TESTAMENT Wanted To Incorporate More Thrash Elements And Vocal Melody On 'Brotherhood Of The Snake'

TESTAMENT Wanted To Incorporate More Thrash Elements And Vocal Melody On 'Brotherhood Of The Snake'

Holland's FaceCulture recently conducted an interview with TESTAMENT singer Chuck Billy. You can now watch the chat in three parts below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).

On the musical direction of TESTAMENT's new album, "Brotherhood Of The Snake":

Chuck: "I just think it's putting us back to the mentality of what we did. 'Cause when we did the 'Dark Roots Of Earth' [2012] record, we're very proud of it, it had some great songs, but I think what was missing out of it… There were a couple of fast songs, but it was still missing that thrash or attitude that we didn't have that was on the 'Demonic' [1997] and 'The Formation Of Damnation' records; those were much faster and heavier. So when we were working on this, we knew that we wanted to pick it up; we needed it to be more intense and faster like 'The Gathering' [1999] or the 'Formation' record. So we knew, going into it, we wanted to pick up the tempos a little more. But I also wanted to sing a little more though. I wanted it to be faster, but I wanted to still have melody and still have some hooks in there too."

On being able to incorporate more vocal melody into the new TESTAMENT music:

Chuck: "Well, I have to listen to the music, and the vibe of the music is what I'm gonna kind of do and sing and maybe even write about. I think I used just enough of the 'death' stuff in the right spots on this record. 'Cause it's not like I couldn't use anything; I mean, there is some heavier, more intense riffs and songs that called for that kind of a voice, like 'Canna-Business' or something that's a little more heavier. But I still wanted not to lose the sight of keeping it catchy — having some hooks and catchy vocal phrases and have some cool words and stuff like that."

On the first song that he started working on after the "Dark Roots Of Earth" cycle was completed:

Chuck: "Well, we had a lot of riffs, but the first song that was completed was actually [the title track] 'Brotherhood Of The Snake'. I don't know… maybe two months before we went into the studio to record the album, we completed that song, had the lyrics, and we decided, 'Let's record it,' possibly put out a single, but also maybe see if we use another producer other than Andy Sneap. Maybe there's somebody else out there that might give us a better sound or production, or might make it different — you know, just try something; it couldn't hurt. So we decided to record that song and have Randy Staub, a different producer, mix it. And he did a good job, but at the end of the day, we ended up sending it to Andy and said, 'What do you think?' And he would tell us, 'Oh, he's missing this. He needs to do that.' And we'd go back to Randy: 'Try this. Try that.' And it got to where we were happy, but we did realize that Andy knows our sound [and] he knows who we are. We need to go back to Andy and stick with him."

On whether he already had in mind what the album's lyrics would be about once he started working on the album's title track:

Chuck: "When we came up with 'Brotherhood Of The Snake', yeah, at that point. Because, originally… well, on the last couple of records, I was trying to write more lyrics about real things — you know, losing your parents or getting ill; things that are just real that affected people. [At that time] I wanted to kind of just get away from your typical cliché heavy metal lyrics: gloom, doom, cemeteries, zombies. I wanted to kind of have something more to say, I guess, because, as we started, we were always conscious about the environment and stuff like that. But this year, Eric [Peterson, guitar] said, 'Let's stray away from writing about us and being so real. Let's come up with some cool stories and some cool words.' And I said, 'Okay.' So I was hooked on… I watched a TV series called 'Ancient Aliens', and they had a lot of stuff about aliens and religion that kind of caught my attention, because they showed religions going back in time that also showed different religions around the world, a long time ago, in their writings on the walls, there was always these alien beings with long bodies and arms and big heads and flying objects in the sky. And it kind of made me think: wow, maybe there is aliens, or maybe there is something to this. How did they all see the same thing? So that kind of first opened my attention to the alien part of it in religion, and then I came across the story 'Brotherhood Of The Snake', and when I came upon that story, it was about a secret society over six thousand years ago that was actually out on a crusade to kind of devalue religions and [they claimed] that religions aren't good. 'Here's what we are, and here's our belief,' and their belief was there was an alien king, a god or a king or an alien being named Anu who basically created mankind to serve as a slave down on planet earth to mine for our minerals and gold and stuff. So I'm, like, 'Wow! That's kind of a cool story.' There's a lot we can build on. And then with my ancient alien story, it all kind of came together. So that's when I told Eric, 'What about the 'Brotherhood Of The Snake'?' I told him and had him read the story. And he liked it. He was, like, 'Wow! I like that. That'd be a good title for the record.' So that's when we said, 'Okay, we are in agreement. All right.' That's what kind of set the ball rolling of where we were gonna go lyrically and kind of create something not so real, I guess. But it could be real; I mean, there could be aliens, and we're talking about reality, but it's so far fetched to believe, you can go make up a story with it."

"Brotherhood Of The Snake" will be released on October 28 via Nuclear Blast. The cover was once again created by renowned artist Eliran Kantor, who also handled the art for the TESTAMENT's last album, 2012's "Dark Roots Of Earth", and also worked with bands like HATEBREED, SOULFLY and KATAKLYSM in the past.

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