Testament’s Chuck Billy Talks ‘Dark Roots of Earth’ Album + Cancer Perspective
Thrash metal icons Testament are closing in on 30 years as a band and showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, singer Chuck Billy says the group is sounding really good at the moment and he's anxious to get their latest music out to the people.
Of the new disc, 'Dark Roots of Earth,' the singer tells the Raffo Review, "I would say it's got a little bit of everything we've done in our history, but I would say vocally I'm tending to kind of go back to the 'practice what you preach' style. I've done a lot more melodies on this record as well. Of course there's some thrash and power vocals as Testament would do, but I think this record's got a little bit of an old school feel to it, for me at least."
Billy says he's particularly happy with how the record sounds, and admits that the band's earliest works didn't have the production capabilities that they're pulling off now. The singer credits a lot of that to the band as a whole taking on a more hands-on approach over the years. He says the turning point was likely his bout with cancer in 2001.
He recalls, "I didn't think I was ever going to be back performing with Testament. That illness kind of got all the original guys back together. It was a special thing for me because I felt as though one, I'm getting a second chance to perform with Testament and two, the original lineup was back together … Maybe the illness made it happen, but here we are now and we're not really thinking about it, we're just doing what we love to do and we all feel kind of blessed to be able to finish something we started together."
Billy says cancer also changed his outlook on life if in no other way than that he absorbs life and observes things more frequently. He adds that it's also helped with interpersonal relationships and having an appreciation for what he's got.
Look for Testament's 'Dark Roots of Earth' disc July 31.