Boomkat Product Review:
Mats Gustafsson, Andreas Werliin and Johan Berthling's Fire! go back to basics for the first time here, dubbing drums, horn and bass guitar straight to analog tape - no electronics!
It's taken Fire! eight albums to strip their sound down to its core. The trio have been recording together for close to two decades at this point, but they've usually used Fire! as a place to experiment with ensembles, guests, and flutes. For 'Testament', the Swedes headed to Chicago to record live in the studio with Steve Albini, and hearing them play together without embellishment is a revelation. Gustafsson's horn playing is already established, but he sounds energised here, taking cues from the tight rhythm section and given the space to let loose.
Like on 2021's 'Defeat', Werliin and Berthling pull errant basslines and powdery rhythms from funk history to bolster Gustafsson's distorted screams, but with no extra instrumentation, they tiptoe away from any exotica labels. This is raw, punk bombast, formed around a loose improv philosophy, and it's the most vital set they've put out in years.