Happy Anniversary: Testament, Practice What You Preach
27 years ago today, Testament released their third studio album, an effort which found them getting more serious with their lyrics and, possibly not coincidentally, found them securing their first chart placement in the upper half of Billboard’s Top 200 Albums Chart.
Recorded at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, California, Practice What You Preach was a real line-in-the-sand album for Testament in terms of the topics they were covering in their lyrics, setting aside the more occult-themed lyrics of their previous LPs in favor of getting political and sociological.
“We were starting to write more instead of just thrash it straight through,” lead singer Chuck Billy told SongFacts.com. “We were starting to put a little more melody and hooks in the songwriting. Next thing you know, we have A&R people concerned about the next video song or the radio song. So in the back of our minds we thought about writing songs with more hooks and melody. And ‘Practice What You Preach’ was one that came together because it kind of summed up what we were about. We believed in our thrash and what we did, and we were going to practice what we preached. And that was that.”
The title track also scored the band more mainstream airplay than they’d ever gotten before, and although they ultimately found more chart success a few years later with their single “Return to Serenity,” it’s arguable that “Practice What You Preach” still remains the Testament song that’s most known to casual listeners.
Similarly, the album helped Testament begin the process of breaking through to the masses, hitting #77 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart while also giving them their first charting album in the UK. Clearly, it pays to practice what you preach.