Testament is back in the studio hammering away at a new album with a tight deadline looming. In a recent interview with Michael Spedden of the 97 Underground radio station, vocalist Chuck Billy revealed the band's ambitious plan to complete and record their follow-up to Titans of Creation before hitting European stages in July.
Time is of the essence, as Billy explains: "That's the norm. We usually go to Europe every summer. So right now we're on kind of a time restraint because we're working on a new record. We're writing it right now. And we have to get it done and record it before we leave in July. That's our goal. So right now we're working hard on that. So, we're looking forward to it. Going out and playing live is what we do. We love it. So to take a break and go do some fun stuff like this, we're looking forward to it."
To make things even more exciting, Billy shares that Testament will be celebrating their early thrash roots with special shows in Connecticut and West Virginia, playing their first two albums, The Legacy and The New Order, in their entirety.
"So there's only a few shows before July, which is these two one-offs, the special shows we're gonna do in Connecticut and West Virginia; one's at the Foxwoods and one's at Hollywood Casino. And those shows we're gonna play The Legacy and The New Order in their entirety, because in March we're gonna re-release those on Nuclear Blast Records. So, we really wanna take time off, get a break from writing a record — come out, celebrate these early records with us — and then get right back in the studio and finish recording."
Guitarist Alex Skolnick recently shed light on the creative process during an interview with Radioactive MikeZ, host of the 96.7 KCAL-FM program Wired In The Empire, revealing that the pandemic threw a wrench in their songwriting schedule. However, they've been diligently catching up, collaborating with new drummer Chris Dovas, and drawing inspiration from his youthful energy.
“We got delayed a little bit by the fact that 2020 basically didn't exist. It's a year that went away. And then there was so much touring to make up for. And for about a year of that, we had Dave Lombardo on drums, which was fantastic. And he's become a great friend and a great musician, but he's also spread very thin in many different bands. And now we have Chris Dovas playing drums with us. And he's a guy old enough to be any of our sons. But he is just unbelievable. He really brings the right energy.” Skolnick enthused.
“I mean, he brings the energy that the music had in the early days. So, yeah, we've been working with him on new material. I know Eric's been getting together with him. Eric has been on the East Coast a couple of times and we've gotten together and hashed out material.”
With a treasure trove of "sketches" already in the digital vault, the band is now focused on consolidating and arranging the material, adding vocals, and bringing their vision to life. While there's no official release date set, Skolnick emphasized the importance of quality over speed.
“So between their sessions and my sessions and the recordings that we have, there's a lot of sketches that are done on digital audio workstations. There's a lot — there's a lot of stuff. I made a list and there's almost a couple of dozen sketches that just need to be consolidated and arranged. We have to find the best parts, develop them a little more, add vocals, but it's definitely well on its way."
"You can't rush it. I think this band learned very early on, that you can't rush it. Like the times in the past when the band sort of rushed to put out a recording, it never felt completely satisfactory. So sometimes it takes longer than it should, but you can always count on a good result."
11/21 UK – Manchester, O2 Apollo
11/22 UK – Wolverhampton, Civic Hall
11/23 UK – London, Eventim Apollo
11/25 IE – Dublin, 3 Arena
11/27 UK – Glasgow, OVO Hydro
11/29 FR – Paris, Zenith
11/30 DE – Düsseldorf, Mitsubishi Electric Halle
12/1 DE – Munich, Zenith
12/3 LU – Esch-sur-Alzette, Rockhal
12/4 CH – Zurich, Halle 622
12/6 IT – Milan, Alcatraz
12/7 DE – Stuttgart, Schleyerhalle
12/8 DE – Berlin, Uber Eats Music Hall
12/10 HU – Budapest, Barba Negra
12/11 PL – Katowice, Spodek
12/13 DE – Frankfurt, Jahrhunderthalle
12/14 DE – Hamburg, Edel Optics Arena
12/15 NL – Den Bosch, Mainstage