Interview: Eric Peterson of TESTAMENT

Words/Interview by Ash Wallace

After the unfortunate news of vocalist Chuck Billy, his wife and some crew members being affected by the COVID-19 virus, as if rising up from the ashes, TESTAMENT have recently unleashed a brand spanking new album Titans Of Creation via Nuclear Blast Records. Pouring out layers of energy, mesmerising riffs and that same forceful drive of the root of the band coupled with the philosophy of creation and its counterpart: destruction. We had the pleasure of discussing it with guitarist Eric Peterson.

I know it's a bit of a crazy time right now and it's more important than ever to be supporting artists and bands in this time, what are you and the band doing to keep positive?

Staying home, cooking, reading books, binge watching shows and TV.

We do have some good news though with the release of your new album “Titans Of Creation”, what were your initial visions and mind-set when going in to create this album?

First it was OK, it’s been a while, we need to do another record. Basically, it was the same process as before but this time around Gene and Steve and Alex were more available to participate in jamming on stuff. And not be shocked in the studio like oh this is what we’re doing, it was more being able to put together their own bite into it. So yeah there were little things that made it better.

I feel like the album subconsciously reflects the world wide situation right now and we’re lucky to still have bands releasing music for the time being to provide some comfort and a means of getting through this tough time.

Yeah, it’s a good record if you got time to listen to it, which we all do now, it’s a good record to trip on, it’s a lot of fun. Good riffs, good songs, good amount of time, it’s about an hour long so it’s pretty awesome!

With obviously all tours and shows being axed for the foreseeable future, what are the band focusing on right now?

Probably like most people you know, personal stuff, finances and figuring out how to make it through this mess. But just being hopeful that everybody’s doing their part and staying home and we’re just looking forward to getting out there and playing again, that’s the main thing. Everybody wants to return to their normal lives but maybe things won’t ever be normal again, we’ll be more aware of how special our freedom is and do be able to do stuff.

One of the singles ‘Children Of The Next Level’ was based on the Heaven's Gate mass suicides, can you briefly tell us about that?

It was a cult, and this one character brainwashed everybody to think that they would leave their bodies and they would be reunited in a different form. We have a 3D version of the album and there’s a booklet that has a description of all the songs and what they’re about. I could explain it but reading that makes a lot more sense.

Thrash metal is usually synonymous with creating very socio-political based music and concepts, which we can also see in your music, how important is it to sometimes cover such confronting truths and themes?

That’s just music you know? There’s positive things too though, we have a song called The Healer, about getting through a sickness and more about Chuck’s personal dealings with the healers that helped him through his cancer but we do lean towards the darker stuff and stories that happen. We never really push our opinion or anything but it’s more like this is what’s happened or maybe a prediction.

Each band is always trying to improve upon and top the previous record with their latest which obviously comes with some pressure to deliver, does there eventually come a point where you just create something that feels right and good in the time without having to constantly overthink and stress about that?

Yeah there’s always the pressure. I think the best way to not out-do yourself but have a good record is to just have fun with what you’re doing and be a fan of the music you like to play, try not to overthink stuff so much. For me I’m always trying to search for a song that I would like to hear.

Yeah and I guess being a musician you can’t really escape that anyway, but you go through it and suffer for your art because that's what you truly love. I just finished reading a book by Mark Manson called ‘Everything Is Fucked’ and it really solidified that concept and the question of not what are you hoping to achieve but what are you willing to suffer for, which really gave some perspective! Thanks so much for taking the time for a chat with us today, congratulations on the new album and fingers crosses we can see you guys back here, down under sooner rather than later! 

You can stream or purchase the album here:

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