“Testament” Interview by Keith Clement
We had the pleasure and honor to Interview the legendary Icon of Thrash Metal band “Testament” the one and Only “Chuck Billy”, he honored us by talking over the phone with me even through the busy day with multiple Interviews on that day. Let’s hear what the legend got to say for us.
Testament’s 11th studio album, ‘Brotherhood of the Snake’ came out on the 28th of October, last year. It’s been well received by fans and critics alike. In your face thrash metal at It’s finest. Eric Peterson did state that the album was going to sound a lot Thrashier and faster, how did that come about? Could you walk us through the writing process, and its ups and downs?
Well the writing process was a long process, it took about two years, a lot of back and forth and we were touring and tried to write on, it’s a hard record to write for us, you know, this is the first record we ever went into the studio with no rehearsals and no demo tapes which is unusual for Testament. It was very difficult and the end of the day the record came out way better than we thought, the songs really came together in the studio, all the anger I had against Eric is all done and gone when the record came out. And we wanted this one better than “Dark Roots of Earth” and much Trashy and yes we have accomplished on that.
Lyrically, ‘Brotherhood of the Snake’ connotes to a secret society of Draconian aliens that supposedly created man to use as slaves. Have you incorporated that into something of a concept album here? Any other lyrical focal points on the album?
Well it’s not really a Concept album, the concept on the “Brotherhood of the Snake” is about a secret society some 6000 years ago basically believed that the aliens created mankind, so I thought that would be a good topic to write on, it’s not really a concept album but some good songs to come up with the album.
30 years of Testament. Most bands don’t last this long. Lineup changes and other volley of crisis’ impacts a band’s music adversely or ends up with them disbanding. But, Testament are one of the few living legends of the thrash metal scene who are able to evoke the same strong emotions as you did in the 80s, how do you do it? What in your opinion, has kept the band alive and strong, all through?
I believe that Testament is true to what we do from the beginning, I think Eric Peterson makes a big part in that. Eric, he doesn’t listen to lot of metal bands, but he listens specifically to the genre of Black metal bands. I think when he writes for Testament, he always keep it new, always new sounding, we are never the same, and every album is different from one another. I think that’s what keep us going strong as we make each record different.
This year, marking Testament’s 30th anniversary, also marks the 30th anniversary of Testament’s 1st studio record ‘Legacy’. Could you share a few memories you have, of working on that album? And does it overwhelm you when you look back into the past, to see how far you and the band have come?
Well I do look back and see how far we came today, But I think Where we are today we are a much better band today than when we started, we were lot younger and lot more energy, we put a lot of records after, and lot of touring at this age now we are writing better songs and we are performing better now and the focus is more on putting on a good show for the fans, So it’s a different band than when we started. And its 30 years, yeah 30 years and we are very comfortable in where we are right now.
You have provided guest vocals for a lot of bands; like, Exodus, The Haunted, Susperia and others. Can we hope to hear more of you on tracks this year?
I don’t really think that’s going to happen now, unless someone’s going to ask me, I really don’t know as of now.
You guys are touring with Slayer and Carcass at the moment. Carcass, being a death metal band, how does it feel to be touring with a group of people who play a different subgenre altogether? Do you feel it bridges the gaps between subgenres when touring with other metal bands?
I don’t think there is a gap, you know I think there is so many different types of Heavy Metal, different categories and genres now. I think all those bands are bridged together in one thing called metal. It’s very healthy right now, the heavy metal scene in a whole. There is so many different styles of heavy metal.
Any plans for another album to be put up, as I have heard that you are planning to head to the studio?
Yes that’s right, since the album is out, we are planning to get into the studio, maybe after July we will sit and start writing and this can get out in 2018 in the beginning or mid, we are not sure about the date right now.
Anything you’d like to say to the readers before we wrap this up?
Yeah I appreciate all the fans who have stuck with us for the last 30 years and the new fans who have followed us in the late last years. I’m glad that they love the type of thrash metal that we do and definitely we are going to carry on making more thrash metal.
Thanks for your time Chuck, It was nice talking to you, have a good evening!
Nice talking to you as well mate…Cheers!!
Keith Clement / MHF Magazine