The Great Southern Brainfart recently conducted an interview with guitarist Eric Peterson of San Francisco Bay Area metallers TESTAMENT. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
The Great Southern Brainfart: I have to congratulate you on "Dark Roots Of Earth". What a fucking masterpiece. You guys clearly aren't out of ideas but you have captured this kind of youthful. Where did that come from?
Eric: For me, that second wind all started with [1999's] "The Gathering". It's been so long between records but "The Gathering" was the fire for me. It was fast stuff mixed with modern sounds. Definitely with [2008's] "The Formation Of Damnation", we came back strong and with the original lineup and "Dark Roots Of Earth" as well, I feel, was really strong. I think, in a way, we've come full circle with our sound and going back to our roots but not copying it. I also feel like technology has gotten so much better, you know? It's easier to record now and things like Pro Tools have made things a bit more simpler.
The Great Southern Brainfart: TESTAMENT seems to have really found a good place to be musically and, as you said earlier, have come full circle. Is this a place where you're happy and how do you see TESTAMENT progressing from here?
Eric: Well, we know what we want now. When we were younger, we just kind of went into the studio and let the producer get the sounds and we just played the songs. Of course, we gave our opinions but I don't think we knew then what we wanted as much as we do now. Now we know exactly what we want. Chuck [Billy; vocals] knows exactly how he wants to sound and I know how I want to sound. I know what I want the drums to do and everything.
The Great Southern Brainfart: TESTAMENT has 25 years behind them now. Is it weird to look at yourself and say, "I'm a classic metal act now"?
Eric: [laughs] Yeah, definitely. We both think that, don't we? [laughs] I think it's weird that time flies. When we were kids, we looked up to JUDAS PRIEST and BLACK SABBATH and those guys who are older, seasoned rock guys. Well, that's us now. [laughs]
The Great Southern Brainfart: Looking back on TESTAMENT's 26-year career, is there anything you look back on and think, "I wish we would've done that differently"?
Eric: Yeah, definitely. I think the production and some of the mixing on our past albums. I also wouldn't have rushed out "Souls Of Black" like we did. That album could've been something different. It is a classic record now, but it was just thrown together so quickly.
The Great Southern Brainfart: You've said before that seeing METALLICA for the first time was what really drove you to put TESTAMENT (back then LEGACY) together and start doing this kind of music. What is your opinion on METALLICA's change in approach and sound over the years?
Brendan Crabb of Australia's Loud magazine recently conducted an interview with vocalist Chuck Billy of San Francisco Bay Area metallers TESTAMENT. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Loud: The further your career progresses, the more beloved many of those staples become to the long-time fans. How difficult is it to compose new material that can sit alongside the usual suspects of your live sets, and become accepted?
Chuck: Well, I think because we never really write the same record, so I think that it's not just more of the same thing. You don't know what you're going to get on a record from us. We're always writing and that tends to get better and better as writing goes. We've been fortunate to play a lot more festivals over the summer when we go to Europe, so it kind of sticks in the back of your mind, that it's nice that you wrote a song that has those hooks or melodies where the crowd can respond and participate. We have a couple of those on this record, we always seem to have a song that kind of has a sing-a-long or a sing back or answer back, and it's been working. [laughs] So we've kinda been sticking with that I guess.
Loud: On the live front, there's the impending release of your new DVD. What can you tell us about that?
Chuck: Well, there's about 19 songs on it, and we put songs from the beginning of our career all the way to where we are now. It's actually a really good representation of where the band is today. The last DVD was in '05, and that's when we had the reunion with the original lineup. They only really wanted to play some of the stuff that they recorded on, so it's kinda nice, here we are now playing more of the current stuff. We decided to capture it, and we're really proud of it because we put a lot of effort into this DVD. It sounds really good, and it looks really good as well. So I'm pretty pumped on it. There's some backstage stuff and interviews, a video on it and the making of the video. Some cool stuff on there.
Loud: Is the DVD somewhat of a stopgap before you bunker down to write the next album?
Chuck: Well, we start it in January. We're doing the LAMB OF GOD, KILLSWITCH ENGAGE and HUNTRESS tour, and after that, that's the last tour and the first of January we start writing. Then hopefully have a record out by summer.
Loud: Where do you envision the next record heading then?
Chuck: Not sure. I mean, Eric [Peterson, guitar], I kinda play off of what Eric, what the mood or what the riff is, you know? He kinda has the beginning; he starts it out and gets it going first. Then it just kinda develops from there. I don't know what style of vocals I'm going to be singing yet, until he gets those riffs on the demo.
Two titles by San Francisco Bay Area metal veterans TESTAMENT will be released on vinyl on September 24, shortly before the group kicks off its tour of North America alongside LAMB OF GOD and KILLSWITCH ENGAGE.
The 2001 anthology "First Strike Still Deadly" features tracks fromTESTAMENT's iconic first two Megaforce/Atlantic albums (which have sold in excess of 500,000 copies combined), re-recorded with modern technology by the four-fifths of group's original lineup. The album has never been available on vinyl until now. Approximately 400 copies will be issued on 180-gram black vinyl; a limited-edition, 180-gram clear vinyl mail-order exclusive (approximately 100 copies) will also be offered.
Originally released in 1990 in EP format on vinyl and cassette, and finally released in its entirety by Prosthetic in 2009, "Live At Eindhoven '87" — which captures TESTAMENT's legendary European coming-out party — will now be available on vinyl for the first time in its complete remastered form. In addition, the new LP layout — which features liner notes by guitaristAlex Skolnick — pays homage to the original EP artwork and includes never-before-seen pictures by noted photographer PG Brunelli. Approximately 400 copies will be 180-gram black vinyl; a limited-edition, 180-gram while vinyl mail-order exclusive (approx. 100 copies) will also be available.
Prosthetic's five TESTAMENT reissues are some of the label's top catalog titles, and the vinyl versions of "The Gathering" and "Demonic" have been sold out for years, so don't miss your chance to order these exciting chapters of thrash history.