ERIC PETERSON Reflects On TESTAMENT's 'Darkest' Period

August 26, 2020

In a new interview with Guitar World, TESTAMENT guitarist Eric Peterson said that the "darkest" period of the band's career probably took place around the time of the 1992 album "The Ritual".

"I remember Atlantic Records telling us that we had only sold around 250,000 records that year — which would be amazing now [laughs] — and we were down about that," he said.

"We lost our management around that time, Alex [Skolnick, guitar] told us that this was going to be his last tour with TESTAMENT, and Lou [drummer Louie Clemente] left — so everything was kind of falling apart around then, but we were still hopeful.

"So we changed some things around, changed how we did business and formed our own record company and things like that — and just when it seemed that we had gotten a hold of things again, that was when Chuck [Billy, vocals] got sick. [In 2001, Billy was diagnosed with a cancerous condition known as germ cell seminoma.]

"But even after all that, we kept it going, and we got heavy again, and I think that was the start of the new TESTAMENT. We developed a more modern sound and had more of a black and death metal influence, even though we were still very much a thrash band. We just weren't trying to be politically correct with our lyrics and all that — I mean, come on, we put out a record called 'Demonic'. [Laughs]

"By that point, we had gone through a couple of different guitar players, a lot of drummers, we were having problems with our original bass player [Greg Christian] — and we weren't really sure what we were going to do. So we ended up doing a record called 'First Strike Still Deadly' [2001], which contained re-recorded versions of some of our older songs.

"When I go back and listen to 'The Legacy' [1987] or 'The New Order' [1988], I'm not blown away by the production, but the songs sound modern when we play them today — they sound great, and that was what we were going for with 'First Strike Still Deadly'."

TESTAMENT's latest album, "Titans Of Creation", came out in April via Nuclear Blast. The disc was produced by Peterson and singer Chuck Billy, while Juan Urteaga of Trident Studios handled co-producing, recording and engineering. Andy Sneap was responsible for the mixing and mastering of the album. Eliran Kantor stepped up once again to create new artwork for the cover of this release.

Earlier in the year, TESTAMENT completed "The Bay Strikes Back 2020" European tour with EXODUS and DEATH ANGEL.

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