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Guitarist Eric Peterson was a founding member of '80s thrashers Testament, and remained with the group as it continued recording through the '90s. However, he also became curious about the extreme black metal sounds coming from Europe and, especially, Norway; so, during the late '90s, he began working on material in that vein with keyboardist Lyle Livingston and Testament bassist Steve DiGiorgio, who had previously honed his chops on the Florida death metal scene with top outfits like Death. Former Sadus drummer Jon Allen joined the project, and new Testament touring guitarist Steve Smyth was also recruited, while Peterson made his first forays into singing lead. The result was Dragonlord, a band that combined Peterson's heavy thrash riffery with the ornate, gothic feel of modern black metal bands like Dimmu Borgir and Cradle of Filth, plus nods to black metal originators like Venom and Mercyful Fate. Dragonlord was also a band that remained a side project for Peterson, not a primary concern ahead of his continued work with Testament. The debut Dragonlord album, Rapture, was released in summer 2001 by Spitfire, the same label that carried Testament. ~ Steve Huey

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