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Practicing what they've preached since 1983.

Testament is a Thrash Metal band from Berkeley, California. Formed under the name Legacy in 1983, they took on their current name in 1986. They are generally held as one of the leading bands of the thrash scene, although they've never achieved the same mainstream recognition as the famous Big Four.


  • The Legacy (1987)
  • The New Order (1988)
  • Practice What You Preach (1989)
  • Souls of Black (1990)
  • The Ritual (1992)
  • Low (1994)
  • Demonic (1997)
  • The Gathering (1999)
  • First Strike Still Deadly (2001)
  • The Formation of Damnation (2008)
  • Dark Roots of Earth (2012)
  • Brotherhood of the Snake (2016)
  • Titans of Creation (2020)



  • Eric Peterson - rhythm guitar, backing vocals (1983-present)
  • Chuck Billy - lead vocals (1986-present)
  • Alex Skolnick - lead guitar, backing vocals (1985-1993, 2001, 2005-present)
  • Steve DiGiorgio - bass, backing vocals (1998-2004, 2014-present)
  • Chris Dovas - drums (2023-present)


  • Derrick Ramirez - lead vocals, guitars (1983), bass (1997)
  • Steve "Zetro" Souza - lead vocals (1983-1986)note 
  • Louie Clemente - drums (1983-1993, 2005)
  • Greg Christian - bass (1983-1996; 2004-2014)
  • Glen Alvelais - guitars (1993, 1997-1998)
  • Paul Bostaph - drums (1993, 2007-2011)
  • James Murphy - guitars (1994-1996, 1998-2000)
  • John Tempesta - drums (1994, 2005-2006)note 
  • Gene Hoglan - drums (1997, 2011-2022)
  • Dave Lombardo - drums (1998-1999, 2022-2023)

Into the tropes:

