San Francisco Bay Area metallers TESTAMENT have inked a worldwide deal with Nuclear Blast Records. The group will enter the studio late summer/early fall to record its long-awaited new album for a March 2008 release.

Original TESTAMENT members Alex Skolnick (guitar), Chuck Billy (vocals), Greg Christian (bass), and Eric Peterson (guitar), along with new drummer Nick Barker (ex-DIMMU BORGIR, CRADLE OF FILTH), have finished writing more eight or nine songs for the group's long-awaited follow-up to 1999's "The Gathering".

In a recent interview with RockConfidential.com, Chuck Billy stated about the new TESTAMENT material, "The music is very heavy but it's very catchy. Eric's got some really catchy riffs. The vocals are real melodic with some catchy hooks. It's really heavy. It's something new. Nick, coming from a black metal background, is adding that spark that we needed. It's a fresh breath of life to our writing. In the past couple of years we've written some songs but they weren't up to par with 'The Gathering'. Those songs just went in the trash. We just started over when Nick came into the picture. We're on a roll and the songs are turning out really good. . . [Lyrically] it's gonna be covering a lot of stuff, things we've experienced in life. Especially my illness, the cancer, and what I went through. I had some healing sessions and did a lot of sweat lodges with some indians and medicine men. I'm sure I'll be talking about my experiences with the medicine men. My father and Eric's father both passed away within the past couple of years. The war in Iraq. We'll be talking about those issues. It's things that people deal with in everyday life. We've gone away from the cliche gloom-and-doom lyrics, the typical heavy metal lyrics."

TESTAMENT parted ways with Spitfire Records earlier in the year (the Spitfire Records catalog was acquired last summer by Redux Records, the company formerly known as Sheridan Square Entertainment).

Spitfire released a TESTAMENT compilation, "The Spitfire Collection", in February. Consisting of tracks from such Spitfire titles as "The Gathering", "Demonic", "Live at the Fillmore", "First Strike Still Deadly" and "Live in London", the 14-track set chronicles an era that ultimately saw the original TESTAMENT reunite for a successful 2005 tour.


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