Bay Area thrash metal legends TESTAMENT, hit #9 on the world sales chart with a total of approximately 58,500 copies sold world-wide of their new album Dark Roots of Earth in its first week of sales. This is a huge accomplishment for a metal band, debuting on a chart that typically dominated by bubblegum pop. With the original line-up together and drummer Gene Hoglan back on the drum throne, we all knew this album was going to be something special. However, they’ve exceeded fans, and my own, high expectations and have managed to top their 2008 release with an album that is arguably their finest. I got to speak with Chuck about the new album, the line-up, some of the songs, and a few other things. Read on…
Thanks to Silke from Tough Enough Promotion for setting up the interview and Laura Thiessen for the transcription
Testament has undergone quite an eventful history (both in good and bad) within all those 24 years they have existed under the Testament name. The band´s existence was seriously at stake in early 2002 when the band´s vocalist Chuck Billy was diagnosed with a rare kind of cancer. Luckily, after undergoing numerous treatments, he finally managed to fully recover.
THE FORMATION OF DAMNATION, Testament´s highly acclaimed comeback album in 11 years, came out in 2008 – and since then the band has spent long periods on tours of which taking a part of Megadeth´s "Rust in Peace 20th Anniversary Tour" around the U.S.A. in March 2009 together with Exodus, was undoubtedly one of the highlights for the Testament team.
Testament has also become a regular visitor for the Finnish metal fans over the recent years; the band has visited Finland for the last 4 years in a row, playing at some of the precious Finnish summer (metal) festivals. This year, they made their 2nd appearance at Tuska festival where they played in 2005 for the 1st time. Everyone who has seen Testament playing live within the last 2 years since they released their strong comeback record THE FORMATION OF DAMNATION in 2008 (which was also chosen as "The Best Metal Album of 2008" by the Metal-Rules.com staff), can subscribe the fact the live chemistry between each band member in Testament, is on a phenomenal level; so well they have welded together as a band over the years.
Chuck Billy talked to Metal-Rules.com again about some of the most current Testament-related things – like including naturally band´s hard touring in general, a slow song writing process for their follow-up album to T.F.O.D., etc. – and the 2nd album from Dublin Death Patrol, kind of "all-star jam band", was talked about a little bit, too.
Devin townsend on stage at TUSKA. Photo by Arto Lehtinen of Metal-Rules.com
Canadian musician/producer Devin Townsend (STRAPPING YOUNG LAD, STEVE VAI, LAMB OF GOD, DARKEST HOUR, GWAR) performed his “Ziltoid The Omniscient” concept album in its entirety on Friday, July 2 at the thirteenth annual Tuska festival in Helsinki, Finland as a special one-off world-exclusive show. His DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT also played a set the following day at the festival, which featured additional appearances by TESTAMENT and OBITUARY, among many others.
Fan-filmed video footage of TESTAMENT frontman Chuck Billy putting on a cape and singing “Planet Smasher” during Devin Townsend‘s “Ziltoid” performance at Tuska can be viewed below.
02. By Your Command
03. Ziltoidia Attaxxx
04. Solar Winds
06. Guitar Duel (Ziltoid vs. Devin aka Captain Spectacular)
07. Intermission (Monty Python)
10. Planet Smasher (feat. Chuck Billy)
11. Color Your World
12. The Greys
13. Deep Peace
DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT setlist:
08. Earth Day
09. Seventh Wave
Finnish mainstream media coverage of Devin‘s appearance at Tuska:
“Addicted”, the second in a series of albums from Townsend to be made available under the DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT moniker, came out in November 2009 and has become the fastest-selling solo record in Devin‘s career.
Townsend is currently working on two new albums for 2011 release.
The legendary thrashers Testament from Oakland, California, have got their big wheel rollin´ nicely again. The band´s 9th studio album, THE FORMATION OF DAMNATION, marked the Testament camp´s return (at least partly) back to the times of their THE GATHERING album, spiced with some hints from their old days (THE NEW ORDER, PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH and such). Both Greg Kristian and Alex Skolnick had also made their return to the Testament ranks, without whose effort TFOD may probably not have turned the way it eventually did (even if most of the music for the album was written by longtime members Chuck Billy and Eric Peterson).
The band had started their “Damnation Vacation” European tour from Rock Hard festival on May 9th already – and after their well gone appearance at Sweden Rock Festival the other night, they finally arrived to Tampere, Finland to do the annual Sauna Open Air Festival where they were one of the two headlining acts of the first day of S.O.A. 2008 (Children of Bodom being the other one of them).
We caught up with Chuck some hours before their showtime, and asked him briefly about the ongoing tour, the new album THE FORMATION OF DAMNATION, the old days, some special tailor-made Testament videos made by some Testament fans - and even sort of accidentally, managed to find out about Steve ´Zetro´ Souza´s coaching activities for his two sons. Read all about that – and many other things as well from the interview we had with Chuck…
Jalometalli festival, which is arranged at the metal heart of northern Finland, Oulu, seems to get better and better each year as far as the line-up of bands is concerned. The festival has been organized since 2002, and for the last 3 years the festival has also become one of the most noteworthy metal festivals in Finland along with Tuska and Sauna Open Air festivals.
Last year the organizers of Jalometalli managed to book such names as Onslaught, Helloween, U.D.O., Dismember, etc. for the festival. This year?s menu hardly paled in comparison to the previous years? settings; especially thanks to such known and popular international metal acts like Candlemass, Kreator, Holy Moses, Unleashed, Rotting Christ and Testament for ensuring such a strong setting for every self-respected metalhead.
Undoubtedly one of the Jalometalli?s most awaited bands in 2007, were the Frisco-thrash pioneers Testament who made their reunion in February 2005 with the original band members. Testament hit Europe for a bunch of gigs in August ?07, playing shows in such countries as England, Norway, Sweden, Belgium, etc. Also, the band has been preparing songs for next album that they are supposed to start recording in March 2008. That new album will also feature Nick Barker (ex-Cradle of Filth, ex-Dimmu Borgir) on drums, so it?s gonna be interesting to see how his blast beats will fit into the new Testament songs.
2 experienced reporters from Metal-Rules.com found the Testament frontman Chuck Billy from the backstage after the show late at night, and Chuck was more than willing to reveal more details about the band?s future as well as giving his thoughts about several other topics that we wanted to inquire from him.
Thanks to the Testament tour manager Mike Stellone and Chris Delaney of Adrenaline PR for setting up the interview for us
Live and offstage pictures by Luxi Lahtinen and Marko Syrjala
Thanks to Blake Wolfe for the transcription
There is no doubt that Testament is one of the most important bands in the history of Speed – and Thrash Metal. The original line-up of Testament has released such classic albums as "The Legacy", "New Order" and "Practice What You Preach". In 1992 the band unfortunately lost its two original members when guitarist Alex Skolnick and drummer Louie Clemente decided to leave the band, but luckily the rest of the band still decided to carry on, releasing more high quality albums with several different line-ups.
Now thirteen years later Testament are back with the classic line-up – and let?s at least hope they are here again to stay. We met Alex Skolnick at the backstage after Testament’s brilliant performance at the Tuska Festival last July, talked with him about both the days of Legacy (pre-Testament), Testament and his musical career in some other line-ups (Savatage, etc.) naturally as well.
Here?s the result of that particular conversation, so enjoy your reading… ;o)