On January 18, Rustyn Rose of Metalholic.com conducted an interview with TESTAMENT guitarist Eric Peterson. You can now listen to the chat below. A couple of excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the status of the recording sessions for TESTAMENT’s long-awaited follow-up to 2012’s “Dark Roots Of Earth” album:
Eric: “Before the SLAYER [winter U.S.] tour [was offered to us], we were planning on recording at the end of January. Then the SLAYER thing came up, and we were just kind of, like, ‘Ahhh…’ I mean, for me, I was, like, ‘No. Let’s get the record done.’ But Chuck [Billy, TESTAMENT singer] was, like, ‘Dude, we’ve gotta do this. We’ve gotta do this.’ Now that we’re doing [the tour], I’m excited to do it, but it is another… The reason why we haven’t done the record yet is just that there’s all these hurdles and choices to make, and we seem to be picking to play shows still. That’s the only thing stopping us; we keep doing stuff. So the plan now is… I was, like, ‘Look, we’ve gotta get something out.’ So I recorded a single this weekend with Gene [Hoglan, TESTAMENT drummer]. We picked one of the tracks and we just said, ‘Let’s get this out.’ It’s kind of a good idea for fans to hear something new. We’re really excited about the record. And then when we get back from the SLAYER tour, we will be getting into the studio to record the new record. The tour ends… I would imagine the later part of April we will be getting in there. I would get in there right after, but another hurdle is Gene and Steve [DiGiorgio, bass] will be doing a tour in Europe with DEATH. So that’s kind of my dilemma. It’s always something. But at the same time, I know I’ve got some good stuff — really good stuff. I haven’t really been this excited for a while. That’s a lie — I’m excited about everything that I do — but this one in particular is just a little bit more on the stealth-heavy, ultra-crazy side. It’s got a new twist to it. I can’t really explain it. It’s what I’ve heard people say when they hear it. To me, it’s business as usual; I’m just excited about what I’m doing. On this one, I’m just hearing [from other people who have heard it] a lot of, ‘This is super different but the same… It’s got an old-school feel, but it’s up to date.’ Really good, positive feedback I’ve heard so far. So we’ll see.”
On whether TESTAMENT will play the new song live after it is released:
Eric: “That would be awesome. I think that’s what we should do. We’ll get the single out and we’ll probably play it live. The only thing that could possibly happen is I know the lyrics aren’t done yet. I know Chuck will come through eventually. I’m just hoping that it happens sooner than later. So we’ll see what happens.”
On whether the musical direction of the new TESTAMENT material is still reminiscent of 1999’s “The Gathering” album, as the member of the band had said in previous interviews:
Eric: “Yeah, it’s got that vibe to it. And what I mean by ‘vibe’ is it’s got that excitement where each song kind of connects to the next one, as far as heaviness and the style of guitar playing, like the fast picking kind of stuff and a lot of harmonies and stuff like that. So that’s kind of what’s going on on this new one, definitely. Usually I write a couple of thrash songs — you know, ‘The Formation Of Damnation’, that’s kind of thrash; and then on the new one [‘Dark Roots Of Earth’], we had a couple of more. ‘Rise Up’ was kind of half-half — it’s got some fast stuff in there — and then ‘True American Hate’. But this one, out of the ten I’ve got, six of them are thrash, and that’s pretty cool, to me, when I listen back. And they’re all different, so I’m totally digging that. And we’re using the blast beat, which I’ve been introducing a little bit here and there. The [song] we just recorded, Gene was, like, ‘Are you on crack? I can’t play a blast beat that [fast].’ I think it was… It’s like 270-something [bpm], and he was just, like, ‘You can’t do that.’ And I’m, like, ‘Well, this is how it goes.’ And he had to find some cheat ways to do it, but it’s super punishing. He was a little worried at first, but he pulled it off, and it’s just crazy. He says it’s the fastest blast he’s ever done, and that’s Gene Hoglan, so, to me, that’s crazy. But it’s super melodic too. I think it’s got elements of ‘Rapid Fire’ by [JUDAS] PRIEST; I’ve heard that from people. It’s got elements of ‘The Burning Times’ from our ‘Demonic’ record . Guitar-wise, it’s definitely got some of those elements in it.”
TESTAMENT’s U.S. tour with SLAYER and CARCASS is scheduled to kick off on February 19 in Chicago, Illinois and end on March 26 in Las Vegas, Nevada.