  13. ^ "Dark Roots of Earth – Testament". Metacritic. Retrieved August 14, 2012.
  14. ^ Jervis, Marcus. "Testament – Dark Roots of Earth Review". About.com. Retrieved August 14, 2012.
  15. ^ Rivadavia, Eduardo. "Dark Roots of Earth – Testament". Allmusic. Retrieved August 20, 2012.
  16. ^ a b Ogle, Ryan. "Testament – Dark Roots of Earth". Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved July 31, 2012.
  17. ^ Pratt, Greg (August 8, 2012). "Testament – Dark Roots of Earth". Exclaim!. Retrieved August 14, 2012.
  18. ^ Andy Lye. "Jukebox:Metal review".
  19. ^ Camisasca, Paige (July 18, 2012). "Review: Testament – Dark Roots of Earth". Revolver. Archived from the original on July 21, 2012. Retrieved July 23, 2012.
  20. ^ "Testament's 'Dark Roots of Earth' Cracks U.S. Top 15 – Aug. 8, 2012". Blabbermouth.net. Roadrunner Records. Retrieved August 8, 2012.
  21. ^ [1]
  22. ^ Adams, Gregory (May 31, 2012). "Anthrax, Testament and Death Angel Team Up for Canada-Heavy Tour". Exclaim!. Retrieved August 25, 2013.
  23. ^ Ouellette, Mary (September 6, 2011). "Anthrax Announce Co-Headlining Fall 2011 Tour With Testament". Loudwire. Retrieved August 23, 2013.
  24. ^ Hart, Josh (December 5, 2011). "2012 Dates Added for Anthrax, Testament, Death Angel Tour". Guitar World. Retrieved August 23, 2013.
  25. ^ "Testament to Tour U.S. with Overkill, Flotsam and Jetsam". Blabbermouth.net. Roadrunner Records. November 26, 2012. Retrieved August 15, 2014.
  26. ^ Dark Roots of Earth (liner notes). Testament. Nuclear Blast. 2012.CS1 maint: others (link)
  27. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Testament – Dark Roots of Earth" (in German). Hung Medien.
  28. ^ "Ultratop.be – Testament – Dark Roots of Earth" (in Dutch). Hung Medien.
  29. ^ "Ultratop.be – Testament – Dark Roots of Earth" (in French). Hung Medien.
  30. ^ "Testament Chart History (Canadian Albums)". Billboard.
  31. ^ "Danishcharts.dk – Testament – Dark Roots of Earth". Hung Medien.
  32. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Testament – Dark Roots of Earth" (in Dutch). Hung Medien.
  33. ^ "Testament: Dark Roots of Earth" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland.
  34. ^ "Lescharts.com – Testament – Dark Roots of Earth". Hung Medien.
  35. ^ "Longplay-Chartverfolgung at Musicline" (in German). Musicline.de. Phononet GmbH.
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  37. ^ "テスタメントのアルバム売上ランキング - Oricon Style".
  38. ^ "South Korea Gaon Album Chart". On the page, select "2012.07.29~2012.08.04" to obtain the corresponding chart. Gaon Chart
  39. ^ "South Korea Gaon International Album Chart". On the page, select "2012.07.29~2012.08.04", then "국외", to obtain the corresponding chart. Gaon Chart
  40. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Testament – Dark Roots of Earth". Hung Medien.
  41. ^ "Oficjalna lista sprzedaży :: OLiS - Official Retail Sales Chart". OLiS. Polish Society of the Phonographic Industry.
  42. ^ "Spanishcharts.com – Testament – Dark Roots of Earth". Hung Medien.
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  44. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Testament – Dark Roots of Earth". Hung Medien.
  45. ^ "Testament | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart.
  46. ^ "Official Independent Albums Chart Top 50". Official Charts Company.
  47. ^ "Official Rock & Metal Albums Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company.
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  49. ^ "Testament Chart History (Independent Albums)". Billboard.
  50. ^ "Testament Chart History (Top Hard Rock Albums)". Billboard.
  51. ^ "Testament Chart History (Top Rock Albums)". Billboard.
  52. ^ "Testament Chart History (Top Tastemaker Albums)". Billboard.