Legendary shredder Alex Skolnick may have reunited with his thrash metal brethren in Testament to form some damnation a few years back, but the guitarist’s longtime forward-thinking avant jazz group the Alex Skolnick Trio marches onward nonetheless. The band’s fourth album — the ebullient, beguiling, often-as-not mind-bending Veritas — drops today, and Skolnick was kind enough to offer Decibel an exclusive stream of the Trio’s version of the Metallica uber-classic “Fade to Black,” as well as a few thoughts on how the cover came together. “As a high school junior,” Skolnick writes in the liner notes, “[‘Fade to Black’] caused me to realize the melodic potential of heavier music, so much so that I decided to look for a thrash band of my own.” High praise from the man who had a hand in both The New Order and Practice What You Preach…[audio:http://www.decibelmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/05-Fade-To-Black.mp3|titles=Fade To Black]
“The new album was going to be all original and no covers, but it seemed a shame not to at least try an arrangement of ‘Fade To Black,’ which been on the back burner for a few years now,” Skolnick tells Decibel. “As if we needed a further sign, we received thumbs up from two members of Metallica — Kirk Hammett, who spoke highly of the trio in print, and Rob Trujillo, who jumped up on stage to jam with us during our soundcheck at Radio City Music Hall. The song felt like a great choice for its use of melody, both in the vocals and the guitar, as well as a mood that is more reflective than aggressive…very bold for Metallica who was so associated with hyper speed, punk-like metal at the time.
“Coordinating with the original arrangement gave us an opportunity to experiment with some ideas that were unusual for us — a loop reinterpretation of the opening riff, the intro lead guitar licks quoted and doubled by jazz guitar and the upright bass, the main body of the song played to a pulsating, fast groove instead of a ballad and a drum solo in the middle of the tune instead of the end.”
After the jump a more expansive preview of Veritas along with a couple other relevant nuggets.