Testament's Chuck Billy: the 10 records that changed my life

A photograph of Testament frontman Chuck Billy taken in 2011 - he is posing and looking serious

The first album I bought was…

The Beach Boys Good Vibrations – Best Of The Beach Boys [Reprise, 1975]

“Wow, that’s going back a while! I think it was The Beach Boys. I was a kid and it was just all the stuff that I heard on the radio. It certainly didn’t have any influence on my vocal style, though.”

The best album artwork is…

Black Sabbath - We Sold Our Soul For Rock And Roll [Vertigo, 1975]

“That has to be We Sold Our Soul For Rock And Roll. I remember walking into a record store and just being blown away when I opened it up. It just looked so dark and scary. That’s why I loved vinyl; you had something to look at and read along with. You just don’t feel that way about CDs or downloads.”

The album I wish I’d made is…

Metallica Kill ’Em All [Elektra, 1983]

“Such a breakthrough record, I loved everything that it stood for. That record was such a big deal for the Bay Area, for thrash metal, for the scene, it was huge and meant so much to us.”

The album that should not be is…

Metallica - Load [Elektra, 1996]

“I hate to criticise them, but it’s when Metallica’s style really started to change. That first record they put out, Load, where they started to move away from the thrash and the things that I enjoy about their sound, that’s the one record that I kinda wish they hadn’t made.”

A kid asks me what metal is. I hand them a copy of…

Slayer - Haunting The Chapel [Metal Blade, 1984]

“Well, for a kid who is first hearing metal, and that it all entails, I’m going to have to say a Slayer record. Maybe Haunting The Chapel. I know it isn’t the most obvious one, but I still think that record stands up today. It’s killer, it still gets your foot tapping and the blood pumping and I think when kids hear that they’re going to recognise its elements as what really defines metal.”

The album I break the speed limit to is…

Exodus - Bonded By Blood [Combat, 1985]

“Probably Exodus, Bonded By Blood. We’ve played with those guys a whole bunch of times and that’s always one of my favourites.”

The album I want played at my funeral is…

Testament - Dark Roots Of Earth [Nuclear Blast, 2012]

“Well, it’s hard to say, but it would probably have to be a Testament record. Probably Dark Roots Of Earth. I really don’t want to pick some weepy ballad; I want to have a full-on send-off! Ha ha ha!”

The album I want to be remembered for is…

Testament - The Gathering [Spitfire, 1999]

“I think that record was… I don’t want to say a turnaround… but it’s where we found a direction from where our early history lead up to. We added some extra styles and elements that we hadn’t used before, like some of the blastbeats, so that was kind of a culmination of everything that we had done up until that point. That’s probably the one record that really defines us.”

The first album I had sex to was…

Pat Travers - Heat In The Street [Polydor, 1978]

“Hmm… I think it was Pat Travers, Heat In The Street. I think it was 8th or 9th grade and it was in the back of the van with Pat Travers or Boston or Kiss or something like that on the radio.”

No one will believe I own a copy of…

Silversun Pickups - Carnavas [Dangerbird, 2006]

“I dunno if you would have heard of these guys, they’re a girl band but they’re very different. I enjoy listening to it sometimes because it’s real weird and wacky songwriting but with beautiful vocals on it. It’s just kinda spacey.”

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Stephen Hill

Since blagging his way onto the Hammer team a decade ago, Stephen has written countless features and reviews for the magazine, usually specialising in punk, hardcore and 90s metal, and still holds out the faint hope of one day getting his beloved U2 into the pages of the mag. He also regularly spouts his opinions on the Metal Hammer Podcast.