Based in California, Testament is an energetic thrash metal band that formed in 1983. In the early days, the group was known as Legacy but it was soon changed to its current name. Widely respected in the thrash metal music scene, Testament has sold approaching one and a half million records to date, which marks the band out as one of the most commercially successful operating in this genre. To many fans, the highlights of the band's career came in the late 1980s and early 1990s when Testament was at its most popular. However, for some devotees of thrash metal, their later work is just as interesting and engaging. More than one of the band's album releases in the 2010s has gone on to make it into the US charts.
Testament's rise to fame
Formed by the guitarist Eric Peterson and his cousin, a singer called Derrick Ramirez, Testament recruited Alex Skolnick on lead guitar and Mike Ronchette on drums. The early lineup was completed by Greg Christian on bass, and Steve Souza, who took over on lead vocals. This version of the band went on to record the group's first demo tracks in 1985. After a few further alterations to the lineup, Testament signed a deal with Megaforce Records. The Legacy, reflecting the band's first name, was their debut LP, which was released in April 1987. It was well received on the hard rock scene and led to some notable support slots on tours, such as dates with Anthrax on both sides of the Atlantic, and shows with Megadeath and Overkill.
The New Order was the band's follow-up album. It was a minor mainstream hit in the US, with “Trial by Fire” being selected as a single. In 1989, Practice What You Preach was even more successful, getting to number 77 in the Billboard 200 Charts. Their next album, Souls of Black, did just as well in the US in 1990, and reached number 35 in the UK. A fifth studio album, which was also successful, came out in 1992, but later releases in the 1990s were not so strong in terms of sales.
Testament's return to mainstream success
Although their albums over the next 15 years or so were much anticipated by their fans, Testament's songs seldom achieved mainstream radio airplay. The Formation of Damnation, of 2008, fared better, however. In 2012, Dark Roots of Earth came out, scoring the band a hit record all over Europe. It also got to number one in the US Top Hard Rock Album charts and number 12 overall. Brotherhood of the Snake, Testament's 11th studio album was also hugely successful.