Matt Coe of Dead Rhetoric recently conducted an interview with guitarist Eric Peterson of San Francisco Bay Area metallers TESTAMENT. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Dead Rhetoric: "Brotherhood Of The Snake" is the newest TESTAMENT album. What was the mindset going into the songwriting and performance aspects of this recording?
Eric Peterson: The mindset… I guess writing a new record. We didn't really have a title before we started writing so basically we wanted to continue on the path of what we've been doing in the 2000s. Since "The Gathering" and "The Formation Of Damnation", along those lines, but perfecting the epic, more modern kind of metal while still having the old-school thrash style. We wanted to keep topping and writing better songs, I guess. As a fan of metal, just really trying to write a song that I would like to listen to. It was very hard to put a tracking order together for this effort; all of the songs were pretty strong. Each song is kind of unique, even though there's a lot more thrash; they all kind of have their own little trip. I'm very excited to see what the fans think of this material.
Dead Rhetoric: What's your stance on the art of live performance today — as many bands seem to employ many backing tracks these days to replicate their studio sound instead of keeping things more raw and real?
Peterson: In TESTAMENT, we like to keep things pretty real. That's why we have good shows and bad shows. We are consistent once we get out on tour, but we definitely don't play to a click, and we don't have any backing tracks live. It's all what we are doing up there; the five people up there on stage playing the music. It's something we actually looked into, but didn't work out for us — it felt generic. Maybe with our luck, a loop would go off and something would happen and the song would start before we were ready to play, or someone wouldn't get to the microphone in time. We just didn't want to look retarded doing that. We've seen other bands do that and think that's really stupid.
Dead Rhetoric: Has it been a challenge to adapt to the changing business model of music delivery and consumption?
Peterson: I think we are all still adapting. We are at a point where everybody in the music business is kind of, like, "How do we get back to getting our music across without it being free? And how do we get it to where…? It's really hard for bands. There are still bands that can be a phenomenon where they will sell, but most bands that were selling a million records are now down to selling 100,000-200,000. It's because of getting free music from the Internet, or pirating. Something will come along and I am sure the industry will figure out a legitimate way to do things. There are a lot of different ideas and some cool stuff in the pipeline.
Read the entire interview at Dead Rhetoric.
"Brotherhood Of The Snake" will be released on October 28 via Nuclear Blast. The cover was once again created by renowned artist Eliran Kantor, who also handled the art for the TESTAMENT's last album, 2012's "Dark Roots Of Earth", and also worked with bands like HATEBREED, SOULFLY and KATAKLYSM in the past.