Testament’s Gene Hoglan

The Atomic Clock has been everywhere but home since MD last spoke with him. As usual, he’s got a slew of projects in the works.

At the top of the list of famed metal drummer Gene Hoglan’s latest projects is Testament’s Brotherhood of the Snake, the legendary thrash band’s first studio album since 2012’s Dark Roots of Earth. When the players entered the studio, some were hearing the songs, which were written by guitarist Eric Peterson, for the first time. Hoglan is no stranger to learning material and recording it in the same day, though, and has the ability to make it sound as though the parts are well rehearsed.

From a drummer’s perspective, the Brotherhood tracks had an unusual birth. According to Hoglan, “Eric demoed the songs with drummer Alex Bent from his other band, Dragonlord, while I was off doing other projects, telling him to play in my style. Eric became accustomed to some of the demo drum parts, so the only real challenge for me was convincing him to let me do my thing, instead of me copying parts that were supposed to sound like me in the first place.”

Hoglan will spend most of 2017 on the road with Testament, but he also hopes to tour with Brendon Small (Dethklok, Galaktikon) in support of Galaktikon II. The day after the Testament record was complete, Hoglan was back in the studio, tracking with Small. For legal reasons Dethklok is no more; meanwhile, Galaktikon began as a side venture that showcased Small’s more melodic material. “Brendon’s project had to evolve away from the Dethklok name,” Hoglan says, “but I tell you, we went into it essentially tracking a Dethklok record.”

Hoglan is also working on a new Dark Angel album, for which he contributes about half of the songs’ guitar parts in addition to playing drums. Due to his constant touring schedule and more immediate obligations, the process has been slow. Meanwhile, the drummer has been working on music with his fiancé, guitarist Laura Christine, which he describes as “probably the most savage project I have in the works.”

While on the road, Hoglan hopes to squeeze in some clinics to promote his new DVD, The Clock Strikes 2. The set features play-alongs from his work with Testament, Meldrum, Strapping Young Lad, Galaktikon, and singer/guitarist Chuck Schuldiner’s iconic band, Death. Longtime fans will be amazed by how Hoglan, as a predominately heel-up player, effortlessly began employing heel-down technique. “I noticed I had a lot more power and control when playing really hauling passages,” Gene explains, “and I have to admit that I felt it was a little easier on my legs because I’m resting my heels. It’s been forever since I’ve been able to sit and practice, but I’m pretty attuned to my body, and I’m able to tell it what to do—and it seems to listen.”

For more with Hoglan, including how to get his new DVD, go to hoglanindustries.com.

David Ciauro

Gene Hoglan plays Pearl drums, Sabian cymbals, Evans heads, Promark sticks, and Roland electronics.