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|Order the new TESTAMENT – "THE FORMATION OF DAMNATION" – first album in 9 years featuring classic line-up - Chuck Billy, Eric Peterson, Alex Skolnick, Greg Christian and Paul Bostaph - Out on Nuclear Blast Records!
* N E W *
Testament - "The Formation of Damnation" CD
(Autographed by the band)
*ALL SALES ARE FINAL*
U.S. $15.00 / Overseas $20.00
(Shipping & Handling included)
Testament's highly successful and award-winning album The Formation of Damnation was recently reissued in a deluxe tour edition in celebration of ‘Rust in Peace’ and American Carnage. See below for information on the album!
The Formation of Damnation (Deluxe Tour Edition)
2-disc deluxe tour edition of the band’s comeback album! Includes bonus footage of classic tracks + more:
01. The Persecuted Won’t Forget
02. Killing Season
04. The Evil Has Landed
05. The Formation Of Damnation
06. Henchmen Ride
07. More Than Meets The Eye
08. Dangers Of The Faithless
09. False Evidence Appearing Real (F.E.A.R.)
10. Leave Me Forever
• The New Order *Audio and Video
• Practice What You Preach *Audio and Video
• Souls Of Black *Audio and Video
*Recorded in Alcatraz for their MTV “52/52” special
• More Than Meets The Eye music video
Testament - "The Formation of Damnation" CD - Deluxe Tour Edition
(Autographed by Chuck Billy)
*ALL SALES ARE FINAL*
U.S. $23.00 / Overseas $26.00
(Shipping & Handling included)
The Formation Of Damnation
April 29, 2008
Nuclear Blast Records
Chuck Billy – vocals
Eric Peterson – guitars
Alex Skolnick – guitars
Greg Christian – bass
Paul Bostaph - drums
Prophecy is a territory explored only by brave men and warriors. The two are not necessarily mutual but the differences between them are certainly marginal. And truly, the best prophecies come from those who aren’t necessarily seeking to be prophetic, but who simply step forward into those dark, uncomfortable places because their need for honest expression is total, no pre-determination, no intent, just pure, raw gut delivery of truths as seen.
Testament have found themselves in the prophecy business before during their 25 year career, and with “The Formation Of Damnation” they have delivered their sharpest, leanest, heaviest and most prophetic set of songs for two decades. The quintessential modern heavy metal band, the undisputedly enormous influence over a whole nu generation of aural aggressors. With "The Formation Of Damnation" Testament have deliciously served up 'old school' without the old, a crushingly heavy album without the weight of oppression, all crisp and lively like a ball-pin hammer-wielding maniac intent on bashing your brains to a pulp. It crackles with the type of vibrant energy that comes from an umbilically connected creative core writing together for the first time in over ten years, their reserves of residual anger, aggro and raw visceral riffery greater than ever. Recorded at Driftwood Studios in Oakland, CA (except for the drums which were done at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley) and mixed at Backstage Studios in Derbyshire, UK, “The Formation Of Damnation” is a worthy sibling of previously lauded Test-efforts such as “The Gathering” whilst behaving very much like the older, wiser brother of 1988’s “The New Order.”
“We’re talking about things we’ve lived through,” says Eric Peterson, “we’re living through the politics, we’re living through the bullshit, we’ve lived through bad relationships and we’ve lived through tough times. It’s not even that we’re necessarily political, we’re just everyday people who have always been thinking about these things. Out of all our records “The Formation Of Damnation” could be “The New Order’s” big brother.”
“The New Order” had also been inspired by George Orwell’s ‘1984’,” continues Alex Skolnick, “that whole vision of complete government control and totalitarianism taking over the US, as well as disasters both man-made an natural. Here it is years later and we have the Patriot Act, Hurricane Katrina and 9/11. So when you compare the two albums, it’s kinda spooky. And this album is no going to get filed under ‘easy listening’, that’s for sure.”
“It’s also absolutely about being older and wiser,” confirms Chuck Billy, “And now we also have children, their world is being affected, and everyday life generally throws up some heavy stuff, both national and personal, so all these songs are very much of our time and experiences. For example, over the last couple of years Eric and I both lost our fathers, so “The After Life” is about when we might next see them. Then there’s “The Evil Has Landed” which is about the twin towers, and at first I didn’t know if I wanted to sing about that, but once I performed it became clear that deep down I had to, and ‘Killing Season’ is one for all the soldiers we get letters and e-mails from during this war, it’s for those troops who get fired up by heavy metal before they go into combat and it’s my little contribution to the cause. And with all the songs I wanted us to make the statement that we’re stronger, more powerful and more confident than ever before. We’ve got the game!” “I think it’s the best record I’ve ever had anything to do with,” chuckles Greg Christian, “and not to sound conceited but it’s also really the best heavy metal record I’ve heard in a long time.”
