TESTAMENT/DRAGONLORD guitarist Steve Smyth and his longtime friend, Steven Hoffman (ex-ARIAH/SWEET LEAF bassist) are currently collaborating on an instrumental side project called THE ESSENESS PROJECT. Described as “progressive” and “covering a wide spectrum of moods”, some of the material being worked on spans back to several years ago. "This is something I planned to do before joining VICIOUS RUMORS in '95, but never had the chance to complete." Smyth explained. THE ESSENESS PROJECT will operate around the writing/recording schedules for the next TESTAMENT and DRAGONLORD CDs and will issue a full-length CD by winter 2002. In other news, Steve has completed his guest lead guitar tracks for the yet-to-be-released SKITZO EP.