TESTAMENT frontman Chuck Billy has confirmed to Lana Morgan of Milwaukee's 102.9 The Hog radio station that the band has completed work on the follow-up to 2016's "Brotherhood Of The Snake" album. Asked if there are any musical "surprises" on the new LP, Billy said (hear audio below): "I don't know about surprises, but I think we definitely keep TESTAMENT fans on their toes as far as it's always something new, always a different twist, always a different feel, but still being TESTAMENT. So I think again Eric [Peterson, guitar] really captured some new riffs. The mix is pretty straightforward TESTAMENT, like it's been, but I think the songwriting is definitely a little bit… It has a little of everything; it's got a bunch of different moods on the record. Again, I think fans will be, like, 'Yeah, right on.' It's definitely a different TESTAMENT record."
Even though Billy told Inquisitrin a 2018 interview that the next TESTAMENT record would contain "a full-on ballad," Chuck now says that the upcoming disc will contain nothing of the sort. "We have some moody stuff, but I wouldn't say we would gear up to try to write a ballad," he said. "I just think — I don't know if that's really who TESTAMENT is.
"When we had Atlantic Records backing us, they were always the ones that wanted the singles and the videos, and everything always seemed to lean towards the ballads," he explained. "So, that's kind of where that went back in those days. But we're long past that now."
Earlier this 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's new album was once again recorded with Juan Urteaga and mixed by veteran British producer — and current JUDAS PRIEST touring guitarist — Andy Sneap.
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.