Testament

American thrash metal giants Testament are heading to Australia for Download Festival and a side show at Brisbane at The Triffid. It will be an exciting tour for fans as they will be in for a treat with a preview of some of the songs of their thirteenth album Titans Of Creation. Hi Fi Way spoke to guitarist Alex Skolnick during rehearsals about their Download Festival shows.

Fantastic for Australian fans that Testament are returning to Australia for Download Festival and sideshows?
Yeah, absolutely! We’re looking forward to it.

Is it considered to be a huge privilege to be invited to play Download Festival and become part of the family?
Yeah, we’ve played Download in the UK before but it has been a while and it is nice to do one down in Australia.

Do you prefer festivals these days or the more intimate club shows?
A little of both is great, festivals are always fun because we see a lot of friends and we get to play with a good variety of bands that we might not play with otherwise. We’ve been able to play with bands such as Def Leppard as well as groups like Slayer. There is always something special about doing your own show where it’a your crowd. Festivals are good that you get to win over the crowd but it is nice to feel the love of a crowd that comes to your show.

Will there be a preview of the new album on this tour or will the set list cover the entire career?
I think it will be a little of both, we’re in rehearsals now and even looking at the last tour there was a lot of variety of the band’s career. We’ve been adding some different songs over the years and some new stuff.

With the new album in mind does it get any easier creating a new album?
Yes and no! You get used to it because you’ve been through the process but at the same time you don’t want copy any album you have done before. The challenge is to connect with your established sound but also not copying it, making it do enough that it is exciting to the band.

Do you think a settled line up these days is a bonus as well?
It definitely helps, the last few records there definitely has been some consistency.

Sonically, how does album number thirteen compare to the rest of the back catalogue?
The previous one has the same line up, so it it nice to have two in a row with the same line up. It is great not having to get to know someone all over again. There are a couple of songs where our founder Eric Peterson, he’s a fan of black metal and has a black metal solo project, there’s a couple of parts where he takes over the vocals and has that black metal voice that adds a different flavour. I wrote a song Code Of Hammurabi and we have such a good bass player now Steve Di Giorgio, that with the parts I wrote I had him in mind on bass.

With the length of time in between albums was there ever any doubt that Titans Of Creation might never happen?
The touring level of the band has changed a lot, it was interesting when there was this reunion period of the band in the 2000s, I had been out of the band and had come back, we had this resurrection. First it was an occasional tour, definitely a few shows a year and now we’re like a full time touring band. It is great on the one hand but it makes it hard to release an album consistently.

What has the energy been like in the rehearsal room ahead of Download?
We’re bring out a few songs we haven’t played in many years. There’s one in particular I’m not going to mention that will be a nice surprise for fans.

Interview By Rob Lyon

Catch Testament at Download Festival, tickets from https://www.downloadfestival.com.au/

Testament Download Side Show, tickets from Live Nation