The possibility of an eleventh Testament studio album was first mentioned about a week before the release of Dark Roots of Earth, when vocalist Chuck Billy stated that Testament would not take "huge gaps" between albums anymore, and would "work hard and tour for two years or so," and try to release another album when they could. Guitarist Eric Peterson added, "There's definitely some politics in the band now. I think if the record does good — which I think it will — it'll see Testament be doing another record. There's some people in the band that are, you know, I think aren't a hundred percent there unless, you know, it keeps going good. That's pretty extreme, but, like for me, I'm down for whatever. I started the band, I'm totally into it. This is what I do. I think, you know, if Testament sees darker days, I don't know if this lineup would stick." Testament spent most of 2012 and 2013 touring in support of Dark Roots of Earth, including supporting Anthrax and Death Angel on the Worship Music tour. and headlining their own U.S. tour, with support from Overkill, Flotsam and Jetsam and 4ARM. 2013 also saw the release of a live DVD/double album from Testament Dark Roots of Thrash, which documents the band's sold-out headlining performance at the Paramount in Huntington, New York in February 2013.
When asked in a September 2013 interview if Testament had any ideas for the follow-up to Dark Roots of Earth, Billy stated Testament would begin writing and recording the album from January to April 2014 for release later that year. He added that the band was in the "right direction" with Dark Roots of Earth, and added "I think that the old saying 'if it's not broken, don't fix it' fits, so we're probably going to stick with the same formula and idea. I think that there isn't any Testament album that sounds the same, so who knows what kind of songs we'll write next year...I don't know." However, these plans fell through, when it was announced in January 2014 that bassist Greg Christian had left Testament for the second time, citing differences with the band and money disputes as the reasons. Christian was replaced by Steve DiGiorgio, who was the bassist for Testament from 1998 to 2004.
Asked in an April 2015 interview about Testament's plans to begin recording a new album, Peterson said that his "main goal" was to "get home [from tour] in June, finish it up and get in the studio by September." Billy added that the band's goal was to have the album finished by Thanksgiving. In May 2016, Billy confirmed the title of Testament's eleventh album to be The Brotherhood of the Snake, which at the time had been recorded, and he hoped for it to be completed before their UK tour in June 2016. Peterson said that the album was going to "get delivered at the end of June, and it'll be probably be delivered to the record company by the end of the summer just in time for a really big tour we're doing of Europe."
Asked about the musical direction of The Brotherhood of the Snake, Peterson replied, "It's different. This one is more thrash. I mean, this has got some of the fastest stuff that we have ever played. Usually, we have one or two thrash songs, and then we have some mid-tempo, and then we have a slow, heavy one, and then up-tempo kind of stuff. Half of the new record is thrash, which we've never done before." He also described the album as their "kind of Reign in Blood record", a reference to Slayer's third studio album.
Chuck Billy – vocals
Alex Skolnick – guitar
Eric Peterson – guitar
Steve DiGiorgio – bass
Gene Hoglan – drums