TALKING About The Latest Album From TESTAMENT – Chuck Billy Reveals Song Titles And Covers

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During a recent chat with Nikki Blakk from San Francisco’s 107.7 The Bone radio station, the vocalist of Testament, Chuck Billy, offered numerous insights on the upcoming album of the band. The album is the highly anticipated follow-up to their 2020 release, Titans Of Creation, and is currently in the recording phase.

Billy disclosed that the band has been tirelessly working in the studio for several months with the goal of completing the recording process by the end of June. As transcribed by Blabbermouth, he expressed, “We’ve spent a couple of months in the recording studio, preparing for our European tour in July. Thus, our aim is to wrap up everything this month.”

Testament enthusiasts can potentially expect a sneak peek of the new material towards the year’s end. Billy hinted, “We are aiming to release a single towards the end of the year. Perhaps, we might provide one song to our selected mixer first, as a trial, before proceeding with the entire record. While it may be cumbersome, it offers us more convenience this time.”

When speaking about the musical direction of the forthcoming tracks, Billy characterized the album as “extremely intense,” acknowledging the impact of their new drummer, Chris Dovas. “The album is very forceful. We have a new drummer, Chris Dovas, who is igniting a spark under Eric Peterson, the guitarist and main songwriter of Testament. There’s a significant amount of vigor and speed – it might not be classified as ‘modern,’ perhaps.

“Maybe ‘Contemporary’ is a better fit. So, with Chris contributing, we’re integrating that element. I usually can’t predict the outcome of the album until we conclude the mixing process. It’s like evaluating individual songs and then realizing during the album listening that it turned out better than expected. This time, I’m enthusiastic even before the mixing phase because I know each song is a notch above the previous record concerning intensity.”

Thematically, the album delves into a variety of current topics, including environmental concerns and artificial intelligence. Billy prefers addressing real-world events in his lyrics as he believes it enhances the authenticity of his vocal delivery: “The focus is less on things like aliens creating humanity and more on real-world issues. Naturally, each song possesses its distinct lyrical identity. Once again, we’re composing material based on reality, such as environmental matters and A.I. influence. These are significant subjects to explore. Hence, there’s always a source of inspiration for our songs, making the lyrical process somewhat smoother.”

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“There’s an abundance of subject matters in today’s world to draw from. The world is chaotic, offering ample material to discuss. I prefer singing about real occurrences rather than fantasy-themed lyrics. I believe my vocal delivery exhibits more dedication and belief when expressing these real-world topics. It also aids in stage performance, making it easier for me to recollect the lyrics,” he chuckled.

This time around, the band adopted a collaborative songwriting approach, with guitarist Eric Peterson and drummer Chris Dovas laying the foundation. Subsequently, the entire group fine-tuned the compositions collectively to ensure everyone’s contentment with the final outcome.

Chris has been actively involved since around December, possibly earlier, collaborating with Eric at his residence, where an electric drum set is available. They’ve been composing, creating, and formulating ideas together. At the start of May, when Eric commenced tracking, we decided to convene everyone, including Alex Skolnick (Testament lead guitarist), except for Steve DiGiorgio (Testament bassist) as he was on tour. We assembled Alex and the rest of the group at the studio to meticulously review every song, ensuring that all were satisfied with the arrangements. Each song underwent modifications. Once Alex joined us, we collectively applied our creative input until contentment was achieved. Thereafter, he departed, leaving us to implement the new changes with Chris tracking his parts last month. Currently, the rest of us are in the process of tracking our sections. We’re being more deliberate with this album, utilizing the available time. I’m confident it will be a remarkable record.”

“A large portion of the material comprises Eric‘s riffs, strategically placed or eliminated if unnecessary. This approach suits me well as I didn’t have much interaction with Eric during the initial phase. I trusted them to jam, generate ideas, and we would sort it out later, which they did. Once Chris joined, it was evident that adjustments were necessary to prevent replicating previous works. Additionally, Eric collaboratively worked with Alex in New York, a novel experience for him.”

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“Having Chris available, unlike Gene Hoglan, our former drummer, or previous collaborators, was beneficial due to his increased availability. Chris invested a substantial amount of time with us, encouraging Eric to craft music. Presently, Eric is inclined towards continued collaboration with Chris, fostering an environment for songwriting. Even after the current album’s completion, our plan is to continue composing, enabling us to gain a head start on the subsequent record. It’s a commendable initiative due to our aging, urging us to act now,” Billy concluded.

Billy also disclosed some intriguing track titles, such as “Havana Syndrome,” “Infanticide A.I.,” and a slower, mellower piece named “Meant To Be.” Despite the prevailing aggressive tone, Billy ensures fans that the album will retain Testament‘s distinctive fusion of brutality and melody.

“One of the tracks, ‘Havana Syndrome’, touches on the Havana Syndrome phenomenon. I encourage people to research it. Additionally, ‘Infanticide A.I.’ explores the A.I. realm. Surprisingly, there’s a slower number, a piece with more soul and groove called ‘Meant To Be’. It embodies a classic Testament essence, though I wouldn’t call it a ‘ballad’. It’s a slower composition resonating with the Testament style, if I may use that term,” he elaborated.

“Despite the diverse elements, the focus remains on evoking the quintessential Testament vibe, blending raw lyrics and intense vocal delivery. I strive to infuse melodic hooks even amidst the brutal and forceful segments. It retains the classic Testament essence – listeners will unmistakably recognize it as Testament, albeit with an extra dose of energy.”

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