Chuck Billy. The name alone has inspired respect and admiration from both fans and musicians for almost 30 years. As the lead vocalist/frontman for the seminal Bay Area thrash metal band Testament, Billy has been a human bulldog of hard rock. After overcoming serious health issues in the past years, he is once again in prime form and firing on all cylinders. This week will see the release of their first album in almost five years, Brotherhood of the Snake, and from the sounds of it, Billy and the band are still major contenders in the heavy metal game.
Chuck, I have to be honest: I am as giddy as a 13-year-old girl getting the chance to talk to Justin Bieber!
(Laughs) Thanks, man. I really appreciate that.
Before we get started, I wanted to ask how you’re feeling these days?
Good, good. I’m feeling great and things seem to taken a turn for the better.
Awesome. So, I’m guessing you all are pretty excited to have the public hear Brotherhood of the Snake.
Absolutely. We haven’t released an album since Dark Roots of Thrash back in 2012, so this album has been a long time coming, and we think we did something we can be pretty proud of putting out.
The album comes out on October 28th, which is also the opening date of a European tour with Amon Amarth. You should have loads of fun on the road with those Vikings.
Yeah, right. They’re great guys so it will be pretty cool do all those dates in their home stomping grounds of Europe.
But, the more important question is when will see you here in ‘Murica?
We’re in the midst of working out all the details and logistics for touring back here when we’re done over there. So, it’s just a matter of time, and then we’ll hit a lot of cities back home.
The new album, Brotherhood of the Snake. First off, the cover is absolutely killer. Do you have any favorite tracks off of it personally?
Thanks. The cover was done by Eliran Kantor, and we really think it sums up this record. To be honest, I think this is not only some of the most powerful stuff we’ve ever done, but also some of the fastest. I really like the title track and “The Pale King.”
One would almost think that the title could apply to what is going on here today in the political arena. As a Native American, you have any thoughts on a middle-aged, white politician talking about building a wall to keep out illegal immigrants, when middle aged white guys were the first illegal immigrants in this country.
Yeah, that is a bit ironic and funny, isn’t it? I’m not political for the reason that my feeling is basically: Is this the best we have to choose from? if so, it doesn’t apply to me. I don’t see any politicians out there who seem to speak either to me or for me as a person.
Well, thank you for the time to talk to us at SkullsnBones and I know can’t wait to see you this year when you’re on tour.
No, thank you and certainly thanks to everyone who’s been listening to us and coming to our shows for the past 3 decades.
I have been lucky enough to get an advanced copy of Brotherhood of the Snake, and all I can say is holy shit! This slab of metal is a major nut-crusher from beginning to end. There are times when Testament actually out-Slayer Slayer. It is faster, harder, and there isn’t a bad track from beginning to end. It will be interesting to see if the soon-to-be-released Metallica album, Hardwired … to Self-Destruct, can hold a candle to this, because Testament haven’t only raised the bar for Bay Area thrash bands, but they’ve drawn a line in the sand that pretty much says, “Step over, bitches, and let’s see what ya got!”
Brotherhood of the Snake will hit your earholes on October 28 on Nuclear Blast Records just in time for you to crank it up and scare all the trick-or-treating moppets and MILFs a few days later on Halloween
Buy it here, you chuckleheads! Illegal downloads don’t pay for tours, recording sessions and a simple paycheck for the musicians you love.
King Rhino, out!