Alex Skolnick Trio
Guitarist Alex Skolnick has returned with another unique CD that takes well-known Heavy Metal standards and converts them into jazz compositions. Many will immediately recognize Mr. Skolnick from his stellar guitar work in Testament years ago as well as his work with Trans-Siberian Orchestra's East Cost touring company. At first listen you might not recognize some of the tunes until a signature riff or key chord comes into play. I admit that even I took additional listens to it making sure I was in the mode of what the group was trying to deliver. This is really a well-done piece and the level of musicianship from Alex alone makes it worth picking up. While I am not a scholar of the jazz guitar, it certainly shows the skill Alex has and he really placed some effort into making this an interesting CD.
The group also includes some original numbers this time around and they are quite good. Among these pieces I enjoyed “Transformation” and “Fear Of Flying” most. Only six of the eleven numbers being reworked classics of Metal favorites. Among the anthems being "transformed" we have Dio, Deep Purple, Iron Maiden, Scorpions, Judas Priest and Pink Floyd. I have to say of the reworks I felt “The Trooper” and “Electric Eye” were what I listened to the most. Its just such a unique take on their songs that it could not be helped. This CD is definitely a different medium for fans of the former Metal guitarist but the rock-solid production and killer guitar work will most certainly appease any music fan. Alex is joined on the CD by Nathan Peck (Double Bass) and Matt Zebronski (Drums/Percussion). I was very impressed by Matt’s drumming on the entire CD.
I recommend this piece to anyone who is looking for that little bit of difference from time to time. It is a mature and intelligent release that if you can keep an open mind musically you will really like it. Jazz heads will like it and I think an open minded metal head can appreciate it as well. Magnatude is a subdivision of Magna Carta who do their very best to bring you excellent Progressive music.
-- Ken Pierce 04.29.05