San Francisco Bay Area metallers TESTAMENT will release the long-awaited follow-up to their 2016 album "Brotherhood Of The Snake" on April 3.
Singer Chuck Billy revealed the new record's release date during an interview with Alex Haber of Heavy New York at this past Thursday's (January 16) METAL ALLEGIANCE concert in Anaheim, California.
Asked if the new TESTAMENT disc is a musical continuation of "Brotherhood Of The Snake", Chuck said (see video below): "You're always trying to top your last record, and I thought 'Brotherhood', up to that point, was a pretty strong record. This one, it definitely stands on its own — all the songs have their own identity. Eric [Peterson, guitar] somehow came up with a way to make it be TESTAMENT but feel fresh and new still TESTAMENT, so that's pretty awesome."
He continued: "It was a quicker process than the last time, but I think at the end, the mix is awesome, the songs came out awesome, and the process wasn't as painful as it was the last time. So, it's a good record. I can't wait for everybody to hear it."
Asked if he waits for music for new TESTAMENT songs to be completed first before he starts working on lyrical ideas or if he has lyrics in mind before even hearing a note of music, Chuck said: "I have some concepts before I hear music and apply 'em to what I feel when I feel the song. So usually, a lot of it, the riff is first — it's a riff; it's not even a song yet, so it's usually just a riff. And then, from there, I just kind of feel it out and just kind of find my way through it.
"On this record, we didn't get to work and do any demos, so a lot of it was a lot of riffs going into the studio with ideas and then fine-tuning it, which I think put the pressure on ourselves," he explained. "Sometimes when you're under pressure, I think you work a little harder and you give it a little more. So I think, again, us forcing ourselves in the studio — 'Let's go. We're gonna record this record now' — it paid off, 'cause the record came out great. Everybody's performance — Steve [DiGiorgio, bass] and Gene [Hoglan, drums] just killed it on this record. It's an awesome record. TESTAMENT fans, I think, are gonna dig it."
TESTAMENT's new album was once again recorded with Juan Urteaga and mixed by veteran British producer — and current JUDAS PRIEST touring guitarist — Andy Sneap.
Last year, Billy told the WSOU radio station that the new TESTAMENT album would "definitely" contain "some different elements. I think Eric definitely stepped back into little of his — I don't know — maybe, MERCYFUL FATE shoes," he said. "There's a lot of MERCYFUL FATE kind of stuff. Eric does some black metal stuff. There's some blast beats, which he's kind of mixed in there, which that's not the norm for us. So it's a little different again. I think all the songs definitely have their own identity and stand on their own."
Chuck said that he is using his "melodic tone of a voice and less of a death metal voice" on the new TESTAMENT LP. "It's just kind of where the songs took it," he said. "There's a song on here that was kind of one of the last ones that came around — it's one of the slower-tempo songs. And I kind of was shying away from it 'cause the pace of the rest of the record was pretty quick, so I wasn't sure it was the right fit. But in the end, once we wrote it and finished it, it turned out to be a great song. But I'm doing some stuff on there — I've never sang a three-part harmony on a TESTAMENT song ever. And on this one, there's a situation where I tried it and did it, and it sounds really cool for the song. So it was just something different — challenging again that was different notes to use and different challenges, and I kind of dug it. And it actually was cool, and it actually made the experience on those songs, of creation, just kind of fun."
Billy went on to discuss two of the tracks that will appear on TESTAMENT's new disc, saying: "On this record, there's a song called 'Children Of The Next Level', and that's one that really came together, musically, and came together lyrically. There's another one on the record that, actually, the first time I heard the song, I kind of mimicked the vocal pattern and actually we wrote it the next day. So that was a song that was, like, 'Wow!' I got inspired and laid down the first gut feeling of what it felt like. And it ended up being a keeper, and we ended up molding it right into a killer song. And lyrically, the timing, the melody, the lyrics — everything just really kind of fell into place."
TESTAMENT will team up with EXODUS and DEATH ANGEL for "The Bay Strikes Back 2020" European tour. The trek will kick off on February 6 in Copenhagen, Denmark and will hit 25 cities before concluding on March 11 in Hannover, Germany.