Reaching this lushest of creative fields has been quite a journey for Testament, the sort that tests, stretches and ultimately breaks most bands. Formed in the Bay Area of Northern California in 1983 under the moniker of Legacy (the change to Testament came when Billy arrived to take over from Steve Souza on vocals and Derrick Ramirez was replaced by Skolnick), they grew up at the same time as Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax and Megadeth, being one of the five bands forming the core of what would become the world famous thrash metal scene. But from the beginning Testament trod a unique path, making sure that their extraordinary musicianship, intuitive feel for harmonies amidst the savagery established itself as a stand alone sound.
“I was in the band Forbidden back then,” says Paul Bostaph, “and I remember that us and other bands at the time might stumble across a riff, think about it and scrap it simply because it was too close to the Testament sound. They really did have their own style and their own dimension, which gave them an edge from the very beginning and influenced so many bands on the scene.”
1987’s debut release “The Legacy” threw down a marker, and by the time Testament were about to release 1988’s “The New Order” their legend was already hitting enormous popularity. However, their extreme talent got muddied and compromised by the weight of expectation, and while albums like -1989’s “Practice What You Preach" and 1990’s “Souls Of Black” continued to open the same creative doors for a slew of bands which Testament have always done, their level of recognition was perhaps not commesurate with their influence over an entire genre. Talent+personalities can equal problems, and thus it was that after 1992’s “The Ritual”, Clemente left and Skolnick decided it was high-time to essentially find himself and reclaim a few of the teenage years he lost.
“I was in high school, 11th grade, when I joined this band,” laughs Skolnick, “so I really needed to go away and grow as a person, as a musician and get the necessary confidence to enjoy this and gather the strength to make things happen and fight for changes. When I left Testament I still felt like the shy, annoying brother in the room; when I came back, I felt like a respected, professional musician.”
And so it was that for many years, the core creators behind Testament’s music remained separate. Friendships were maintained and good times still had, but musically, matters remained separate as Skolnick explored jazzier rock climbs, Christian engaged in his own projects whilst Billy and Peterson kept Testament alive with a series of different musicians coming in and out. Bostaph had his first short stint with the band in 1992 (in the midst of joining Slayer), whilst White Zombie and Anthrax drummer John Tempesta came in with death metal guitarist James Murphy to play on 1994’s “Low” album, perhaps Testament’s most progressive in terms of material range.
Peterson and Billy continued to fly the Testament flag, releasing the decidedly deathier tones of “Demonic” in 1997, whilst 1999 saw Murphy again on guitar with Slayer’s Dave Lombardo on drums for “The Gathering.” Arguably the album which led Testament back onto their path after a little radical experimentation in the recent past, “The Gathering” became a meeting point for dozens of hungry young metal acts looking for a new metal God. But Murphy was diagnosed with a brain tumor from which he did eventually recover, and in 2001, Billy was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. It was to prove a life-affirming, as well as life-changing, event.
“I’m a big believer that things happen for a reason,” says Billy, “we never split on bad terms, we always kept in good contact, we saw them on the east coast, we always supported Alex when he came through town, and we never discussed getting back together, we’d just hang out. But when I got sick and there was Thrash Of The Titans concert, that was the first time a reunion of any sort happened. It broke the ice, Greg (Christian) put some stuff behind him with Eric and I to get up there, I performed a song with everyone and that was the start of it all coming together again.”
From that came the deeper realization that with a fair few years between them (not to mention oceans under bridges) it was time to jump to the next level and simply get creative with each other again.
No grandiose plans.
Just pure powerful playing, which is why 2005’s 10 date European reunion tour (featuring all the original members) ended up spurring studio work.
“We didn’t ever plan this,” affirms Skolnick, “the reunion show in 2002 at the Dynamo was the catalyst, we never made any plans, we just enjoyed that show and then ended up doing a few more, which proved to us that now we’re older and more mature we can all enjoy being in this band. And once we’d done some extra shows in 2005, once we’d seen the reactions, once we’d seen a new audience mixing with the old, we just took things to the next logical progression.”
