Jo Schüftan of Horns Up Rocks! recently conducted an interview with singer Chuck Billy of San Francisco Bay Area metal veterans TESTAMENT. You can now listen to the chat in the YouTube clip below.
TESTAMENT will tentatively release its new album, “The Dark Roots Of Earth”, on April 27 via Nuclear Blast Records. Due to a “serious injury,” TESTAMENT drummer Paul Bostaph was unable to take part in the recording sessions for the CD and was replaced by Gene “The Atomic Clock” Hoglan (DARK ANGEL, STRAPPING YOUNG LAD, FEAR FACTORY, DETHKLOK). Bostaph has since announced his departure from the group.
When asked if Hoglan — who is currently touring with TESTAMENT — will become a permanent member of the band, Billy told Horns Up Rocks!, “We’d like him to be, but I think right now we’re just taking it tour by tour. We don’t know yet. We just kind of unexpected had to do this tour before the record came out, so we haven’t really thought about it yet.”
Regarding how different it is playing with Gene compared to working with Bostaph, Chuck said, “We played with Gene before on our ‘Demonic’ record , so we knew exactly what Gene was capable of and what he would bring to the table. We knew that it would definitely bring a different style of drumming, ’cause Gene‘s a different player than Paul. I think it just worked out. Eric [Peterson, TESTAMENT guitarist] had a lot of the [basic drum patterns] already done [for the new album], and Gene just had to kind of put his style on it.”
LAMB OF GOD drummer Chris Adler plays on one track on “The Dark Roots Of Earth”, which was helmed by veteran British producer Andy Sneap (MEGADETH, EXODUS, NEVERMORE, MACHINE HEAD, ARCH ENEMY).
In a recent new interview with SoundSpike, Billy stated about the forthcoming CD’s musical direction, “It’s kind of like where we left off with the last record, except I think there are some more songs that aren’t as thrashy. But they’re definitely metal. I don’t know how to describe it. I keep saying you don’t really have to be a metalhead to enjoy some of these songs that we got. There’s just really good songs on the record. It’s a little different.”
On the topic of the new CD’s title, Billy said, “We’ve always been a planet-conscious band. Now that we have pretty close to the original lineup — with Alex [Skolnick, lead guitarist] and Greg [Christian, bassist] back in it — it’s almost like going back to our roots. It’s like all of us connecting, joining as one to the planet.”