Metal Asylum recently conducted an interview with guitarist Eric Peterson of San Francisco Bay Area thrashers Testament. A few excerpts from the chat follow below.
Metal Asylum: Do you have any songs left over from the recording of "The Formation Of Damnation" and will they show up on the next album?
Yes. We have a lot of riffs left over, songs… maybe one or two ready to go. After the touring is done in September/October, I will start putting stuff together and hopefully the album will be out in 2010. A couple songs are complete, just not vocally. One song is a ballad and we haven't had a slow one since "Low" ("Trail Of Tears"), and this one is incredible, I love it. It reminds me of something off Scorpions' "Lovedrive". It has a very festive feel, very wintery European feel. I came up with some new riffs recently, one after I saw the new "Underworld" prequel "Rise of the Lycans" — a couple of chords progressions. No lyrics yet for the new stuff.
Do you have a direction for the new songs?
Probably more melodic and more heavy; the best of both worlds, like "The Formation of Damnation". Looking at more thrash on the new record, but yet there will be a ballad. [Laughs] More of everything, less of nothing. [Laughs]
Looking to try anything new with the music on the new album?
You know, for the slower song, I am looking to get some strings (violins, cellos) on it instead of like the black metal keyboard thing. Actually, getting a real symphony on the slow song and I tried it out with my Drangonlord keyboard player and it worked. He actually thought it was for Dragonlord. I think it could be really cool and I wouldn't let it take over the song, [it would be] more of an atmosphere thing.
Do you see orchestral sounds in a Testament thrash song or do you think it may take away from the power and intensity?
That's more Dragonlord's thing, that's black metal territory. The closest we got to that was "Demonic", but that was with a death vocal.
Do you and Alex [Skolnick, guitar] sit down and write/work together on Testament music?
We have. On this latest record, he wrote the lyrics and music for "Fear". We co-wrote "Dangers of the Faithless". For the next record, if time permits, we will work together. See, it's hard sometimes because he is also busy with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and when he is doing that, I will work on music regardless. But it is important to Testament's sound that we work together, so even if I write a lot of the music, we still collaborate at some point.
Testament recently played "The Legacy" and "The New Order" in their entirety. Were those shows professionally videotaped?
They were recorded, but not professionally, unfortunately. See, that whole thing was done accidentally, because our label kind a let the cat out of the bag that we were planning to do that, but it wasn't set up to record them professionally. It was like a spur-of-the-moment idea, so a professional taping was not in the plans. I would love to have recorded something like that, but maybe in the future we can do it again with better planning. But we have some other cool things happening for this current run, like we have three different sets that the fans can vote on and each city will get the set with the most votes. This is also our first headlining tour in a couple years and we are bringing out some decent bands, Unearth and Lazarus A.D. We also are offering these VIP packs, they are a bit of money but they go a long way I think. Like, you get to see our soundcheck, which is cool because we play some different songs not in the live set.
Plans to film another show for DVD?
Yeah, definitely. You know that first DVD ("Live in London") we did in 2005 when the band go back together was cool, but now we have been out touring and really are in our groove. We have a great set now with some more variety, so I would really like to do one.
Read the entire interview from Metal Asylum.