It is the journey to “The Formation Of Damnation” and the affirmation of the quintet’s chemistry which is one of the album’s strongest elements.
“Sometimes you can have a lot of ideas but keep on clashing the people you work with,” says Peterson, “and that’s what’s happened to us in the past. But with this album, we really do just appreciate what we have.”
“There’s been such a growth in our maturity and comfort with each other,” furthers Billy. “Eric’s developed into such a great rhythm player and Alex really acknowledged that as well as his creativity. Those two really gelled, and Alex also had a lot of input with arrangements, he really did fine-tune a lot of the songs.
“In some sense I took a step back from the writing this time because through it all, whatever differences we may have had, Chuck and Eric have kept Testament going,” explains Skolnick, “I knew they had a way of working together, so a lot of my work was assisting with their writing process. In some ways it was like a production role, and I’d never say I was a producer here because the album was in it’s early stages, and for the most part I really enjoyed the role.”
“It felt quite natural, especially as I know Eric’s writing so well,” adds Christian. “I know he had this vision in is head for the songs so I just did my best to help pull them out, and because we understand what each other are saying we can work really quickly. The chemistry between Eric, Alex, Chuck and myself is amazing, and it’s amazing how well Paul Bostaph has fitted in, really, on every level it’s been such a positive experience.”
“This is like family,” says Bostaph. “I’ve known all these guys for over 20 years, we’ve played together, bands I’ve been in have toured with them and I am a huge Testament fan, so joining this time was a huge no-brainer. And again, as Greg said, for me it was a case of giving myself to what this Testament album needed, and that was my only focus, making sure that the band got exactly what it needed from it’s drummer.”
In closing, take a moment to consider the following…
In 1988, Testament spoke of a new order and here, in 2008, Testament speak of the formation of damnation.
“It’s of our time right now,” concludes Peterson, “the world we live in is rife with aggravation, politics is forever more about money rather than doing what’s right, we all keep taking from mother earth… human beings are basically done! We’re setting ourselves up big-time for damnation, and that’s what these songs talk about, from love to politics to holy wars, it’s all there, it's all written about.”
You probably don’t want to hazard a guess as to what Testament, the true societal prophets of rage, will be speaking of in 2028…
Testament Quote Sheet 2008:
“Freshly brutal and heroically nostalgic, Formation… is the culmination of a decade of dedication and perseverance for the Bay Area Kings. Chuck sounds brilliant as well as the entire band. Welcome back Alex and Greg!”
- Metal Maniacs
“Don't call it a comeback. Just call it AWESOME”
- Revolver Magazine
“One of the best things I've heard this year”
- Metal Hammer UK
“JESUS!!! HAVE YOU HEARD THE NEW TESTAMENT!!!???? ITS 7 AM!!!! IM ABOUT TO SMASH MY COMPUTER!!! FUCKING SIIIIIICCK!!!!!”
– Jamey Jasta / Hatebreed
“Old school without the old, crushingly heavy without the weight of oppression, crisp and lively like a ball-pin hammer-wielding maniac intent on bashing your brains to a pulp...
The Formation Of Damnation" crackles with vibrant energy, residual anger, aggro and raw, visceral riffery...”
- Steffan Chirazi
“JESUS FUCKING CHRIST!!!!!!!!!!!” What BWBK said upon listening to an advance of the new “The Formation Of Damnation”
- BWBK – Aaron Small
“Bay-area thrash lives…The Formation Of Damnation hearkens back to the days of The Legacy and The New Order…Amazing writing... Face-melting solos... lots of classic Billy-wailing. ”
- Alternative Press magazine
"The Bay Area Thrash scene was very influential on my upbringing as a young, aspiring metal musician, and Testament was the band that had the most impact on me. The riffs, the live show, the power..........it was the total package. One of the things I always liked about this band was that when there was a lineup change, it never seemed to set them back, and they always have top notch musicians in the band! However, there is nothing like seeing Alex Skolnick rip on lead, and Paul Bostaph back to doing what he does best, playing kick ass metal drums!!!"
- Jason Bittner / Shadows Fall
“For me, Testament was always the perfect balance of the aggression of thrash metal and the power and hooks of ass kicking rock n roll. They always had amazing songs that you could sing along to while you were kicking the shit out of someone in the pit!! Incredible musicianship, great songwriting and one of the most original and memorable voices in metal history. It just doesn’t get any better.”