  • Anti-Love Song: A particularly fierce example in "Leave Me Forever." A song told from the point of view of a spouse who was betrayed by his lover and is bitterly angry with her.
  • Apocalypse Wow: "3 Days in Darkness."
  • Author Tract: Chuck has admitted that the lyrics for "Stronghold" were basically him expressing his disgust over the nature of the then-upcoming 2016 Presidential Election.
  • Badass Native: "Native Blood," Chuck Billy himself is one of the most prominent Native American figures in music.
  • Big Fun / Fat Bastard: Chuck, especially in his latter years. Some say he is a thicker version of Slayer's Tom Araya.
  • Cassandra Truth: "The Preacher" is about someone who frequently tells these.
  • Control Freak: Chuck and Eric were this according to Greg Christian, which led to him often feeling like a fifth wheel within the band. To this day, he regrets working with them, feeling his talents as a bassist were seriously underappreciated (both personally and financially).
  • Cover Version:
  • Darker and Edgier: Their 90's period after The Ritual achieved levels of heaviness that regularly exceeded that of their albums from before then while Chuck began to increasingly employ harsh vocals. Although The Formation of Damnation onwards veers closer to straight thrash again, their modern albums generally remain this to their pre-Low output due to keeping some elements from their 90's work.
  • Driven to Suicide: "Falling Fast" from Souls of Black.
  • Drugs Are Good: "Canna-Business", about how America benefits immensely from legalized...cannabis.
  • Epic Rocking:
    • The title track of The Ritual is 7:34.
    • From Dark Roots of Earth, we get "Cold Embrace" (7:45), "Throne of Thorns" (7:04, 7:41 for the extended edit), and "Powerslave" (6:51).
  • Evil Overlooker: The cover of The New Order.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: "The Ballad." Guess the style of the song.
  • Genre Shift: They went from playing very melodic thrash to taking on a heavier sound influenced by Groove Metal and Death Metal as the 90s progressed. They have mostly gone back to straight thrash since The Formation of Damnation, but kept many elements of their 90s albums, resulting in a harder, more Slayer-ish thrash sound than their heavily Metallica-esque 80s albums.
  • Green Aesop: "Greenhouse Effect" on Practice What You Preach.
  • Groove Metal: Most of Low. Demonic was also inspired by this genre.
  • Harsh Vocals: Chuck Billy, although not to the usual extent. While he is more than capable of the traditional death metal growl, he usually uses a very distinctive roar.
  • Heavy Meta: Averted by "Into the Pit." It is hard to say what it is about, but the lyrics certainly have nothing to do with moshing.
    • Subverted during the band's live performances, as it is usually dedicated to the people participating in the mosh pit.
  • He's Back!: The Formation of Damnation served as this for Chuck and Alex - Chuck had recovered from cancer, and Alex had rejoined the band. True to this trope, the album kicks ass.
  • Iconic Item: Chuck's light-up, jeweled mic stand.
  • Lead Drummer: Dave Lombardo arguably (not only due to his reputation with Slayer, but his performance on The Gathering being incredibly highly lauded), and more definitely Gene Hoglan seeing the massive number of bands he has been in.
  • Lighter and Softer: The Ritual is the most accessible album the band released, though the few albums before had a more polished and melodic sound than the first ones and as a whole their earliest "era" is also their lightest. The Formation of Damnation, while definitely a heavy album, is this to The Gathering.
  • Metal Band Mascot: The nameless demon... thing with an Overly-Long Tongue often seen in an inverted pentagram found on The Legacy, the corner of Low and First Strike Still Deadly, among other places, probably counts.
  • Metal Scream: One of Chuck's trademarks, especially on their earliest albums on songs like "Burnt Offerings" and "The Preacher."
    • He does a particularly devastating one at the beginning of "Troubled Dreams" from The Ritual - even ending it with a sneak preview of "the growl"note .
  • New Sound Album: Though their sound never veers far from Thrash Metal, it has been tweaked a lot over the years.
    • Some songs on The New Order have soft atmospheric intros on certain tracks, also it features the first instrumental tracks in the band's discography. Its production is also gritty, muffled, and fuzzy, giving it a slightly rawer sound.
    • Practice What You Preach is noticeably more melodic and has a cleaner production.
    • Souls of Black seems to have the tempo dialed down and shows a more traditional heavy metal sound that would be further explored in The Ritual.
    • The Ritual, being "The Black Album" of the band, deviated from the band's earlier thrash metal sound in favor of a more traditional heavy metal sound with hints of hard rock, and it has much better production than its predecessors. It also has a somewhat higher emphasis on Epic Rocking than their earlier albums did.
    • Low marks a 180 degree turn as it's much heavier due to its Groove Metal influence, tuned-down guitars, and Chuck Billy using a lower register/roaring on some tracks. "Dog Faced Gods" of this album is the band's first flirtation with Death Metal.
    • Demonic further evolves the band into a heavier direction, with a much more prominent death metal tone heard throughout, while retaining the groove metal sound of Low.
    • The Gathering marks a return of the thrash sound the band previously had while mixing it with their heavier sound of the '90s.
    • The Formation of Damnation abandons the death metal aspects of previous albums for the most part, with the title track being an exception in that regard.
    • Dark Roots of Earth introduces blast beats and is generally faster. It also features the first ballad since "Trail of Tears" from Low and features their first examples of Epic Rocking since The Ritual.
    • Brotherhood of the Snake is their fastest modern album yet, with even the band members making noted comparisons to The Gathering.
  • Power Ballad: "The Ballad", "The Legacy," "The Ritual," "Return to Serenity," "Trail of Tears," and "Cold Embrace." "Leave Me Forever," to a lesser degree.
  • Protest Song: "Stronghold", among a few other examples.
  • Religion Rant Song: They're very fond of the Type 3 variant. "Dangers Of The Faithless" and "So Many Lies", for example.
  • The Remake: First Strike Still Deadly is a re-recording of some of their most well-liked tracks from their first two albums.
  • Renaissance Man: Alex has also found the time to play with Trans-Siberian Orchestra and create his own jazz fusion group.
  • Revolving Door Band: They've already gone through nine drummers. Their longest-lasting lineup lasted not even eight years.
    • Eric is the only consistent member, and him and Chuck are the only ones who have been present on all their albums. After The Ritual (the last album with their "classic" Peterson/Skolnick/Billy/Christian/Clemente lineup), they did not record consecutive albums with the same lineup until Brotherhood of the Snake and Titans of Creation.
  • Self-Titled Album: A variation - their first album, The Legacy, is named for the original band name and in fact was recorded while still going under the name Legacy.
  • The Stoner: Chuck is an open marijuana user.
  • Surprisingly Gentle Song: Somewhat unusually for a Thrash Metal band, they have a number of these, or at least moments of it.
    • The New Order has several spacey and acoustic passages in it sprinkled throughout the album.
    • "The Ballad" from Practice What You Preach was their first definite example. "The Legacy" on Souls of Black, "Return to Serenity" on The Ritual (which sticks out for being on a Surprisingly Gentle Album) and "Trail of Tears" on Low would follow suit. The Live at the Fillmore Live Album even included acoustic rerecordings of the latter three with backing female vocals.
    • Later made a comeback on Dark Roots of Earth with "Cold Embrace", although that song has moments of aggression.
  • Title Track: Most of their albums have straight examples of these, exceptions of varying amounts being The Legacy (although a song called "The Legacy" would later appear on Souls of Black, and "Burnt Offerings" has an Album Title Drop with "making the legacy known"), Demonic (which opens up with a song called "Demonic Refusal", with the word "demonic" showing up in the song), The Gathering (where the album title is nowhere to be found) and Titans of Creation (same as The Gathering).
  • Vocal Evolution: Chuck, to a degree. He went from punk-inspired half-singing half-shouting in the 80s and early 90s to a Phil Anselmo-esque growl in the mid-90s.
  • We Are The Band: Eric and Chuck are the only constant members and even then, Eric is the only founding member who never left.
  • Writing Around Trademarks: The band were set to release their debut under the name Legacy before learning there was already an act using the name - so they changed it to Testament but called the album The Legacy.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: Most of The Gathering seems to consist of this. While there are a few songs with obvious themes ("3 Days of Darkness" is, for example, about The Rapture), most of the lyrics are utterly ridiculous.