I’ve never been a huge fan of technical or progressive music. Don’t get me wrong, I love Vektor and classic bands like Coroner and Voivod, but for the most part I’m more of a “straight-to-the-point” kind of music fan, meaning I don’t want to sit there trying to figure the music out. Personally I find a lot of technical bands tend to overdue things by adding far too many different elements to their music, creating a mish-mash of tempo changes and chord progressions that require a degree in music theory to decipher. Although I can greatly appreciate the talent and skill level required to play this type of music, it’s not usually my cup of tea. However there are exceptions to this – bands that know how to combine just the right amount of technicality with heavy riffing thereby creating a unique listening experience – are the exception. In other words bands like the previously aforementioned and Indiana thrashers Testimony, are in fact, the exception.
Testimony has been turning heads with their progressive and jaw-dropping approach to thrash metal since 2009, when the band was founded by drummer Taylor Lambacher and the band’s original guitarist/vocalist. “Shortly after they got together, Mike was brought into the band but they were still lacking a bass player” explains Derek Lambacher, the bands bassist and older brother of founding member Taylor Lambacher, in a recent Global Thrash Assault interview. “After some convincing from our Mom, Taylor asked if I would be interested in joining the group. Not being in a band at the time, I agreed to join.” Soon after the oldest Lambacher joined the ranks of Testimony the band’s then guitarist/vocalist parted ways with the band and Testimony drafted current vocalist Adrian Harris. With their line-up now finalized Testimony were ready to begin writing music. “The idea behind Testimony was and still is to play complex, challenging metal music that, while rooted in tradition, has a quality and sound all its own.”
In January 2012 Testimony released their debut EP, Transcending Reality. The album was a hit among the underground thrash legions and almost immediately after the album was released the name Testimony began to spread like wild fire. “We were all pretty surprised.” recalls Lambacher. “It was like, ‘wow, someone actually likes us!” Of course anyone that’s ever listened to Transcending Reality will tell you, the album is a progressive gem that features plenty of heavy riffing and mind-boggling tempo changes. “If there’s one band that has influenced all of us, I’d have to say there’s no better candidate than Death.” Lambacher says in regards to the band’s vast list of influences. “However, when you begin to break down our individual influences different pictures begin to emerge. Adrian is a huge fan of the “Three M’s” as he calls them; Maiden, Metallica and Megadeth. Mike is a huge Dream Theater nut, and he also loves guitarists like Jason Becker and Paul Gilbert. Taylor and I grew up together so a lot of our influences are the same, although not identical. I’m just a fan of good music played well; whether that’s jazz, funk, metal or otherwise. Add all of that up and somehow you end up with Testimony.”
Following the release of Transcending Reality, Testimony went on to play a fair amount of shows all around the mid-west and even opened for national acts like Vektor, Revocation and Diamond Plate. Although Testimony were more popular than ever, members of the band never let things go to their head. Instead the band became more dedicated to their craft as time went on. “Vektor and Revocation are bands we look up to as they both play heavy music with progressive elements; like us.” says Lambacher “There are plenty of lessons to be learned from bands that are on the next level than you, and we are always diligently taking notes.” Although it’s unknown what exactly these notes say, I imagine they have something to do with hard work, dedication and perseverance, especially considering the band’s practice regiment. “I can’t speak for everyone on this, but I try and spend at least two hours a day playing bass either by myself or with others.” says Lambacher. “As a band we get together once a week to rehearse and we also have writing sessions outside our normal rehearsal time. We’ve each gone about our instruments in a different way, but we’re all very much dedicated to them and the band.”
|THE BEAST THAT PRAYS|
After nearly two years of playing shows in support of Transcending Reality, Testimony announced in late 2013 that the band would be releasing a brand new EP entitled The Beast That Prays sometime in 2014. Although there is no official release date as of writing Lambacher insists there is one on the very near horizon. “We’re very close to wrapping things up. We’re just finishing some details with the artwork layout for the physical copies.” Good thing too, because The Beast That Prays is without-a-doubt one of the best albums of 2014. It’s evident from the album’s opening track “Twisted Visage” that Testimony really took the time needed to create an album that is greater than it’s predecessor, which I might add, is no easy task. “That’s one thing we’re all constantly striving for; making the next song, riff, or whatever better than before. Putting the “progress” in progressive if you will.” says Lambacher. “We wanted to take the music in a more technical and heavy direction” he continues, which is exactly what the band has done. The Beast That Prays is much like a roller coaster ride, slowly taking the listener to the top of a peak and then, without warning, propelling them down hill straight into a hair-pin turn that surprises in the best way possible and then, without warning, everything is upside down and before you know it, the whole thing is thrown into a series of twists and turns that are hard to forget. And when the experience is over the listener is left sitting there with their mind blown begging to do it all over again. “For our last EP each song had just one composer, but now the band is more of a collaborative effort” explains Lambacher. “There’s sort of a friendly competition between Mike and I, where we’re like, “bet you can’t play this riff!” That sort of drive is an integral part of Testimony, and I think our new EP highlights that.” Whatever it is that’s driving Testimony, other bands should be diligently taking notes because this band is on to something.
So what’s next for Testimony? “Right now we have some good shows lined up, but given the right opportunity we’d love to go on tour.” says Lambacher. Given the band’s performance on The Beast That Prays, I think it’s pretty safe to say there are going to be a lot of opportunities for this band in the very near future.
Be sure to check out Testimony on Facebook and Twitter and keep your eyes peeled for The Beast That Prays. Trust me, it’s worth the wait!