On March 15, JAM Magazine's Mike DiQuinzio conducted an interview with vocalist Chuck Billy of San Francisco Bay Area thrashers TESTAMENT. You can now listen to the chat below.
Asked about the challenges TESTAMENT faced while making its latest album, 2016's "Brotherhood Of The Snake", Chuck said: "[Guitarist Eric Peterson and I] wrote the whole record. Gene [Hoglan, drums] came up a couple of times and jammed with us and worked on the record, but for the most part, me and Eric wrote it with a drum machine. And [drummer] Alex Bent, who was playing in BATTLECROSS for a short period, helped us out. He lives in the Sacramento area, and I think he was doing a DRAGONLORD record with Eric. So he came in and a two-year process had gone by where we were working with Gene and Alex [Skolnick, guitar] and just me and Eric. And we knew that, after the SLAYER tour in February and March [of 2016], we had a few months to take off and we had to go to Europe in June, that we had to have the songs written and ready to go record before we [left on] tour [again]. It just kind of felt [frustrating] for me; I was just frustrated with Eric and [we were] butting heads and pointing fingers at each other who's to blame for not having the songs finished. And it built up some tension and anger, but we knew we had to get a record done. So we went into the studio without having the demos of the songs finished, or even completed songs — we just had a bunch of ideas. So I think it was probably frustrating for [the other guys] too. And I know for Gene, he was the first one up with Eric, and he was frustrated and he pounded the shit out of the drums, which was a great thing, because he did a monster job on it, and you can hear his anger and aggression in the drumming. So it wasn't the best, fun process. All this little stuff just kept adding up, and there was this tension between me and Eric. But I think in the end, maybe it lit a little fire under our ass and maybe that's what we needed to go through, 'cause we always try to top our last record and we always say, 'Man, that's gonna be a tough on to top.' Maybe this is what had to happen for us to get to this point of this record to come about what it was, and at the end of the day, when it was all done, we were very happy and the fighting and the bickering was all out the window. But I did make it clear to Eric right when it was done that, 'Dude, I did not enjoy myself, and I don't ever wanna go through this again to do this.' So we've already talked about, in our down time, we're just gonna get together and just start writing now."
"Brotherhood Of The Snake" was released last October via Nuclear Blast. The cover was once again created by renowned artist Eliran Kantor, who also handled the art for the TESTAMENT's previous album, 2012's "Dark Roots Of Earth", and worked with bands like HATEBREED, SOULFLY and KATAKLYSM in the past.
"Brotherhood Of The Snake" was recorded under the watchful eyes of producer Juan Urteaga (EXODUS, HEATHEN, MACHINE HEAD), guitarist Eric Peterson and Billy and was mixed and mastered by British metal producer Andy Sneap (ACCEPT, ARCH ENEMY, CRADLE OF FILTH, KREATOR, MACHINE HEAD, MEGADETH).
Billy recently told Metal Wani that TESTAMENT's goal is to release the follow-up to "Brotherhood Of The Snake" in 2018.