Vocalist Chuck Billy of San Francisco Bay Area metallers TESTAMENT spoke to The Metalist web site about the band's forthcoming eleventh studio album, due later in the year via Nuclear Blast. On the topic of the lyrical themes covered on TESTAMENT's follow-up to 2012's "Dark Roots Of Earth", Chuck said: "Well, the new record is gonna be called 'The Brotherhood Of The Snake' and it's basically about a lot of the early secret societies that started taking over power, trying to control the society and spawned off into illuminatis and stuff like that so it's kind of going back to a lot of that — a lot of human control and religions and the similarities between religions and alien beings and stuff like that. I've been fascinated a lot by a lot of programs that show a lot of different religions and all the writings or hieroglyphics on the walls always have the same type beings with all of these religions. And it makes you think, wow, so long ago, these people didn't know people on the other side of the ocean, but yet they have these common sightings within their religions that they talk about and reference. And it just really was interesting to me, opening my eyes a little more to religion. I was raised Catholic, but growing up and just seeing these connections just really makes me think about all the religions, you know? And the connection between the human race and aliens, it's just really fascinating to me. So we started spotting a lot of ideas for songs off of that."
Asked if the "snake" in the album title is meant to be a metaphor, Chuck said: "Well, if you look at the snake, the reference of the snake, doctor symbols have it; there's also the Eye Of Horus; on the dollar bill, the snake; Adam and Eve, the snake on the tree... I mean, there's all kinds of history that snakes are within religions or special things that we see that we don't really notice. And when people point it out, it makes me [kind of go], 'Woah!' Oh, that's true! It's interesting."
According to Chuck, the panic, chaos and fear about global security that exists in today's world wasn't much of an influence on the lyrical direction of the new TESTAMENT album. "Not really," he said. "I mean, it is a crazy world and you never know what's gonna happen today or tomorrow. But with the craziness going on in the world, especially for us and the kind of business that we do — we make our living travelling and entertaining — and some people think, 'Wow'… some bandmembers, even in our band, [think], 'Maybe we shouldn't go to certain places and watch where we go and do this,' but it's almost like we can't stop our lives, stop what we do, because of what's gonna happen. I mean, if something's gonna happen to us, it's gonna happen — at home, away from home, wherever we're at. So the show just has to go on, [and] we just have to kind of just take it day by day, and everybody that's trying to intimidate us is not gonna reach us and get to that point where we're not gonna travel the world and stop doing what we love to do."
TESTAMENT guitarist Eric Peterson recently told Metalholic.com that the song "The Brotherhood Of The Snake" will feature "the fastest blast" TESTAMENT drummer Gene Hoglan has ever played, a sentiment that was echoed by Billy. "It is definitely some fast blast beats going on in there," Chuck said. "That's definitely a standout [song], but a lot of this record, the new record, is definitely gonna be geared up to a little more faster than 'Dark Roots Of Earth' record, definitely a little more aggressive musically, for sure, probably vocally as well. I think I'll probably attack with a little more heavier voice on this one. I'll kind of feel my way through the song, which voice to use. But there's definitely gonna be some 'Demonic' [-type] stuff, but again like 'The Gathering', 'cause I think I did a little bit of everything on that record, which that's what we'd like to accomplish."
TESTAMENT will play at the Maryland Deathfest at the end of May before embarking on a European summer tour in June.