San Francisco Bay Area thrash metal veterans TESTAMENT have set "The Dark Roots Of Earth" as the title of their new album, tentatively due in October via Nuclear Blast Records. The CD is currently being recorded with British producer Andy Sneap, who has previously worked with MEGADETH, EXODUS, ARCH ENEMY, NEVERMORE and MACHINE HEAD, among others.
Due to a "serious injury," drummer Paul Bostaph was unable to take part in the new CD recordings but will rejoin TESTAMENT for future touring activities. Playing drums on the follow-up to 2008's "The Formation Of Damnation" is Gene "The Atomic Clock" Hoglan (ex-DARK ANGEL, ex-STRAPPING YOUNG LAD, FEAR FACTORY, DETHKLOK), with LAMB OF GOD's Chris Adler set to make a special guest appearance on a couple of bonus tracks.
SADUS drummer Jon Allen sat behind the kit for TESTAMENT when the band performed in the place of IN FLAMES at the first two shows of the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival on Saturday, July 9 in San Bernardino, California and on Sunday, July 10 in Mountain View, California.
"Metal Zone" host Nikki Blakk of the San Francisco, California radio station 107.7 The Bone conducted an interview with TESTAMENT singer Chuck Billy at the second show of the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival on July 10 in Mountain View, California. You can now watch the chat below. A couple of excerpts from the interview follow.
On TESTAMENT's rotating-drummer situation:
Chuck: "Paul Bostaph is injured right now, so he couldn't do the record. We kind of put the record off a little while waiting for Paul. We found out he was not gonna be ready, so we brought on Gene Hoglan. Gene Hoglan came in and crushed, killed the drums in about a week. And Gene, of course, couldn't do [the Mayhem] shows, so we have Jon Allen performing today with us from SADUS."
On how Jon Allen (SADUS) came to do the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival shows with TESTAMENT:
Chuck: "When Paul was hurt, Jon came in the studio and was working with us to write some of the stuff. And he's been in TESTAMENT before, so he knows the songs. He was there, his drums were [set up], so we were, 'OK, you're playing the shows.'"
On whether Paul Bostaph will be ready to tour South America with TESTAMENT in August:
Chuck: "He's not gonna be able to make that, so Jon Allen is gonna do South America, and then after that, there's nothing really set in stone yet, so we're kind of waiting. Hopefully he's ready to go after South America."
On how "The Dark Roots Of Earth" compares to 2008's "The Formation Of Damnation":
Chuck: "Alex [Skolnick, guitar] and everybody really contributed to the writing of this [album], so it's really, really a true TESTAMENT record. With the other one, Alex just touched it, played some solos and it really felt good, 'cause we structured the songs for him. But this one, everybody really contributed, so"
On TESTAMENT's upcoming tour in support of "The Dark Roots Of Earth":
Chuck: "We plan to tour. It's gonna be October/November. I think it's OK to say, it's gonna be [with] ANTHRAX, DEATH ANGEL and OVERKILL. So that'll be in America. That'll be probably a five- or six-week tour in America. It would be good to have [the new TESTAMENT] record out [to coincide] with that [tour]. But if [it doesn't come out in time], we'll have something out we'll be promoting with that tour."
On how LAMB OF GOD's Chris Adler came to play the drums on two of the tracks on "The Dark Roots Of Earth":
Chuck: "When we knew that Paul wasn't gonna make it, [we were like], 'OK, we have to find drummers to do the record.' And all these names came up. It was just weird because that day Chris and Gene both kind of got back to us. So we were like, 'Why not? Let's just have them both do it.' Gene was already planning to come up and do most of it. So we just said, 'Let's just stick with Chris doing two songs.' He was already set up doing the [new] LAMB OF GOD record in New York. So we sent him the tracks out there and he just learned them and did them while he was set up for LAMB OF GOD."