Photo by Markus Felix

Photo by Markus Felix

San Francisco Bay thrash metal veterans Testament have finished work on their new album, ‘The Brotherhood of the Snake.’ The effort now has a release date of October 28 and is currently in the hands of producer Andy Sneap, according to Testament guitarist Erik Peterson.

“It came out really, really good,” Peterson told Metal Maniac. “I’m really happy with it. It’s very diverse, but it’s very epic. There’s nothing on there that breeds commercial. And I think for thirty years of recording music and trying different formulas and stuff, I think we’ve found a formula that is very metal. I think for the metal fan that is looking for something for the nook and crannies… not just your normal, ‘Oh, it’s got a thrash beat and a riff.’ There’s a lot going on here. And just the title: ‘The Brotherhood Of The Snake.’ You’re gonna expect something more in-depth.”

Peterson went on to explain that the end result on ‘The Brotherhood of the Snake’ is one of Testament’s most thrash metal-dominated albums to date, even over the group’s early records. “It’s different. This one is more thrash. I mean, this has got some of the fastest stuff that we have ever played,” said Peterson.

“Usually, we have one or two thrash songs, and then we have some mid-tempo, and then we have a slow, heavy one, and then up-tempo kind of stuff. Half of the new record is thrash, which we’ve never done before. Even with our first record [‘The Legacy,’ 1987] , there’s ‘Over The Wall’ and ‘First Strike Is Deadly,’ but then there’s stuff that’s back and forth from mid-tempo to thrash like ‘Do Or Die’ or ‘Apocalyptic City.’ Full-on thrash though, like six or seven songs, has never been done by us. It’s kind of a trip to hear it.”

The attention was then directed towards the somewhat controversial decision to have Testament promote the release of ‘The Brotherhood of the Snake’ with a tour of Europe in support of Amon Amarthe. “A lot of bands wouldn’t do this — a band like Testament opening for Amon Amarth. A lot of people are, like, ‘Huh?’ But at the same time, when you think about it, Amon Amarth is doing great right now, and they’re a new band. They’re drawing a lot of people, and that’s good for Testament. And they’re not so bad; they’re fucking pretty good,” he explained.

In other news, Testament mainman Chuck Billy shared the lyrical themes covered on the band’s upcoming record. “[The title track is] basically about a lot of the early secret societies that started taking over power, trying to control the society and spawned off into illuminatis and stuff like that so it’s kind of going back to a lot of that — a lot of human control and religions and the similarities between religions and alien beings and stuff like that. I’ve been fascinated a lot by a lot of programs that show a lot of different religions and all the writings or hieroglyphics on the walls always have the same type beings with all of these religions.

“It makes you think, wow, so long ago, these people didn’t know people on the other side of the ocean, but yet they have these common sightings within their religions that they talk about and reference. And it just really was interesting to me, opening my eyes a little more to religion. I was raised Catholic, but growing up and just seeing these connections just really makes me think about all the religions, you know? And the connection between the human race and aliens, it’s just really fascinating to me. So we started spotting a lot of ideas for songs off of that.”