- Brian Fair / Shadows Fall
Testament quote: Testament are a band that I've only really been into over the past 5 years or so, but even in this short time, I have become a fan of all their work. Sadly, this band seems to have been overlooked by many, who favour Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax in the thrash metal stakes, yet this band has been hugely influential and have a thoroughly individual sound that is as fresh today as it was upon their inception. A great live band with killer songs.
Quotes about The Gathering and Demonic:
Most people when listening to Testament go to their earlier work like The New Order or The Legacy, Which are classic albums, so some of the more recent stuff sometimes gets overlooked which is a shame, because albums like Demonic and The Gathering huge in every way. Huge riffs, huge drums and huge vocals and are clearly inspirational to modern metal bands such as Lamb Of God and Trivium as well as myself and other members of Born From Pain.
- Karl Fieldhouse / Guitarist for Born from Pain
"Every time I'm working on a record I always reference Testament's 'The Gathering' as the epitome of great metal production. Absolutely crushing, it is another milestone in band's brilliant and influential legacy (pun intended)."
- GREG THOMAS - SHAI HULUD / SILVER BULLET MEDIA
“Testament is easily in my top 3 favorite metal bands of all time. Demonic and The Gathering are true testaments (tee hee) that Testament isn't softening up or slowing down. Old Testament, new Testament - Christ, it's all holy to me.”
- MATT FOX - SHAI HULUD
“The Gathering” is equal to “Back in Black” by AC/DC, in its song writing and song sequence. For some, its either Metallica or Testament; for me it’s Testament.
“Demonic:” the deadliest, dirtiest, crushing record, where they truly found their heavier and darker side.
- Dez Farara / DevilDriver
"The Gathering was a sledgehammer to the face when it came out and still is to this day! Sheer rawness and power combined with catchy, groovy patterns and monstrous thrash riffs that proves Testament as one of the most influential metal bands ever to grace planet earth. I sum this album up in one word; authority!"
- Silenoz / Dimmu Borgir
“Testament are one of the most underrated classic bands out there. I don't mean underrated in the sense that people don't appreciate them or that bands don't rip off their riffs and vocal patterns to this day, but in the sense that they should be looked at as one of the pioneers of the metal scene. right up there with Metallica, and Slayer. Other bands are and were doing what they did sure, but nobody could touch the skill and musicianship that these guys bring...nobody. It was an honor to share the stage with them and a dream come true. I'll never forget buying The New Order tape and wishing to see them in concert...who would have thought i'd be on the same stage and then drinking some beers with them 19 years later (sorry to date you guys!!)...man I love this job.”
- MARK HUNTER / Chimaira
“Far and away one of the most influential bands in all of modern metal. While other veteran acts soak up much of the spotlight with sing a-longs, Testament maintains the unsurpassed musicianship, integrity and brutality that continues to create a untouchable legacy.”
– Chris Adler / Lamb of God
"Testament has been one of my favorite bands for many years...they have always helped define aggression and musicianship. They are one of the few bands that have kicked ass throughout their entire career. Demonic and The Gathering not only kept with the times in the metal world, but set new standards."
- Joel Stroetzel / Killswitch Engage
“Chuck Billy is one of the main reasons I became a vocalist. His range and power inspired me to pick up a mic, plug into my shitty Gorilla guitar amp and sing along with my Testament tapes when I was a kid. Belting out tunes like Disciples of the Watch and Sins of Omission really helped mold my voice into what it is today. As for the band, their music speaks for itself with true thrash metal recordings, album after album. I know they reached a good level of success and are respected worldwide, but I believe they are one of the most under rated metal bands in history.”
