Testament - Electric Crown
With intro "Signs Of Chaos".
Testament was formed in the San Francisco area in 1983 by guitarist Eric Peterson and his cousin, Derrick Ramirez, also guitarist, originally by name Legacy. The band soon recruited bassist Greg Christian, drummer Louie Clemente, and vocalist Steve Souza. Ramirez was subsequently replaced by guitarist Alex Skolnick, who had studied under San Francisco guitarist Joe Satriani. The band released two demo-tapes in 1984 and '85. Steve Souza subsequently left the band to join Exodus in 1986, 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 was suggested by Billy Milano of S.O.D.) because the old name was already used by another band.
Testament's first album, The Legacy, was released in 1987 on Megaforce Records. The band quickly managed to increase their exposure by heading out on a successful tour of America and Europe with Anthrax, who were then touring in support of their Among the Living album. On this tour the Live at Eindhoven EP was recorded.
The next album, The New Order, was released in 1988, and found the band continuing in a similar vein. After another successful world tour the band headed back into the studio to record Practice What You Preach. Released in 1989, the album minimized the occult themes found in the lyrical content of their first two albums, instead focusing on real-life issues such as politics and corruption. The album was the band's most popular to date and even MTV took notice, giving the title track extensive airplay on Headbanger's Ball.
However, Testament would never be able to equal the success they found with Practice. In 1990, Souls of Black was released to mixed reviews and slow album sales. Attempting to reconnect with an audience distracted by the growing grunge movement, Testament released The Ritual in 1992. The Ritual saw a stylistic move away from thrash to a slightly soft sound.
In 1993, Skolnick and Clemente were temporarily replaced by Glen Alvelais and Paul Bostaph, both of the thrash band Forbidden. This lineup released the 1993 live EP, Return To The Apocalyptic City. Soon after, Alvelais quit the band and Paul Bostaph departed to join Slayer. 1994's Low, featured John Tempesta on drums and Death guitar virtuoso James Murphy. Low was a diverse album, featuring various influences such as death metal, groove metal, and as well as a ballad: "Trail of Tears". The band's remaining fans reacted favorably to Low although it did little to expand Testament's fanbase. Some fans, however, viewed Testament's move away from the mainstream as a liberation that allowed them to expand artistically, not being pressured by sales and success as they once were. Tempesta left after the recording of the album, being replaced by Jon Dette for the following tour. After their 1994-1996 tour, Greg Christian, James Murphy, and Jon Dette departed the band.
The band's follow-up album, Demonic, released in 1997, took a new approach, and found Testament experimenting with death metal more. The album featured Eric Peterson on both lead and rhythm guitar (although Glen Alvelais made a guest appearance, and played on the subsequent tour), early member Derrick Ramirez on bass guitar, and former Dark Angel drummer Gene Hoglan. Hoglan left before the tour to join Strapping Young Lad, with Jon Dette returning, once again, to tour. By 1999, Ramirez and Alvelais had departed and James Murphy had returned for the release of The Gathering. The rhythm section on The Gathering was highly respected, consisting of metal fretless bass pioneer Steve DiGiorgio (formerly of Death and Sadus) and original Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo. The sound of the album was largely a combination of death metal, thrash metal, and a minor black metal influence from Eric Peterson's side project, Dragonlord.
Testament released a new album, entitled The Formation Of Damnation, in April 2008; their first studio release after a pause of 9 years. It is the first Testament album to feature Alex Skolnick on guitar since 1992's The Ritual, also the first to feature bassist Greg Christian since 1994's Low.
An interview with the group suggests that a follow-up to The Formation Of Damnation might be done with the classic line-up (including drummer Louie Clemente).
As of April 2009, Testament has begun writing material for their next album. In an interview, Eric Peterson stated that there are currently four songs written and that "there's other guys in the band who like to play the more rock melodic style but the next one is gonna be a bit heavier."