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Testament Determined to Stay the Course for New Album

For nearly every record of their 23-year career, San Francisco thrash band Testament have tried to create songs that were both a departure and a natural progression from their last batch. Sometimes they were more melodic (1989’s ‘Practice What You Preach’), occasionally they were way heavier (1997’s ‘Demonic’).

However, for the follow-up to 2008’s critically acclaimed ‘The Formation of Damnation,’ Testament are pretty content to take over where they left off. They’re not in cruise control exactly, but they were so happy with ‘Formation’ that they’re using it as a blueprint of sorts for their next album.

“When we did the ‘Formation’ record, the riffs were getting tight and locked in, and we were really happy with everything we did,” Vocalist Chuck Billy told Newscreep. “So, I think our mindset for this next record is, let’s pretend like we’re still writing ‘Formation,’ but let’s write 10 more songs.”

There is at least one thing Billy wants to do differently with the new album, though. Since his battle with cancer in 2001 and his complete recovery from the disease, the vocalist has become more in touch with his Native American roots and plans to address some of his experiences working with an Indian healer in some of the new lyrics. Billy is a descendent of the Pomo Indians and has written about his cultural heritage in past songs like ‘Trail of Tears’ and ‘Allegiance.’ On the new album, he hopes to make an even more personal connection.

“I have been thinking of using some elements of Native American music in the background, something that goes along with the vocals and the messages in the lyrics,” Billy said. “I had some really wild stuff go on during my whole illness, and I think that would be good to talk about in a song.”

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