- Trevor Phipps / Unearth
“I first saw Testament in 1990 on the Practice What You Preach tour at the Vic Theatre in Chicago. Up till then I mostly listened to Metallica/Megadeth and so on... This show totally changed my life. As cliché as that is I remember watching them and the whole crowd was chanting all the words. Their sound to me was totally unique. I fell in love with bay area metal that day and in all honesty digested nothing but testament for years. I have every record and back then had a testament shirt for every day of the week. I never missed a show and that band really made me want to play in a metal band for life. Fast forward to now.....our merch guy Rodger from Bravado was our rep and was Testament’s merch dude for years... He is the guy who sold me all my Testament shirts and now he’s doing Five Finger Death Punch shirts on the Family Values Tour. Add in the fact that Terrance our tour manager was their guitar tech...proves its a small world. I only got to play one show with Testament. It was a Milwaukee Metal Fest back when I was very young and I got to meet them. So that was a big day for me. All in all I love the band. Through all the changes I never stopped supporting or listening to them. I’m very grateful Chuck got through his sickness and is around to still work with the band. I recently purchased their new DVD ... it was really cool to see all the guys back together..if only even for one tour. Testament is metal...Testament is my history and influence...and I was very lucky to have been there to witness it.”
- Matt Phillips / Five Finger Death Punch
"For us, there were five important bands from the US metal scene: Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, Slayer and Testament. We were big fans of Testament. If it wasn't for Alex, we probably wouldn't be playing guitar. He was a huge influence when we were kids (and it's not like he's super old!). The solos stand up today, they are so melodic, super fast and precise."
- RODRIGO & GABRIELA
“Testament is American Thrash Metal defined. They've had some of the most legendary metal musicians in their ranks. In a time when heavy music was considered passe', taboo, and uncool, Testament just got heavier. A mover, a shaker, and a mainstay in my book.”
- Travis Miguel / drummer of Atreyu
Testament is the ultimate classic Bay Area thrash band, and I know all the songs from "The Legacy" by heart.
- Apollyon/Immortal - bass
First time I heard legacy I couldn’t believe it. It was a kick in the face and it felt sooooo good.“
- Peter Tagtgren/ Hypocrisy – vocals, guitar, synthesizer
Testament's "The Legacy" from `87 had a great impact on me! It brought something different to the already established "bay area" sound! I think, to a big extent with the vocals of Chuck Billy! Testament was one of the first bands me and Marten (guitarist of Meshuggah) played covers of, in our teens - and for our very first live gig, both of us being 16 years old, the first song we ever played to an audience was Burnt Offerings off the Legacy album!! So, no doubt that Testament had a great impact!!!
Testament have always been a great name in metal - great skill, musicianship and songwriting! One "true Testament to metal", if you will!!
- Tomas Haake/ Drummer of Meshuggah
”Testament is THE band who got me into metal and made me want to write and play music & I am VERY much looking forward to the new album”
- Jesper Strömblad / In Flames - guitar
What is there to say? Without Testament the thrash metal scene would not even exist if you ask me. I've smashed my head against the wall from the first minute I heard them back in the 80's and I can't wait to hear the next masterpiece with all the orignal members. Testament, Nuclear Blast Records and Andy Sneap, what more can I ask for? It's time to bring back some old school mosh pits.
- Roland Johansson / Sonic Syndicate - vocals
Seeing the chemistry slowly work its way back with all the right people at the right place doing exactly what Testament was meant to do has definitely been achieved this time. They are a timeless real band and this lethal line up is "18-wheeler heavy"... it is practically illegal for it to go downhill. I, for one, cannot wait to see this Live Show in the coming months. Congrats to a true bunch of talented, wonderful, hard-working legends of metal music! You did it again...
- Yael / DrumAddict Inc.
“This is already a classic! TESTAMENT are back with a lot of energy!”
- ROCK HARD ITA, Barbara Francone
Testament verarbeiten 25 Jahre Thrash-Geschichte und wirken dabei zu keiner Zeit antiquiert. Ein Hammer!“
- METAL HAMMER GER, Marc Halupczok
„The best TESTAMENT album since "Practice What You Preach", without a doubt.“
- SCREAM MAGAZINE NOR, Håkon Grav
"After ten years of expectation since « The Gathering », U.S. thrashers Testament come back with its new and powerful offering: "The Formation Of Damnation"! Intense and modern – the Testament thrash spirit is still alive! … a new step on U.S. thrash is arose."
- METALLIAN FR
“Bay Area´s Thrash-Metal masters, back to life! Do not waste your time with the utopian Metallica Resurrection. Intense, aggressive and with great solos by the returning axemaster Alex Skolnick. Do you believe in miracles? Choice is yours!”
- METAL HAMMER ES
„Bay Area strikes back! Die Altmeister TESTAMENT thrashen 99 % der jungspundigen Genrekonkurrenz immer noch unangespitzt in Grund und Boden.“
- ROCK HARD GER, Andreas Stappert