San Francisco Bay Area thrash metal veterans TESTAMENT kicked off their “Dark Roots Of Thrash II” tour with EXODUS and SHATTERED SUN last night (Wednesday, April 1) at the Regency Ballroom in their hometown. Fan-filmed video footage of the performance can be seen below.

TESTAMENT has spent the past few months demoing material for the follow-up to the band’s 2012 album “Dark Roots Of Earth”.

Speaking about the progress of the songwriting sessions for TESTAMENT‘s new CD, the band’s guitarist, Alex Skolnick, told Metal Sanaz at this past January’s NAMM show in Anaheim, California: “TESTAMENT takes our time writing music. We can’t crank out a record every year. But we’re also not gonna do a substandard record. I think it’s gonna be good. And honestly, it’s more than 50 percent written. And usually once we get to that next phase, it starts happening faster.”

In a recent interview with Josh Rundquist (a.k.a. That Drummer Guy), TESTAMENT drummer Gene Hoglan stated about the band’s material: “[It] is badass; it’s killer, it’s good shit. And TESTAMENT fans are gonna be, like, ‘Fuck yeah!’… People will be, like, ‘Shit, they mean business on this record.’ It’s heavy [and] fast, [with] a lot of thrash stuff.”

He added: “I know that [vocalist Chuck Billy and guitarist Eric Peterson‘s] approach — and this has been stated in the press — they kind of wanna go back to ‘The Gathering’ [1999] kind of vibe, and I can see that. That had a lot of fast songs on it, and that’s kind of their approach that they’re taking. And that’s cool; that was a great record. So [I think they’re] trying to write a better version of that, so I think they’re gonna do it.”

Billy said in an interview that would like the new TESTAMENT CD to sound along the lines of “The Gathering”, “because ‘The Gathering’, for me, was such a turnaround record for the band. I think we really found our style and place, and the songs on that, to me, are probably gonna be some songs that stand the test of time, for sure. I think, ’cause we started experimenting with blast beats and a different style of guitar rhythms and picking on the guitars, it was different for us, and I really like where that went. So we hope that’s where it all kind of ends up, and that’s what we’re shooting for.”

TESTAMENT in January 2014 announced the departure of bassist Greg Christian and return of Steve DiGiorgio.