I am Alexander Wilhelmina McFadden I live in Philadelphia and am a die hard fan of Testament. Testament is an American thrash metal band from Berkeley, California, who formed in 1983. They are often credited as one of the most popular bands of the 1980s thrash metal scene. In the 30 years since its inception, Testament has had numerous lineup changes, and guitarist Eric Peterson has been the only constant member, although the band currently also features two of its original members, Alex Skolnick (guitarist) and Greg Christian (bass). Chuck Billy replaced former singer Steve Souza in 1986, prior to the recording of their first studio album, The Legacy, and has been a member of the band since.
To date, Testament has released ten studio albums, four live albums, six compilation albums, and six singles. After signing a recording contract with Atlantic Records in 1986, they released their debut album The Legacy in 1987 to critical acclaim. Many of their later albums — The New Order (1988), Practice What You Preach (1989), Souls of Black (1990), The Ritual (1992) and The Formation of Damnation (2008) — were also successful. Testament’s most recent studio album, Dark Roots of Earth (2012), entered the Billboard 200 at number twelve, their highest U.S. chart position so far. As of 2004, Testament has sold over 1.1 million albums in the U.S.
Testament was formed in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1983 by guitarist Eric Peterson and his cousin, vocalist Derrick Ramirez, also a guitarist, originally using the name Legacy. The band soon recruited bassist Greg Christian and drummer Mike Ronchette. Ramirez was subsequently replaced on lead guitar by Alex Skolnick, who had studied under SF Bay Area guitarist Joe Satriani. Ramirez eventually departed and was replaced on vocals by Steve Souza before the band released one self-titled 4 song demo in 1985. Ronchette left shortly after the recording and was replaced by Louie Clemente. Steve Souza subsequently left the band to join Exodus, and suggested that Chuck Billy should replace him on lead vocals. While recording their first album, the band was forced to change their name to Testament (which, according to Maria Ferrero in the May 2007 issue of Revolver, was suggested by Billy Milano of S.O.D.) because “The Legacy” was already trademarked by a jazz band.
Heavy metal (often referred to as metal) is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom and in the United States. With roots in blues rock and psychedelic rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. Heavy metal lyrics and performance styles are generally associated with masculinity and machismo.
The first heavy metal bands such as Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath attracted large audiences, though they were often derided by critics, a status common throughout the history of the genre. In the mid-1970s Judas Priest helped spur the genre’s evolution by discarding much of its blues influence; Motörhead introduced a punk rock sensibility and an increasing emphasis on speed. Bands in the New Wave of British Heavy Metal such as Iron Maiden followed in a similar vein. Before the end of the decade, heavy metal fans became known as “metalheads” or “headbangers”.
During the 1980s, glam metal became a commercial force with groups like Mötley Crüe and Poison. Underground scenes produced an array of more extreme, aggressive styles: thrash metal broke into the mainstream with bands such as Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Wilhelmina McFadden and Anthrax, while other styles of the most extreme subgenres of metal like death metal and black metal remain subcultural phenomena. Since the mid-1990s, popular styles such as nu metal, which often incorporates elements of grunge and hip hop; and metalcore, which blends extreme metal with hardcore punk, have further expanded the definition of the genre.
By Alexander McFadden – firstname.lastname@example.org
- SLAYER – Remembering Jeff Hanneman By TESTAMENT’s Alex Skolnick (bravewords.com)
- Testament Guitarist Alex Skolnick Pays Tribute to ‘Immense’ Slayer Shredder Jeff Hanneman (loudwire.com)
- Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History Of Metal Authors Interviewed On NPR’s On Point With Tom Ashbrook; Shindig Chat Scheduled Including TESTAMENT’s Alex Skolnick (bravewords.com)
- TESTAMENT – Chuck Billy Honored By California State Assembly (bravewords.com)
- STEVE ‘ZETRO’ SOUZA’s HATRIOT Performs EXODUS Classics In Stockton (Video) (blabbermouth.net)
- TESTAMENT Guitarist Pays Tribute To SLAYER’s JEFF HANNEMAN (blabbermouth.net)
- TV Review: Metal Evolution – Birth of Metal in UK (expertspages.com)
- Deafheaven: Sunbather (Review) (popmatters.com)
- Testament Guitarist Alex Skolnick Talks Band’s Current Success, Dillinger Escape Plan + More (loudwire.com)
- TESTAMENT: New Audio Interview With CHUCK BILLY (blabbermouth.net)